Although there are many excellent breakfast and brunch spots in central Rotterdam, it is worth checking out Picknick on Mariniersweg due to its excellent menu, delicious coffee and proximity to several major attractions. There’s some real gems available at Picknick including super fresh breakfast platters with ham, egg and scones or Moroccan style pancakes. Spending the morning at Picknick is particularly lovely during sunny spells due to the restaurants charming terrace.
Picknick is within walking distance from one of Rotterdam’s most iconic pieces of architecture – the Cube Houses. These geometrical homes were designed to resemble an urban forest with each house representing a singular tree. Whilst the large majority of the Cube Houses are permanently occupied, one of their number currently contains a fascinating museum that is dedicated to the complex’s genesis and design.
Feeling peckish? Wander over to Stockholm or Quay 4 which are located just beyond the Cube House complex on Oudehaven harbour. After regaining some energy either walk, cycle or take public transport towards Coolhaven Metro and then head south to Euromast– a monumental observation tower that offers amazing views across Rotterdam’s city centre and houses a high-end, yet affordable restaurant.
Like all Dutch cities, Rotterdam features many bike rental facilities that offer customers several types of packages including 24 hour or longer leases. Whilst it might seem slightly scary to ride a bike in Rotterdam at first, the city is pretty accommodating to cyclists and has particularly well-kept bike paths. After renting a bike, head eastwards out of the city towards the village of Kinderdijk. Making this journey without a bicycle is also possible as two frequent bus services run between Kinderdijk and Rotterdam’s Zuidplein Station.
There are several restaurants around Kinderdijk that offer lunchtime meals including Café de Klok or Grand Café Buena Vista on Molenstraat, both serving good soup, sandwiches and pancakes. After eating, head over to Kinderdijk’s main attraction – the mill network. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains 18 monumental windmills that were mainly built during the 18th century in order to control water levels around the area. It is free to enter the network and there several bike paths trail between these incredible machines. There’s also guided tours available onsite and Kinderdijk also features several museums dedicated to the area’s history.
As returning to Rotterdam takes roughly an hour it’s worth thinking about dinner before arriving in the city. Fortunately, one of Rotterdam’s most iconic landmarks, Markthal, also serves as the city’s largest culinary hotspot. There are around 20 restaurants inside this gigantic, horseshoe shaped building and Markthal also features one of the largest artworks in the world, Horn of Plenty, which is plastered onto its conceived ceiling.
📍 Markthal, Dominee Jan Scharpstraat 298, Rotterdam +31 30 234 6486
Although most of Rotterdam’s centre was heavily damaged by aerial bombings during World War II, its southwestern, waterside neighbourhood Delfshaven survived these attacks and is considered the oldest part of the city. The entire district is steeped in history and spending time wandering through its centuries-old docklands is always rewarding. There also several lunchtime restaurants inside Delfshaven, such as de Machinist or Bij Loes Delfshaven.
📍De Machinist, Willem Buytewechstraat 45, Rotterdam +31 10 477 5700
📍Bij Loes Delfshaven, Voorhaven 35, Rotterdam +31 10 477 3453
After enjoying the sights at Delfshaven it’s onto Rotterdam’s Museumpark which features several world-leading cultural institutions including Kunsthal and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. These two museums specialise in historic and contemporary art, and always feature an impressive range of artworks. It is worth checking out what’s on at either museum beforehand in order to decide where to spend the afternoon.
📍Kunsthal, Westzeedijk 341, Rotterdam +31 10 440 0300
📍Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Museumpark 18, Rotterdam +31 10 441 9400
Museumpark actually leads onto this guide’s final destination: Witte de Withstraat – renowned for its excellent bars, restaurants and nightlife. There are many excellent places to eat on this street such as Hotel Bazar which mainly serves middle eastern and north african dishes, or Ter Marsch & Co whose menu revolves around gourmet burgers. For drinks, music and good vibes head over to WORM or Café de Witte Aap.
📍Hotel Bazar, Witte de Withstraat 16, Rotterdam +31 10 206 5151
📍WORM, Boomgaardsstraat 71, Rotterdam +31 10 476 7832
📍Café de Witte Aap, Witte de Withstraat 78, Rotterdam +31 10 414 9565