Lately I’ve been trying to be a bit more money-conscious when I travel (broke me is at least!). Researching well before heading out to find the best deals and free things to do, so I can splurge on other things if the need arises. So when I was given the opportunity to visit the hostel ROOM Rotterdam, I decided to challenge myself and do as much as I could in the dutch city for under 25 € (travel and accommodation not included). Spoiler alert, I did not only manage to stay within my budget but I spent way under the planned amount! How did i do it? Continue reading to find out.
Because the hostel where I stayed was in the middle of all I had planned on doing, I decided to divide my days between things to do in the city center, and across the river in the Charlois area.
My mind-set on walking around the city to see as much as possible saved me the cost of renting a bike (about 8-10€/day), or the 2 day public transport card (12.50€). Breakfast was included, and eating at the various food markets around town kept me within budget. The portions are elephantine for close to nothing in comparison to eating in a restaurant.
Food and transportation being sorted, I set off on my quest. These are the two routes that saved me a lot of money but still kept me entertained and amazed all weekend!
From the hostel I headed to the Markthal (Dominee Jan Scharpstraat, 3011 GZ Rotterdam), a must if you are in Rotterdam, not only for its design (yes those are apartments all around/atop it!), and impressive wall art, but the stalls inside are right out of a designers dream! Flowers, cakes, smoothies, juices, meats, fish, asian, mexican, greek food, waffles, you name it, you find it!
After a couple of hours roaming around the Markthal admiring the place, and buying some delicious Dutch Waffles to bring back (2€), I headed out to the Farmers’ Market to search for something to eat during my time in Rotterdam (7€). This market is on every Saturday of the month right outside the Markthal
From there I walked to the neighboring Sint-Laurenskerk, a beautiful gothic church and only remnant from medieval Rotterdam. Across, at the Grotekerkplein, they host regular events and creative exhibitions, so it’s worth researching a bit before heading there to not miss a thing!
Later on I roamed around the small canals and the shopping area, then back to the main canal back to the harbour. For a stroll by the stunning ships and boats in the promenade. (Tip: Great photo-op!)
And finally back to the hostel for one of their event nights!
From the hostel the water bus stop was just a couple of minutes walk away. Hopped on, paid my ticket (1€) and one stop later I was on the other side of the river (Charlois) ready for the second part of my weekend exploration.
I walked by the promenade towards the S.S. Rotterdam admiring the beautiful bronze sculptures along the way. The S.S. Rotterdam was once an ocean liner and cruise ship from the late 1950s now anchored to the dry docks of the port of Rotterdam and used as a hotel (owned by the WestCord Hotels). There are regular tours at an extra cost but…if you access through the cafe/restaurant, you can freely roam around for free. And the views over Rotterdam’s skyline are stunning!
Once done there, I walked back towards Erasmus bridge to find the popular Fenix Food Factory (Veerlaan 19, 3072 AN Rotterdam, Netherlands)
A relatively new market and food court in the heart of Rotterdam’s docks, in an old industrial unit transformed into an alternative space. Besides the food market and food court, they also offer regular events and for all audiences. Here I got a cheese tasting menu for 3.75€ (they also have a cold cuts tasting board, as well as cider and beer tasting) and sat back in the terrace facing the river. The perfect place for an afternoon relaxing with friends and some nice food and drinks.
Passing by the cruise terminal and the old dock units, I had heard of a really stunning new rooftop bar I wanted to check! (who wouldn’t want to go to a rooftop terrace when the sun is going down!) The NHOW Bar/kitchen is located on the 7th floor of the NHOW design hotel (Wilhelminakade, 3072 AP Rotterdam) and the terrace gives the perfect view over Rotterdam’s crazy skyline.
They offer a large range of international cuisine in their restaurant, and coffee and cocktails in the bar and terrace area. Whether you decide to sit in or enjoy the terrace, the NHOW Bar/Kitchen will not disappoint. Clean minimalistic design and friendly staff will make your visit one to remember, but remember to book in advance if you plan on eating.
Done admiring stunning Rotterdam from high above, I made my way back to Erasmus bridge and back to the other side of the river.
Once there I decided I still had some time left so decided to do the self-guided walking tour of the historic vessels, shipbuilding tools and storage devices in the Havenmuseum. Rotterdam, being the largest harbor city in Europe wouldn’t be complete without a Maritim Museum!
It’s fascinating to see how things have changed throughout time. The whole tour includes the 15 most prominent ships, and gives a short background to each one of them. Most of them are private owned and still in use, so may happen that you don’t get to see some of them at the time.
You can find the self-guided tour plan at the reception of the Maritim Museum for free, simply follow it, and head out to discover these beauties of human engineering.
After that, you can continue roaming the city a bit longer, but I was so tired I made my way back and enjoyed a night of packing and chatting with really cool people. After all I was leaving the next day.
Rotterdam is a fascinating city and I’m hoping to go back as soon as possible. I managed to squeeze a lot (and spend very little) but there’s still so much more to do in this dutch city that a second, third, fourth visit would be needed!
Have you ever been to Rotterdam? Anything I should not miss next time I’m in town? Let me know down in the comments 🙂