Why Rotterdam Makes The Perfect Weekend Break Destination

Rotterdam makes the perfect weekend break destination as it's so close to London! The modern architecture and great food make it great for a city break.

Last year I had an incredible summer of travel: I explored South America for three weeks and got to see Machu Picchu, I spent a sunshine filled weekend in Seville but the biggest and most pleasant surprise was Rotterdam.

My husband and I were in Rotterdam for the weekend for the North Sea Jazz Festival (which by the way was an incredible festival), without this we would never have thought to visit this vibrant European city.

Rotterdam was named in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Best in Travel in 2016 and I can see why. Rotterdam is Amsterdam’s cool little sister. If you are looking for an alternative European city break then I can highly recommend this Dutch city!

What sets Rotterdam apart from other European cities?

Rotterdam is a new city

Rotterdam makes a great European city break. It is full of modern architecture, making it a great alternative to Amsterdam.

During the Second World War Rotterdam was almost completely destroyed and brought down to rubble. This was obviously incredibly devastating and they set to work quickly to rebuild their city. This led to the design of a brand new city that works in the modern age, which is why the architecture here is so different to the traditional feel of Utrecht and Amsterdam.

Many of the European cities that are seen again and again in top 10 travel lists are old cities like Rome, Paris and Barcelona. Beautiful and important in their own ways, but in Rotterdam you can experience how a city should be built for the modern era. All the infrastructure works so well!

The Cube houses are a set of houses built in Rotterdam designed by architect Piet Blom. One of the reasons we loved Rotterdam as a city break!

The more traditional architecture of Rotterdam. We loved this compact city for our weekend break.

The Erasmus Bridge in the centre of Rotterdam connects the north and south parts of the city.

Its a beautiful city with mainly modern architecture, although some of the suburbs are still full of traditional buildings. Rotterdam is a design led city full of iconic buildings. We loved the skyscrapers of all different shapes reflecting the Nieuwe Maas river surrounding them below. And don’t miss the Erasmus Bridge which connects the north and southern parts of the city. I think one of the reasons Rotterdam is unlike like any other European city I’ve travelled to is its design.

It takes less than an hour to fly to Rotterdam

For Londoners and most of the UK, Rotterdam is very close by and not expensive to travel to. If London based you can fly from City Airport with British Airways in just 50 minutes! Or if you’re more conscious about using trains over planes you can be in Rotterdam in about 4 hours from St Pancras International train station.

Rotterdam is the perfect city break. Full of interesting architecture, museums, great food and friendly people. We spend the whole weekend walking around this wonderful city.

Oh and if you like Jazz (new or old, we were mainly there to see Jamiroquai!) then make sure you check out The North Sea Jazz Festival. It is one of the best music festivals I’ve ever been to. Every little detail has been though of, it offers an incredible range of live music and the crowd is a great mix of all ages.

The locals make this city. Rotterdam is the friendliest city in Europe I have had the pleasure of visiting. We couldn’t get over how welcoming and helpful people were, and everyone is always smiling!

Why Rotterdam makes the perfect destination for a weekend break

The food

Food is always going to be one of the top reasons for me to travel somewhere!

The Markthal in Rotterdam is a massive market hall with food stalls, restaurants and a supermarket. It also has apartments that have windows down into the market. It's a wonderful building!

The Markthal in Rotterdam is a massive market hall with food stalls, restaurants and a supermarket. It also has apartments that have windows down into the market.There is a great range of food on offer.

There is the famous Markthal. This interesting looking building houses an incredible array of different food stalls, restaurants, a supermarket and apartments that go the whole way around and look into the market hall. Artwork covers the ceiling of the arch making it a very vibrant place to explore.

Just some of the delicious food available to eat at Fenix Food Factory in Rotterdam. This is an old warehouse with lots of food and drink stalls. Perfect for a summer afternoon.

There are lots of great independent restaurants and a great food market down on the river in an old warehouse called Fenix Food Factory which is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon.

