Things to Do In Rotterdam | The Netherlands Outside of Amsterdam
While Amsterdam is fantastic, I wanted to start a series where I recommend other places to visit in the Netherlands. If you're Dutch this isn't going to be extremely groundbreaking, but since so many people don't seem to know that much about other alternatives to visit, I figured I'd create a little archive with some of my favourites.
Let me start off by admitting that I've only been to Rotterdam properly twice. The first time was when I was around 16, to go shopping with my best friend, and the second time was about a year ago. I'm still not sure why I didn't go back before then, and why it takes moving to a different country to really appreciate your own.
After doing some digging around online, I had a neat list of places to discover during my second visit, and here are some of my favourites.
The Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)
You'll probably have seen pics of these before and they're just as impressive in real life. It's not just the row you can see above, you can actually walk into the little courtyards, wander around and take some pictures. They're a 3 minute walk from the station and 100% worth a visit.
The Market Hall (Martkhal)
It's impossible to miss this eye-catching building, which is also located a short walk from the train station. I think it's reasonably new and it's a combo of apartments, offices and underneath the giant dome there is a food market. Don't forget to look away from the food for a minute to admire the gorgeous ceiling. I had to miss out on a fresh 'stroopwafel' (a Dutch flat waffle, always a favourite), since I was doing the vegan challenge that month, but there is plenty of choice for everyone. Bread, cheese, nuts, chocolate, go wild!
Erasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrug)
Not much to say about this one, except that it looks pretty and that it will be the gateway to the next couple of places I'd recommend. We walked across it and down the water to find the following...
Hotel New York
This hotel is based in the former office building of the Holland America Lines, which meant that this is where lots of people left Rotterdam to head to America by boat. It's a beautiful building, inside and out, and I'd recommend popping in for a drink (we had some nachos that I wasn't every impressed with, but I'm sure you can't go wrong with a coffee or a cocktail).
Fenix Food Factory
Right across from Hotel New York you can find a place that made me feel right at home, and basically felt like a little part of London or Brooklyn, transported right into Rotterdam. I think I'm probably still used to the Netherlands from 10 years ago, but I know places like this have been popping up all over the places in recent years. Fenix Food Factory is the perfect place for a break. Browse all the different food stalls inside, grab a sandwich, a beer and a cheese platter and enjoy it out in the sun!
The SS Rotterdam is conveniently located only a few minutes from the Fenix Food Factory. Apparently it's also known as 'The Grand Dame' (love it) and it's a former ocean liner, completed in 1959, now turned into a hotel boat. You can get in for free to have a look around the massive cruise ship and pretend you're in a scene from Titanic. There's also a opportunity to get a beverage on the main deck, or you can just walk up and have a little peek.
I know that a lot of the things I've recommended in this post are pretty well known, and I look forward to heading back to Rotterdam and some point to do some more exploring and find plenty of other cafes and sights worth visiting. If you've got any recommendations for my next visit, I'd love to see them below!