CITY GUIDE: Rotterdam

Today’s CITY GUIDE post is brought to you by Tom Summerfield of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Enjoy!

Rotterdam in The Netherlands often gets overlooked by travelers who tend to frequent Amsterdam instead and then move straight on to another country. I would just like to say that although Amsterdam is wonderful, Rotterdam is more than worth your time as well.

I’ve been living here for the last few months with my girlfriend and have come up with a mini city guide so you can get a feel for what Rotterdam is all about. These are some of our favorite things to do and some of the places that we love to frequent.

1. Start the day with a walk through the Oude Haven (which means Old Port in Dutch) – there are some neat little shops here and some great photo opportunities. It’s also surrounded by lots of fantastic bars and restaurants where during spring and summer when the weather is nice, are overflowing with locals eating and drinking.

2. Head towards the close by and famous ‘Cube Houses’ – Rotterdam is renowned worldwide for its amazing Architecture which came about due to the fact it was almost completely bombed in World War II. Instead of rebuilding the city the way it was, Rotterdam decided to get funky and creative and build lots of architecturally quirky and stunning buildings. The Cube Houses are a great example of this attitude, and believe it or not – real people live inside them! They are fun to see and one of them is even open as a museum, so you can go in and see what it’s like on the inside for yourself!

3. From the Cube Houses, you can head straight down into the Rotterdam Markets. They run on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the markets are truly something that we just love about this city. They are vibrant, buzzing and alive with vendors selling everything from flowers to cheese to bicycle locks to clothes to antiques to old video games.

When you’re at the Markets, make sure you try a ‘Turkse Pizza’ (thin warmed Turkish bread with meat on top rolled up with fresh salad and garlic and hot sauce) and ‘Kibberling’ (snack bite pieces of deep fried fish served with garlic sauce). I also love getting my cheese here from the smaller cheese producers that come in especially for the Markets. They tend to sell much nicer cheese then what you can get from the local supermarkets.

4. Once you’ve had your fill of the busy markets, go to the ‘Meent’ – which is a street full of wonderful cafes, bars and restaurants (and it runs through the end of the Markets). Here I recommend stopping for a coffee and a bakery treat at ‘Vlamsch Broodhuys’. If you didn’t find the Turkse Pizza or Kibberling appealing, then Vlamsch Broodhuys also has a selection of divine sandwiches on offer – I’ve found all of the ingredients they use to be of the highest quality, and tasty too!

5. When you’re ready for dinner, a favorite of ours on the Meent is the Italian restaurant Napoli (the Dutch love Italian food). They serve extremely delicious and authentic Italian in a lively atmosphere. The house red wine is an excellent drop, and the food is top notch. If you’re going on a Saturday night – you will want to book ahead to secure a table.

6. Once you’ve enjoyed your dinner, then no doubt you’re ready for a few drinks. In Holland, most drinking spots are called cafes rather than pubs – so don’t be fooled into thinking a café is not a fantastic spot to enjoy a drink! One of the best cafes on the Meent is definitely Café Van Zanten. The atmosphere is trendy yet unpresuming and there is a nice selection of various drinks to keep everyone happy. Whenever we go there we find the staff are always friendly and a treat to deal with.

Thus ends the little tour of some of our favorite places in Rotterdam city, so if you do find yourself traveling through The Netherlands – give Rotterdam a chance to win you over.

Featured image by F.d.W.

December 22, 2011