The architecture and museums

I really do think the stunning architecture is one of the biggest draws of Rotterdam. We walked everywhere and loved coming across such an array of different looking buildings.

The old and new architecture in Rotterdam.

The Luchtsingel bridge in Rotterdam. The bright yellow wooden structure is a pedestrian pathway that connects Rotterdam Centraal station with the historic Laurenskwartier district.

Rotterdam is also home to a great selection of museums. The Museumpark lies in the centre of town, the location for a number of the best museums, and most of the others are within 15 minutes walk. There is a special combined ticket available which you can use to visit all museums in the Museumpark at a reduced price. There is a super cool looking photography museum down by the river, unfortunately it was closed on the day we went past, but definitely worth a look!

Great nightlife

Witte de Withstraat is Rotterdam’s most famous nightlife street: it is lined with restaurants and bars. We loved the vibe around here as there is a lot of outdoor seating so you can sip your cocktails whilst you people watch on a warm summers evening.

There are a great mix of bars and restaurants in Rotterdam. Witte de Withstraat is full of great places to eat and drink.

All through the city there are some great bars for all different budgets. The neighbourhood bars are just as cool, dotted on street corners and open until late, we often had a nightcap in some cool little bar. We stayed in an Airbnb just to the north of the centre and it felt very much like East London.

Easy to navigate

It is so easy to get around Rotterdam! You can get all over the city by bus, tram and metro. Or if its sunny like it was for us, you can walk. The city can easily be explored over two days!

Rotterdam Centraal Station. Beautifully designed!

There is the option of a Hop on Hop off bus or there is also the historic tram line 10. Both will take you past many of the tourist attractions of Rotterdam and you can get on or off whenever you feel like it. There is also the water taxis that look like great fun to help you get from A to B.

Where is your favourite weekend break destination? Do you prefer city breaks or country retreats?

More information on European city break destinations:

Top 9 Things To See And Do On Your First Trip To Seville, Spain

Top 3 Alternative Budapest Restaurants

What makes a perfect city break?

A mini food tour of Madrid

36 hours in Paris: where to eat

Follow me on Bloglovin, Instagram and Twitter for all things food and travel!

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The Dutch city of Rotterdam is the perfect European city for a weekend break.

A guide to why Rotterdam makes the perfect city break destination. It's a great Dutch city for a weekend break. The architecture is so cool, lots of museums and there is great food! www.dalton-banks.co.uk


  1. January 14, 2018 / 10:08 am

    Ooh… I’ve been seriously looking for a quick weekend break and this looks ideal!

    • January 19, 2018 / 7:17 am

      It’s such a fab destination for a weekend break – and lots of great places to eat – you’d love it, Honey!

  2. January 16, 2018 / 11:38 am

    It honestly looks so fun! I think this would be a perfect trip for me and Allyn!

    • January 19, 2018 / 7:19 am

      I think you and Allyn would love Rotterdam! It’s such a fun city with great food and beautiful architecture!

  3. January 18, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    Ok, so I have to be honest. I’ve read a dozen posts about Rotterdam but it never really intrigued me. But now seeing sooo much of this modern architecture, you’ve officially piqued my interest! Pinned! #FarawayFiles

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:51 am

      Oh I’m so glad!! We completely fell in love with the city. It’s a wonderful city and I definitely want to return!

  4. January 19, 2018 / 3:31 am

    Coming from a modern city myself, I really appreciate it when thought and consideration goes into the architecture and public spaces. Rotterdam looks like a lot of fun and I’d happily skip over the channel to go there. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:52 am

      That’s exactly it, there has been great thought gone into the spaces which is what makes it such a lovely city to be in. And perfect for a weekend getaway!

  5. January 20, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    I new I was making a mistake when we didn’t get to Rotterdam but time was our enemy and decisions had to be made. This city looks right up my alley and I’m definitely making it there next time we’re in that neck of the woods! Great photos too! #farawayfiles

    • January 29, 2018 / 10:46 am

      Thank you Hilary! You definitely have to make time for it next time your in Europe!! It’s such a vibrant city!

