Riding Around Rotterdam
All along our trip, people kept asking us why we were planning on going to Rotterdam. They kept telling us it was a smaller, less fun version of Amsterdam. But after going there, we are asking why TF wouldn't you go? It could not be more different from Amsterdam. It is modern, urban, and sleek. Amsterdam is amazing; I've been twice and loved it both times, but it is not the only city The Netherlands has to offer. Rotterdam is a bucket list destination, for sure.
Where We Stayed
Hostel Ani & Haakien
I have been raving about this hostel non-stop since my stay. It's the most charming, frienly, welcoming little place nestled on a quiet block only a short walk from the main station. It is definitely not the most comfortable or the most modern hostel, but what it lacks in comfort it more than makes up for in charm. The back courtyard is colorful and filled with smiling faces from around the world looking to hang out. The staff is helpful and will be happy to assist you with making plans to get the most out of your visit. The owner is the sweetest woman and her adorable cat roams freely through the hostel common areas. Read my more in-depth review here.
What To Eat
This is the main market in Rotterdam and it's unreal. There are so many delicious options it's hard to choose just one - so we didn't. We each brought a back pack and loaded up...typical Brooke and Shannon. We tried delicious breads and cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, sweet treats, traditional Dutch frites, and even some Chinese food! All of it was sooooo good. The architecture of the building is crazy cool too! People live all around and even above the market, and their apartments overlook it. It's centrally located in the city as well, so definitely worth a visit.
What To Do
Lucky for us, we were able to rent bikes for $10 for a whole day from our hostel. Rotterdam literally has an entire infrastructure of bike roads along side the real roads. There are even seperate traffic lights, roundabouts, and passing lanes for bikers. It's the perfect city to see on two wheels. The architecture is also incredible and this is a great way to get to see a lot of the city. We rode over several bridges and explored both sides of the river all in a few hours.
This is such a beautiful park! It absolutely rivals its more famous counterparts like Central and Hyde. It is a wooded park that surrounds a huge lake topped with sailors and rowers - perfect for people watching. The park is nestled in a more residential section of Rotterdam that we also loved exploring. We found a nice area under a tree and had a picnic while enjoying the unseasonably warm day. This park is big enough that you could spend the whole day, but we only spent an afternoon. Don't miss out on this park, or this city, on your next trip to Holland.
This was, without question, the biggest blooper of our trip. We went on a bar crawl the night before and had to wake up early to catch a train to Rotterdam. We were both severely hungover. As we were packing up, I mentioned to Brooke that I didn't know where my passport was, but she assured me that it was probably in the bottom of my backpack and I didn't have the energy to check. When we arrived at our hostel in Rotterdam, they asked for our passports. We told them we had to dig them out of our bags and asked if we could bring them down later. The staff was nice enough to agree. We got upstairs and, still feeling queasy, napped for a few hours. When we woke up I looked for my passport and couldn't find it anywhere. This is when Brooke realized hers was also missing! After mini panic attacks, we called the hostel in Amsterdam and they informed us they still had our passports from when we checked in there! That night, we had to take the train all the way back to Amsterdam and then all the way back to Rotterdam. Moral of the story is to always check for your passport no matter how hungover you are.