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Building and bridges
Many visitors to the Netherlands head straight to Amsterdam, which was left largely intact after the war, and fail to ever visit the phoenix from the flames just a short train ride away. Along with its cultural attractions, Rotterdam has plenty of impressive architecture, including the 800m-long Erasmus Bridge. The Euromast tower is the highest one in the Netherlands, and De Rotterdam is a ‘vertical city’ of three linked towers of flats, offices, and more.
Getting around Rotterdam
Cycling is as popular here as in Amsterdam - locals love to travel on two wheels. As a visitor you can rent a bicycle and join them in the bike lane! If that sounds too stressful, metro trains leave every four minutes during the day, and every 15-30 minutes at night. Getting around by tram is also quick and easy and can take you places the Metro doesn’t go. Being a harbour city, Rotterdam’s water taxi service can often be the quickest way to reach the attractions and sights.
Rotterdam’s been a center of house and trance music since the 80's, so this is the easiest place in the Netherlands to find a place to dance the night away. People come from all over the world for its world-class club scene. Many of the big clubs are within walking distance of each other around the Stadhuisplein. If that’s not your style, there are plenty of bars and restaurants to fill your nights with fun stuff. For a more laid back vibe, try the pubs on Witte de Withstraat.
The majestic Markthal was opened in 2014 by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, which is almost as impressive as the building itself (don’t forget to look up at all those apartment windows). Foodies will find themselves in heaven at this market in central Rotterdam. You’ll find everything from exotic tropical fruits and vegetables, to sandwiches, candies, nuts, spices, sausages, salads, seafood, meats and sweets. Hit up the free samples and you may find yourself getting full without even spending a cent.
It’s like the real thing, only much smaller. Miniworld Rotterdam is a family-friendly trip back in time, to the way things were before the war. Looking down at intricate models of the city will really put things into perspective (and make you feel like a giant). You’ll see real miniatures of Rotterdam’s attractions, like the Erasmus bridge, the train station and Europe's largest miniature docks. A day here lasts 24 minutes, and then the sun goes down on the 27,000 tiny people going about their tiny business.
Rotterdam Harbor Tour
Taking to the water is a good way to see the best of what Rotterdam has to offer. On a boat you can get a real feel for the seafaring traffic that makes this one of the busiest (and biggest) harbors in the world. Rotterdam's impressive skyline makes for some excellent photo opportunities as you glide past modern buildings and architectural triumphs - including the gleaming Erasmus Bridge. You’ll also see the steamship 'Rotterdam', the former cruise flagship of shipping company Holland America Line.
If all the concrete starts to make you feel claustrophobic, take a 20-minute walk from the city center to Rotterdam Zoo. Also known as Dierenpark Blijdorp, this is an urban oasis where you can be surrounded by nature. Lots of animals call this place home, and it’s so big that it rarely feels crowded. Kids will love seeing elephants, gorillas, polar bears and more. The animals are divided by the continents they come from. Don’t miss the butterfly garden or the aquarium, or the birds of prey demonstrations.