  6. Clare Thomson
    January 22, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    You’ve really captured the great shapes of the city with your striking photos, Vicky. You’ve totally convinced me to visit – even more so if there’s a jazz festival in town! #FarawayFiles

    • January 29, 2018 / 10:48 am

      Thank you Clare. The jazz festival was amazing! Such a mix of people and great fun. I think it would be the perfect excuse to visit Rotterdam!

  7. January 24, 2018 / 9:14 pm

    I was just looking up info about Rotterdam recently – perfectly timed post! It really does look like a cool city and I’m all about that Markthal – what an interesting place for a food market! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

    • January 29, 2018 / 10:49 am

      Ah, perfect timing! 🙂 It’s a really cool city to explore and you definitely need to check out the Markthal if you go!

  8. January 25, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    I have traveled through Rotterdam once a long time ago but it looks like next time it should be the destination. I have read a few posts recently about it and I love the architecture in particular !

    • January 29, 2018 / 10:51 am

      We loved the mix of architecture, the skyline is full of different shapes. It’s beautiful!

  9. January 25, 2018 / 1:12 pm

    What a super cool city! My best friend moved to Rotterdam a few years ago, but she’s never explained her new home to me whenever we go out travelling together. I now know what to do this summer when I go to the Netherlands! Going to check out the line up for this year’s jazz festival as well.

    • January 29, 2018 / 10:59 am

      It really is! Oh you definitely have to go and visit your friend, and if you have time explore more of the Netherlands. It’s such a nice country. And I can highly recommend the jazz festival! A great mix of music and people of all ages, it’s really fun!

  10. January 25, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    Fantastic photos- I’d never considered Rotterdam as a destination before, but I like the idea of it being so close to London. The Markthal looks awesome- its giving off a bit of a Shoreditch vibe!

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:02 am

      Thank you Hazel! It’s super close to London making it such a great weekend break and it definitely has a Shoreditch vibe to it. Lots of fun things to do and great places to eat!

  11. January 25, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    I love your photographs! They really show how bright and vibrant the city is. I’d never considered Rotterdam before but it looks like there’s so much to see and some really unique architecture as well 🙂

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Thank you Ella! It’s a wonderful city and perfect for weekend trips from England. Lots to see and do and great food too!

  12. January 25, 2018 / 5:59 pm

    I so love Rotterdam! It’s modern and vibrant and it is always changing!

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:35 am

      Modern and vibrant are the perfect way to describe it! I loved it!

  13. January 25, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    We have not long finished a European backpacking trip and after this post I’m gutted we didn’t squeeze in Rotterdam. So in love with the Markthal roof and ofcourse aaall the foodie pics!

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:42 am

      I think it’s not on the radar for a lot of people, which is what I’m trying to change as it’s such a great city to explore! Hopefully you’ll get to visit one day soon 🙂

  14. January 25, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    I absolutely love the architecture in Rotterdam! It’s such a vibrant city, and awesome it gets the attention it deserves!

  15. January 26, 2018 / 5:29 am

    I’ve never been but now I want to! Great post and pics 🙂

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:48 am

      Thank you Josephine! You should definitely add Rotterdam to your list, it’s a wonderful city!

  16. January 26, 2018 / 8:57 pm

    Wow I’ve never even heard of this place before!! The architecture is incredible

    • January 29, 2018 / 11:50 am

      It’s has now become one of my favourite European cities!! I hope to go back again this year to explore it even more.

  17. February 10, 2018 / 3:37 pm

    Rotterdam seems so astonishing and exceptional, Vicky. It definitely has the potential to become my favorite city. How many days would be enough to see all the highlights there?

    • February 16, 2018 / 11:42 am

      It is such a great city! I think you could see most of the city with three nights and two full days. I’m hoping to go back again this year!

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