8 Best Day Trips From Rotterdam

8 Best Day Trips From Rotterdam

Although I’m currently studying in the UK, I’m born and raised in the Netherlands. While I did my undergraduate in Amsterdam, I’ve explored different parts of my home country as well over the last few years, such as South Holland, a province in the Netherlands. In this province, you can find Rotterdam, known for its modern architecture. If you’re staying in Rotterdam, make sure to check out these 8 day trips from Rotterdam as well.

Day trips from Rotterdam

1. The Hague

The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch), 25 kilometres from Rotterdam, is the seat of the Dutch government. On the Binnenhof the buildings of both houses of government can be found in stately buildings. Here, you can also find the Ridderzaal, dating back to the 13th century. It started as a hunting lodge but is now used to host ceremonial occasions.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp - Mauritshuis
Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp – Mauritshuis

Other things to do in The Hague include the Mauritshuis. This museum, located in a 17th-century mansion, contains stunning and world-famous paintings of Dutch and Flemish Art. The collection includes paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals, and Steen. For a completely different museum, head to Escher in The Palace where there is a permanent exhibition with works by Escher. Furthermore, make sure to visit the Peace Palace as well, which is home to the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration and International Court of Justice.

2. Dordrecht

One of the day trips from Rotterdam that is often overlooked is the city of Dordrecht. Dordrecht is the oldest city in Holland. It obtained city rights as early as 1220. The city used to be an important merchant city but is now overshadowed by Rotterdam. Wandering around Dordrecht’s city centre, you’ll encounter many charming streets with lovely architecture, such as the Huis van Gijn.

The Pottenkade in Dordrecht
The Pottenkade in Dordrecht

Moreover, make sure to visit the Pottenkade, adjacent to the Grote Kerk (Great Church), and admire the canal and stunning old houses. It’s the perfect place for an Instagram picture of Dordrecht. Another highlight of a visit to Dordrecht is the Groenmarkt. On this street, you can find several houses with crow-stepped gables.

Although Dordrecht is only 15 minutes by train from Rotterdam Central Station, you can also opt for the waterbus! This bus also stops at Kinderdijk so you can fit two day trips from Rotterdam into one if you’re short on time.

3. Kinderdijk

In the Netherlands, there are two great places where you can admire traditional Dutch windmills. Firstly, there is The Zaanse Schans, north of Amsterdam. The other location you can find just 15 kilometres from Rotterdam: Kinderdijk. Kinderdijk is located in the Alblasserwaard polder. Around 1740, they decided to drain the polder. For this purpose, they built a system of 19 windmills.

Dutch windmill at Kinderdijk
Dutch windmill at Kinderdijk, one of the most popular day trips from Rotterdam

Nowadays, you can still admire these windmills. Moreover, Kinderdijk is located in a special landscape of marshes and canals. For me, as someone from the Netherlands, this landscape feels rather ordinary.  However, when you’re used to hills or even mountains, visiting this type of landscape is a must when you’re in the Netherlands.

Tip: use the waterbus to get to Kinderdijk. From Rotterdam, the waterbus takes only 30 minutes and is a tourist experience in itself.

4. Delft

Delft is a vibrant student city, located between Rotterdam and The Hague. It’s one of the more popular day trips from Rotterdam and rightly so. From all cities in the Netherlands, Delft is probably the cutest. Its canals and quaint houses are smaller than those of Amsterdam, but nevertheless (or perhaps because of that) very picturesque.

Cameretten in Delft, near the Markt

Delft is the perfect place to take 1,000 pictures of lovely canals. Things to do in Delft include the Museum Prinsenhof Delft. This is the place where Prince William of Orange, a famous figure in Dutch history, was killed with a gun. Even the bullet hole in the wall is preserved. Furthermore, visit the Oude Kerk as well if you’re interested in Dutch painters. Here, you can visit the tomb of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. In the Nieuwe Kerk, you can find the tombs of the members of the House of Orange, including William of Orange. In addition, I recommend climbing the tower of the church which provides stunning views over Delft.

5. Scheveningen

Since I’ve never been to Brighton, I don’t know whether it’s true, but I always think of Scheveningen as a ‘Dutch Brighton’. Take a stroll along the boulevard and visit the pier. There are many restaurants and cafes with a view of the beach as well. Dominating the ‘skyline of Scheveningen’ is the 5-star Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus. If budget isn’t a problem, this is where you should stay.

Kurhaus of Scheveningen

On a sunny day, sunbathing is one of the popular activities in Scheveningen. Another option is taking surf lessons in Scheveningen. Scheveningen is also home to Sea Life Scheveningen.

Tip: Scheveningen is not far from The Hague. Why not combine the two?

6. Gouda

When I’m not in the Netherlands, Dutch cheese is the food I miss the most. One of the best places in the Netherlands to taste and buy Dutch cheese is Gouda, known for its namesake cheese: Gouda Cheese. From April to August, a traditional cheese market takes place every Thursday morning at the Markt. On the Markt, you can also find the Waag. This building used to be a cheese-weighing house and was built in 1668. This building also houses the Gouda Cheese Museum.

't Kaaswinkeltje in Gouda
‘t Kaaswinkeltje in Gouda

Besides famous for its cheese, Gouda is also an old Dutch city with charming canals and typical Dutch houses. If you’re looking to do some shopping, head to the Lange Tiendeweg. On this street, you can also find the absolutely charming cheese shop ‘t Kaaswinkeltje. If you’ve got time left, visit the Sint Janskerk. This large Gothic church is placed on the UNESCO list of Dutch monuments for its stained glass windows.

7. Zeeland and Middelburg

Visiting Zeeland and Middelburg is possible the most off the beaten path entry on this day trips from Rotterdam list. You can find the province Zeeland (Sealand in English) south of the province South Holland. Zeeland consists of several islands and peninsulas, among which Noord-Beveland, Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland. Zeeland is a popular holiday location by the Dutch because of its beaches.

However, for international tourists, a visit to the Delta Works is a must. The Delta Works incorporate among others a storm surge barrier, dykes, dams and sluice gates. It shows the importance of water management in the Netherlands to prevent flooding. Travelling with kids? Check out Deltapark Neeltje Jans. At this park, you can find out more about the construction of the Delta Works in the Netherlands. Moreover, there’s an Aquarium and Water Attraction Park as well.

Charming houses in Middelburg
Charming houses in Middelburg

Middelburg is located in Zeeland. With its 48,000 citizens, it’s a very small city. One of the most beautiful buildings of Middelburg is the town hall. The Gothic side which faces the Markt dates from the mid-1400s. More things to do in Middelburg include the Abdij, which was founded around 1100, and the Kuiperspoort, the most picturesque street of Middelburg.

8. Leiden

Leiden is home to the Rijksmuseum of Oudheden, full of Greek, Roman and Egyptian art, which is the reason why I (as a student of Classics) have visited Leiden quite often over the years. However, Leiden has much more to offer. Home to the University of Leiden, the oldest university of the Netherlands, this city has a vibrant student life.


Leiden is home to various museums, such as the Rijksmuseum voor Oudheid and Museum Volkenkunde. This museum has objects from civilizations all over the world, including Africa and Central and South America. After you’ve explored some of Leiden’s museums visit the Hortus Botanicus Leiden as well. This botanical garden was founded by the University of Leiden in 1590 which makes this one of Europe’s oldest botanical gardens. You can find the botanical garden on the Rapenburg. In the 17th and 18th century some people called this street the most beautiful street in Europe. The current king of the Netherlands has lived in this street as well when he was studying at the University of Leiden.

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day trips from Rotterdam
day trips from Rotterdam

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