Summer in Rotterdam is full of surprises for young and old. You’ll find inviting terraces everywhere: all over the heart of the city, tucked away among (and sometimes even on top of) the gleaming skyscrapers, on the riverside quays, in the rolling green parks and in the trendy neighbourhoods around the city centre. There is a steady stream of festivals all summer long, from the small and intimate to the spectacular. Add in the many unique attractions and city tours – by bicycle, bus, boat or on foot – and you can understand why you have to go to Rotterdam this summer.
You might be surprised to learn that Rotterdam is the greenest cities in the Netherlands. Its many parks play host to frequent festivals where you can lie on the grass and enjoy music, theatre, literature and fine food and drinks. There’s the Metropolis music festival, showcasing the bands that are about to make it big, children’s fairytale festival Duizel in het Park, SummerSundays (picnicking, music, theatre and craft workshops), and many more.
In addition to the city parks, there are many ‘secret’ green spots in the city. One of them is rooftop garden Dakakker, where atop the Schieblock they’re growing fruit, vegetables and flowers, and even keeping honeybees. Drop in for lunch and dine on the produce grown right here on the roof.
Speaking of fine food, Rotterdam is home to people of a total of 170 different nationalities and that is something you can taste! Not only in the small community markets like Rotterdamse Oogst, but during the many popular food festivals in the park, like Djemaa el Fna and Rotterdamse Kost.
And if you like music, Rotterdam is the place to be this summer. This is the city where you’ll hear wildly different styles of music coming together, from pop to classical and from jazz to dance. Colourful Rotterdam Unlimited and the legendary North Sea Jazz Festival may be the musical high points of the year, but they are only two of a huge number of music festivals in the city.
Nothing cools you off in the summer like water. And water is something that Rotterdam has plenty of! From the mighty river Maas flowing straight across the city to the charming river ports full of lively café terraces. But if a dip in the sea is more your thing, you can be on the beach at Hoek van Holland in just one hour.
Splashtours will introduce you to Rotterdam in a truly unique way. You’ll start out by riding the hypermodern amphibious bus to all the hottest places in the city. Then get ready to ‘splash’ your way across the Maas to continue your journey on the other side of the river! CityCruise will take you by Tender (a small passenger boat) to the most famous sights of the city. And your Rotterdam experience is not complete until you’ve watched the container ships sail into the port of Rotterdam amid the buzzing watertaxi traffic. Those wishing to go deeper into the harbour can sail by Spido to see the shipyards, docks and of course the hypermodern container transfer terminal stacked hundreds of containers deep.
Tip: The Rotterdam Welcome Card gives you 25% discount on a Spido harbour tour of 75 minutes (and 49 more discounts, including free public transport).
In the summer, walking and cycling through the city of Rotterdam is an attraction in itself. The sea breeze drifting in off the Maas and over the quays will keep you cool as you admire Rotterdam’s architectural highlights in the best way possible. Get up close to the stunning skyscraper on the Wilhelminapier, lounge on the patio of the Hotel New York, or enjoy the amazing sunset of a lovely summer evening from one of the beach chairs on the open grassy area just in front of it.
As you move through the streets of Rotterdam, you will come across unexpected works of art by world-famous artists, including Pablo Picasso & Carl Nesjar, Atelier van Lieshout, Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin and Elmgreen & Dragset. These pieces are all part of the Sculpture International Rotterdam international sculpture collection. Discover them with the Art & Poetry route.