Known for its world class seaport and modern architecture, here’s my recommendations for a one day in Rotterdam itinerary.
How To Get Around Rotterdam
Getting around this dynamic city in the south of the Netherlands couldn’t be easier. There are a few options:
A lot of the main attractions in Rotterdam are situated quite close together, so it’s possible to get round to them all on foot.
In true Dutch fashion, Rotterdam is a very bicycle friendly city and well set-up for cyclists.
You will find plenty of rental places and parking available throughout the city. The average price to rent a bike is €14 per day.
You can also pick up an OV-bikes (bike sharing) from bus and metro stops and some other public areas throughout the city. They cost approximately €3.85 per 24 hours.
Renting a bicycle also gives you the opportunity to go a little further than you might do on foot and a little faster.
The metro system is a quick and easy way to travel around Rotterdam. There are five lines, each marked with their own letter (A-E), their own colour and with their final destinations.
The following tram lines 8, 7, 21, 23, 21, 23, 24 and 25 all travel through the centre of Rotterdam.
The RET provides bus routes which connect the centre with several city districts, neighbourhoods and the greater metropolitan area.
(RET is the main public transport operator in Rotterdam operating buses, the metro and trams. You can buy a disposable card for short term use any of these means of transport.)
A great way and unique way to get around this city, the water taxis stop all over the city at 50 different stops! It’s possible to travel from €4.50 per person within the centre of Rotterdam.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
Best Time To Visit Rotterdam
Rotterdam is a year round destination with plenty to see and do. However, if you want to comfortably explore the city and all it has to offer, warm dry weather is going to make it more enjoyable.
The warmest months are from June to September. With July and August being the hottest and also the busiest.
Remember, this is just a guide, so you may want to mix it up and add/subtract different attractions.
What To Pack
1 Day In Rotterdam Itinerary
A must see, and definitely one for your one day in Rotterdam itinerary, is the spectacular Erasmus Bridge.
Considered an architectural work of art, Erasmus bridge spans the river Nieuwe Mass and forms an important connection between north and south Rotterdam.
Completed in 1996 and located in the centre of Rotterdam, this unique, harp-shaped structure towers over the largest harbour in Europe.
The 802 metre long bridge is wide enough for road traffic, trams, cycles and pedestrians to cross it, so you have a choice of crossings.
However, a lot of people say the bridge is best viewed from the river to fully appreciate the design.
A recommended way to do this is the Rotterdam: Harbour Boat Tour. Costing approximately £14 per adult the trip last for about 75 minutes with the added bonus of an audio commentary.
Located in the historic Laurenskwartier in the heart of Rotterdam, the Markthal is an impressive piece of modern architecture.
Opened in 2014, this stunning building consists of 228 apartments arranged into a large arch with a covered square beneath it.
In the covered square you will find a massive market hall, designed to resemble a traditional Dutch market hall but with a very modern touch.
Filled with an array of approximately 96 food stalls and shops offering a varied selection of produce, it’s a great place for a spot of retail therapy along with some delicious food!
With its own underground carpark and located close to metro and tram links, it’s a very accessible place to get to and definitely worth a visit.
This amazing hybrid structure, where people can live, park, shop, eat and enjoy a drink is an awesome complex and has to be on the one day in Rotterdam itinerary.
If you have a passion for architecture, the Rotterdam Architecture Walking Tour is a 2 hour tour with a local architect that takes you to the Markthal, along with other local architectural gems.
Another of Rotterdam’s iconic and eye-catching attractions are the unique Cube Houses. Located next to the Rotterdam Black railway station in central Rotterdam they are easy to find.
Constructed in the 1970s by architect Piet Blom, these striking homes are cubes, tilted 45-degrees on their side to make the most of all available space.
The houses have 3 floors with the entrance on the ground floor, kitchen and living room on the first floor and bathroom and two bedrooms on the second floor.
One of the homes has been turned into a Show Cube Museum, so it’s possible to have a look around one of the fully furnished homes. Giving you a great incite into the challenges of living in a home with no straight walls!
Admission to the Cube Museum is approximately €3 per adult and you can get some really interesting photos in this unique setting.
However, even if you just view them from the outside, theses cube houses have to be on the one day in Rotterdam itinerary.
Alternatively you could book a 2 hour Private Rotterdam Tour with Cube House Admission that also takes you to the Markthal and other places of architectural interest.
You can’t fail to spot the Euromast observation tower when you arrive in Rotterdam. Located in the Scheepvaartkwartier area of the city, it’s one of the highest towers in Holland.
At a height of 183m, this impressive tower gives the most spectacular 360 degree views across Rotterdam. So put this on your one day in Rotterdam itinerary as it really is worth it for the views alone.
Tickets are roughly €10.50 for 12 – 64 years and €7 for 4-11 years. If you like to get booked up in advance, you can book your ticket at Euromast Lookout Tower Ticket.
The viewing point is separated into two areas. The main viewing platform and then an elevated platform which travels further up the spire.
If you want to go all the way to the top you can take the Euroscoop. This rotating lift takes you up the spire at the very top, but it’s not for the faint hearted!
In addition, there is a restaurant at about 100m. Here you can enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner whilst taking in the pretty amazing views.
Where To Stay In Rotterdam
Located on the Wilhelmina Pier in the building ‘De Rotterdam’ with views of the river Maas and the city skyline, nhow Rotterdam offers rooms with free Wi-Fi. This modern design hotel by Rem Koolhaas/OMA also features a terrace on the seventh floor and a fitness centre.
Each air-conditioned room has a bright decor and includes a private bathroom with either a bath or shower and a toilet. Tea/coffee making facilities and a TV are also available.
Breakfast is available every morning in the breakfast area. There is an a la carte restaurant available. Guests can relax and order a drink at the bar, which offers a wide range of fine wines, beers and cocktails. Guests can also go dancing in the evening at the rooftop bar offered on site.
Conveniently located in the centre of Rotterdam, Motel One Rotterdam offers free WiFi throughout the property and a bar. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. The property is allergy-free and is 2.7 miles from Erasmus University.
All guest rooms in the hotel come with a flat-screen TV. The private bathroom has a shower, free toiletries and a hairdryer. At Motel One Rotterdam all rooms have bed linen and towels.
Breakfast is available every morning, and includes buffet, continental and vegetarian options.
The hotel located in the Overschie district of Rotterdam, 200 yards from Rotterdam The Hague Airport, which comes with a shared lounge, the 2-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. Private parking is available on site.
Guest rooms in the hotel come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. At ibis budget Rotterdam The Hague Airport each room also comes with bed linen and towels.
Guests at the accommodation can have a continental breakfast.
A business centre and vending machines with drinks and snacks are available on site at ibis budget Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Staff speak German, English, Spanish and Hungarian at the reception.
For more places to stay in Rotterdam, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.