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When I visited Europe for the first time, I had original planned to go straight from Amsterdam to Brussels and spend the night there. But when the date of my trip was coming closer, I found out Rotterdam was home of great modern architecture. I couldn’t resist it, it was only an hour away from Amsterdam. I wasn’t leaving Netherlands without visiting Rotterdam.
I decided to spend less than one day in Rotterdam and then head to Brussels, although I knew it wasn’t enough time to really know any of the cities. Here’s what you can see in Rotterdam in one day visit:
- I started my visit at Rotterdam Centraal Station, which btw is an amazing modern building. The station offers lockers service so I was able to leave my backpack and wander around the city comfortably.
- Luchtsingel Bridge
This bridge is just a few minutes away from the station. It is a 400 metre long pedestrian bridge which runs across roads and connects 3 different parts of the city. It gives you the chance to see the city from a unique perspective. Another awesome thing about this bridge is that it was supported financially by people who donated money and in exchange got their names inscribed in the wooden boards of it.
It was Sunday morning so Rotterdam streets were deserted, you will notice this in most of the photos. This turned up to be pretty good because I was able to take photos with no pressure, I even stopped in the middle of streets to capture some.
- Cube Houses
Designed by Piet Blom in 1984, the cubic houses are a row of 38 small cube-shaped houses, all containing three floors. One of them is even a Hostel. The space created inside and in between the different houses is surreal! You can actually visit one and if you are interested in architecture I recommend you to do so, the entrance is only 4 euros.
- The port of Rotterdam
But Rotterdam is not only made of modern and crazy buildings, there are also some “typically dutch” parts of the city. One of them is Oude Haven, Rotterdam’s oldest port and a nice place for a stroll. Rotterdam is home to Europe’s largest port and also one of the most important ones in the world.
After the cube houses, I walked along Rotterdam’s harbor where you can see the port life combined with the incredible functional architecture. The Erasmusbrug is a great example of this. Designed by Ben Van Berkel, it is a 800-metre-long that connects the south and north parts of the city.
- Museums in Rotterdam
You can also enjoy Rotterdam’s culture by visiting its museums. Kunsthal Museum, is an interesting building designed by the dutch architect Rem Koolhaas. The light in the spaces he created is just perfect. Just beside Kunsthal there is a big beautiful park, and at the end of it you can find the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum which houses a collection of works by Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and Rembrandt among many others.
My final stop before heading back to the station was for lunch at (of course) Markthal. This fascinating building is a residential and office building and has a giant Market Hall in the middle of it. The roof of the hall is adorned with artwork of giant fruits and vegetables and you can find all types of actual food inside. Unique building and unique market in the world. Must visit!
Where to stay in Rotterdam?
- Rotterdam is a great modern contrast compared to the canal streets of Amsterdam. Although there are parts of the city where you can see typical dutch houses, the city is mostly filled with skyscrapers and arresting architecture.
- Is one day enough to see Rotterdam? Of course not. In fact, I don’t think one day is enough to see Rotterdam, nor any other city in the world. But it was the time I had and it was enough to fulfill my desire of seeing amazing modern buildings and of course I would love to visit this beautiful city again.