Rotterdam is one of the largest cities in The Netherlands yet is not visited by travelers nearly as much as nearby and popular Amsterdam. Tourists & travelers who find their way to Rotterdam usually arrive for short-term work assignments or by a Cruise docking in the city center at the Rotterdam Passenger Terminal. In fact, many of them do an Amsterdam to Rotterdam day trip.
In recent years, the Dutch government has made a great effort to encourage tourism in other parts of the country and alleviate the tourism pressures in Amsterdam. Rotterdam has been the primary beneficiary of the program, experiencing an increase in tourism numbers. After discovering the stunning modern architecture, local foods & shopping that Rotterdam has to offer, most visitors start to look at other places around Rotterdam. Since Rotterdam is so well connected by the national rail system, other amazing cities in the Netherlands are only a quick train trips from Rotterdam.
In this blog post, you will discover the best day trips from Rotterdam Netherlands. I will share the highlights of these places to visit near Rotterdam and the best way to get there. These Rotterdam Day trips can be undertaken via rail, boat and even bicycle. So, let’s get rolling.
Heading to Rotterdam? Check out these resources to help you plan your trip better
In case you are looking for some quick links to tours, places to stay and travel accessories for your Rotterdam trip, you can consider using these online options.
- Booking.com is a great place to book your stay in Rotterdam. They have a range of accommodation options available – from B & Bs to luxury and mid-priced hotels. Check them out here.
- GetYourGuide has various local tours, skip-the-line tickets as well as car transfers for the Netherlands – especially Rotterdam available on their site. You can even buy a Rotterdam City Card that gives you discounts on various attractions as well as transport options.
- If you prefer booking tours on Viator, then this link has all the tours listed on them. Click through the link to browse and book one for yourself.
- For any of your travel needs or general shopping, consider using Amazon through this link.
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. Thank you for supporting me with this.
- 1 Best Rotterdam Day trips
- 1.1 Day trip from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk – Discover the Iconic Dutch Windmills
- 1.2 Rotterdam to Breda for a day. Ideal for Dutch Culture & Architecture
- 1.3 Train trips from Rotterdam to Hague – THE city for history & museums
- 1.4 Day tours from Rotterdam to Amsterdam
- 1.5 Rotterdam to Keukenhof gardens
- 1.6 Delft – one of the best day trips from Rotterdam Netherlands
- 1.7 Exploring the Cheese Capital: A Fun Day Trip from Rotterdam to Gouda!
Best Rotterdam Day trips
You’re in for a treat if you are staying in Rotterdam! There are just so many Rotterdam day trips that you can embark on to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether you’re craving a dose of history, nature’s embrace, or simply want to indulge in some small-town charm, I have you covered. All you have to do is grab your camera, pack a picnic basket, and get ready for some exciting adventures just a stone’s throw away from this vibrant city. Let’s dive into my top picks for unforgettable day trips from Rotterdam!
Day trip from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk – Discover the Iconic Dutch Windmills
Kinderdijk is a charming village located just outside of Rotterdam, offering a quintessentially Dutch experience. It has gained recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its collection of 19 meticulously preserved windmills, known as “Molen” in Dutch.
If you’re seeking an authentic taste of Holland, you should plan to witness the iconic Kinderdijk windmills from Rotterdam. While the Netherlands has numerous operational and monumental windmills, nowhere else in the country can you find such an extensive array of historically significant windmills.
Originally constructed to manage water levels and prevent flooding in low-lying areas, these windmills create a captivating and picturesque panorama against the backdrop of the Dutch countryside. A day trip to Kinderdijk will immerse you in the centuries-old tradition of Dutch life harmonizing with water.
Activities to enjoy on a Rotterdam day trip to Kinderdijk include:
Embark on a guided boat tour, a popular choice for experiencing Kinderdijk. These tours offer a unique perspective of the windmills as you glide along the water. Knowledgeable local captains share fascinating insights into the area and the significance of the windmills.
Explore the Nederwaard and Blokweer Museum Windmills, both open to visitors. Step inside these historic windmills and gain insight into their integral role in water management. From numerous displays showcasing the inner workings of windmills to exhibitions highlighting their centuries-old significance, these museums offer a captivating experience (entrance fee: €16 for both).
