What a surprising and beautiful city! We went on a city trip to Rotterdam with our kids during our holiday in Holland, and we all loved it! Rotterdam, also known as ‘Manhattan on the Maas River’ is a very modern city with an impressive skyline. The city has suffered severe bombings during the Second World War and almost the entire city center was destroyed. Since then, Rotterdam has been rebuilt with lots of modern architecture and unusual buildings. Our kids totally loved Rotterdam, because of the look of the city with quite tall buildings compared to other cities in the Netherlands, and the river with its fast water taxis.
Here are 10 Things to do on a City Trip to Rotterdam with Kids! We’re sure you’ll love it too!
- Boat trip in Rotterdam to the big Port
A must-do when in Rotterdam, and definitely a trip where the kids can learn a lot too. The Port of Rotterdam is so big you can easily recognize it when you fly over the Netherlands by plane. From almost in the center of the city, completely towards the North Sea. The Port of Rotterdam is the biggest sea port of Europe and the 10th of the world. When you buy your tickets for the departure of the boat trip, located right by the Erasmus bridge, you can ask for a kids coloring book. This booklet is not only for colouring but also has lots of information about the boats, the way the Port works, and the skyline of Rotterdam. We brought our binoculars to observe the work in the port, which was quite a success with our kids.
The boat trip lasts for 75 minutes.
You can check the time table for this Harbor Boat trip here: https://www.spido.nl/en/tochten-cruises/rotterdam-havenrondvaart
- Having Lunch in the Sky on the Euromast tower
After our Harbor Cruise, we went by foot to the Euromast Tower. The Euromast offers the best view over the city. An elevator takes you up and you will find a restaurant serving café style food. We highly recommend to have lunch at this height to fully enjoy the skyline of Rotterdam! If you would like to go even higher up, you can still take the Euroscoop to the next level while enjoying a 360 degree view. The Euromast tower is 185 meters high and is the highest building in the Netherlands!
To reserve your lunch: https://euromast.nl/en/wining-dining/
- Going to the ‘Markthallen’ food market to snack around
The modern building of the food hall in Rotterdam is definitely worth a visit too, and you will love tasting all the food available. From smoothies, to poffertjes (small Dutch pancakes), or the famous Dutch ‘stroopwafel’ cookies, everything is available here!
Address: Jan Scharpstraat 298, Rotterdam
- Visiting the famous Cube Houses
Right in front of the food hall, you will already see another curious spot in the city, very much loved by architecture and photography lovers, the famous Cube Houses. One of the Cube Houses, the ‘Kijk Kubus’ can be visited for 3 euros, so you can get an idea of what it would be like to live in one of those cubes. The opinion in our family was divided, but I think our kids totally imagined living in a Cube House.
- Going to the Maritime Museum and getting your Offshore Employee Certificate
A very cool museum with lots to do and touch for kids! You can start your experience with a safety explanation of what it is like to work offshore. You then put on your safety helmets in order to experience life offshore yourselves by fulfilling a few tests, like, how to land a helicopter on the platform in the sea. Cool experience! In another part our kids also liked peeking inside of a cruise ship where you can play games or be part of the evening show by singing songs. Highly recommended museum to visit in Rotterdam with kids!
- Crossing the Erasmus Bridge
Since our comparison with Manhattan was there because of the skyline, and because of the departure point of Rotterdam for many immigrants by boat in the 1900’s, we decided to walk over the Erasmus bridge like we had walked over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. The Erasmus bridge is a very iconic bridge in the Netherlands and its nickname is ‘The Swan’.
- Hotel New York, and High Tea
On the other side of the bridge you can walk onwards to Hotel New York, the former offices of the Holland America Line and departure point of many searching for a new life in New York. Countless numbers of boats left from here towards Ellis Island. It was interesting for us as we had also visited Ellis Island with our kids, so after the arrival point in New York, it was also interesting to see the point of departure for many.
Hotel New York is a hotel now, and a very iconic place to stay in Rotterdam. It also has a restaurant, and you can go here for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or their famous high tea.
- SS Rotterdam, visiting a cruise ship
Very close to the Hotel you will see the SS Rotterdam. You will already have passed by this ship during your Harbor Cruise. The SS Rotterdam was one of the boats used on the Holland America Line, and which can now be visited. You can book a tour, or with bigger kids, try their escape room… SS Rotterdam is also a hotel and restaurant.
More information on a visit to SS Rotterdam: https://ssrotterdam.com/discover/
- Crossing the river with tired legs, Water Taxi or Water Bus
What is cool about a city on the water is the transportation crossing the river. We took a Water Bus (one of the stops is at the SS Rotterdam), but we also took the fast Water Taxi ride. The kids really loved that one! The Water Bus is part of the public transport system and tickets were very cheap (1 euro each for our ride), the Water Taxi costs like a regular taxi but goes fast.
- Walking the streets of Rotterdam, in the old part and the ‘new’.
Of course a city is best explored on foot! We have walked through the new part, with cool city streets like the Witte de Withstraat, and we have also been to the old part of the city, a small part which was not destroyed by the bombings in WWII, the area called Delfshaven, where you all of the sudden saw a bit of similar architecture as you would see in Amsterdam.
Where to stay in Rotterdam?
We loved our hotel in the Center of Rotterdam and had an amazing view from our room on the skyline! They have a few connecting double rooms for families as well. The hotel is conveniently located by the Erasmus Bridge and the public parking, and it has a cool heated pool which is very good to relax after all those city explorations!
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