Rotterdam is a beautiful city in the South of Holland in the Netherlands. The natives say the city was once completely leveled or destroyed in the second world war. But touring around it today one can never tell. The architecture is amazing (I love architecture), the people are warm and friendly and the city is vibrant! One can only fall in love with this beautiful gem of a place! As it is budding with so much life one would expect it to have the same feel as Amsterdam, but these two are total worlds apart. As much as it is artsy and sometimes hype, Rotterdam is also oh so relaxing!
I took a week-long vacation and I was not only stunned by the beauty but also marveled at the warmth the locals displayed not only to me -a stranger- but amongst themselves. Everywhere I went, people were laughing, happy, smiling at me and so willing to switch to English once they discovered I wasn’t Dutch. Could it be the summer magic or just sheer hospitality?
Let me introduce you to a bit of Rotterdam.
I spent 6 nights at Hotel Rotterdam. Now, this is a 3-star hotel, so don’t expect too much. I’m not sure what the normal nightly charge is but I got an awesome deal on Booking.com and was able to get a Comfort Double Room with a tub, TV, free Wi-Fi, coffee & tea are complimentary and on the quiet side of the building – I’m a light sleeper- which ultimately meant no stunning views but it also meant I got to sleep a solid 8 hours each night which is rare for me. So I would recommend this place if you’re on a budget like I was. They have a restaurant and breakfast buffet but I did not try them out.
For breakfast, I went to this really cute rooftop restaurant that serves breakfast all day. It was close to my hotel and was cheaper than the hotel breakfast.
Their food is fresh, organic and healthy. Couple that with a friendly staff, a beautiful morning breeze and rooftop views then you get the breakfast of your dreams! Well, at least I did. For dinner, I frequented the Spanish Restaurant La Cazuela that was just down the block from my hotel. They served delicious tapas and the ambiance was exactly what I needed. Happy, merry, friendly and diverse. Lunches usually consisted of trips to the supermarket ah- (that’s the name of the place) for water and fruit.
The best way around any city is biking it. Renting a bike costs anywhere between 8-30euros per day so make sure you get your money worth. I rented a bike for 9 euros a day. Its better than the trams and busses in summer. I covered more ground, stopped when I wanted to and I didn’t have to pay for parking-lol. Parking in Rotterdam is ridiculously expensive, for an hour you can expect to pay anything between 1euro – 4euros depending on the zone and location. It’s rare to find free parking but the app here can help locate some free parking spots.
Like I said I’m a sucker for building and architecture so most of the pictures I took were just buildings so below I’ve tried to add in everything not just boring building pictures.
The Witte De Withstraat is buzzing with all sorts of pleasure and life. From amazing restaurants, Wagamama’s , Red Lobsters (BEY), to cute little cafes. It also right next to Rotterdams ultimate shopping area. There you find shops like Mango, Esprit, River Island, Topshop, Monki and Zara among others.
The Hook of Holland is a 30min drive or train ride away. I went when it was really windy, the sun refused to make an appearance and the water was cold. So not too many beautiful beach photos, unfortunately.
This was just a little sample of how awesome this place is. I’m sure I’ll go again and experience it more.
I’ll be blogging about more places soon, from the South of Africa to the East of Europe! Follow my blog for more adventures and pictures!