Walking and Cycling
Kinderdijk presents excellent opportunities for leisurely walks and cycling. Well-maintained paths and trails allow you to freely explore the area. Renting a bike from one of several rental points is a popular choice among tourists who wish to relish the scenic beauty of windmills, canals, and the surrounding landscapes. If you’ve already rented a bike in Rotterdam, take it with you! Bikes are allowed on the waterbus.
Embrace the charm of Kinderdijk and discover the legacy of windmills and Dutch ingenuity.
How to get to Kinderdijk?
You can use the fantastic Waterbus from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk! (really it’s just a small ferry)
From Rotterdam, you can take Line 21 and sail directly to Kinderdijk from the Erasmus Bridge. Depending on the time of day, the cost is only a few Euros per person each way.
There are many day tours from Rotterdam that include a guide as well. You can book one online using GetYourGuide.
Rotterdam to Breda for a day. Ideal for Dutch Culture & Architecture
Breda is one of those weekend trips from Rotterdam for those who enjoy immersing themselves in local culture and exploring architectural treasures. The city center, particularly the lively Grote Markt, offers a charming Dutch “cafe culture” experience with its outdoor terraces and vibrant atmosphere. You’ll find plenty of Instagram-worthy streets, historic buildings, and unique shops selling everything from high-design objects to handmade candy and gifts. In fact, you can opt for one of these self-guided walking tours of Breda. Alternatively, hire one of these bikes and zoom around Breda.
Here are some must-see attractions in Breda:
Grote Kerk (Great Church)
Visit this stunning Gothic church, also known as the Church of Our Lady. Its impressive architecture, panoramic views from the tower, and beautiful stained glass windows make it a must-see attraction with entry fees of only €7.50
Breda Castle (Kasteel van Breda)
Although not open to the public, you can still appreciate the exterior of this former royal residence that now houses the Royal Military Academy. Enjoy a leisurely walk around Valkenberg Park, which surrounds the castle.
Explore this peaceful courtyard dating back to the 13th century. Surrounded by historic buildings, it was once home to Beguines, a community of religious women. Take in the tranquil atmosphere and visit the Begijnhof Chapel.
Breda’s Historical Center
Wander through the historic center of Breda to admire its beautiful architecture, quaint streets, and lively squares. The Grote Markt is especially inviting with its cozy terraces and bustling cafes. Don’t miss Vismarkt (Fish Market) and Havermarkt as well.
Delve into Breda’s cultural scene by visiting the recently reopened Stedelijk Museum Breda. The museum showcases the history and rotating contemporary art exhibitions. Check the website before you go! The exhibits change frequently. Tickets are €13.50
Don’t forget to check out Breda’s festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Breda Jazz Festival and Breda Barst music festival (September). And after a day of exploration, you can enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife with its numerous bars and restaurants.
Breda truly offers a delightful blend of architecture, local culture, and outdoor experiences that help you appreciate the Dutch lifestyle.
How to do a one day trip from Rotterdam to Breda?
Breda is one of those convenient and fun train trips from Rotterdam. You can take the National Rail (NS) to Breda takes approximately 20 minutes and costs €11. Boarding at either Centraal or Rotterdam Blaak is the most convenient and direct way to get to Breda.
Train trips from Rotterdam to Hague – THE city for history & museums
Mention “The Hague” to most travelers, and the thought of international criminal courts is usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, The Hague (Den Haag) is more than that! As the seat of the Dutch government, The Hague is where the country’s political decisions are made. It houses the Dutch Parliament (Binnenhof) and various government ministries. The city is also the residence of the Dutch royal family, and the King’s working palace, Noordeinde Palace.
The city is known for its international significance, political importance, historical heritage, cultural offerings, and beautiful surroundings. It is a city that combines diplomacy, history, and a lively cultural scene, making it appealing among the places to visit around Rotterdam for History buffs and museum enthusiasts. I recommend Den Haag (The Hague) for the abundant outstanding museums.
Here are some of the best museums in The Hague that you can cover on your Rotterdam day tours:
The Mauritshuis is a renowned art museum located in a historic 17th-century palace. It houses an exceptional collection of Dutch and Flemish Golden Age paintings, including masterpieces like Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp,” and works by other prominent artists such as Jan Steen. Tickets to the museum are €19. You can even book them online through this link.
