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Rotterdam Holidays

Windmills, waterways, and the world’s favourite cheese

Rotterdam might be Amsterdam’s little brother, but it’s definitely the cooler of the two siblings. 

From its ultramodern architecture and cutting-edge arts scene to its sophisticated shops and alternative nightlife, this is a city that pushes cultural boundaries but pulls in fewer crowds than Amsterdam – adding to the sense that it’s one of Europe’s hippest secrets.  

Urban edginess gives way to rural calm when you venture a few minutes outside the city by train or metro. Ideal for hiking and biking, the lush landscape of the southern Netherlands is dotted with canals, churches, and working windmills. Incidentally, some of the world’s tallest windmills tower over the picturesque port city of Schiedam, which is only a 20-minute bike ride from central Rotterdam. 

North of Rotterdam and only half an hour away by train, The Hague hugs the Dutch coastline and is known as the city of peace and justice – it’s home to the Peace Palace, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court. A little less peaceful in summer, the city’s golden beaches attract scores of swimmers, surfers, and sunbathers – and there’s a host of eclectic music festivals and cultural events staged locally, too. 

Rotterdam holidays can also include a trip to Gouda, where the best things in life aren’t brie. This charming city gave birth to Gouda cheese, which now accounts for more than 50% of the world’s cheese consumption – and you’d be crackers to miss the Gouda Cheese Experience while you’re here.

A couple more destinations that can feature in Rotterdam holidays are Delft – which reveals a proud history of pottery production – and ancient Dordrecht, which is known as the Venice of the Netherlands. Both are only a 15-minute train journey from Rotterdam.   

Explore our map of Rotterdam

Your Rotterdam questions, answered

After an hour’s flight from London or Birmingham to Amsterdam Schiphol, you can hop on a 30-minute train to Rotterdam Centraal station – which is located in the heart of the city. 
The Netherlands uses Euros. It became the country’s official currency in 2002.
With temperatures hovering around 20ºC, June to September are considered the best months to visit Rotterdam. As well as the city’s raucous Summer Carnival in July, you can enjoy sunny days at the beach in The Hague, picnics in Rotterdam’s parks, and bike rides in the nearby countryside. Chilly winter days are brightened by trips to the Schaatsbaan ice rink, the Christmas Circus in Ahoy, and the charming festive market in Dordrecht.