As residents of Rotterdam, we know the city inside out. In an earlier blog post we gave you tips for 7 beautiful off the beaten track spots in our hometown. But what if you are done sightseeing? And you want to do something fun? These are 10 unique activities in Rotterdam just beyond the beaten track!
#1 Abseiling the Euromast
Website| The Euromast is probably a big thing on the wish list of many visitors to our river city. The view from the tower is stunning! Did you know that you can even see The Hague and Delft from up there? But if you are looking for something more active, then you will certainly like that you can abseil from the Euromast! Climbing over the balustrade at a height of 100 meters, would you dare?
#2 Play an old skool pinball machine from the Pinball Museum
Website | This is a museum where you are allowed touch everything. It is even what you’re supposed to! This museum arcade has two floors with the most beautiful, authentic pinball machines. The real fans can already do some research on the site to get to know all the machines from every era. You can buy tickets for 1,5 hours, 3 hours or an entire day.
#3 Go to the farmers market in Rotterdam-Noord
Website| The Oogstmarkt (translated: harvest market) is located on the Noordplein in Rotterdam-Noord almost every Saturday. All products for sale are local and come from farms less than 50 kilometers outside the city. Local products are of course perfect sustainable options, but it also gives you a good idea of what is happening just outside the city.
#4 Take a tour of the city hall
Website| The city hall is one of the few historic monuments in the heart of Rotterdam that survived the bombing during the Second World War. The historic building therefore stands out between all the skyscrapers and modern architecture. You can view the beautiful façade and the old courtyard without a guide, but how about a private tour?
#5 A tasting at a local brewer
Brouwerij Noordt | Stadsbrouwerij Pelgrim | Kaapse Brouwers | Did you see how many times Rotterdam was mentioned in Sebastians road trip along with the 30 best beer brewers in the Netherlands? Because our city is bursting with top-quality local brewers! As far as we are concerned, you cannot leave Rotterdam without being introduced to the Rotterdam beer. At most breweries you can just go for a beer, but often they also have their own tasting room. Some give guided tours as well!
#6 Have a barbecue in the Vroesenpark
Municipal site| Did you know that you can barbecue in most public places in Rotterdam? Our favourite place is the Vroesenpark in the Blijdorp district, near the metro stop of the same name. On warm summer days, the whole neighbourhood comes here to enjoy the weather and in the evening everyone is barbecuing. There are even (metal) waste bins for your waste and hot barbecues.
Tip: around the corner is an Albert Heijn supermarket where you can buy cold drinks, a disposable barbecue and your food. Please note that this is a small supermarket. So there is a chance that the barbecue items will be sold out on a summer day.
#7 Visit a local mill
Rotterdam is associated with modern architecture. But if you know where to look, you will also be able to find the old city. There are even a number of old, active mills along the edge of the center! De Ster en De Lelie are located at the Kralingse Plas and still ground spices, north of Blijdorp is De Speelman flour mill and in Delfshaven you can go to De Distilleerketel mill shop.
Tip: do you want to visit the famous windmills of Kinderdijk? Rent a bike and you’ll be there in less than an hour. A big bonus is taking the bicycle ferry. Highly recommended!
#8 Have some pizza or edible flowers in a former train station
Website| Rotterdam and The Hague were once connected by the Hofplein railway. Near Hofplein was a train station with the same name. This was the place to catch your train to The Hague, also called the Hofstad (‘Court City’). Nowadays the train leaves from Central Station like all other trains, but the old station is still there! In the old stations and railway arches – Station Hofplein, the Hofbogen and Station Bergweg – you can now find the coolest places in town. In the old Hofplein Station, you can enjoy edible flowers at Restaurant De Jong or you eat at the Michelin star FG Restaurant. For music you should go to the Bird pop venue. A little further on you go – slightly more low budget – for pizza at Happy Italy. The decoration of this pizza chain restaurant even has some old train signs! Next to this pizza place is the popular breakfast/lunch/coffee/bike shop Coppi.
#9 Visit a football match
Did you know that Rotterdam is the only Dutch city with three clubs in the premier league? Feyenoord, Sparta and Excelsior! At the time of writing then, as this can change each year. So it makes a perfect evening or afternoon activity in Rotterdam to visit to a match. With three clubs in town there’s a good chance there will be one during your visit to Rotterdam.
#10 Spot wild Scottish Highland cattle on an island in the Maas river
Website| In the middle of Rotterdam is a unique green spot on the Brienenoordeiland! Forest, grassy plains, vistas over the water and Scottish Highland cattle is all there on an island under the well-known Brienenoord highway bridge. It is unique to see the bridge constructions underneath from the island. But you also have a beautiful view of the city skyline from the Brienenoordeiland! And did I mention the chance to spot hairy, wild cows?