Rotterdam cityguide travel
Countries, Europe, The Netherlands
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A beginners cityguide to Rotterdam

{GUESTBLOG by Claire} Rotterdam may be Amsterdam’s lesser known cousin but you get major cool points for visiting this modern harbour town because it’s home to chic, cosmopolitan, and just a little bit hipster, cultural hubs.

From foodie frites to extensive historical adventures, Rotterdam needs to be on your next expedition out of your homeland; it’s a delight not to be missed!

Pick a great place to stay in Rotterdam.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of both hostels and Airbnb—it’s just the millennial mindset to travel. My personal preferences are to forget the big expensive hotels and  opt for the unique, boutique experiences instead; it helps me get closer to the heart of a place, one that you just can’t get a feel for when you’re staying at the Ritz (although I hear it’s incredible accommodation, I can rest easy saying it’s not for me).

So when in Rotterdam, look outside the hotel box and get in on an awesome neighborhood. My picks for the city are King Kong Hostel (it’s got great reviews, just check them out) and The Cube House (I stayed with a friend here once and it’s Instagram heaven). Both are uniquely Rotterdam and a great way to get acquainted with the city!

Rotterdam cityguide travel

Chart your nightlife plans Rotterdam.

Rotterdam is home to some really great places to hang after dark, and it’s my express advice that you check out this trio of great places to be: Bird, BAR, and Worm.

Bird is going to be the place to be if you’re a big fan, little fan, or even mildly interested in jazz music, but the good news is that they are also awesome at serving up great hip-hop, electronic, and eats so even foes of the sax can have a great time in this one of a kind spot.

BAR is next on the list and it’s for the kids who love to have a cup of coffee with their nightlife. Outfitted as a coffeeshop with great baked goods early in the day, the club transforms into a creative outlet after dark that means local and travelling artists are always turning out a tube.

And last, but certainly not least, is Worm, where all things come together. Part party central, part concert mecca, part exhibition gallery, this unique space is all hipster heaven, with it’s organic menu and recycled architectural design areas—what more could a card carrying hipster ask for?

Take in the free things todo Rotterdam.

Rotterdam is home to some truly excellent parks and brilliant modern architecture so if you do nothing else on your trip than ride around and sightsee, then you didn’t waste your trip. I suggest taking big chunks out of your itinerary just to get to the bottom of all of the coffee houses, make acquaintances with puppies out for a morning stroll, get lost in the amazing flea markets all around town (my pick is the Swan Market, located near the Blaak metro stop).

The other thing you’ve got to look out for in Rotterdam is the excellent street art; the new cornerstone sign that a city is making it’s way into the 21st century. Streets like Schiestraat are going to be excellent examples of urban galleries—so don’t forget to go art hunting!

Rotterdam cityguide travel

Rent a bike in Rotterdam.

The Dutch are masters of cycling; their cities are full of rental wheels that get you out and about, and with specific paths, faster than their motorized, 4-wheeled counterparts. Head for Het Park, or locally known as “The Park,” and to tool around the historic neighborhood of Delfshaven where the pilgrims prayed before embarking to the New World in the mid 1600’s—it’s more than just a cool thing to do in the Great Outdoors, but it’s an authentic Dutch way to catch the Rotterdam sites!

Download the apps.

At this point, I’ve got an arsenal of travel apps that I swear by, and Rotterdam is one of those places where apps can really help you locate good stuff that is tailored to you when the whole city is chock full of good stuff.

My first recommendation before you start downloading apps is to get a SIM card if you’re travelling abroad, it eases the financial stress and provides better signal when you get a local provider, and it’s easy to install as long as your phone is unlocked (which most already are!). Once your SIM is in place and you decide whether or not to add data, get WIFI Finder, HearPlanet, DarkSky and Postagram immediately—they’re my favorites by far.

Rotterdam cityguide travel

WiFi Finder is going to get you a good free signal (and probably a cup of coffee as well), HearPlanet can take you around on a solo walking (or biking!) tour, DarkSky is going to let you know when the rain is coming (down to the exact minute and hyperlocation), and Postagram is for sending pictures you take in the form of a postcard straight from your phone (it saves me a lot of trouble buying souvenirs).

Whether you’re heading for a harrying 48 hour trip or settling in for a good two weeks, the charms of Rotterdam are all in the beautiful city’s ever-growing culture and cityscape so don’t miss out on these great things to see, do, and stay!

Bon voyage!

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