The best photo spots in Rotterdam? How to find the most instagrammable places? As locals, we know exactly where to go. Rotterdam is sometimes wrongly described as raw and ugly. But the unique combination between old and new makes it a hidden gem in the Netherlands. This city on the river Maas has beautiful, historic buildings side by side with unique, modern architecture. Add to that a number of green oases and you get why Rotterdam is home to many instagrammable places. We created this list of the most beautiful and instagrammable places in Rotterdam. These are the 13 spots you must see.
Instagrammable places in Rotterdam: the 13 best photo spots in our home town
#1 The Erasmus Bridge
The Erasmus Bridge has been the icon of Rotterdam for many years. The special and sleek design of the white bridge continues to appeal to the imagination. Since 1996, the bridge connects the north and south of Rotterdam and is the favorite photo spot of photographers. The unique kink in the bridge has earned it the nickname ‘the swan’. You can see the bridges shape the best from one of the banks of the Maas river. Another great photo spot is in the middle of the bridge, but beware that you can’t just go there. The footpaths and bicycle paths run on the outer edges and the tram track is located in the middle between the two parts of the motorway. Photographers therefore come to the bridge around sunrise for this unique photo angle, when the trams aren’t yet running and traffic is minimal.
#2 The Market Hall
The most famous highlight of Rotterdam has been the Markthal for several years now. This stunning arch of apartments is one of the new icons of the city. The market hall has dozens of food stands and restaurants with all kinds of international (street) foods, both to eat on the spot and to bring home as a souvenir. But what makes the Markthal an instagrammable spot? The unique ceiling, which is often called the modern version of the Sistine Chapel. So don’t just focus on all the stalls and the food, but look up for the impressive artwork on the ceiling.
#3 The skyscrappers on the Wilheminapier
The combination of old and new architecture that is typical for Rotterdam? Head to the Wilhelminapier at the southern bank of the city! The warehouses and Hotel New York are historic icons of the old port city and give you a glimpse of Rotterdam back in the old days. The combination with the new and modern skyscrapers – the tallest in the Netherlands – is stunning. The Rotterdam skyscraper has become a new city icon, as it won dozens of international architecture prizes. Make sure to wander around the pier between the old and new buildings, shooting as many photos as you can. And if photography is a big interest of yours, you might also want to visit the Nederlands Fotomuseum on the Wilhelminapier.
#4 The Cube Houses
The bright yellow Cube Houses are a unique and picturesque place in Rotterdam. The design by Piet Boon are a kind of modern forest – hence the nickname Blaakse Bos which translates into ‘forest of Blaak’ – with stairs in the trunks leading up to the cubes as the leaf area. You can wander around the cubes and admire the buildings from the outside. But did you know that one of the houses in Blaakse Bos by Piet Blom open for visitors? And that a hotel is located in one of the largest cubes? It is a unique experience to walk around in such a cube and see for yourself what it is like inside with those sloping walls.
#5 Historic Delfshaven and Oude Haven
The most beautiful historical places in Rotterdam are the old ports, nowadays located in the heart of the city. The Oude Haven (‘Old Harbor’) is easy to find in the city center near the Cube Houses and the Market Hall. A little more to the west is historic Delfshaven located, where you will rarely see any tourists. The Oude Haven is a beautiful place with great terraces and the beautiful White House building. This white structure was once the first skyscraper in Europe and thus a precursor to that unique Rotterdam skyline that we know today. Delfshaven also has such a special building: a historic mill in the middle of the city. The most instagrammable part of Delfshaven are the canals Achterhaven and Aelbrechtskolk, where you will find many restaurants, historic buildings and picturesque bridges.
#6 The yellow Luchtsingel
A very instagrammable work of art near the central station is the yellow Luchtbrug (‘Air Bridge’) and the yellow alley between the Schieblok and central station. This 380-meter long pedestrian bridge is a Rotterdam initiative to breathe new life into a raw and somewhat abandoned part of Rotterdam. The planks of the bridge have various names carved in the wood. Those are the names of sponsors who ‘bought’ a plank or even an entire bridge section to support this initiative. At the end of the yellow walkway near the Hofbogen is a great street art spot. It was once painted with the Pink Wall artwork, but it has been replaced by a less pink, but equally colorful mural by Opperclaes XL.
