I might be a Dutchie, in heart and soul, but there are so many cities I never explored in my own country. Now I don’t live in The Netherlands anymore it’s kind of aloud to be a tourist in my country and I totally take advantage of this. I’ve explored Rotterdam for one day and one night, and to be honest, this industrial city stole my heart.
I am taking you with on my short trip in this city. Showing you how I spend my time. Where I slept, ate, chill and had coffee. Be careful you might fall in love or wanna visit this city aswell. I can only say, do it! Do it now! And enjoy!
Rotterdam is famous for it’s big industrial harbor. When thinking about this city I remember the huge harbor and that I visit it on an excursion of highschool. I also remember the shops. I’ve been here several time for a good shopping day. And I’ve been here when my brother graduated from his master and we went to a fancy restaurant and did a boat trip. That’s all what I remember of Rotterdam. But now I know much more after this small trip as a real tourist.
Rotterdam is easy to reach by plane, car and train. I’ve took the train, because I was already in Utrecht. It only takes you 40 minutes from Utrecht. With the fast train from Amsterdam you will arrive on Rotterdam Central Station in +/- 50 minutes (supplement on the train, check NS). If you take the cheaper, slower train it’s 1 hour and 15 minutes. Yes, The Netherlands is oh-so small!
Being a tourist in a city means that you’re staying overnight. What is a better way to spend the time in a cool hostel. After some time searching I found the awesome hostel which is only 15 minutes walk from Central Station.
From Central Station you walk all the way straight on Mauritsweg and later on Eendrachtsweg until you see Witte de Withstraat on your left hand. That’s where you can find King Kong Hostel. Witte de Withstraat is a famous unique street, because it’s cosy, arty and trendy. It’s full of restaurants, bars, boutiques and shops. A place to be. A place to sleep!
You will find this best award winning hostel at number 74, which is almost at the beginning of Witte de With. When entering the hostel you will already see and feel why they were awarded. It’s looks cool, funky and cosy. After a warm welcome, perfect service and a free banana (haha no kidding!) I could go up to my room, I mean my bed. I was staying in the largest dormitory on the top floor, aka the loft. But if you are aiming for some more privacy, there are smaller dormitories and rooms available. So on the top, third floor, there was my bed waiting. The loft looks amazing. It’s decorated like an old gym. Really cool. Just one small disadvantage. No elevator in the building. So, after bringing my suitcase up I already did my workout for that day. No gym needed. I was the first in the room, so I could chose my bed. In the end we slept with only 3 people in a 10 person room. Probably because it’s winter time in The Netherlands. My bed cost me only 16,50 per night.
After checking in, making my bed and fresh up a bit it was time to explore the city. I already made a list with things to visit in the area of the hostel. First it was time to buy a present for my niece. There was a cute baby store around the corner. Unfortunately the shop is closing soon, so not necessary to share.
It was early in the afternoon and I didn’t had coffee yet. Can you imagine? So, I decided to get a flat white for take-away at Hopper Coffee, which is just a 3 minutes walk from the hostel. I was also going back there the next day, so more about this place later on. Time for some other art. Close to the hostel you can find several museums/exhibition galleries, like Boijmans van Beuningen, Witte de With Contemporary Art and Kunsthal. Just check out what’s going on and when they are open before going (tip: lots of places, like these museums, in Rotterdam are closed on Mondays). I decided to go to Kunsthal to see the exhibition of Peter Lindbergh – ‘A Different Vision on Fashion Photography’.
I can only say, if you still have time (until 12 February 2017) and you are interested in photography or fashion or both, go! Next to this exhibition there is much more to see, because there are seven halls. So, lot to see for only 12 euros.
After all the beautiful photos it got hungry, so it was time to grab some food. I am a sucker for food markets and guess what you can find them aswell in Rotterdam. There is the famous Markthal at Blaak, but I went to the newer market: Fenix Food Factory. You can find the market on the other side of the Erasmusbrug. From the hostel it’s a walk of 30 minutes from the hostel, but I assure you that’s it’s a nice walk. Especially when the sun is going down. The photo on the top (Rotterdam Travel Guide) was taken from Erasmus bridge.
At this food market you can choose whatever you like at different stands and sit wherever you like. I choose some Maroccan food from Meneer Tanger (Mister Tanger), and it was so delicious. You can choose different small dishes like couscous, baba ganoush, hummus, zaalouk and much more. You will get half a bread, so you can dip as much as you like! Great beers you can find at Kaapse Brouwers. They have so much choice and they can totally help you choosing.
With a full stomach and a bit tipsy I went back to the hostel to drop some stuff and than I went to see a movie at Wolff. I never watch any Dutch movies anymore since living in Barcelona, so I went to see an easy Dutch no-brain-needed movie. It was so relaxing. After the movie I had one more wine at the bar of the hostel and than it was sleepy time!
After my usual 8-hour sleep I woke up full of energy. I slept like a baby in this hostel. But it was time to check out. Check out is at 11:00, but I went a bit earlier. I could leave my suitcase here, so I could explore the city without thinking about my heavy luggage.
Time for breakfast! As I said before I went another time to Hopper Coffee. This place looks amazing. I already saw it on the internet and I was looking forward to see it in real. You can sit up- and downstairs. From up you have a good view over the place, but I prefer to sit close to the espresso machine (Mirage by Kees van der Westen yaasss). Let me be honest with you. I am kind of a machine stalker. I’ve been working, no wait I found my passion for coffee, by this Dutch espresso machine. So, I always feel nostalgic when seeing these machines. They are all over the world!
So, I found my place on the reading table next to the bar. So Hopper Coffee is using their own coffee. When I visited they had two types of espresso and three filter coffees. When in The Netherlands I like to take a french press, because you don’t see them so much in Barcelona. I let the barista choose and I ended up sipping an Ethiopian coffee. Well balanced, sweet and light. I was impressed that they extracted so many flavors out of the coffee with a french press. Yummy cakes guaranteed aswell!
After sitting here for a couple of hours I went around to some shops. Rotterdam is totally a good shopping city. The centre is small and you find all the big chains here. Than I picked up my suitcase at the hostel and I got hungry from all the shopping. Craving for a tasty bagel. There are so many good independent places for lunch, but I decided to go to Bagels & Beans. You can never go wrong with this. (Mostly) good service, fresh food, nice drinks, great locations. There is one next to the central train station of Rotterdam, so I went there.
I was enjoying this bagel so much, that I lost track of time. And I still had to go to a coffee place that was actually the reason why I went to Rotterdam. Almost running with my suitcase I went to Man Met Bril Koffie (translated: men with glasses). You walk here in 15 minutes from Central Station (or 10 minutes when running with a suitcase). I almost walked by, because I haven’t seen a sign. Luckily I found it! The place looks amazing, an open space with the roastery inside. Behind the bar two dedicated coffee guys. They let me try two types of espressos. Their more regular El Salvador and a funky Colombian. I was impressed. By the coffee, the skills and the passion of the baristas. It was fun hanging around, talk about coffee and try some espresso.
So, when in Rotterdam and looking for a perfect cup, the baristas with the glasses (or without) can totally help you!
Unfortunately I didn’t had so much time, because I had to catch a train. And the battery of my camera was almost empty. So, next time when I am in Rotterdam I totally swing by again to enjoy the place more calmly and take some more pictures. If you want to see more of this place, check my video below.
High on caffeine it was time to leave this industrial, but oh-so cosy city. I can only say: Rotterdam I felt in love with you and I will definitely come back!
See here everything in a short video: