August 12, 2015

Cityguide: Rotterdam.

cityguide rotterdam

About a month after we went to Lille, we went on another mini city trip and took off to Rotterdam. Although it's not that far from where we live, I had never really been there before. From comments of friends who had, I figured out it's a city that you either hate or love completely. I'm glad to say that for me, it was the latter. You'll  find out why below!

Hotel + transport

The main reason we went to Rotterdam is actually because we had a gift box left for a weekend getaway. The hotel in Rotterdam looked like the best option and so we quickly booked a room in the Novotel Rotterdam Brainpark hotel. Upon arrival, I immediately knew we made the right decision. The hotel itself isn't thàt special but it's quite new and very clean. Seeing as we spent most our time in the city and basically only used the room to sleep and shower, it was perfect! Breakfast was even better with lots of foods to choose from. Really, I stuffed myself so much in the mornings, I had lunch at 14h almost every day. But the reason I really loved this hotel was because of the super friendly staff. Really, they were so nice! The bartender made us a delicious mojito as well... Yummy!
We went by car to Rotterdam as it's only a small hour and a half away from where we live. The hotel was located near the highway so we easily found it too. The only downside for some people, I can imagine, is that's it is quite far from the city center. The metro station is just a 7minute walk away which we didn't mind at all but I can understand that for some people this might be a letdown.
Anyway, we really enjoyed our stay there and would definitely go back in the future!

Sightseeing

Rotterdam in my opinion is a very modern city. When I think about most of the cities I've visited so far, a lot of them are very historic and picturesque and well, mainly consist of old buildings. In that way, Rotterdam was completely different to me. There were a lot of very modern buildings but yet again, somewhere you least expect, you'd bump into a gorgeous historic building as well. It's the mixture of the two, I guess which I found very interesting.
I think it's exactly because of this new and modern feel that some people don't like Rotterdam but to me, it's what gives Rotterdam it's own unique character. Just give it a try and perhaps you'll fall in love with the city as I did. I'll even give you a head start and tell you my favourites:

Markthal


The 'Markthal' or market hall is heaven on earth for a foodie like myself. I remember almost fainting when entering 'The Boqueria' in Barcelona and this is the Dutch version of it. I loved it so much, I passed by every day! Basically, it's a colorful indoor market with lots of different food stands, restaurants, even an Asian supermarket. All nationalities seem to be represented with Turkish pizzas, Italian pasta, Thai wok, Moroccan herbs and of course, Dutch cheese. If you love food, go to the Markthal, you'll be back soon, I'm sure!

 Markthal + Kubushuizen

Kubushuizen

Right across from the Markthal, you can find the 'Kubushuizen' or cubical houses. I think these houses explain the best what I mean when I say Rotterdam has modern feel to it. As you can see from the picture above, these are - as the word says - cubical houses. It's the strangest thing to see and there are actually people living in them! If you want, you can have a visit and check out what it's like to live in such a house but we decided to skip that part because Rotterdam has so much more to discover (and the fact that it was about 30°C outside at that time might have something to do with it as well). 

Museumpark

Amsterdam has its Museumplein, Rotterdam has the Museumpark. For people loving museums, this is obviously the place to be. Although we didn't visit any of the museums there, we did enjoy a nice afternoon in the beautiful park. We even lucked out because the afternoon we went there, a vintage market took place and we took the opportunity to check it out. I bought the cutest top there (with floral print of course). Like I said, we didn't went inside of any of the museums but some of them looked like worth while even from the outside. Apparently, the Kunsthal is amazing but the boyfriend got really excited about the whale skeleton hanging behind a big window in the Natuurhistorisch Museum (Natural History Museum).

Erasmusbrug + Euromast

These are two of the best known symbols of Rotterdam, I believe. Of course you can't skip these ones. We actually walked over the Erasmusbrug to Katendrecht (a certain district in Rotterdam) and went back over the bridge next to it. Walking back, we had the best view over the impressive bridge. Okay, it's no Golden Gate bridge but still pretty impressive.
A little further (or maybe a lot further if you don't like walking), you can find the other well known attraction of Rotterdam: the Euromast. We didn't enter because at that time there were people climbing down the first floor. Yes, they hung on a cord and glided/fell there way back to the ground.


