First Impressions of Rotterdam


I’ve travelled quite a few times to Holland in the past and visited several Dutch cities, but it wasn’t until this week that I got the chance to visit the city of Rotterdam. It was here that I was attending and speaking at a conference for travel bloggers. As with any city that you visit for the first time it’s not really possible in 5 days (the time which I stayed here for) to get a thorough view of the destination, but what you can do is get a really good first impression that will aid you in any future visits that you make. I also thought it would be interesting to share my first impression of the city so that you can make up your mind if you ever come to Holland whether or not you may want to visit Rotterdam. With that in mind these are my first impressions;

Picturesque port


As a speaker at the conference in Rotterdam I was very lucky to be put up in the Mainport Hotel during my stay in Rotterdam – a 5 star hotel that overlooks the port area of Rotterdam. Although my heart will always be in budget travel, I must admit it was a nice treat to be staying in such an incredible hotel for 5 nights with amazing views overlooking the port area of the city! Many days when I came back to my room to work I would just stop and take a look out the window and gaze at the many boats passing by outside. One day I saw an incredible two mast boat (pictured above) pass by my window. It really was a great location to be situated for this reason.  Taking a walk around the port area is also something I recommend on a sunny day or for those like myself who enjoy taking pictures with their camera. Boats I find are always a good subject to photograph.

Unique architecture


Many people have different opinions on the architecture found in Rotterdam. You tend to either love it or hate it. For me I remain on the fence, but what was interesting was coming to a city that looked so different architecturally to all of the other Dutch cities I’ve been to. Where in many cities across Holland such as Amsterdam, Utrecht etc. you will find an abundance of old Dutch architecture, buildings all squeezed together, and narrow spiralling staircases that are all distinctly Dutch – Rotterdam is a bit different. The architecture here is very new due in most part to the fact the city was flattened many times during the world wars. There were very few buildings still remaining after WWII had ended so as a result everything you see here looks no more than 50 years old. In fact, there is so much construction going on here that the city it seems is continually developing. A great example of some stunning new(ish) architecture in Rotterdam is the Erasmus Bridge (pictured above) which dominates the Nieuwe Maas skyline.

Incredible food (and value for money) at Bazar Restaurant

Rotterdam has a lot of nice restaurants to eat out in, but by far my favourite that I tried while I was there was Bazar, a Moroccan themed restaurant in the city centre. Myself and 2 other conference attendees shared the ‘Bazar Bazar’ plate which was A) super tasty and B) really huge in portion size. It worked out around €7 per person for the food (not including drinks) which considering the portion size was really great value! I know many of the bloggers who went here several times throughout the 5 days because they enjoyed the food so much, and there is also a really nice terrace area up top.

Another nice place (on the same street – Witte de Withstraat) was Bagels and Burgers. I got a bagel cheeseburger and fries that was really tasty for around €13 including a soft drink.

Fun Jet Awesomeness!!!!


By far the best thing I did while in Rotterdam was ride the Fun Jet speed boat. 11 of the travel bloggers and I all went for a ride on the river at speeds of up to 70 mph! Tickets cost around €28 per person for around 20 minutes. Considering how much fun this was I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to Rotterdam! And if that’s not enough fun for you the same company also run a pirate themed restaurant and a lazer tag!!! The lazer tag also happens to be within the basement of a floating ship so you’re technically underwater as you do it!

Laid-back bars

In Rotterdam I noticed has a lot of really cool laid back bars and cafes. Two of my favourites that we frequented include Rotown (Nieuwe Binnenweg) and Café La Bru (Hartmansstraat). Both had a really chilled out laid-back vibe and prices were quite low at around €2 – 2.5 per (local) beer.

– So these were my first impressions of Rotterdam. I hope that if you are visiting the city you find the recommendations I’ve made useful, but please also feel free to share some of your own in the comments section if you have already been to the city! 🙂

8 Responses to “First Impressions of Rotterdam”

  1. Anna Richmond says:

    Rotterdam sounds so fun!! I want to do the speed boat!!

  2. Arianwen says:

    The architecture really stood out for me. I wasn’t interested in the walking tour, but think I’d have actually found it really interesting.

  3. Tom says:

    We spent three days in Rotterdam and really enjoyed it! We stayed on a canal barge near the maritime museum, the Mizar. The cargo box had been converted into the living quarters, the forward half was a single bedroom apartment and the aft half was a two bedroom apartment. Marcel was a great host; can’t wait to go back.

  4. Gaurav says:

    You indeed are lucky. I have been to Amsterdam and Utrecht. Never had a chance to be in Rotterdam. Would love to be there one day.

  5. It was a pleasure sharing a meal with you and I’ll enjoy reading all of your future posts! Keep up the brilliant writing. 🙂

  6. It was great to meet you and to travel with you in Holland, Jane. I’m enjoying your site, especially the posts about some of the eastern European countries which I’d like to visit in the next few years. I recognise the picture at the top of this post as the view from the Mainport Hotel in Rotterdam – it looks so much better in black and white! There aren’t many shots with blue sky from the few weeks I spent in Europe in May!


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