Exploring Rotterdam in one day: itinerary to see the highlights

Planning a day trip to Rotterdam? Do you already know what you are going to do or visit? There is a lot to see and do in Rotterdam. As tour guides we know this all too well with all the groups we bring to the nicest places in the city. To help you, we make a list to give you an overview. This blog will explain what you need to see and what is realistic to see for Rotterdam in one day.

1. Euromast

This giant can not be missed during your day for visiting Rotterdam in one day! It is literally the biggest attraction of Rotterdam with its 185 meters. Choose a clear day, because then you can fully enjoy the view. If there are barely any clouds, you can even see the Belgium city Antwerp. You can undertake various activities in and around the Euromast. With the Euroscoop elevator, you can get to the top of the Euromast. In the restaurant section, you can enjoy the view with a snack and true daredevils can even abseil from the Euromast!

2. Market Hall

Whatever you are going to do in Rotterdam, the Market Hall is just a must for visiting Rotterdam in one day. This architectural wonder symbolizes the new and modern Rotterdam. This building was opened in 2014 and has been portrayed millions of times on Instagram. That’s not so strange. The beautiful colorful hall amazes everyone in terms of the design. The middle part of the Market Hall is public and there you will find dozens of entrepreneurs. Here you can enjoy good food and drink. Our personal favorites are the Spanish tapas bar 21 Pinchos and the fish shop Andalush Fish. While you are having a snack in the Market Hall don’t forget to look upstairs where you can see the immense mural that makes the Market Hall give you the feeling of Alice in Wonderland.

3. Cube Houses

You must have seen pictures of the odd and yellow Cube Houses. But when you see these in real life, you are probably even more surprised. They are funny and photogenic, but at the same time you probably also think: do people really live in these houses? Yes, people do. The nice thing is that you can also see the inside of a Cube House in the Kijk Kubus Museumwoning. Here you will experience how special and small the creations of architect Piet Blom are. For the museum, you need about 15 to 30 minutes. Practical tip: combine the Cube Houses with the Market Hall, because these are located opposite each other.

4. St. Laurens Church

St. Laurens Church is a 5-minute walk from the Cube Houses and Market Hall. This makes the church ideal to combine with the other two major highlights for visiting Rotterdam in one day. The St. Laurens Church with the blunt tower is the only significant indication that Rotterdam is a medieval city. Rotterdam was founded in 1270 and the church was built between 1449 and 1521. During the bombardment of 14 May 1940 during the Second World War the church was largely damaged, but luckily rebuilt after the war. You can admire the church from the outside of course, but you can also go inside. Sports enthusiasts can come along on Wednesdays and Saturdays to climb the tower. Once upstairs you have a beautiful view.

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5. The Destroyed City

Rotterdam is marked by the Second World War and the bombardment of 14 May 1940. That pain and despair is perfectly symbolized by the war memorial The Destroyed City of Ossip Zadkine. The statue depicts the suffering and the hole in the chest represents the Rotterdam that lost its city center with the bombardment. If you only visiting Rotterdam for one day and you get the feeling you are running out of time, you might get the feeling that this statue is a bit hidden. The Destroyed City is behind the Maritime Museum and that is about 5 minutes walk from the Cube Houses and Market Hall.

6. Watertaxi

If you’re going to visit the war memorial The Destroyed City, then you’re almost in the Leuvehaven. In this small harbor you will also find one of the many pick-up points of the Watertaxi. The Watertaxi is one of the most fun attractions in Rotterdam. You can take a Watertaxi for 5 minutes, but you can also book a Watertaxi for half an hour or book a private Watertaxi for you group. The most popular 5-minute route is between the Leuvehaven and Hotel New York. You’ll travel under the Erasmus Bridge to the city center or the modern Kop van Zuid, depending on which direction you’re heading. Along the way you can also enjoy the unique Rotterdam skyline and take some pictures. Taking the Watertaxi will always give you unforgettable experience when visiting Rotterdam in one day!

7. Hotel New York

At the South Bank (Kop van Zuid) you will find the monumental Hotel New York. As mentioned before, you can come here by taking a Watertaxi. Nowadays Hotel New York is a hotel and restaurant. In the restaurant you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can also come here for just a coffee or beer. But Hotel New York has not always been a hotel and restaurant. This is the former headquarters of the famous Holland America Line. Here was the heart of the organization that brought about a million people from Eurpe to America to build a new life in the promised land. Hotel New York is therefore much more than a hotel or restaurant. It is a historic place where you can find nostalgia.

8. Erasmus Bridge

When visiting Rotterdam in one day you just have to see the Erasmus Bridge. The Erasmus Bridge connects the modern South Bank with the center of Rotterdam. The landmark was opened in 1996 and an important objective was to put Rotterdam back on the international map as an attractive city with the prestigious bridge. The bridge was a huge success. Search the internet on Rotterdam and you will immediately see hundreds of images of the bridge. Rotterdammers affectionately call the bridge ‘The Swan’ because of its elegant shape.

9. Witte de Withstraat

After all the sightseeing during your day in Rotterdam you’ll also want something to eat and drink. You can do this in the Witte de Withstraat. This is probably the most famous street in Rotterdam when it comes to restaurants and bars. There is something for everyone: from Asian restaurants to Mexican finger food. Our recommendations are Warung Mini for Surinamese food and Restaurant Oliva for Italian food in style. Insider tip: around the Witte de Withstraat you also have a lot of beautiful street art. Download the app from Rewriters Rotterdam to easily find the streetart.

With our recommendations you can discover the best of Rotterdam in one day. If you’re interested in exploring the city with a local tour guide you can join our Rotterdam Highlights Walking Tour or Rotterdam Highlights Bike Tour. You will be taken by a local city guide and you’ll get to hear the best background stories. Whatever you’re going to do, we wish you a great day out in Rotterdam!

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