Are there any great free activities in Rotterdam? Trust us, there are many great free activities to explore in Rotterdam! We randomly list 12 great activities that will cost you nothing at all in Rotterdam. So if you’re tight on a budget, this article is a must-read for your city trip Rotterdam!
1. Market Hall (Markthal)
The Market Hall is one of the best free activities in Rotterdam. With dozens of small and large food stalls inside the big food court you will experience the modern market feeling. The various stalls are a feast for the eyes and you can smell the delicious exotic herbs. Don’t forget to look up and take a great picture of the ceiling with all the bright and mesmerizing colors which make you feel like Alice in Wonderland.
2. SS Rotterdam
The Rotterdam Steamship is one of the pearls of the Holland America Line. Once built in the port of Rotterdam and for over thirty years it has sailed the world’s seas. Now it is permanently anchored in the district of Katendrecht and anyone can visit it. Enter the ship and feel the nostalgia coming towards you when you walk on the plush red carpet. Be sure to go to the aft deck as well. Enjoy over there the beautiful view and take your dramatic ‘Titanic picture’ like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
3. Summer Carnival
Shake your booty! Summer Carnival is one of the most swinging free activities in Rotterdam. Every year around the end of July a colorful caravan travels through the center of Rotterdam. Make sure you get a good view of the parade. You will then see the most beautiful dancers and beautifully decorated floats passing by. Of course, you will also hear the best music from the speakers to get a real Caribbean vibe.
4. Cube houses
You definitely must experience the funny yellow Cube Houses of architect Piet Blom. You can visit a museum Cube House (Kijk Kubus) for €3 per person, but you can also admire the Cube Houses from the outside. Especially if you like to take pictures, it is advisable to stay outside. With enough daylight, you can take beautiful photos or selfie’s with your friend over here. The Cube Houses are also ideally located centrally. On one side you will find the Market Hall and on the other side the Old Harbour (Oude Haven) with its nice cafes.
5. World Port Days (Wereldhavendagen)
The World Port Days are one of the most family-friendly free activities in Rotterdam. This event takes place every year at the beginning of September and with the World Port Days you will discover the maritime identity of Rotterdam. Take a look behind the scenes or see how in a spectacular way the marines practice on the water and put on a show.
6. Free Tour Rotterdam
Our Free Tour Rotterdam should not be missed in this overview! With this tour, you will discover the city center of Rotterdam with a friendly local guide. You will visit all the important landmarks and you will hear the most beautiful background stories. Anyone can join the Free Tour Rotterdam and the tour is provided from Thursday to Sunday.
7. Monument The destroyed city
This is one of the free activities in Rotterdam with a real soul. Ossip Zadkine’s work of art symbolises the pain, sorrow and despair of Rotterdam during the Second World War. The centre is wiped out by the great bombardment and that loss is strikingly represented by the monument De rueste stad (The Destroyed City).
8. Marathon Rotterdam
Would you like to experience the biggest sporting event in the Netherlands up close? Then come to Rotterdam in April for the Marathon. Anyone who thinks that this is all about running is making a big mistake. The race itself is of course important, but everywhere you’ll find liveliness all over the city. In many places along the course you will find bands that play music.
9. Hotel New York and surroundings
The area around Hotel New York is one of the most best free activities in Rotterdam if you like enjoying a stunning view. From the quayside, you have a beautiful view of the monumental Hotel York, the stylish Erasmus Bridge and you can see the fast Watertaxi’s passing by. It’s always a nice exercise to take a good picture of a passing Watertaxi on full speed!
The West-Kruiskade is the perfect street in the center to experience the multicultural Rotterdam up close. It is a meeting place for various Asian, Surinamese, Turkish and Moroccan cultures. This can be seen in the various shops and restaurants you find here, but certainly also in the shopping public that is looking for the ingredients for their exotic meals. Insider tip: visit the butcher shop Schell which has a huge assortment of meat!
11. Open Monument Day
With the Open Monuments every year in September, a lot of doors open for you. Too much to mention actually! A visit to the monumental bridge De Hef is always a no-brainer. Don’t forget to visit other landmarks such as the St. Laurens Church, Town Hall and the White House where you experience a splendid view from the roof. Insider tip: go outside the city center to the historical district Delfshaven where you will find several monuments close to each other.
12. Museum Rotterdam
Museum Rotterdam is open for free every first Saturday of the month. This museum puts the identity of Rotterdam central. What kind of city is Rotterdam and who are exactly those Rotterdammers who populate the city? The past, present and future are intertwined here and often the ordinary people of Rotterdam are put to the center of the attention.