Kunstmuseum Den Haag (Museum of Contemporary Art)
This museum showcases a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by renowned artists like Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky. It also features a vast collection of Delftware and has an extensive fashion and costume collection. Tickets are €17.50
Escher in Het Paleis (Escher in The Palace)
Dedicated to the famous Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, this museum offers a unique experience. The museum displays a comprehensive collection of Escher’s mind-bending and mathematically-inspired artworks, providing insight into his creative genius and optical illusions. Tickets are €11.50. You can even book them online along with an audio guide.
Panorama Mesdag is home to the largest painting in the Netherlands, a panoramic depiction of the seaside village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century. The impressive circular painting creates an immersive experience, transporting visitors back in time. The museum also houses other artworks and exhibits related to Dutch art and culture. Tickets are €15.
For automobile enthusiasts, the Louwman Museum is a must-visit. It showcases one of the world’s most extensive private collections of classic and antique cars. The museum exhibits a wide range of beautifully preserved automobiles, including vintage models, luxury cars, and iconic vehicles from different eras. Special exhibits are often planned. Unique exhibits such as those dedicated to Cyclecars and Grand Sports provide a wonderful insight to mobility in the early 1900s and how it defined the onset of Racing & The Grand Prix.
These museums offer a diverse range of artistic, cultural, and historical experiences, making The Hague a captivating destination for art lovers, history buffs, and those seeking unique museum experiences.
How to get to The Hague from Rotterdam?
The NS Trains (National Rail) have departures from Rotterdam Blaak & Centraal station every few minutes towards Den Haag. For only a few Euros each way, you can be in the center of The Hague within minutes. Alternatively, for a more scenic (and slower) route, the Rotterdam Metro actually goes all the way to The Hague. The Metro is available at Rotterdam Blaak and takes approximately 30 minutes to get to Den Haag.
Day tours from Rotterdam to Amsterdam
Amsterdam needs no introduction or explanation! But if you find yourself in Rotterdam and want to visit the vibrant city of Amsterdam, it is a quick 50-minute train ride from Rotterdam and makes for a popular day trip for most tourists. With the tons of things to do in Amsterdam, you might just find yourself extending the Rotterdam one day trip to a weekend stay. Check out this detailed guide of what you can do in Amsterdam.
Best way to get to Amsterdam from Rotterdam
Taking a train from one of Rotterdam’s central stations (Blaak or Centraal), you can be in the city center of Amsterdam and everything it has to offer within an Hour.
Rotterdam to Keukenhof gardens
The incredibly popular gardens of the Keukenhof are known for the millions of blooming tulips, local botanicals, daffodils, and so much more. There are several pavilions inside Keukenhof which showcase indoor flower and plant shows. These shows change every week. It’s worth noting that the gardens are only open in the spring (Mid-March to Mid May). Check this guide about what you can see there, the best time and the tickets. If you’re looking for blooming tulips, wait until mid to late April, you’ll not be disappointed!
How to reach Keukenhoff from Rotterdam?
To reach the Keukenhof from Rotterdam, take the train from Rotterdam or The Hague to Leiden Central. Walk outside and find bus 854 on the bus platform. After a short 30 min bus ride you arrive at Keukenhof. The full trip duration (train + bus) is about an hour and 10 minutes each way.
Additionally, there are private and small group day tours in Rotterdam that include entry to the gardens with transportation.
Delft – one of the best day trips from Rotterdam Netherlands
Delft – a charming Dutch city promises picturesque canals, historic architecture, and an overall laid-back vibe. Just a stone’s throw away from Rotterdam, Delft is famous for its traditional blue pottery, stunning canals, and quaint cobblestone streets.
Here are the things to do on a day trip from Rotterdam to Delft –
Take a tour of the Picture-Perfect Canals
As you arrive in Delft, be prepared to fall head over heels for its enchanting network of canals. Take a leisurely stroll along the serene waters while admiring the lovely canal houses with their colorful facades reflected in the gentle ripples below. The best part? You’ll find plenty of cute little bridges begging for that quintessential Instagram-worthy shot!
You should even consider a boat tour of these canals. Try booking one here.
Delve into History at Nieuwe Kerk
Delft is renowned as the final resting place of Dutch Masters like Vermeer and Van Leeuwenhoek – two names synonymous with cultural heritage. Head over to Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), an impressive Gothic-style church dating back to the 14th century where these iconic figures are buried. Climb up its tower for breathtaking panoramic views of Delft; it’s well worth every step!
