Do yourself a favour and take a time-out from the shenanigans of Amsterdam and make your way south to one of the busiest Port cities in the world – Rotterdam.
After being virtually annihilated during the second world war, Rotterdam rose from the ashes to build a culture predicated on inclusion, happiness and progress. Today Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and remains the largest Port in Europe. Aside from it’s commercial value, Rotterdam is a great place to visit for many tourists and travellers, but if you’re only planning a quick trip, here is a great one-day itinerary in the South Holland city.
1. Rent a bike
After already having travelled through the Netherlands, I had an Ov-Chipkaart (train card) handy. If you’re in the same boat, perfect! The card gives you access to Ov-fiets (Bike hire). Using the card, you’re able to hire a bike for 24 hours for under 4 Euros. You can pick the bike up at Rotterdam Central Station.
If you don’t have an Ov-Chipkaart, don’t fret! There are bike-rental stores littered throughout the city.
2. Fenix Food Factory (FFF)
Kick start your day at the Fenix Food Factory. The food factory is an old warehouse turned into an urban food hall, including bakeries, pizza-ovens and even a brewery! Being only a short walk from the amazing Hotel New York site, FFF offers panoramic views of the Rotterdam cityscape, making it an extremely popular hang out for locals and tourists. Ah yes and of course, don’t forget to pick up your locally brewed Rotterdam ale from the brewery – look out for a Kaapse!
The Fenix Food Factory is due to shut down within the next year so make sure you have this local masterpiece at the top of your Rotterdam itinerary.
3. SS Rotterdam
Next stop, the SS Rotterdam. Once a post-war cruise liner, today the SS Rotterdam is well anchored with a museum and full-fledged on-board hotel. For the day tourist, immerse yourself in Dutch history, as you sit back on the top deck, which includes a pool, bar and restaurant. This is a must-have experience in Rotterdam. Treat yourself to a special beer! I had the Duvel.
4. Cafe Teddy Bear
If you’ve been in the Netherlands for more than a couple of minutes, you’ll know fries are a huge thing here. Dig a little deeper and you’ll realise that they’re actually quite different from city to city. Now, since you’re probably feeling a little peckish since our morning meal, let’s take this opportunity to satisfy our dutch cravings. Before you head down into the Maas Tunnel (the oldest tunnel in the Netherlands), a little cafeteria called ‘Café Teddy Bear’ is the perfect pit stop to refuel. Certainly not the Ritz but a quintessential Rotterdam experience nonetheless. A word of note: Don’t take it personally.
5. Parqiet – Het Park
Right, it’s time to put your feet up, soak in some afternoon sun and round off the day with some home grown dutch beer. Pull up a big beach chair at Parqiet, slap on some sunnies and watch the crowds dissipate into the night. Let the likes of cheese sticks, croquets and bread-dips help you down your last beer of the afternoon. Finish your day trip in Rotterdam relaxed and rejuvenated to return to the mayhem of Amsterdam.
The Netherlands is full of history and culture, making it one of the marquee tourist attractions in Europe. Not as geographically spread as some of the other European countries makes it easier to visit many national sights and sounds in much less time. Enjoy your stay in Rotterdam.
P.S. Thanks to Tom and Karlien for being the perfect chaperones!