It’s summer in Rotterdam! And we love those beautiful summer days in the Netherlands, when the temperature rises, the birds chirp, you regret that you had not bought that fan earlier, and when staying indoors is a great sin.
Gather your friends and go out, because with these summer activities in Rotterdam you will get the most out of this good weather!
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1. Rent a sloop on the Kralingse Plas
Surrounded by the Kralingse Bos, this lake is the place where the Rotterdammer goes during a summer day. When the sun shines it is full of people barbecuing, children playing and friends enjoying a drink.
Our tip is to rent a boat and float around on the Kralingse Plas. A quick Google search and you will find several places where you can rent a boat!
2. Enjoy the sun at Parqiet
When the sun shines, Parqiet, located in the former coach house in the Park, is the ideal place to enjoy the sun.
The front yard of this beautiful building is the park next to the Euromast, where they have placed beach chairs and tables on the grass. Take off your shoes, put on sunglasses and order a nice drink and snack!
Baden Powellaan 20, 3016 GJ Rotterdam
3. Eat an ice cream at the best ice cream parlours
The perfect way to cool down is of course with a nice ice cream! Are you going for a classic scoop of vanilla? Or do you treat yourself to a more deluxe version?
We always find the ice cream at De IJssalon very tasty. And we are not alone, because the De IJssalon has already won several prizes with their traditional, fresh ice cream.
Are you a fan of Ben & Jerry ice cream? Then visit the Ben & Jerry Scoop Shop on the Witte de Withstraat, where you can choose from more than 15 flavors.
Read our article about the best places for a nice ice cream in Rotterdam for more inspiration!
4. Cool off with the Splash tour
If you need to cool down, a logical step is seeking water activities. As a city that has a big river, Rotterdam has plenty of fun options for that!
For example, this bus tour may seem normal, but nothing could be further from the truth. During the tour, the bus literally takes a dip in the Maas. The bus sails on and shows you the city from the water.
5. Have a picnic in the park
There are plenty of parks in Rotterdam! For example, choose the Vroesenpark in Rotterdam-Noord, where there is enough space for picnics, barbecues or playing around with football.
Other parks that are ideal for this are Het Park, the Kralingse Plas and -Bos and the Zuiderpark or one of these other lovely picnic spots in Rotterdam.
6. Discover the best terraces in Rotterdam
Put on your sunglasses, take off your coat and take a seat on a sunny terrace with a beer, wine or an ice-cold coke. Because luckily, Rotterdam has a lot of beautiful terraces in the center. And that’s for a good reason, because as soon as the sun shines, they are packed!
Read our article with the sunniest terraces in Rotterdam, such as Aloha or the Gele Kanarie.
7. Visit the Palmboompjes pop-up bar
A pop-up bar that’s definitely a must visit this summer: the Palmboompjes (meaning ‘palmtrees’ in Dutch). The place for drinks, music and of course the view! Enjoy good wine or a beer and of course good cocktails. At their cocktail bar you can choose from three refreshing cocktails: the Mojito, Frozen Margherita and the ‘Palmboompjes’ cocktail.
The terrace of Palm trees is open when the sun is shining. It’s already open early in the morning for coffee. In the afternoon they serve sandwiches and you can also have drinks and various snacks
Be on time if you want to get a table, it is already a popular place in Rotterdam! You can visit Palmboompjes until the end of the summer and who knows, maybe even longer (if we’re lucky).
Boompjeskade 80, 3011 XE Rotterdam
8. Have a lovely dinner at A La Plancha
Do you love seafood? Then you HAVE to visit pop-up restaurant A La Plancha on Noordereiland this summer. Here it always feels as if you’re on a tropical holiday.
Enjoy the view of the Maas, the amazing dishes and refreshing drinks.
This year A La Plancha is working with several local entrepreneurs who are struggling because of the current measures. In addition to culinary products, this also includes local cultural initiatives, so that visitors to A La Plancha & Amigos are with art, culture and music whilst enjoying a delicious meal.