Visit the Vermeer Centrum Delft
Head over to the Vermeer Centrum Delft, dedicated to one of history’s greatest painters – Johannes Vermeer. Immerse yourself in his world as you discover his life and works through interactive exhibits and replicas of his masterpieces
Discover Royal History at Royal Delft
Delve into centuries-old traditions at Royal Delft, where authentic blue-and-white pottery is produced since 1653. Take a guided tour through their factory to witness skilled craftsmen hand-painting delicate designs on porcelain pieces – it’s truly mesmerizing!
A day trip to Delft from Rotterdam cannot be complete without the delicious Dutch treats From freshly baked stroopwafels (syrup waffles) to mouthwatering cheese platters – you should try it all. Make sure to stop by local bakeries and cheese shops to savor authentic flavors that will leave you wanting more.
Consider booking one of these walking tours of Delft to make the best of your one-day tour from Rotterdam.
How to get to Delft from Rotterdam?
Trains are undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to travel between these two cities. The journey takes just around 15 minutes, making it super quick. Head over to Rotterdam Central Station and purchase your ticket at one of the self-service machines or ticket counters. Trains run frequently throughout the day, so no need for strict schedules – just hop on the next available train and enjoy the ride! Sit back, relax, and take in the beautiful Dutch landscapes as you speed towards Delft.
If you’re up for some exercise while immersing yourself in local culture, consider renting a bike! This option allows you to experience an authentic Dutch adventure. You’ll find several rental shops scattered across Rotterdam where you can grab a stylish bicycle for the day. Once equipped with wheels, pedal your way along scenic routes like Maasboulevard or Schie Riverbank until you reach Delft – approximately a 30-minute ride away. It’s an enjoyable and eco-friendly option that lets you soak up nature en route!
Yet another optionf for a Rotterdam day tour to Delft is by boat. There are tons of them available throughout the day at the Rotterdam canals. This is another way to experience the extensive canal network of Rotterdam.
Exploring the Cheese Capital: A Fun Day Trip from Rotterdam to Gouda!
Gouda is another delightful places to visit around Rotterdam. This picturesque Dutch town is not only famous for its delectable cheese but also offers a charming blend of history, culture, and delicious treats. Check out some of the awesome activities you can enjoy while soaking up the charming atmosphere of Gouda.
Dive into Cheese Heaven
You simply can’t visit Gouda without immersing yourself in its rich cheese culture. Head over to the famous Cheese Market (held from April to August) and witness the spectacle of cheese weighing and trading. Don’t forget to sample some mouthwatering Gouda cheese along the way!
Stroll Through Historic Streets
Take a leisurely walk through the cobbled streets of Gouda’s city center, where you’ll be transported back in time. Admire beautiful historic buildings like the stunning City Hall and impressive Gothic-style Sint Janskerk (Saint John’s Church).
Visit Museumhaven Gouda
This open-air museum showcases old ships and boats that once sailed on Holland’s waterways, offering an intriguing glimpse into Gouda’s maritime past.
If you still have the time, visit the De Waag, an iconic 15th-century weigh house turned museum. Here you will learn about the city’s trade history and peek into various displays showcasing traditional crafts like pottery making and candle dipping. Finally, spend some time in one of the charming cafes by Gouda’s canals.
How to get to Gouda from Rotterdam?
There are several trains that depart for Utrecht or Amsterdam from Rotterdam. These are usually from Platform 4 or 5. These trains usually stop at Gouda and the entire journey is scenic where you chug through lush green landscapes dotted with windmills – classic Netherlands! The journey usually takes around 20-25 minutes.
As you can see, Rotterdam is the perfect base for exploring the wonders of the Netherlands. Whether you’re seeking tranquility in nature or looking to immerse yourself in rich history and culture, there are plenty of incredible day trips just waiting to be discovered. So pack your bags, hop on a bike or catch a train, because unforgettable adventures await just beyond Rotterdam’s doorstep!
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This post has been written by my guest author – Phil. Phil is a former business owner & founder who ditched the office to see the world. After traveling to more than 25 countries, he became a full-time expat, experiencing culture by living abroad. He’s had the opportunity to live in some amazing locations including Hawaii, The Netherlands & The United Kingdom. He lives for exploring new cultures, local foods, and unique experiences. Travel, Food, & Stories are the passions that he hopes to share with readers from around the world on his current blog focused on cruise travel.
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