Are you looking for fun activities in Rotterdam? Fortunately, there are plenty of fun outings in and around Rotterdam. In this article you can find enough inspiration for a fun packed day with your friends, loved one or kids!
From the best water activities to things to do on a rainy day, you can find plenty of inspiration in this article. Below you will find all kinds of fun activities and places that you can visit for a fun day out.
Need more inspiration for your time in our city? Check out these fun things to do in Rotterdam.
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Fun water activities in Rotterdam
1. 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.
It’s 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.
2. Join the Splash tour
Another fun water activity is the Splash tour. It may look like a normal bus tour, that will take you to the most special places in Rotterdam. But that is not the only thing!
During the tour, the bus literally takes a dip in the Maas. The bus sails further and shows you the city from the water.
3. 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.
4. Get a tour of the port
As the largest port city in Europe, the port is an important part of Rotterdam. It provides 385,000 direct and indirect jobs at companies in the Netherlands and extends over a length of no less than 40 kilometers. Unique in its kind and therefore an essential part during your visit to Rotterdam.
Learn more about the port during this cruise. You will be part of the traffic around the harbor, view the shipyard, the dock and the modern handling of thousands of containers.
Check out more water activities in Rotterdam!
5. Spend the night on the water
Are you planning on spending the night in Rotterdam? Then I definitely recommend to choose a special accommodation and luckily there are plenty of amazing places to stay in Rotterdam.
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.
Fun things to do on foot in Rotterdam
6. Discover the highlights of Rotterdam during a walk
The Cube Houses, the Markthal, the City Hall, but also the Central Station… All iconic buildings in Rotterdam to admire. Visit them all during a lovely walk!
Take a look at our highlights walking route. In this route you will pass the places that really stand out in the city and are characteristic of Rotterdam.
7. 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.
8. A day of shopping in Rotterdam
Rotterdam is definitely a good city for shopping. In the center of our city you can find all kinds of nice shops within walking distance of each other. Walk up the iconic Koopgoot or the Lijnbaan and you will find all the popular shops neatly lined up.
Of course there are also many nice boutiques and vintage shops in our city. Do you love vintage shopping? Then I recommend the Zwaanhals in Rotterdam Noord. There you will be amazed at all the vintage places.
To help you find your way around when you come shopping in Rotterdam, we also have a handy shopping route on offer, with which you can visit as many stores as possible in one day.
9. Learn more about the history of Rotterdam
The bombing in 1940 destroyed a large part of the city center. The reconstruction has made Rotterdam as we know it today: a modern metropolis with a lot of unique architecture.
Fortunately, there are certainly still traces of the past in our city. Take a walk along the fire border in Rotterdam, for example. This border shows the border of the area that was destroyed in 1940.
TIP: check our historic route in Rotterdam. Because some places are quite far apart, it is best to follow this route by bicycle or public transport.
Fun summer activities in Rotterdam
10. Visit a Rotterdam swimming pool
How wonderful it is to go for a swim when it’s hot! But where? I like to tip the Van Maanenbad in Blijdorp. According to our bloggers Kim one of the most beautiful swimming pools in Rotterdam. The nice thing about this pool is that you can also swim outside in the summer. Great for cooling off during those sultry summer days!
Do you want to know where you can find the best swimming pools in Rotterdam? Then read the article by Kim.
11. Visit Hoek van Holland and the beach club Pele Surf Shack
Looking for an amazing summer activity? Then be sure to visit Pele Surf Shack, 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.
12. 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.
A fun summer activity is renting 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!
13. Spend a night at the unique Culture Campsite
I already mentioned unique accommodations on the water in this article, but did you ever consider camping in a city? Because 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.
14. Enjoy a beautiful cycling tour on the island of IJsselmonde
From the heart of Rotterdam you can easily reach Island IJsselmonde, a surprisingly varied and undiscovered area.
Here you will find green oases with beautiful forests, landscaped gardens and historic farms. Beautiful cycling routes take you across the island via dikes, woods and river paths.
Does this sound like something you would love to do? ‘Discover IJsselmonde’ has listed the 5 most beautiful cycling routes for you.
15. Get a breath of fresh air on the Euromast
If you’re visiting Rotterdam for the first time, a visit to the Euromast is the perfect way to spend your day. Especially if the sun is shining! 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!
The Euromast, with its 185 meters, is the highest building of the Netherlands. The Euromast is part of the World Federations of Great Towers (WFGT): the 37 most beautiful and highest towers of the world, such as the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.
Not only can you enjoy the beautiful view over Rotterdam, it’s also possible to book a table and have a delicious dinner or just get some drinks. Also with a view of our city, of course!
TIP: Buy your ticket for the Euromast here.
Fun activities with friends in Rotterdam
16. Play a game of lawn bowling at Mooie Boules
You can find Mooie Boules in a characteristic metal factory in the emerging ZOHO area. It’s a unique hotspot, because it’s the first Rotterdam food hal where you can also play a game of lawn bowling. It’s a fun place to go if you’re looking for a fun activity with your friends.
