Before hitting the road to Rotterdam, I always thought that this city had something special, even though I had no idea what to expect once I got there. The city with the largest port in Europe seemed to be somewhere in a galaxy far far away… Until I moved to live in Utrecht and got one step closer to Rotterdam (to be more precise, that one step takes about fifty minutes from Utrecht to Rotterdam).
During that time, I was exploring the other largest cities of Netherlands: Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht… Rotterdam was my last stop. I would think “Ok, I will visit Rotterdam and THEN I will be able to compare all the cities and sum up all my impressions”. The most ironic thing is that at this particular moment I can’t even compare Rotterdam with all the other cities. Why? Because when I took my first steps in Rotterdam, my first and constantly repetitive thought was “What is going on over there???” Contemporary. Futuristic. Kind of awkward, but at the same time insanely beautiful. We can say that Rotterdam’s eccentricity goes perfectly well with its nightlife, which happens to be really dynamic.
Rotterdam has its own idiosyncratic spirit as well as lifestyle, so our Rotterdam Spotters are super-ready to share the special places where locals enjoy spending their time. So, are you ready to take a 48 hour journey as a local around Rotterdam? Then let’s get to it!
Day 1: 09:00 – 13:00
Who could start the morning without a cup of coffee/tea and a solid breakfast? I wouldn’t dare! There is a perfect spot called Hopper Rotterdam. A perfectly cozy interior, honest home-made food and prize-winning coffee (!!!), make this place one of the locals’ favorites. You can choose from home-made sandwiches to melt-in-the-mouth cakes – it depends on if you have a sweet tooth or if you are fan of a stodgy breakfast-meal. Hopper Rotterdam has a solid menu to fulfil all your needs.
So, did you have a pleasant breakfast? Then let’s move on! If you are not a walking type of person and want to get from A to B a bit faster, you can always rent a bike (Netherlands and bicycles? Old news…). You can always rent one at NS International Station (that’s probably the easiest way, it will help you save some time not having to search for bike rentals all over the city). But if you have enough time, we honestly suggest you have a nice walk around the city and enjoy its omnipresent uniqueness!
Hence, if you are visiting Rotterdam, you definitely need to know about its history or at least a significant part of it. Our Spotter Anne-Marie strongly suggests The Fire Boundary Walk. On May 14th in 1940, the centre of Rotterdam was destroyed by a German bombardment. The ‘Fire boundary’ is the periphery of that bombardment. Just follow the red lights in the pavement that will show you the way. It’s a great opportunity not only to converge with the city’s history, but also to explore the city a little bit more!
Day 1: 13:00 – 19:00
After the long walk you’re probably a bit hungry. A proper lunch – that’s the word you want to hear! Our local Rénia suggests The Bagel Bakery. It has a wide range of Jewish/Mediterranean food as well as a considerable selection of bagels with different toppings. There are also some great options for vegetarians and vegans. And don’t forget to pick some great wine to complete your meal! If you feel the need to sweeten your day, our spotter Rénia highly recommends her most beloved fig cake with whipped cream. And grab a cup of coffee with it…Or some more wine!
After a fulfilling lunch your body may demand some movement. And what could be better than shopping? If you want to feel the spirit of Rotterdam, local stores can be a perfect choice as well! Margreet Olsthoorn‘s shop is close to Bagel Bakery, so it’s the perfect opportunity to take sneak peek at a local designer’s unique garments and maybe even purchase one. The store does not sell only Margreet Olsthoorn’s designed clothes, but also other designers’ clothes at reasonable prices. Clothes, shoes, accessories… Pick whatever you want and bring some local style to your wardrobe!
I guess you’ll need some time to relax after all that hectic shopping, right? Then Grotekerkplein is the perfect place to be. Our local
Day 1: 19:00 – 23:00
Let’s search for some nice dinner spots…Found one! It’s a place called Burgertrut. Here you can taste some delicious burgers, just pick your favorite: with beef, veggies or vegan, it’s totally up to you! You can also choose from a wide range of salads, soups, cakes and, of course, drinks (from tea to beer). Spotter
If after Burgertrut you will feel the need to grab a couple of more beers (we are pretty sure you will) then go straight to The World of Drinks (how ironic…)! Here you will be able to choose from over 520 different brands of beer. So it is definitely the perfect place to taste a variety of beers, mostly from local breweries.
Day 1: 23:00 – …
If you have some more energy left after those 520 bottles of beer in The World of Drinks then let’s try something a bit different…and V11 is a must! Our local Natasha mentioned that the “gastro pub V11 is like dipping a toe into another world.” The pub is located on a red ship and with its homely interior it will make you feel like you’re visiting your old fellas! Spotter Natasha says that V11 has been organizing some cozy concerts for a few months now, so maybe you will be the lucky one with the opportunity to be a part of it!
Day 2: 09:00 – 13:00
A new day brings some new locals’ hotspots! And you should definitely start with a late breakfast at Kopi Soesoe. You will need to cross the Erasmus Bridge (it will be an effective morning exercise!). Our local : “Even people from the Northern part of the city cross the Erasmus Bridge to go to Kopi Soesoe.” A good cup of coffee and a home-made sandwich or cake – it’s a great way to start the day. By the way, Kopi Soesoe serves Indonesian food on Sundays, so keep that in mind!
After breakfast, we suggest you to have some fun at the Dutch Pinball museum (it’s super close to Kopi Soesoe!). What is so special about it? This museum is filled with about 60 machines from the 1900s until nowadays. Our Spotter is a huge fan of this place, so he especially recommends the ‘Lord of the Rings’ machine! You can also choose multi-player games if you come with your buddies.
Day 2: 13:00 – 19:00
Now you should get from Katendrecht to Wilhelminapier, and in order to do that you will need to cross this special Love Lock Bridge. All those locks are left by people who are in love, so if you are travelling with someone special, don’t forget to leave your own lock! Are you feeling hungry? You should have a quick lunch at New York hotel’s restaurant, it serves everything from soup and salads to seafood!
When you cross the bridge, don’t forget to visit the Nederlands Foto Museum (Dutch Photo museum). The museum preserves historical and contemporary photographs and its collection is growing rapidly thanks to donations and purchases. The Nederlands Foto Museum will help you expand your knowledge, not only about the city of Rotterdam, but also about the Netherland’s culture as a whole. So don’t miss it!
Day 2: 19:00 – 23:00
Before hitting the road to the next spot, you should have a proper dinner at La Pizza. Our Spotter Koert writes, “Apart from nice crunchy thin-crust pizzas they have some really good antipasti like melanzane alla parmigiana and the classic vitello tonnato.” You can also supplement your dinner with a nice piece of cake or the glass of wine. After dinner, it’s the perfect time to visit nHow’s bar and terrace. The terrace is one of the most spectacular places (especially when you come here late in the evening!), because here opens an amazing view of the northern side of Rotterdam: the Maas river, the city’s skyscrapers as well as the Erasmus bridge. Furthermore, our local Rénia notes that at late night, from 11:00 to 02:00 DJs start to spin their records, so you can stay here as long as you are having fun!
Day 2: 23:00 – …
If you decided not to stay any longer at nHow’s bar, no worries, Rotterdam still has a lot to offer! You will only need to head on a little further, to Maashaven Zuidzijde, where you will find a perfect place to dance your shoes off. It’s called Maassilo/Factory010. Before this club was founded, the building was used as a grain storage. Maassilo has been active since the 90s and still has its popularity amongst locals. So if you are ready to dance dance dance, then go straight to Maassilo!