If you find yourself with only one day to explore Rotterdam as a family, rather than wandering around darting from place to place make just one stop to hit many of the city’s famous highlights with this kid friendly itinerary.
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Although a small country, the Netherlands has an endless number of famous landmarks, museums, and cities to visit. If visiting Rotterdam is on your list but you have a limited amount of time available or are just stopping off for the day as part of a cruise off shore excursion then this 1 day itinerary is for you.
Living here as expats has allowed us to visit this area dozens of times and the area never gets old. Even if you just want to wander around, this area is a great jumping off point and showcases the international aspect of the city.
Located at Blaak station, the Stadsdriehoek area, or city triangle in English, has a multitude of activities and treats that both adults and kids can enjoy.
At this one stop you can visit some of Rotterdam’s famous attractions: Markthal, the Cube Houses, Laurenskerk, and a 10 to 15 minute walk away you can also walk along the Nieuwe Maas river and see the famous Erasmusbrug, also known as the swan bridge.
This area is also blessed with an abundance of food options as well as having most of the famous Dutch foods to try like frites (french fries), pannenkoek (pancakes), and poffertjes (small puffy pancakes).
There are also 2 grocery stores located in the area that provide additional budget options as well. See my tips for grocery shopping in the Netherlands if you decide to go that route.
On Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays it is market day where you can visit the longest street market in Europe. With over 400 stalls the market stretches 1.55 miles (2,5 km) and the offerings vary with more food stalls present on Tuesdays.
For more info on the market: https://www.cityguiderotterdam.com/shopping/shopping-areas/market-rotterdam-centre/
One of the few structures in central Rotterdam to have survived the bombardment during World War II, the Grote Laurenskerk is the last remaining Gothic building in Rotterdam. Built over a 70 plus year history between the mid 1400 and 1500, the church stands as a connection between Rotterdam’s past and present.
You can visit the church and watch a video about the bombing of Rotterdam, view the largest church organ in the Netherlands and, on Wednesdays and Saturdays from March to October, climb up the tower’s 300 steps and see a panorama view of the city
Get the latest info on prices and opening times here: https://laurenskerkrotterdam.nl/en/visit/
The unique architecture of the Cube Houses have drawn countless visitors to Rotterdam as they ask the question on everyone’s mind, “do people actually live there?”
Well, you don’t need to wonder as you can tour one of the units which is maintained as a show house for the curious. It also acts as a mini-museum providing information about the Cube houses, its architect, and the surrounding area.
Get the latest prices and opening times here: https://www.kubuswoning.nl/en/visit.html
Grab food at the Markthal and while you wait take in the impressive architecture and art that makes that indoor market so unique.
From kibbeling to ramen or ice cream to stroopwafels the food offerings at the Markthal are legendary. There are plenty of options for food that you can eat in the Markthal or take to go.
When visiting the Markthal with kids, we like to order our food and take it outside to enjoy. Just outside the building as you head towards the church is a large grass area with giant structures kids can climb. It’s a perfect area to let kids use up some of their energy.
My recommended lunch if you are looking to enjoy the Dutch favorites is to try the cheese from Cheese and more, fries from Bram Ladage, kibbeling from Royal Fish, and stroopwafels from Goudstroop.
Other favorites are ice cream from De Ijssalon and ramen from Ramen Bar Sensei.
There is also a supermarket, Albert Heijn, located inside. See my tips here for grocery shopping in the Netherlands.
Scope out the restaurants and layout of the Markthal in advance here: https://www.markthal.nl/
Finished in 1996, the Erasmusbrug, Erasmus bridge in English, connects the north and south areas of Rotterdam. The 456 feet (139 m) high pylon with swooping cables have led to its nickname, the Swan.
The landmark is even a part of the city’s logo and is the backdrop for the city’s must see fireworks display on New Years Eve.
The port of Rotterdam is the largest sea port in Europe and 10th largest port in the world. With over 130,000 vessels coming through the port, it makes sense to visit the maritime museum to learn more about the legacy of Dutch trading.
With a dedicated kids area, the museum is suited for all ages. The sea monsters exhibit is an engaging activity especially for children 4 and up. For kids of all ages, the Professor Splash area is a kid paradise with both indoor and outdoor hands on exhibits.
There are also a number of ships and equipment located outside which are also fun for the kids to see.
Get the latest information about the museums exhibits of prices here: https://www.maritiemmuseum.nl/
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One Day Rotterdam Itinerary Recap
- Get poffertjes and pannenkoek at Dutch Diner
- Visit the Laurenskerk church, and if open, climb the tower
- Visit the Cube Houses
- Get lunch at the Markthal
- Walk to the river and view the Erasmusbrug
- Visit the Maritime museum