#7 The street art in the Witte de With
You can find murals and graffiti paintings all over the city, but most of them are in the city center. The spot with the highest concentration of murals in Rotterdam is the Witte de Withstraat. It is a popular street for drinks, nightlife, restaurants and bars . The Wite Aap is famous for being recommended by the Lonely Planet as one of the best bars in the world. Popular and unique places to sleep in this lively street are King Kong Hostel and the Capsule Hotel City Hub. If all of this hasn’t drawn you to this street during your Rotterdam trip, the beautiful street art should. Not to be missed at the end of the street, on the corner with the Schiedamse Vest and opposite the popular bar Reijngoud, is a work of art by Daan Botlek with white men climbing up a green wall. Our favorite is an art nouveau painting called Love Spreads by Ramon Martins. This colorful work can be found in the Kromme Elleboog, a side street on the Witte de With.
#8 Central Station
It took years to replace the old Rotterdam station with a spectacular modern building. The result was quite controversial and not everyone liked the futuristic design. But most residents are now used to the new station and it is one of the most instagrammable places in Rotterdam. The sloping steel roof at the front is very instagrammable and the best photo spot is the square right in front of the station. But the most beautiful spot can be found inside of the station on a sunny day, when the special roof casts a beautiful shadow pattern over the platforms. The bright yellow trains contrast beautifully with it. You’ll have the best view of this spectacle from the footbridge at the end of the platform.
#9 The skyline with the river Maas
The Rotterdam skyline with all its skyscrapers and award-winning buildings is definitely one of the most beautiful things to see during your visit. The best photo spot is the Boompjes area, a stretch on the northern bank of the Maas which is popular with locals for a run or looking over the water from a bench. This spot gives a perfect view of Erasmus Bridge, the stunning Rotterdam skyscraper and other buildings on the southern bank. During sunrise, the Rotterdam skyscraper usually reflects the orange and red sky, creating a spectacular view. Another great place for a beautiful view of the skyline? The Euromast! This tower gives a stunning view over Rotterdam and you can even see neighboring cities in the distance.
#10 The Boijmans courtyard and depot
Boijmans Van Beuningen is the biggest museum in Rotterdam, located in the museum park. It has beautiful art on display, but its courtyard is also one of the most picturesque places in our hometown. The unique stripe pattern on the floor contrasts beautifully with the metal artwork in the middle. As if the courtyard isn’t beautiful enough, the Boijmans museum has built a unique addition to the museum building: the brand-new depot! As in many museums, a large part of the museum collection is stored in the archive, as the museum hasn’t enough space to display everything in its permanent collection. The Boijmans solution? A new depot building where visitors can admire all those artworks as well. The building is one of the most beautiful in Rotterdam with a glass construction in the shape of a flower pot, in which you can see the skyline of Rotterdam reflected.
#11 The historic City Hall
As one of the few historic monuments in the heart of Rotterdam, the City Hall survived the bombing during the Second World War. The historic building is therefore a unique place between all the skyscrapers and modern architecture. You can enjoy the beautiful facade and the old courtyard, but how about a private tour of the monumental halls? The tour of the City Hall is free, but you should make an appointment in advance via the website.
#12 The gardens of Trompenburg
When you think of a modern city like Rotterdam, you may not think of gardens, parks and greenery, but Rotterdam has both. The Trompenburg tree and plant garden is one of the hidden gems of Rotterdam, which even many locals don’t know about. This green oasis in the Kralingen district was once the private garden of one of the monumental villas of a wealthy Rotterdam family. The family created a foundation to look after the gardens and open their special gardens to the rest of Rotterdam. Trompenburg has many rare trees, the seeds of which were once collected by the family from all corners of the world. Wander around this beautiful and instagrammable oasis and enjoy this moment of peacefulness before you head back to the bustling city.
#13 The Kralingse Plas
The green lung of Rotterdam is the Kralingse Plas (‘Kralingen Lake’) with the Kralingse Bos (‘Kralingen Forest’). As the name already indicates, this green oasis is located in the Kralingen district, which itself is also a beautiful place with many historic buildings. You can walk along the lake and enjoy the view of the lake with the Rotterdam skyline in the back, or you can enjoy the green forest to escape the busy city for a while. There is a petting zoo and deer park and one of the highlights is an old spice mill which is still operational. And the best photo spots? The instagrammable historic mills, picturesque bridges and the wooden footbridges on the north side with a phenomenal view of the lake with the skyline of Rotterdam.