Maaskade 74, 3071 NC Rotterdam
9. Get a breath of fresh air on the Euromast
Enjoying the view on the Euromast’s terrace is a great way to spend your summer day. Because of the clear sky, you’ll be able to see for miles in the distance!
We recommend going during sunset to see how the golden rays of sunlight illuminate the city. Also: don’t forget to bring your camera!
10. Float around in a HotTug
We already talked about renting a boat on the Kralingse Plas, but this is also a great idea for a warm summer day. A HotTug is an electrically powered sailing hot tub that takes you through the canals of Rotterdam. Put on your swimsuit, have a drink, put on some music and enjoy!
For even more activities to cool off, read our article with the best water activities in Rotterdam!
11. Travel to beach club Pele Surf Shack
Have you already heard of Pele Surf Shack? This is the first plant-based beach club in the Netherlands. Although it is not in the center of our city, it is definitely worth traveling to Hoek van Holland and trying one of their plant-based dishes. And while you’re there, you can make it a fun day at the beach!
Pele Surf Shack is open all summer, seven days a week. Unfortunately they are closed during the winter, but the doors open again in March.
Rechtestraat 24, 3151 HN Hoek van Holland
12. Explore the Maas with the water taxi
There are a lot of fun ways to explore the Maas. For instance, you can go for a ride on the watertaxi. Book a ride on the website or order a taxi by phone and get dropped off at one of the 50 locations in the city.
A nice way to see Rotterdam from the water and also an adventure, because the taxis can ride over the waves pretty quickly.
In addition to the practical function of the water taxi, you can also book it in combination with a tour (for example here!). On this walking tour you first get an extensive explanation from an architect guide before the tour with the water taxi starts.
13. Get on board for a cruise in Rotterdam
The best way to experience Rotterdam is of course by taking a boat trip. Sail under the Erasmus Bridge and the Willems Bridge, view the various ports, see where the Holland-America Line once left and experience Rotterdam’s unique character.
We recommend this tour for a quiet one hour cruise, which covers all the highlights of Rotterdam. On the boat you can sit on deck, but you can also sit inside if it rains.
14. Go for a walk in Rotterdam
Put on your walking shoes and explore Rotterdam on foot! Especially fun during a sunny day (when it is not too hot) and who knows, you might discover places in the city that you did not know before.
There are plenty of great places to go for a walk in Rotterdam, such as the Maasboulevard where you have a beautiful view of the Rotterdam skyline.
In addition, there are plenty of beautiful lush green parks, hidden places and cool street art to explore!
TIP: Would you like to go for a walk and discover the highlights of Rotterdam? Then check out this walking tour with a guide. During this tour you visit the Markthal, Cube houses, Rotterdam city hall and more!
15. Follow a street art route in Rotterdam
In recent years, more and more street art can be found in Rotterdam. The great thing is that the municipality of Rotterdam gives artists the space to create something cool.
For example, in our city you can find the interactive Make It Happen artworks and there are often initiatives by Pow Wow Rotterdam and Rewriters010 (among others). They brighten up boring walls with high-quality street art!
Download the Rewriters app to follow a street art route in Rotterdam. This app takes you to the most beautiful street art in Rotterdam and gives you background information about the artwork and the artist. The routes are updated several times a year, so there is always something new to discover.
16. Walk across the Erasmus Bridge and view the sunset
A classic in Rotterdam, but for a good reason! The bridge is beautiful from whichever side you look at it. Walk along the river towards the bridge, cross it and walk to the Kop van Zuid. That way you can see the bridge from all sides, you can see the Maaskade, Wilhelminakade, the skyline of Rotterdam and the Kop van Zuid. Beautiful with sunset!
Curious about the other gems in the city where you can watch the sunset? Read the article with beautiful sunset spots in Rotterdam.
17. Spend a night at the unique Culture Campsite
Camping in your own city? That’s definitely possible in Rotterdam! At the Culture Campsite in Delfshaven, you sleep in art objects made from already existing material. The 12 objects can accommodate 24 guests who are looking for a unique experience. Just like the ‘rooms’, you will find the toilet and shower in a sustainable art object.
The Campsite also offers a hot tub and a place for food: a nice terrace and a place where guests can cook. A truly unique experience, in which visitors, art, architecture and sustainability come together.