The factory has been completely transformed into a French village square. Local restaurants serve signature dishes and the bar serves a wide range of wine, specialty and local beer. And of course you can play a game of lawn bowling here.
Mooie Boules is a perfect spot for fun with friends!
17. Take a flying lesson
Have you always wanted to admire Rotterdam from above? That’s possible. At Rotterdam The Hague Airport you can board a small plane and then fly over the city and see the city from the air.
For example, book a flying lesson or a sightseeing flight via Sand Air. Together with an experienced pilot you will fly over Rotterdam in no time. Wave immediately to all icons: the Erasmus Bridge, Euromast and the Market Hall. A really special experience!
Please note: there is a maximum of 3 people per plane. So you could experience it with more people by booking multiple planes.
18. Visit one of the Escape Rooms in Rotterdam with your friends
Are you looking for a bit of excitement? Then visit one of the many Escape Rooms in Rotterdam. Such as Escape Mission.
In addition to two fun escape rooms for kids, you can escape three fun rooms at Escape Mission. For example, choose the Castle. In this room you step into the shoes of Robin Hood and your mission is to steal the King’s crown. Finally, you can go to the Missing Room, where different teams just disappeared and you have to solve the mystery.
Check out more Escape Rooms in Rotterdam in this article.
19. Experience Virtual Reality at Zero Latency VR
Experience virtual reality in Rotterdam! For instance, you can do this at Zero Latency VR. Here you can experience the most advanced free-roam virtual reality with two to eight people at the same time. Free-roam VR means that you can move and walk around freely, in this case in a gigantic hall of 200 square meters.
Together with your team, you fight against zombies, space robots or discover a fantasy world. A fun and exciting way to work on team building!
Fun things to do during a rainy day in Rotterdam
20. Have an audiovisual journey in the Remastered Experience
Visit the newest interactive experience in Rotterdam: Remastered. In this attraction you will be taken on an audiovisual journey for an hour and you become one with the art.
Walk under a waterfall, go on an adventure with the unearthly creatures of Hieronymus Bosch, learn to time travel and surround yourself with paintings by Dutch Old Masters such as Van Gogh and Mondriaan. Each time you enter a new world and you don’t know what to expect.
Fun on a rainy day, with friends or for a one-on-one date!
Read more about this unique new attraction in our city and buy your entrance ticket here!
21. Enjoy a high tea
Nothing is cozier than sitting inside and drinking a warm cup of tea, while outside the raindrops fall down. So, a perfect moment to book a high tea!
During a high tea you get unlimited cups of tea and sweet treats such as scones, pies and chocolate. On the ss Rotterdam they offer a special Afternoon Tea. It starts off with a glass of Prosecco or jus d’orange, followed by sandwiches, wraps, vegetable muffins, fresh fruit and sweet delicacies. Think of homemade nougat, brownies and macarons.
Are you already getting hungry? Check out the best places for a high tea in Rotterdam.
22. Have a swim at an indoor swimming pool
Luckily Rotterdam has a wide variety of indoor pools! Having a swim indoor is a great way to stay active when it’s cold and rainy outside. There are swimming pools with fun recreational sections for children, but also pools that include saunas and steam cabins.
You can find a list of all the pools here (only in Dutch).
23. Visit one of the many museums in Rotterdam
A day at a museum is always fun and in Rotterdam there are plenty of museums to visit.
A fun museum to visit is the Maritime Museum Rotterdam. This museum is located in one of the largest and oldest museum ports in the Netherlands and here you can learn more about the past and present of the port of Rotterdam. With exhibitions, activities and a collection of historic ships and cranes, you’ll be here for a while.
Ideal for a fun activity with kids and on a rainy day.
Tip: buy your ticket in advance for the Maritime Museum here.
24. Have a look in the Kijk-Kubus
A visit to the Kijk-Kubus is a great thing to do on a rainy day in Rotterdam. In the Kijk-Kubus you get a glimpse what a Cube House looks like from the inside.
Rotterdam is known worldwide for its architecture. This is partly due to the iconic Cube Houses. So rain or shine, you must visit the Cube Houses!
TIP: To really have the full experience of living in a Cube house, you can also decide to stay at Stayokay Rotterdam Cube Hostel, which is a hostel in one of the cubes. Or rent a luxurious Cube house entirely for yourself via Airbnb.
24. Go on the Rotterdam hop on, hop off bus
Are you in Rotterdam for the first time and do you want to see as much as possible? Then a hop-on hop-off is more convenient than you think. With a 24- or 28-hour ticket you can get in and out wherever and whenever you want.
Of course it is best to discover Rotterdam on foot or by bike, but during a rainy day it is nice that you can hide from the rain in a bus and warm up. Then to brave the rain again with your umbrella and still admire all the sights of Rotterdam!
Fun kids activities in Rotterdam
25. Visit Plaswijckpark
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.
