Top 10 Things to see and do in Rotterdam (on a budget)

Top 10 Things to see and do in Rotterdam (on a budget)


Welcome to Rotterdam; the famous port city that has become a hub for modern architectural and a thriving art scene in the Netherlands. There’s plenty of exciting things to see here from live music to windmills - all you need to do is grab a map! Check out our top 10 things to do in Rotterdam on a budget.

1. Rent a Bike

Go Dutch and rent a bike! It’s the best way to get around town, cheap, and a great way to see all of Rotterdam. Head away from the center and along the port to check out the International Style former Van Nelle Factory, now a World Heritage Site and Rotterdam’s impressive modern skyline.

Cycle along the Katendrecht neighborhood on the south bank of the Nieuwe Maas and explore the waterfront. See the famous boat SS Rotterdam - a former Atlantic Cruiser docked in the city and the parks that follow the waterways. If you’re a food enthusiast then don’t miss out on the Fenix Food Factory - a former warehouse with fresh products including cheese (of course) and cider.

2. Rotterdam’s Food Markets

Try local foods at the markets instead of restaurants. The famous new Markthal is not only home to amazing Dutch and international cuisine (try the kibbeling!) but the building also shows groundbreaking design - right opposite the dizzying Cube Houses (Kijk-kubus). Fenix Food Factory is also a great place to buy local produce … or what about a fresh Rotterdam brewed beer from Kaapse Brouwers? Twice a month on Sunday you find fun Farmersmarkets in the West and Nord of the city, called Oogstmarkt. For the fashionistas try the vintage Swan Market which also has art and jewelry, food and live bands, always in unique locations.

3. Take a boat trip

A cheap way to see the city from another point of view is to take a boat trip and explore the waterways. You can take the Waterbus/ Aqualiner and watertaxis to the Hotel New York for under 5 euros – bargain!

4. View the architecture

It’s free to walk around the city and admire the awesome architecture! There’s the famous Erasmus Bridge, The Rotterdam (from famous architect Rem Koolhaas) at Manhattan at the Maas (full with the tallest buildings of the Netherlands), the Markthal, Central Station the Cube Houses and Euromast to kick off with. If you’re an architecture fan then don’t miss The International Architecture Biennale. Running from 23rd April to 10th July it looks at how 75% of mankind can live in cities - ‘The Next Economy’. Rotterdam celebrates the Day of Architecture 18th June – all participating buildings are free to enter.

5. Visit the Museums

There are plenty of museums in Rotterdam to visit – try the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen for an impressive collection spanning centuries of art, or the Kunsthal for modern and contemporary exhibitions. Las Palmas has a unique collection of photos and the World Museum showcases art and artefacts from around the world. For a look at Rotterdam’s maritime history check out the Maritime Museum. All museums are free on Museum Night.

6. Take a Tour

Take a tour around town with a guide – check out Urban Guides for a good range of bike tours, walking tours and individual tours. They have lots of valuable information about the city from architecture to the latest cool bars.

7. Grab a Coffee

Relax and have grab a coffee around town – there are plenty of great coffee houses & Rotterdam only coffee brands. Like Man met Bril (or Man with Glasses), Ketelbinkie Coffee or Giraffe Coffee for the serious fresh roast coffee fans. For a nice place to sit and creative environment try Urban Espresso, Valente, Hopper or De Bakkerswinkel!

8. Live music

Rotterdam has a great live music scene, with bands playing at the famous Bird Jazz Club (which also has soul, fun, hip hop) and Dizzy Cafe. For more of a club and electro scene hit Annabel or Herr Zimmerman. For a mix of food and music, check out Bar or Maassilo. The Theater Walhalla has live performances including fringe theatre.

9. Chill out in the Park

Rotterdam has plenty of peaceful parks to chill out in when you’re done with seeing sites. Explore the tranquil green Vroesenpark, Zuiderpark, Het Park and the forest at Kralingse Bos and Bergse Bos. Fun festivals in the Park are ZomerZondagen and Dag Van de Romanische muziek.

10. See the Windmills

With a bike you can also venture out of town and see some traditional Dutch windmills! Try a ride along the scenic waterways of Rottemeren, visit Vermeer’s famous city Delft, and UNESCO village of Kinderkijk where there are 19 iconic windmills on the waterways. If you don’t want to cycle you can also take the waterbus there in only 30 minutes.

…And don’t miss King’s Day

And of course don’t forget you must visit Holland for King’s Day – 27th April, when you will see us Dutch enjoying the biggest celebration of the year – we invite you to join in too! Just make sure you wear something orange.

We hope you enjoy our tips of things to do while in Rotterdam – see you here soon!