7 free things to do in Rotterdam in 2019

Free things to do in Rotterdam

After free things to do in Rotterdam? From living in Rotterdam on a budget, and having many guests over who are a bit strapped for cash, I became a pro at enjoying Rotterdam on a budget. So here are 5 free things to do in Rotterdam in 2018!

1. Visit the Markthal

The Markthal is seriously cool. You don’t even have to buy anything in there, you can just enjoy both the outside and the inside of the place. It’s in true Rotterdam style – crazy architecture, that works. Don’t forget to look up either, that’s where it gets impressive.

The coolest part? People actually live in there. Then of course what tops it off is the array of amazing food there. You can also have a drink on top of the some of the stalls and people watch. The stalls in there this year are pretty awesome too (don’t buy anything though if you want to keep it free!)

free things to do in Rotterdam

2. Go for a walk along the harbour

Both the north and the south side is nice, but my favourite is walking along the south side. If you’re getting the metro, stop at Wilhelminaplein and walk along the front, by the bridge. If you carry on walking along, you’ll find a few cool restaurants and bars, the cruise terminal (which looks weird, yet cool asf), Hotel New York, Fenix Food Factory and the SS Rotterdam. And if you’re lucky (or unlucky as it’s busy as hell), you may see one of the huge cruise liners that docks there.

free things to do in Rotterdam

3. Visit the Cube houses

Whenever I show people the cube houses, I’m met with ‘oh wow’ or ‘WTF’ – and it’s just that. ‘Oh wow, and how the hell.’ More architectural bliss in Rotterdam. It’s essentially houses made out of cubes. You can walk around the outside for free or go into the museum (small fee), where you can see how it looks from the inside. The rest of the cubes are either rented or owned properties, or a hostel. I’ve been inside and honestly, it kind of creeped me out. Only because my mind was so confused at why the hell the rooms were shaped like that, that it didn’t quite know what to make of it. It made me feel dizzy.

It’s still cool as hell though.

free things to do in Rotterdam

4. Walk along the Erasmus bridge

Ahh, the iconic Erasmus bridge. On a lovely sunny day, this is the perfect place to walk if you want a city view. If you walk towards the city, you can just make out Rotterdam Centraal and the surrounding architecture. If you walk towards the south, it’s the best view. Mainly because of how cool De Rotterdammer looks. It’s also the perfect place to get those city architectural Instagram shots (#archilovers).

If it’s windy and rainy (like typical Holland always is), then I’d recommend avoiding the Erasmus bridge, unless you want to be blown into a bike or off the side of the bridge. (I’m kidding, but still, it’s pretty damn windy).


free things to do in Rotterdam

5. Go to Het Park by the Euromast

Despite Rotterdam being very built-up, it surprisingly has some amazing green spaces. By no means is Het Park the best park in the whole of Rotterdam, but it’s in reasonably close proximity to the center and of course the iconic Euromast. This means that it’s the perfect place to go if you’re wanting to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Het Park has plenty of green space, trees and lakes. It also has all your regular freaking adorable animals, like ducks, rabbits and squirrels. Like, I said, the perfect place to unwind from the mass of trams, bikes and cars (it’s okay, you’re safe here). 😉


free things to do in Rotterdam

6. Go to Rotterdam Centraal (if you didn’t arrive there already)

I know it may sound weird to suggest going to a train station as a thing to do, but honestly, you won’t be disappointed. It’s definitely a more unusual train station, but in a good way. Whenever I say to my friends – you just have to see Rotterdam Centraal! – they’re like ‘okay?’, but once there, they can see why. It’s not just the station itself, it’s just when you walk out you are surrounded by skyscrapers with crazy, yet cool architecture. If you haven’t been there already, then you need to go (the station even has a 3D painting and a giant screen inside!)

7. Explore the older parts of the city: Delfshaven and Oude Haven

Before you start moaning that Rotterdam is all glass and asymmetrical buildings, then you are mistaken! Some older parts of Rotterdam do exist. Delfshaven is a part of Rotterdam that is very Amsterdam-esque (if you go by the canal). There are lots of pretty terraces and little shops there too, and it’s very quiet when you stray from the main street. Oude Haven is similar, yet bursting with bars, so it’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down with a beverage and a pizza (which I’ve done many times).

Rotterdam is a city that you can technically spend no – or little – money on. So it’s the perfect place to visit or take your family or friends. If you aren’t an #archilover, then maybe this place will convert you!

Where is your favourite place in Rotterdam? Or what free things to do in Rotterdam have I missed out? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to join our Facebook group!

Emma Brown
Emma Brown
A familiar face at DutchRevew. Emma arrived in Holland in 2016 for a few weeks, fell in love with the place and never left. Here she rekindled her love of writing and travelling. Now you'll find her eating stroopwafels in the DutchReview office since 2017.


  1. […] Rotterdam, being the second biggest city in the Netherlands is also bustling with lots of different people, from lots of different nationalities and also has a large student community. It is known for its port, which is the biggest in Europe. If architecture and design is your thing, then this is the city for you. It has a rich history, one in which resulted in mass damage during WWII. As a result, Rotterdam used the city as a blank canvas to create an up-and-coming city vibe. It is the modern city of the Netherlands and its architectural design is to die for. […]


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