Rotterdam is a dynamic city but have you ever wondered what else you could do at the weekend if not drinking and shopping? Are you looking for a leisurely ride with wonderful views of windmills, typical Dutch landscapes or impressive sceneries like in the postcards? Well, look NO further! I am going to share with you my favorite spots in Rotterdam through these 3 perfect cycling routes.
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As you might know, cycling is the best way to explore Rotterdam and experience the Netherlands when the Dutch weather suddenly turns lovely. Rotterdam has many more great places to offer than just the Markthal, Witte de Withstraat or Lijnbaan shopping street. Let’s spin around town on your bike for a new experience!
The first route: A chill ride to the pancake house
- From Rotterdam Central Station to Lage Bergse Bos
- Cycling time: about 30 minutes
- Highlights of the ride: Tram museum, De Prinsenmolen, Bergsche Plas (pancake house)
This route is one of my best-liked bicycle paths in Rotterdam because it shows many hidden gems of the city that you may not know. Plus, at the end of the route, you can reward yourself a big delicious Dutch pancake and a magnificent lake view.
About 15 minutes biking from Rotterdam Central Station, you would arrive at Rotterdam Tram Museum where all the historic trams of the city are stored and displayed. This museum is only open on the first Saturday of the month from March to October. You can visit it or just take a look and then continue your ride.
Riding 5 minutes further, you would reach a poetic landscape of greenspace and windmill. With more than 40 years of existence, Prinsenmolen was used as a steam pumping station back in the day. Nowadays, this windmill is out of operation but has become a preserved historic landmark of Rotterdam.
On the way cycling to there, you can stop anywhere you like to make tons of great photos.
This is the pancake house I mentioned at the beginning. Its full name is ‘Familierestaurant Bergsche Plas’ which locates on the side of a big lake. This restaurant is an ideal place for families with children, couples, and friends to spend quality time together. In the summer, you may see some weddings in this pancake house since the lake view is really romantic and chill.
Yay!!! Finally, it’s time to taste the pancake. My favorite one is the basic pancake with bacon and cheese. The combination sounds weird, doesn’t it? But believe me, you would love it like I do! (Disclaimer: I had an intense workout this week, so I ate this huge pancake without feeling guilty hihi).
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The second route: An adventurous ride through the Maastunnel
- From Rotterdam Central Station to Zuidplein Shopping Mall
- Cycling time: about 35 minutes
- Highlights of the ride: Euromas, Maastunnel, Zuidplein Shopping Mall
The best thing about this route is that you can go to the highest and lowest places of the city at Euromas and Maastunnel. Needless to say, the views are breathtaking and you can also relax later or ‘shop till you drop’ in Zuidplein Shopping Mall if you’d like to.
Euromast is not so far from Rotterdam Central Station and it will be a memorable stop for you on this route. With a €10 ticket, you can get to the top of this building and get an amazing view of Rotterdam. The fact that Euromast is not the highest observation tower in the world as it was built about 60 years ago. In spite of that this place is still a must-see attraction once you’re in Rotterdam. I’ve visited Euromast a few times in different seasons of a year but not bored with it yet.
Useful tip: When you buy a ticket at Euromast, they only accept the bank cards or credit cards.
At the very top of Euromast, you can get in another lift (rotating glass lift) which surely get you more excited with the view. Don’t forget to explore everything there!
After taking a chill pill in Euromast, you can continue cycling through Maastunnel, the oldest tunnel in the Netherlands. Though the tunnel was built in 1942, nowadays it still serves 75,000 motor vehicles and a large number cyclists, pedestrians daily.
To many Rotterdam citizens, riding bicycles through this tunnel is not a new thing. But to the expats in the city, especially the international students, this may be an incredible experience which helps them to know more about Rotterdam.
The elevator to the tunnel is very deep and you’ll see a gallery of photos in the past of this city. Honestly, it was really interesting to me to know how the tunnel was built with these photos.
On the other side of Maastunnel, the city appears in a new look. The Erasmus bridge, Rotterdam cruise, water taxi and water bus together create a uniqueness of Rotterdam which you may not see in the other old cities in Europe.
After that, you can ride further to Zuidplein. I choose Zuidplein Shopping Mall as the ending point of this route because you may be tired after the ride and need a comfortable place to recharge your energy.
In case you don’t know yet, this place is the largest indoor mall in the Netherlands with a variety of choices for eating and shopping. Let’s fill up your stomach there before riding back home!
The third route: An comfortable ride to the children farms
- From Rotterdam Blaak Station to Kinderboerderij De Blijde Wei
- Cycling time: about 40 minutes
- Highlights of the ride: Kralingse Bos (lake), Kinderboerderij de Kraal (children farm), Kinderboerderij de Blijde Wei (children farm)
One of the things I like most about living in the Netherlands is the animal-friendly environment. Cycling 15 minutes from the city center to the suburbs, you’ll see many horses, cows, sheep on the fields, ducks and swans on the lakes. There’re many children farms in Rotterdam where the little citizens can learn about the animals and safely play with them.
On this bicycle route, I’m first going to bring you to Kralingse lake and then to 2 children farms which are not only for the kids but also for the adults that wish to get close to nature.
From the Blaak metro station in Rotterdam, you’ll ride to the beautiful Kralingse lake to visit the first children farm. This lake is really big and it has a mini beach for the children to enjoy the water on the summer days. Nearby this mini beach is a children farm (Kinderboerderij de Kraal) which is organized by the government.
This children farm is quite hidden behind the trees and bushes, but once you explore this place you would be surprised by its cuteness. It’s like a mini zoo where you can walk around and touch the little friendly animals. Sometimes at the weekend, they also set up a lot of workshops for the kids to learn about things proactively, for example, learning how to make the traditional Dutch handicrafts with oma and opa, learning how to shave a sheep with the farmers, etc.
After spending around 30 minutes at the first children farm, you can head to another children farm. Why should you visit 2 similar places in one day??? The answer is the roads that lead to the second farm is fantastic and it absolutely worths to give it a try.
Let’s see how we are gonna enjoy the ride!
The last stop of this cycling route is the Kinderboerderij de Blijde Wei. Locating a bit out of the city, this children farm is bigger than the first one. It is also operated by the city government (Gemeente Rotterdam) with the purpose of providing more safe playgrounds for the little kids and their parents.
My advice before getting on the road:
- Go cycling on a nice weather day
- Use Google maps on your phone to not get lost
- Bring a bottle of water and some snacks in your bag
- Make sure your bike is in good condition because, on some streets, you won’t find a repair shop in case something wrong happens to your bike
It took me more than 2 years to experience these 3 cycling routes in many different times (that’s why you might see me in different outfits in one place). A big thank to my boyfriend who showed me the wonderful spots in Rotterdam and waited for me on the roads (because my bike is smaller and my legs are shorter than his :P).
Hope you enjoy the ride and let me know if you figure out more beautiful bicycle routes in the Netherlands!
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