Rotterdam is the perfect destination for a day trip from Amsterdam. Just a short ride on the train, it an easy way to experience a different atmosphere for a day or weekend.
If you live in Amsterdam you may know that there is a rivalry between the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. People will give you several reasons why, but we think it might be because they are both super awesome! (but quite different)
Day Trips from Amsterdam: Rotterdam
Take a trip with us to discover some of the secrets of this city in Zuid-Holland.
Getting to Rotterdam from Amsterdam
Rotterdam is easy to reach from Amsterdam by train, car or bus. We recommend going by train so that you can relax on the journey.
Amsterdam to Rotterdam by Train
It’s easy to reach Rotterdam using public transit. NS Trains leave Amsterdam Centraal about every 10 minutes to Rotterdam. Check the NS website for timetables.
The trip takes a little over an hour depending on which train you catch. If you’d like to get there a bit faster and don’t mind paying a little more you can catch the “Intercity Direct”. This train takes about 40 minutes as it stops less often. You’ll need a “toeslag” or additional fare of €2,40. Be sure to buy it before you board the train, as onboard it is €10! Yikes!
Once you reach Rotterdam Centraal you can rent a bicycle, walk, or hop on the Metro, tram, watertaxi or bus. Check 9292.nl for exact directions to your destination, and visit the Waterbus and Watertaxi sites for information on how to get around on the water.
Things To Do in Rotterdam
Once you reach Rotterdam, what is there to do? Luckily there is lots to see!
Rotterdam is a large, modern city with lots of interesting sights. Here are a few of our recommendations, some a bit off the beaten track.
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
This world class museum houses a huge array of famous Dutch and European art, both contemporary and historical. Don’t miss the The Marriage Feast at Cana by Hieronymus Bosch. Until recently it was thought to be the original, but has now been deemed a fake! Interesting. Also don’t miss the infinity room by artist Yayoi Kusama, especially if you are an Instagram fanatic.
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
Museumpark 18, Rotterdam
The Markthal is a new-ish addition to Rotterdam that is attracting lots of tourists and visitors. The building itself is definitely worth a look, but there are also many cafes, restaurants and food shops inside that look very tasty! The design of flying fruits, flowers and vegetables on the ceiling is beautiful, as well as the views out the arched windows on each side.
We recommend grabbing a seat at one of the upper level cafes for an amazing view. If you are in the mood for beer or wine, head to the hidden bar upstairs at World of Drinks. For more eating and drinking tips in Rotterdam, see below. If you like food halls definitely don’t miss the Fenix Food Factory. And check out the newly opened Foodhallen Rotterdam too.
Markthal is easy to reach by train and Metro, the Blaak station is just outside the building.
Ds. Jan Scharpstraat 298, Rotterdam
Most of Rotterdam’s charming old buildings and canals were destroyed during WWII. This has led to a very different feel in Rotterdam as compared to other cities in the Netherlands like Amsterdam, Utrecht and Leiden. Delfshaven was not destroyed, however, and you can stroll this old seaport and get a feeling for the olden days. You may find it interesting that the original Pilgrims left from here. Visit the Pelgrimvaderskerk to learn more.
Hot Tug Boat
Feel like doing something really different? Rent a hot tub..boat! What? Yes, you can rent a wood-fired Hot Tug boat that fits up to 8 people and cruise Rotterdam’s waterways for a few hours.
Other Rotterdam Sights & Events
Of course a visit to Rotterdam is not complete without checking out the highest view point in the Netherlands, the Euromast, you can even dine on top or rappel down the side. And be sure to get a good view of the Erasmus Bridge, especially at night!
If you happen to be in town when the Swan Markt or Rotterdamse Oogst farmers market are happening, be sure to check them out. Also take a look at some of our favorite blogs below for tips on local events.
Would you like to take a half day trip from Rotterdam? Go see the windmills at Kinderdijk on a boat cruise. It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Eating and Drinking in Rotterdam
Rotterdam is full of cool cafes and tasty food. There are many innovative, interesting and creative locations to grab something to eat or drink. Here are some of our recommended places.
Coffee in Rotterdam
If you love coffee, the five spots you should visit in Rotterdam include:
Lunch in Rotterdam
Rotterdam has so many nice cafes where you can grab a tasty sandwich or salad, or go for a gourmet meal. Here are a few picks that offer something a little out of the ordinary.
- Have a healthy meal at vegetarian deli cafe Spirit Rotterdam (and now Spirit is in Amsterdam too!)
- In the summer head to Schieblock Dakcafe for a special treat
- Picknick is a popular place for lunch
- Go for a British inspired meal on a ship at Vessel 11
- It doesn’t get more locally grown than at Uit je Eigen Stad
Dinner in Rotterdam
There are many charming cafes and fabulous restaurants where you can dine in style or have a casual meal in Rotterdam. Some of the above restaurants also serve dinner, and here are a few more options.
- Go for a walking dinner at the awesome Fenix Food Factory
- Enjoy a Michelin-starred meal at Parkheuvel
- Little V is a Vietnamese-inspired restaurant with lovely ambiance
- De Matroos en het Meisje is a special spot with a fixed menu
Drinks in Rotterdam
As everywhere else in the Netherlands, Rotterdam has its share of cozy neighborhood bars. Here are a few of our favorite places to go for a drink in this fun city.
- Taste some locally brewed beer at Kaapse Brouwers
- Go for drinks in an old waterpark with amazing views at Aloha Bar
- Nothing beats a drink with a view at The Suicide Club
- The best cocktails in town can be found at Dr.
Places to Stay in Rotterdam
Would you like to spend the night or weekend in the city? Here are a few places we’d recommend looking into.
- Get amazing views at Hotel New York
- Stay on a historic cruise ship the SS Rotterdam
- Boutique hotel CitizenM is a stylish choice
- For something totally different check out the CityHub pod hotel
- Travelers love Mainport Design Hotel
- Cherrycake & Chocolate B&B is a cozy bed and breakfast
- For budget options check out Sparks Hostel, Hostel Ani&Haakien, Stayokay Rotterdam or easyHotel Rotterdam
- Take a look at Urban Residences Rotterdam and PREMIER SUITES PLUS Rotterdam for apartments with kitchens and bathrooms
You can also find lovely places in Rotterdam on sites like Airbnb. Use this link to register and you can save €30 off your first reservation!
Best Rotterdam Blogs, Books & Websites
Want more information about Rotterdam? Check out our favorite Rotterdam blogs and websites.
- For food tips do not miss De Buik van Rotterdam
- Check out the 500 Hidden Secrets of Rotterdam by
- LiveLikeTom is an awesome website with Rotterdam tips and gay travel ideas. Be sure to check out the hilarious posts about what Rotterdam does not have
- Check out Regular Rotterdam for great city tips
- Alternative events and exhibit info can be found on We Own Rotterdam
- Spotted by Locals has cool tips for each city they cover
- Discover Explore Rotterdam by Stephan Goedecke
We hope you enjoyed these Rotterdam city tips. Let us know if you discovered something special on your day trip to Rotterdam!
Before your trip to Rotterdam, check out these books!
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- Haarlem: day trip from Amsterdam
- 25 top coffee spots in Amsterdam
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- 40+ breakfast and brunch spots in Amsterdam
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Want to get out of town? Check out these 10 ideas for quick weekend trips from Amsterdam.
Luckily many fantastic places are within a short distance of Amsterdam. Just hop on a train or plane and you can explore a new city or town. We’ve included our favorite sights and also some terrific city blogs and websites to explore for more hotspot tips and local information.