10 x must see sights and activities in Rotterdam
View from the Euromast - Iris van den Broek

10 x must see sights and activities in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a must-see city with lots of attractions, monuments and architectural highlights to look out for. There’s always something new to see or do in the city. In the realm of architecture, Rotterdam is a feast for the eyes. Find out where to go and what to do and discover the highlights in this top 10 list of things to do and see. Prefer to explore on your own? Get inspired by our City Map. It is freely available at most hotels and attractions, as well as all our Rotterdam Tourist Information service points (or download the map here). Or maximize your Rotterdam adventure with the Rotterdam City Card.

1. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

Why shouldn’t a depot building have multiple functions other than storing art? The first publicly accessible art storage facility – ‘the bowl’ – is as self-evident as it is groundbreaking. After all, the viewing starts outside, searching for your reflection in the mirrored exterior. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen – with an ultra-sustainable energy system and its own heat and cold storage – has been packed with visitors since its opening in 2021. You can browse art (the building houses up to 151,000 works), visit the green roof or eat at Restaurant Renilde.

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2. Rotterdam Centraal

Rotterdam Central Station is one of the most iconic architectural sites in Rotterdam. The roof over the tracks is covered in solar panels and the striking hall roof points towards the city centre. A number of historic elements from the former station building (1957) by Sybold van Ravesteyn have been re-used, like the original clock in the front façade and the letters spelling out ‘Centraal Station’. In the main hall you can find several shops, information about public transport and the Rotterdam Tourist Information. When you walk out of the station don’t forget to have a look at the impressive statue Moments Contained (2023).

3. Euromast

The Euromast observation tower was constructed to mark the Floriade gardening extravaganza in 1960. The tower, made from reinforced concrete, has an inner diameter of 9 metres with walls that are 30 cm thick. Its floor hangs 96 metres above the ground. The Euromast lift takes just 30 seconds to whisk visitors to a height of 100 metres, where there is an observation deck and brasserie restaurant. The Euroscope revolving lift takes people up to 185 metres. Euromast is Europe’s only attraction from which you can abseil to the ground. Of course, this only takes place under the guidance of a professional.

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4. Markthal

You’ll find an indoor market hall in various world-class cities, but the combination with luxury housing makes Rotterdam’s Markthal the first of its kind. The apartments are arched over the food market in a horseshoe configuration. The main hall houses the market itself, as well as shops and various restaurants, with a supermarket and a four-storey car park situated below. As you wander amongst the market stands, look up to enjoy the massive artwork sprawled across the ceiling: the ‘Horn of Plenty’ by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. Sign up for an Open Tour on the weekend via De Rotterdam Tours: a one-hour tour of the Markthal. Don’t forget to visit one of the country’s biggest outdoor markets which is held on the large square (Binnenrotte) in front of the Markthal (Tuesday and Saturday). Did you know that you will soon be able to surf in the Steigersgracht next to the Markthal? In the spring of 2024, RiF010, a watersports oasis for everyone, will open.

5. ss Rotterdam

The ss Rotterdam (1959) is the former flagship of the Holland-America Line and boasts a wealth of history. The steamship was built in Rotterdam, returning to its home port in 2008 after many voyages and nautical miles. Since then, it has been moored at the tip of the Katendrecht peninsula. It’s used as a hotel, restaurant and events venue. The terrace on deck, including a small pool, offers a unique view of the city. The general areas on the ship, including the restaurants, are open to the public. The ss Rotterdam also offers various tours of the decks, corridors, staterooms and platforms, some lasting only an hour and others as long as two; the tours include an audiophone and additional explanations by the ship hosts. The tours show the amazing interior of a large luxury cruise liner and let visitors explore what life used to be like on board. The Rotterdam Complete Tour also includes a peek inside the engine room.

Book a tour here

6. Historisch Delfshaven

This picturesque yacht marina is one of the few parts of the old city that survived the 1940 bombardment of Rotterdam. It has a remarkable history, Delfshaven locals once earned their living by fishing for herring and distilling gin. The historic canal houses now hold cosy shops selling antiques and bric-a-brac, the Dutch Pinball Museum, as well as lovely cafés and restaurants like brewery De Pelgrim and café De Oude Sluis (with waterside patio dining). The Historical Tram Line 10 takes you to Delfshaven in the summer season, offering a ‘hop on hop off’ service. Once there, you can also explore Historic Delfshaven by water with iKapitein.

7. Spido

As a port city, Rotterdam has unbreakable ties to the Nieuwe Maas River. There are all sorts of ways to explore and experience the river and the port. Go on a tour with Spido, one of Rotterdam’s biggest attractions. The Port of Rotterdam tour (75 minutes) sails year-round and gives you a short but powerful impression of Rotterdam’s container ports. The route also passes sights like the Hotel New York, the Euromast, and the ss Rotterdam.

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8. Cube Houses

The Cube Houses (Piet Blom, 1978-1984) are part of the Blaakse Bos (Blaakse Wood) development which borders on the Laurenskwartier district and the Waterfront area. The architect wanted to design a kind of village within the city and saw the houses as trees and the whole area as a wood. The Cube Houses are tipped to one side as it were, making three sides face the ground and three face the sky. Don’t forget to visit the Kijk-Kubus (Show-Cube) to experience what life is like in a Cube House.

9. Erasmusbrug

The 800-metre long Erasmus Bridge (Ben van Berkel, 1996) spans the Nieuwe Maas River and links the northern and southern parts of Rotterdam. The bridge is part of the redevelopment of an old port area and was specifically designed to be an iconic structure to give the area a strong presence. The suspension bridge has a 139-metre high steel pylon which is secured with 40 cables. The shape of the pylon gave the bridge its nickname: The Swan.

10. Museumpark

The ultimate arts and culture street in Rotterdam, de Witte de Withstraat, is known for its artistic, multicultural and lively character. Referred to as the city’s ‘Axis of Art’, it runs from the Maritime Museum to the Museumpark and is lined with galleries, avantgarde fashion boutiques, restaurants and (art) cafés. Fan of street art? Discover impressive wall paintings from local artists with the Rotterdam Street Art Route. More art & culture…

More highlights to discover

Fenix Food Factory

Fenix Food Factory

A fresh-produce market on Katendrecht.


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Floating Farm

Floating Farm

This first-ever floating farm has space for 40 cows. Fresh dairy p...
Walking in Rotterdam

Walking in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a lovely city to explore on foot. You can take in an abundance of sights on a short stroll or long city walk. The options are endless, and if you want, you can use an app like Rotterdam Routes, or a map or join an official guide who will show you all the highlights. There are plenty of interesting sights to discover.

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