Rotterdam has world class museums, a busy port with a fascinating history, and it’s a vibrant, lively place. So don’t overlook The Netherland’s second largest city just because it was totally flattened during WWII. In the absence of medieval charm, here you’ll find a constantly changing and regenerating skyline and a progressive approach to architecture and civic decoration. Which really adds to this city’s youthful, exuberant feel. Many of the best places to stay in Rotterdam are great modern experiments in architecture and design, and a lot of fun.
You’re also just down the road from The Hague.
Near the top of Rotterdam’s list of world class museums is the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen which has a superb collection of both Dutch and European old masters, as well as impressive works from all eras, including many Monets, and several works by each of Gauguin, Van Gogh, Degas, Magritte, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali. In addition there's a city museum, the Rotterdam Museum, two maritime museums and a war museum.
Rotterdam is also a great place for shoppers. As well as boutiques, there are a number of markets, including the massive Blaak Market, which sells pretty much everything you can imagine, from food to clothes to antiques to fake antiques.
Saying all that about the architecture though, a very small part of Rotterdam did survive the war, the Delftshaven, or seaport for the city of Delft. It’s a bit out of town, and its windmill is reconstructed (not original), but it’s still a wonderful place for a stroll, packed with little delis and cafes and an outpost of the Rotterdam Museum. American visitors will also be interested in the fact that this is where the Pilgrims tried to leave for America, aboard the vaguely seaworthy Speedwell…
If you’re interested in more historic sights visit the beautiful recreated Dutch wilderness of Tuin Schoonoord park and Kinderdijk, with its 19 World Heritage Listed windmills standing on their reclaimed land.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Rotterdam are all ideally located right in the centre of town, so perfect for a short city break.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Rotterdam for you?
A very cool hotel on the canal - its historic exterior complemented with up to the minute interiors. Boutique suites have mezzanine levels, warm decoration, and state of the art mod cons. Lively bar serving lunches and snacks make this spot a must for young couples and groups of friends.
Rotterdam (3072 AP)
Slick, chic, designer hotel in Rotterdam. Ensuite rooms contemporary and modern in neutral tones with air conditioning, a free minibar and views across the port and city. With a fun rooftop cocktail bar, restaurant, gym and bicycle hire. A stylish and funky hotel.
Located on the Maas River banks with views overlooking it this is one of the most stylish hotels in town. Rooms are decorated with patterned wallpaper, windows that let light flood in and white linens. There is a spa, wellness centre including indoor pool and hammam providing numerous treatments.