In the Netherlands and bordering the North Sea, you will find a unique city called Rotterdam. The city offers a bit of everything and is simultaneously a port city, a haven for nightlife and shopping, and a place of innovation and art. One thing that will stand out the most during your time here is the architecture, as the skyscrapers and buildings that make up its skyline have earned it the nickname of "Manhattan on the Meuse".
Rotterdam is the second largest city in Holland and home to one of the top five biggest ports in the world, which is in fact the biggest in Europe! You will have lots to see and do in terms of food and entertainment, as the city often hosts festivals and events. And don't forget the best museums in Rotterdam as they are must-see attractions.
Rotterdam is a gateway to a wide selection of other cities and places full of adventure. If you reserve a couple of days from your vacation to travel outside of the city center you will have the opportunity to experience a lot of cool things. Day trips are a fantastic way to see something new while still being able to enjoy the city that you are in and to make getting around more convenient, leave your belongings behind in a Rotterdam luggage storage facility.
How to get out of Rotterdam
Rotterdam has a very convenient public transportation system with the tram, bus and train being the main ways of getting around. The metro has five lines that connect different neighborhoods and there is even a water taxi that can be used to get to nearly 50 different destinations in Rotterdam and beyond! Visitors who like to be active can travel around by bike using the 32,000 kilometers of cycling paths that circle around the city.
When you are planning to go outside of Rotterdam on a day trip the train from Rotterdam Station will most likely be your most common means of travel, and most places can be reached within a couple of hours. You will also have the option to rent a car and drive yourself around or take a taxi, although we recommend using the bus or train when possible. It will be less stressful than navigating an unknown city on your own and can save you money, too!
From Rotterdam to Amsterdam
One of the best day trips from Rotterdam is to Amsterdam which, as the capital city of the Netherlands, is a place that everyone who visits the country should see. It has a great nightlife and a colorful culture, plus a vibrant history that dates back all the way to the 13th century. It is a popular destination and can get busy but there are so many things to see that make it worth exploring, especially since it is easy to get to from Rotterdam!
There are some places that you just have to visit during your day trip, like the Amsterdam Museum which will tell you all about the city and its past. Art lovers will absolutely want to stop by the Rijksmuseum where all kinds of incredible artworks are kept, including Night Watch by Rembrandt! The Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum should also be on your itinerary. If you feel like getting wild the city really wakes up at night, so make your way to the Red Light District. You can even have fun just walking around the cobblestone streets admiring the architecture and canals, or by exploring places like the Botanical Gardens.
How to get to Amsterdam
There is so much to do in Amsterdam that you might want to stay here for a couple of days. Luckily it is not very far at all, and you can get between the two cities in just 45 minutes by train. You can also drive there in about an hour.
From Rotterdam to Dordrecht
Dordrecht will be one of your favorite Rotterdam day trips. As the fifth largest city in South Holland and its oldest city, the town is filled with personality and charm and has an incredible history. The story of Dordrecht dates back to the 13th century when it was granted city rights by the Count of Holland, William I. Despite all that it has to offer, Dordrecht is often less busy than some of the other nearby cities and is the perfect getaway from the bustling city streets that you will experience while visiting Rotterdam.
Take a trip to the Dordrecht Minster to admire an incredible view of the winding canals and row houses. Alternatively, you can see the city from a different perspective by taking a boat tour or checking out one of the many museums that are found in this beautiful city. You can also visit the Villa Augustus if you want to do some sightseeing as well!
How to get to Dordrecht
This Dutch city is a fantastic place for a day trip since it is so easily accessible from Rotterdam. You can take the waterbus directly here or drive yourself there in about 30 minutes by car. Taking the train is also easy and will only take about 15 minutes, so you have no excuse to not come here during your trip to Rotterdam!
From Rotterdam to Gouda
You have probably heard of Gouda cheese before, and you are right in assuming that this city is where it originated from! It is one of the best day trips from Rotterdam for foodies, although there are other things that make it worth visiting as well. Upon your visit, you will find a town filled with friendly people and charming canals, plus plenty of dairy-related activities to enjoy. If you like being active you can easily get to many of the different attractions by bicycle and it is very pleasant to explore the city on two wheels.
During your time in Gouda, there are some things that you just can't miss out on. Attend a cheese tasting or visit a cheese market to try the delicious dairy product, or even consider visiting the Museum Gouda! Some people love taking a ride down the canals on a SUP board too, and keep your eye open for hidden gems like hidden churches or flour mills that are still in operation. Finally, make some time to go sightseeing at the Gouda Town Hall before heading back to Rotterdam.