Be sure to also discover these fun family outings in Rotterdam!
26. Discover miniature Rotterdam at Miniworld Rotterdam
Miniworld Rotterdam is a super fun place for a day out with your kids. It is an indoor miniature world of Rotterdam with everything you can imagine. Here the kids discover the world in miniature size, a unique way to get to know the metropolis of Rotterdam better.
Expect over 650 square meters with Rotterdam polder landscapes, modern and historical architecture and of course the port of Europe. Everything is surprisingly detailed. Really a top place for a family outing in Rotterdam!
TIP: already get your ticket for Miniworld Rotterdam!
27. Visit 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.
28. Villa Zebra
Villa Zebra is a children’s museum with contemporary visual art. Visit Villa Zebra for interactive exhibitions and art installations, art workshops and reading afternoons.
29. Pannenkoekenboot (Pancake Boat)
If you are looking for the real Dutch experience with the family, you should go with the Pannenkoekenboot (which is Dutch for Pancake Boat). In addition to tasting the typical Dutch pancakes, you will explore Rotterdam with a boat trip on the Maas.
A super fun children’s activity, but secretly also fun (and delicious of course) for the grown ups.
TIP: already book your ride in the Pancake boat!
Fun things to do in the surrounding areas of Rotterdam
30. Discover miniature Netherlands in Madurodam
Another fun children’s activity, but in The Hague: Madurodam! Here you can discover the whole of the Netherlands in miniature.
But that’s certainly not all. Madurodam offers all kinds of fun attractions and activities. In the summer you can cool down here at Het Grote Hansje Brinker game and you can extinguish the fire in the port of Rotterdam together with friends and family. Or take a unique flight over the Amsterdam canals on board The Flying Dutchman.
TIP: get your tickets for Madurodam!
32. Escape the bustle of the city at Ackerdijkse Plassen
Ackerdijkse Plassen is a beautiful nature area between Delft and Rotterdam. So you have to leave Rotterdam for this walking spot (20 minutes by car from the center of Rotterdam), but it is definitely worth a visit, especially if you want to escape from the city.
The nature reserve is a popular place for cyclists, hikers it’s a true bird watchers paradise. From the De Tureluur observation tower you can see how different birds, such as Redshank and Black-headed Gulls, fly and breed. You also have a beautiful view of the Rotterdam skyline!
There are several walking routes you can take. With this walking route around the Ackerdijkse Plassen you walk around the nature reserve.
TIP: Bring a blanket, some food and drinks and enjoy a picnic in the grass during your walk! Take your waste home with you, of course.
33. 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: Already buy yourself the Kinderdijk ticket, which includes entrance to two Dutch mills and a boat tour through the village.
34. A cultural day at Museum Voorlinden
In Wassenaar, a half hour drive from Rotterdam Centre, you will find Museum Voorlinden. The museum is a privately funded initiative of the Dutch art collector Joop van Caldenborgh and displays his personal collection.
The permanent collection of Museum Voorlinden is very cool and the museum also offers nice exhibitions. The works are often interactive, so as a visitor you become part of the artwork yourself. An example is the work Open Ended, photographed above, by American artist Richard Serra. While walking you experience the work of art.
And there is a good chance that if you have ever seen Museum Voorlinden on Instagram, you have seen the work Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich. Erlich gave his artwork all the characteristics of a real swimming pool, but as a visitor you can still walk dry on the bottom.
Museum Voorlinden is definitely worth a visit! In addition to the permanent collection and exhibitions, there is a sculpture garden and you can walk around the estate. Got an appetite? There is also a restaurant with a terrace.
35. A magical time in the Efteling
A day at Efteling is unforgettable and fun for friends and family, young and old. In this magical amusement park you will visit the Sprookjesbos (Fairytale Forest), meet the Volk van Laaf and get your adrenaline pumping from a ride in the exciting Vogel Rok (Bird Roc) and Vliegende Hollander (Flying Dutchman). And of course you go for a magical experience in the Droomvlucht (Dream Flight) and Fata Morgana!
How do you get from Rotterdam to the Efteling? This is possible, for example, with the NS train, often discounts are available. You travel by train to Tilburg and from here you take the bus to the Efteling (bus lines 300, 301, 136 and 801). Get off at the Efteling bus stop. Do you have a car? Then it takes about 50 minutes from Rotterdam Centre.
TIP: already book your tickets for the Efteling.
These are the best activities in and around Rotterdam. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll have enough inspiration for a fun packed day.
Do you have any great tips for a fun day in Rotterdam? Let us know in the comments below.
2 replies on “35 Fun activities in and around Rotterdam”
I spend a lot of time in Rotterdam as I have a local friend who I visit (pre-crisis) regularly. There are several things on this list I’ll have to ask her to show me next time, but I am such a fan of the Water Taxi!
Rotterdam is on my bucket list! I’ve been almost all around Europe stopping by all the cites but I am still missing Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Really great list! I will make sure I’ll do everything!