The best tips for the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam

Douze points, twelve points! The Netherlands is the host country for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020. For a long time, it was a mystery where exactly the international music event would be organised. But last September we finally got the final word: the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest is held in Rotterdam. So it’s about time to give you the best and most practical tips for your visit to our hometown during the Eurovision week!

Eurovision Song Contest | Songfestival in Rotterdam | Reizen met de trein | The Orange Backpack
Eurovision Song Contest | Songfestival in Rotterdam | The Orange Backpack

When?

The Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam is in May 2020. The semifinals take place on the 12th and 14th of May. The grand finale is on Saturday 16 May. May is a wonderful month to be in the Netherlands. The temperatures are already up and the worst rainy days are over. We usually celebrate my birthday at the end of May outdoors with a large barbecue.

Where?

In our hometown Rotterdam! To be precise: in Ahoy, in the south of Rotterdam. This location is not in the cool city centre and not that close to the train station either. But fortunately Ahoy is well connected to the city centre and train station by metro. In just ten minutes, you can get from the Zuidplein metro station at Ahoy to the city center or the train station.

Where can you still get hotel room?

Unfortunately, there aren’t any hotel rooms available during the Eurovision week. The Eurovision Song Contest itself had already booked a large part of the capacity of the hotels in Rotterdam. The other hotel rooms were also quickly filled after the announcement in September. But don’t worry: even during the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam you can find a place to sleep. We give tips:

  • Find a place on Airbnb. Especially during the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, many homeowners have opened up their homes for guests on Airbnb. So the best chances to get a centrally located sleeping place in Rotterdam is on Airbnb. Tip: book your stay via this link for a discount of € 25 (and also to support us, because we’ll get a referral bonus)!
  • Grab the train or metro. The Netherlands has the most perfect train connections, so Rotterdam is also easy to get to by train. From cities as Gouda, The Hague, Dordrecht, Breda and Amsterdam you can get to Rotterdam Central Station in only half an hour. Tip: The Hague even has a direct connection to Ahoy! The metro from Ahoy runs all the way to The Hague.
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Eurovision Song Contest | Tulpenvelden Goeree-Overflakkee | Tulip fields | Songfestival in Rotterdam | The Orange Backpack
Eurovision Song Contest | Tulpenvelden Goeree-Overflakkee | Tulip fields | Songfestival in Rotterdam | The Orange Backpack
Eurovision Song Contest | Tulpenvelden Goeree-Overflakkee | Tulip fields | Songfestival in Rotterdam | The Orange Backpack

What to do during the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam?

Between the semifinals and the finals, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city. We have already shared a lot of articles on this blog about the best spots to visit in Rotterdam, so you are at the right place at our website. Click here for all our stories about our hometown! From the best off the beaten track spots and a guide for 48 hours in Rotterdam to the best coffee spots.

Extra tip: rrom mid-April to mid-May the Dutch tulip fields are blooming. Close to Rotterdam are these beautiful tulip fields (and you can visit them for free)!

How gay friendly is Rotterdam?

The Netherlands is one of the most gay and straight friendly countries in the world. Did you know the first gay marriage ever was in the Netherlands? Rotterdam is also super gay friendly. Popular places to go for drinks are KeerWeer, Strano, de Regenboog (Rainbow), Ferry and Loge ’90. Would you like to read more about the pink side of Rotterdam? Check out the platform gayrotterdam.nl.

By Ami | Eurovision Song Contest | Songfestival in Rotterdam | The Orange Backpack
By Ami | Eurovision Song Contest | Songfestival in Rotterdam | The Orange Backpack
Wes Eettentje | Eurovision Song Contest | Songfestival in Rotterdam | The Orange Backpack

The My Maps map above summarizes all our tips. The menu on the menu has separate layers that mark the best coffee spots, sleeping places and highlights. Click on the star to save the map to your own Google Maps or open the map in a new window for a larger version. Enjoy!

The most instagrammable places in Rotterdam

Close to Ahoy there aren’t many trendy and good places to go for food, drinks or shopping. Actually, restaurant LISA is the only cool place around (and quite a cool one, actually). Other pretty and amazing places in Rotterdam are in and around the centre:

  • Rose Rouge. This name says it all: this bar has a subtle pink touch. Add flowers, velvet and cocktails to that and you’ll get why to go here.
  • By Armi Urban Bistro. The interior is beautiful, but especially the food is very instapretty.
  • Wes Eettentje. This lovely diner in the north is completely styled in Wes Anderson theme. The restaurant has three parts and in each part you can recognise one of his film classics.
  • Bazar. As if you were walking into an oriental market: Moroccan lamps everywhere and the mosaic and mirrors are shining bright like a diamont.
  • Supermercado. Are you in for some South American vibes? Both the interior and the menu of Supermercado will be your top choice.
  • Home stock. Shopping in Rotterdam? This is the coolest interior shop in town. The cool wall paper, velvet sofas and colourful interior items are stunning.
  • Aloha. This restaurant probably the best terrace of Rotterdam: directly on the river Maas with a view on the Erasmus bridge! But the most fun side of Aloha is its old use as a tropical swimming pool. You still enter the toilets by walking down the old rapids.
  • Lilith. Known for its stacks of pancakes and relaxed vibe. The large terrace is a must on sunny days.
  • Alfredo’s Taqueria. A bright pink staircase and blue bar make Alfredo’s colourful interior picture perfect. The Mexican kitchen itself is also highly recommended!
  • Lot & Daan. This healthy hotspot in the old port has an indoor tree and a cool hanging chair. I am a big fan of the breakfast menu.
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Need more tips? Or do you have any top tips for visitors to Rotterdam during the Songfestival? Just send us an e-mail and we will keep updating this blog!