... and more

Of course, Rotterdam has a lot more to offer than just these attractions but I can't review everything. So be sure to check out the Beeldenroute Westersingel (free! + art work of Picasso and Rodin to check out), the but plug gnome, Hotel New York, the park, the World museum, ... . I also regretted not taking the water bus or water taxi. The Netherlands, and especially Rotterdam, are built on water. Taking a water taxi is definitely part of the fun.

Shopping

Again, if you want to shot 'til you drop (I had to use that expression), Rotterdam is a good place to start. Apart from the mainstream shopping streets there are a lot of cute boutiques to check out as well. See below where you need to be for your shopping high:

Hoogstraat + Lijnbaan

For the regular mainstream shops like H&M, Zara and all the other ones, these two streets are the place to be. Be sure to check out the typical Dutch chains as well. My favorite is HEMA; for all those things that seem so useful in the store but aren't when you get home: go to Hema. They have lots of cute dish wear, pens, bike accessories and even clothes as well. Luckily, we have lots of these stores in Belgium as well but they are always a little better in the Netherlands for some reason. Other typical Dutch stores are Vroom & Dreesman, de Bijenkorf and for food you need to check out 'La Place'.

Koopgoot

The 'Koopgoot' literally means the 'buying gutter' or something like it. It's located near the Beursplein and Hoogstraat. The stores actually go underground here: a long corridor in which you walk down, filled with shops. The shops in it are also the mainstream ones but you have to have walked down in when you go to Rotterdam, in my opinion.

SHOPPR

And to end the shopping section with, I wanted to mention a few shops in particular. Starting with SHOPPR, located in the 'Van Oldenbarneveltstraat' number 133. First of all, I want to make clear that this shop is not (I repeat is NOT) low budget but is so pretty! I walked next to the window with the cutest little dress and couldn't resist but walk in. When I found out the price of that cute little dress (€200!!), I quickly realized I would walk out empty handed. The perfect place if you want to spoil yourself (very much).

Koekela

When you love eating, and especially when you love desserts and cookies and cake like me, you have to pass by Koekela. The 'Nieuwe Binnenweg' is where you can find this cookie paradise, don't skip it!

de Plaatboef 

After dragging the Boyfriend to all of these shops, I had to give him something as well. Luckily for him, there was this old record store next to Koekela. Since he's really into vinyl records lately, we of course had to have a look inside. It's not the cleanest or most organised shop I've ever seen but they definitely had some of the records that were on the Boyfriend's wishlist for quite some time and the prices were very reasonable as well. The Boyfriend ate his heart out and I bought myself a CD from Mumford and sons. Everyone left happy!

 

Restaurants

Oude Haven

I have to admit that I spent most of my time in the Markthal and that we ate most of our meals here. I don't really have any good addresses to share with you for that reason. The Boyfriend insisted on eating one meal at Burger King as we don't have it in Belgium and he never ate there before. We also ate one meal in the hotel due to the bad weather ànd we ate at the Oude Haven once. You have to check out the Oude Haven. After a day of walking almost 20 km through Rotterdam, being exhausted and in desperate need of a meal, we landed here and boy, it was exactly what I needed. It was an oasis of silence in the middle of the city. Okay, not really silence but it was remarkably calm there and with the best view. The Boyfriend and I had dinner next to the water and a beautiful sunset. On that romantic note, I want to leave you and all encourage you to go visit Rotterdam!
oude haven - rotterdam
Oude haven
P.S.: For more information about Rotterdam, you can always check out Rotterdam Info as well.

1 comment:

  1. Rotterdam is de afgelopen tijd echt bezig om een goede concurrent van de andere steden te worden qua leuke tentjes enz. Ik kom zelf uit de regio Rotterdam, maar ga pas sinds een half jaar voor m'n lol naar Rotterdam ipv Utrecht of Amsterdam

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