Kinderdijk windmills at sunset, Netherlands

Rotterdam Cruise Port: Scenic Day Trip to Kinderdijk Windmills

Is Rotterdam on your cruise itinerary and you’re eager to explore the iconic Dutch countryside? Look no further than Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its picturesque windmills. This idyllic village, just a short journey from Rotterdam cruise port, makes it an ideal DIY day trip.

With its 19 well-preserved windmills standing majestically along the waterways, Kinderdijk is a must-visit for any traveller seeking an authentic Dutch experience. In this guide, I’ll take you through the steps of planning a seamless DIY day trip from Rotterdam cruise port to Kinderdijk. Let’s go!

Want to stay in Rotterdam instead? Then read my DIY Port Guide on Rotterdam.

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Rotterdam Cruise Port to Kinderdijk Windmills: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž (Smooth Sailing)

A DIY day trip to a UNESCO World Heritage site doesn’t get much easier than this! Here’s why I rated a DIY excursion to Kinderdijk Windmills from Rotterdam cruise port ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž (Smooth Sailing):

  • Prime Location: A mere 10-minute stroll across the iconic Erasmus Bridge brings you to the Waterbus pier, your gateway to Kinderdijk.
  • Scenic Waterbus: The 30-minute Waterbus ride is not just a mode of transport; it’s a mini-cruise in itself, offering stunning views of the river and countryside.
  • Self-Guided Exploration: Once in Kinderdijk, the included boat tour and well-maintained canal paths make it easy to explore at your own pace, with the visitor centre providing historical context.

Rotterdam Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need To Know

  • Rotterdam Cruise Port Address: Wilhelminakade 699, 3072 AP Rotterdam, Netherlands โ€“ Iโ€™ve marked this on my Rotterdam cruise port map below ๐Ÿ‘‡
  • Currency: Euros
  • Language: Dutch
  • Official Websites: Rotterdam.info is the official tourism website, official Rotterdam cruise port schedule on Cruise Port Rotterdam
  • Recommended Transport App: I prefer Citymapper to navigate public transit in Rotterdam but Google Maps will work too!
  • eSim for roaming in Netherlands: For a great data connection without the huge roaming fees, use an eSim data pack from Airalo. I always recommend having a smartphone with a valid plan when youโ€™re at port touring independently. Get US$3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo when you use ROXANN1666 when you sign up or apply it at checkout
  • My Rotterdam Cruise Port Map: ๐Ÿ‘‡ Click on the upper right hand corner to see a bigger version. Use buttons on bottom left to zoom in/out. If map is not loading, click here to see it directly on Google Maps.

Why Visit Kinderdijk Windmills from Rotterdam Cruise Port?

Line of 5 windmills at Kinderdijk Windmills, Netherlands
Image by Ellen from Pixabay

Because these windmills have come to represent the essence of Dutch heritage! But there’s more reasons than that:

  • Glimpse into Dutch history & ingenuity: These 19 windmills, built in the 18th century, played a crucial role in draining the Alblasserwaard polder (low-lying land reclaimed from the water). It’s because of these windmills and the ingenious engineering behind them that have kept the Netherlands from constant fear of floods.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, for its cultural significance in the story of the Netherlands’ ongoing battle against water due to its low lying lands.
  • Iconic Dutch landscape: Kinderdijk’s landscape is quintessentially Dutch. Come here to take some iconic selfies with the windmills!

Getting to Kinderdijk Windmills from Rotterdam Cruise Port

A DIY excursion to Kinderdijk Windmills from Rotterdam cruise port is surprisingly easy! There’s a few DIY options:

1. Waterbus (Recommended)

Waterbus on the Nieuw Maas River in Rotterdam, Netherlands

The most scenic and convenient way to reach Kinderdijk is by taking the Waterbus. Line #21 departs from the Eramusbrug (Eramus Bridge) Pier, about 10 minutes walk across the Erasmus Bridge on the other side of the Nieuwe Maas river – see the stop marked on my Rotterdam cruise port map above ๐Ÿ‘†.

  • Drop Off Point: Waterbus will stop in Kinderdijk Molenkade ferry pier. There’s the final stop anyway, so you won’t miss it!
  • Timetables: Runs approximately hourly during summer months, see waterbus timetables here.
  • Tickets: โ‚ฌ4.80 one-way adults, โ‚ฌ3.17 one-way for kids. You can purchase tickets online but you can also pay onboard. Cards are accepted.
  • Journey Time: Waterbus takes about 40 minutes to reach Kinderdijk

Once you disembark the Waterbus, the entrance gates to Kinderdijk is less than 60 seconds away!

2. Bus

The bus is a good backup option, in case you cannot stomach getting your sea legs back on so quickly. Bus #489 leaves from outside metro station Kralingse Zoom (Line A/B/C). From the cruise terminal, walk to Wilhelminaplein station (see above), change at Beurs station for Line A/B/C for 5 stops to Kralingse Zoom.

  • Timetables: Roughly twice an hour. Check on Google Maps before departing cruise terminal.
  • Tickets: Easiest if you pay using contactless card – don’t forget to tap in and tap out!
  • Journey Time: About 30-40 minutes depending on traffic

What to See & Do at Kinderdijk Windmills

View of the Kinderdijk windmills from the canals, Netherlands

There’s lots to do at Kinderdijk, but first things first:

  • Opening Hours: 9am to 5:30pm from March to October. 10:30am to 4pm November to December. Then closed for winter.
  • Tickets: Weekdays โ‚ฌ18 adults, โ‚ฌ6.50 kids under 12. Weekends โ‚ฌ19.50 adults, โ‚ฌ8 kids under 12. Tickets are dated but not timed. Highly recommend to pre-book online during peak summer months as there can be long queues.

1. Stroll Along the Canal Paths

Once you’re inside the Kinderdijk UNESCO Heritage site, there are well-maintained paths that wind through all the windmills. You’re free to walk around.

2. Visit the Museum Mills

Two of Kinderdijk’s windmills, the Nederwaard Museum Mill and the Blokweer Museum Mill, are open to the public. Explore their interiors to learn how windmills were used to pump water and discover the daily lives of the millers who operated them. Admission to the museums are included in the entrance ticket.

3. Take a Boat Tour

Tourist ferry boat in Kinderdijk canals, with windmills in the background

The boat tour is included in your entrance ticket and is a fantastic way to experience Kinderdijk from a different perspective. The boats are miniature ferries and are very stable.

4. Drop by the Visitor Centre

The Kinderdijk Visitor Centre has great exhibits about the site’s history, the functioning of the windmills and the challenges of water management in the Netherlands.

5. Explore the Pumping Station

The historic pumping station, built in 1868, demonstrates the transition from wind power to steam power in water management.

6. Enjoy Coffee or Lunch at the Cafe

Views don’t come better than this! There are cafes for coffees, sandwiches or ice cream. If you fancy bringing your own picnic, there’s also a big supermarket a few minutes walk from the cruise port. Swing by there to pick up goodies before coming to Kinderdijk on the Waterbus. (Don’t be shy if you’d like to do that! You’ll see many locals picnicking in Kinderdijk!) There’s one or two spots for coffee or lunch outside the Kinderdijk entrance gates as well.

Featured Image by Philippe Piheyns from Pixabay

With its captivating scenery and rich history, Kinderdijk is sure to leave a lasting impression on your Dutch adventure. I hope this guide has equipped you with all the information you need for a seamless and enjoyable DIY day trip from Rotterdam cruise port. Have a wonderful port day and a memorable experience exploring the windmills of Kinderdijk!

If you found this guide helpful, I would really appreciate you sharing it with your fellow cruisers in your roll call groups!

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