How to get to Gouda
Gouda is situated very close to Rotterdam and you can get here by car, train or even by bike! It is very doable by bicycle taking just an hour and a half. Using a car, the journey only takes half an hour, and the train ride takes under 20 minutes.
From Rotterdam to Kinderdijk
Consider Kinderdijk for your next Rotterdam day trip; it is home to the world famous windmills that have been a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 and a must visit place for anyone exploring the Dutch countryside. It is a very small town that resembles an open air museum but it is not, so it is important to remember to be respectful of the locals and their private property.
That being said, the gorgeous buildings are reminiscent of the middle ages and have a historic significance that makes seeing them in person even more special. To fully understand the importance of these windmills you can check out the two Museum Mills in the area. In total there are 19 mills in this village that were built back in 1740 and they are now one of the Netherlands' most visited landmarks.
How to get to Kinderdijk
Although you can drive to Kinderdijk it is recommended to use public transport when possible, since the town is so small and not used to having that many cars traveling through it. You won't have any problems getting here using public transit or the waterbus which should only take about an hour.
From Rotterdam to The Hague
Located just a short distance from Rotterdam is one of the most important cities in the country. The Hague is home to the Dutch Parliament as well as the Peace Palace although there is much more to see than just beautiful buildings. Here you can create the perfect mix between city life and nature as it is situated close to a lovely beach, and the city center offers lots to explore as well.
Many travelers like to visit Madurodam which is a miniature theme park with plenty of interactive attractions that can give you an insight into the local culture and history of the city. If it is nice out you can just spend the whole afternoon at Scheveningen beach! There is a local market called De Haagse Markt that is worth stopping by and is a fantastic place to find great food and fresh produce. You will also find plenty of museums and art galleries in the city including the Mauritshuis where The Girl With The Pearl Earring is housed. Traveling with kids? Consider visiting Sea Life to see over 150 different species of fish!
How to get to The Hague
Getting to The Hague will be fast and simple since it is situated just along the North Sea coastline. You can either drive here by car in under half an hour or take advantage of the public transport systems which will take about the same amount of time.
From Rotterdam to Utrecht
Often referred to as mini Amsterdam, Utrecht definitely deserves a spot on your list of Rotterdam day trips. As a UNESCO City of Literature, this city speaks for itself, and you will find a wide array of literature related events and festivals that are put on almost daily. The town even boasts a decent nightlife with affordable food and drink options so everyone can find something fun to do here.
As you explore the city there are some places that you just have to visit, like the Dom Church and the famous Dom Tower. Consider climbing to the top to enjoy a bird's eye view of the historic center below you! If you don't mind taking a journey outside of the city you can go see the incredible neo-gothic castle De Haar which was built in the 14th century. It also has beautiful gardens that you can walk through. Don't miss out on seeing the Rietveld Schröder House during your day trip, too.
How to get to Utrecht
Getting from Utrecht to Rotterdam will be quick and easy. You can drive yourself there in about an hour but why bother when the train can get you there even faster? Hop on the railway and you will reach the city in just over half an hour.
From Rotterdam to Hoek Van Holland
This next day trip is technically not even located outside of the city limits of Rotterdam but you will feel as though you are in a completely different place. Here you will find one of the most beautiful towns in the area that is placed upon a pristine beach with incredible sand dunes. There are lots of beach bars and clubs here as well!
Adventure seekers will find plenty to do as there are lots of hikes and walking trails found nearby. You will also have plenty of options for biking around as well. If you take a quick ferry ride from here you can add Futureland to your itinerary, or you can just spend the day recharging on the beach!
How to get to Hoek Van Holland
In this case, getting to Hoek Van Holland will be faster if you drive. You can reach it in just half an hour by car, although the public transport options are convenient as well. If you don't want to drive there yourself you can still reach the beach in about an hour.
Rotterdam and Beyond
Rotterdam has its fair share of attractions for you to enjoy, like admiring the fascinating Cube Houses or browsing the shops and cafes by the main square. It was even targeted during the Second World War which has left its mark on the town and given it a certain historic significance.
However, when it comes to day trips from Rotterdam there are more than a few places that will catch your interest. You will find beautiful national parks and historic towns all within easy traveling distance from the city, and since the Netherlands is a pretty small country they are all conveniently connected. Take advantage of the nearby proximity to discover somewhere new!