Rotterdam in One Day - The Best Itinerary for 24 Hours in Rotterdam, Netherlands

the view across Rotterdam city centre from Euromast

How to Spend the Perfect Day in Rotterdam

It's no secret that Rotterdam is one of my favourite cities in Europe. As a port day on a cruise ship, you're presented with a wealth of opportunities to explore either Rotterdam or further afield. One of the most popular choices for a port day usually involves a day trip to Amsterdam, but I've known someone be left behind on more than one occasion because of traffic or trains, so I prefer to spend the day exploring Rotterdam instead. Rotterdam is a city packed full of arts and culture - it's got a huge foodie scene, a wealth of different museums and galleries, and more independent shops than you could possibly hope to visit in a single day. If you're not sure where to start, try this itinerary for a day spent in Rotterdam - perfect for a port day on a cruise ship or a mini break where you've flown into the city. 

colourful sculpture on the bank of the river in Rotterdam at sunrise

9am Start your day with a walk around the city - Rotterdam is an artsy city and beautiful in the morning light. As you walk through the streets you'll find stunning architecture, sculptures and artwork everywhere. The buildings in Rotterdam are the perfect mix of old and new - taking some time to appreciate all of the subtle details before the city gets busy feels so special.

The mural in Markthal, Rotterdam

10am  Head to Markthal in time for it opening at 10am so you can enjoy the freshest food and the incredible surroundings without the crowds. Markthal is a vibrant hub of independent businesses selling street food from across the globe. There are lots of full restaurants in their own units along the sides of the buildings, but there are also loads of street food stalls with their own seating areas. If you're looking for where to eat in Rotterdam, you need to add Markthal to your list!

The Cube Houses in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

12pm Just opposite Markthal are the famous yellow cube houses. The architecture in this part of the city is really unique and well worth a visit when you're in Rotterdam - the cube houses are possibly the most iconic buildings in the city. For €3 you can go inside one of the cube houses to see how it's laid out and enjoy the views across the city - even if you decide not to go inside the museum the development has incredible views that blend new and old architecture.

The Low Light of the Hook of Holland Lighthouse at the Marine Museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands

2pm While you’re in the maritime district, make sure you take some time to visit the maritime museum. It’s full of interactive exhibits and demonstrations, and they even moved a lighthouse from the coast to the city centre. If you visit Rotterdam during the summer they also allow you to explore their boats in the historic harbour - it's a really interesting look back at maritime history in the Netherlands.

4pm Head to SS Rotterdam for an all access tour of one of the oldest remaining cruise liners and learn more about the history of shipping, cruise liners and shipbuilding in Rotterdam. If you’re hungry, stop for a snack in the Lido grill or treat yourself to afternoon tea on board. 

6pm If you’re feeling brave, head to Euromast for stunning views across the city at sunset - there’s a viewing platform half way up, then a rotating platform that takes you to the top of the needle. It's not for the faint hearted, but if you can get over your fear of heights then it's well worth a visit during your trip to Rotterdam. Stop in Het Park on your way to walk around the beautiful lakes.

8pm There are so many options for dinner and drinks in Rotterdam, but my personal favourite is Hotel New York. Originally the headquarters of Holland America Line, it was turned into a hotel with the most incredible Art Deco interiors. It’s like stepping back in time, and it's the most unique place to spend a few hours getting dinner or drinks. There's a package where you can stay in Hotel New York for one night and on board SS Rotterdam for one night - it's my absolute dream to come back and do this one day!

How to Get Around Rotterdam

Rotterdam (and the Netherlands in general) is really easy to navigate. The entire city is walkable but there's also an extensive and very affordable metro system which makes it easy to explore all of the different districts in a day. The most fun way, however, is the Rotterdam Water Taxi. Journeys are around €4 each, depending on how far you want to go. You can pay by card, they're always available and they're the quickest way to get to different parts of Rotterdam city centre. Once you get into the wider harbour the water taxis speed up, leaving you with a huge grin and making the journey part of a great day out.

Rotterdam is one of my favourite places to visit in Europe - there's so much to do and see. Being less than an hour from Amsterdam, it's ideal for a day trip if you're staying in Amsterdam or as part of a trip across the country.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💛 
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