Rotterdam is on most travel destination hotspot lists the past couple years! About 30 minutes from Amsterdam, this cosmopolitan city is worth at least a day trip on your visit to The Netherlands! A few summers ago, my husband and I spent a day exploring Rotterdam and I'm excited to pass along tips to make the most of your visit.
Rotterdam has one of the busiest and largest ports in the world! I highly recommend a boat tour of the harbor to really grasp the expansiveness of the port and enjoy gorgeous views of the city. If you're traveling with children they'll love seeing the numerous huge cranes and cargo ships! The harbor area is also a great area to explore on foot. Don't miss the Holland Amerika Lijn building that is now the Hotel New York. Take a peek in the beautiful lobby or stop for a lunch break in it's restaurant. The "Grand Old Lady" also once housed the head offices for Holland America Cruise Line. For many years, it was the starting point for thousands of European emigrants departing for North America. Your distant relatives may have started their journey to the U.S.A. from this point!
Rotterdam is a city of contrasts... old and new. A few of it's historical buildings remain, but the majority of Rotterdam was destroyed in WWII. It's The Netherlands most modern city, as most of it's buildings were rebuilt after the war. Take time to walk and appreciate the architecture - the striking new skyscrapers next to older buildings along parts of the harbor.
Lastly, don't miss a visit or overnight stay on the SS Rotterdam! The ship is permanently docked and now enjoys it's post cruising life as a hotel in the Rotterdam harbor. The SS Rotterdam was built in Rotterdam and sailed with Holland America Line for many years, before being refurbished as a hotel in 2008. It's also open for tours, which is a great option for ship buffs and kids will love exploring the old ship! It's a fantastic spot for a lunch break - enjoy the fresh air and unbeatable views of the city skyline! It really feels like you're on a cruise for the day! 🙂
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!