Schiehavenweg 12, 3024 ED Rotterdam
18. Spend the night on the water
Rotterdam is internationally known as a port city where dozens of ships enter every day. So sleeping on a boat should be on this summer list!
For instance, you can stay on the steamship ss Rotterdam. Here you can stay in one of the 254 rooms with a choice of six different room types. If you want something a little cozier, we recommend the Wikkelboat (pictured above): a multifunctional, sustainable and super tiny place to stay on the water.
Be sure to read about more unique hotels in Rotterdam in this article.
19. Visit the botanical garden Trompenburg
This hidden gem in Rotterdam is a botanical garden located in Kralingen. It is beautifully landscaped and filled with trees, shrubs and the most unique flowers.
Whether you like flora or just want some peace and quiet, you are welcome to drop by and walk alone or with a guide. You can simply buy a ticket at the entrance.
Honingerdijk 86, 3062 NX
20. Enjoy the view on the Rotterdam DakAkker
There are a number of beautiful hidden roof terraces in Rotterdam. One of these is the DakAkker. It looks like a green courtyard, but located 20 meters up in the air. It is also the first green roof in the Netherlands where fruit and vegetables are grown and honey bees are kept.
Enjoy a drink, a snack and the view while you visit the restaurant next to it called Op Het Dak.
Schiekade 189, 3013 BR Rotterdam
21. Follow the Let’s Get Physical sculpture route
This summer you can explore the sculpture route ‘Let’s Get Physical’. During this five-kilometer route in the Merwe-Vierhaven area in Rotterdam-West, you can spot more than 30 large sculptures by Atelier Van Lieshout.
You can find more information and a map of the route on the Atelier Van Lieshout website.
22. Take your kids to Plaswijckpark
Looking for summer activities for kids? Plaswijckpark is fun for the whole family! It consists of Speelwijck, Dierenwijck and Wandelwijck.
You can find all kinds of playgrounds in Speelwijck. In the Verkeerstuin or Traffic Garden you can drive a car, in the Apenspeeltuin or Monkey Playground you can lie around on the ropes. Is it raining? Then go play inside the Huis in de Heuvel or House in the Hill.
Do you love animals? Then visit the Dierenwijck and meet the different animals that live there.
De Wandelwijck is where you, but especially your parents, can relax for a bit. There is a Picnic Pasture, a Rosarium with 40 varieties of roses and an English garden with several fountains.
23. Explore the Kids Marina
Kids Marina is a super fun water attraction in Rotterdam. Children can feel like a captain as soon as they get on one of the children’s boats. The great thing is that at Kidsmarina they immediately gain insight into the port and its functions and vehicles. So it’s an educational and fun day out in Rotterdam!
The kids can easily sail the model boats themselves and the boats are powered by electric motors. A boat trip takes 15 minutes from sailing to mooring.
24. Go for a day trip to Kinderdijk from Rotterdam
Do you have a whole day? Then visit Kinderdijk. It may not be in Rotterdam, but it is easy to visit from our city. Did you know that you can take the Waterbus from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk? It only takes 30 minutes.
Kinderdijk, with its 19 windmills, has been a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Tourists from all over the world come here to admire the beautiful windmills. The ingenious system of mill and ground has kept the grounds of Kinderdijk dry for centuries.
TIP: book this tour to Kinderdijkboek deze tour naar Kinderdijk and learn about the 17th-century windmills from an expert guide.
25. Watch a movie at the open-air cinema ‘Pleinbioscoop’
In August you can visit Pleinbioscoop Rotterdam, a cozy open-air cinema, where they screen special films during nineteen summer evenings. You simply buy a ticket, grab a chair, find a nice spot with your loved one or friends and you are ready for a beautiful summer evening.
This year, Pleinbioscoop and LantarenVenster are joining forces for an edition on the Wilhelminapier. Tickets can only be ordered online and the seats are 1.5 meters apart.
We are excited for summer! Will we see you at one of the options above? Share your summer experiences with us by tagging us in your photos with #WeekendsinRotterdam!
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