Erasmus Bridge at Night, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam Cruise Port: Your Gateway to Dutch Delights

Is Rotterdam on your cruise itinerary? Prepare to be delighted by this vibrant Dutch city! If you’ve experienced Amsterdam’s iconic canals, you may be surprised by Rotterdam’s bold architecture! If you haven’t, don’t worry, Rotterdam’s got some historic canals, too! So let’s get started on planning your DIY port day!

Flying into Amsterdam (AMS) for your cruise? Then read my DIY embarkation guide for Rotterdam cruise port. It contains all the transportation options and guide on a seamless DIY transfer from both Amsterdam Airport or Amsterdam City Centre to Rotterdam cruise port.

Looking for day trip ideas? Then read my Rotterdam to Amsterdam: Your Cruise Port to Canal Guide or DIY guide Rotterdam Cruise Port: A Scenic DIY Day Trip to Kinderdijk Windmills

This blog post may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission for purchases made at no cost to you. 

On This Page

Rotterdam Cruise port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž (Smooth Sailing)

Rotterdam cruise port is so well situated that you’ll be staring right at the iconic Erasmus Bridge! So here’s why I rated a DIY excursion from Rotterdam cruise port ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž (Smooth Sailing):

  • Walkability: The city centre is a pleasant 20-minute walk from the cruise terminal, taking you over the iconic Erasmus Bridge for stunning views.
  • Public Transportation Hub: A few minutes from the cruise terminal, you’ll find metro and tram stops, providing easy access to all corners of Rotterdam.
  • Contactless Payment: Contactless payment on public transportation finally arrived in 2023, makes hopping on and off even more convenient for visitors. No need to buy tickets – just tap your card, phone or smart watch! Don’t forget to tap out!

Rotterdam Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need To Know

P&O cruise ship docked at Rotterdam cruise terminal, Netherlands
Photo by Adriaan Ploegh
  • Rotterdam Cruise Port Address: Wilhelminakade 699, 3072 AP Rotterdam, Netherlands – I’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.

Rotterdam Cruise Port to City Centre: Navigating Around Rotterdam

The Rotterdam Cruise Terminal is a 3-minute walk from the closest metro station. Just turn left on exiting the cruise terminal building and walk along Wilhelminakade street. You’ll see the metro station on your right, with escalators leading underground. If you prefer the tram, the tram stop is straight ahead after the first major junction, across the street from the metro station entrance.

1. Useful Metro & Tram Routes

From Wilhelminplein station, you’ll have access to both the metro and trams:

  • Tram routes #23 and #125: #23 will take you to “Rotterdam Vasteland” stop for the Museumpark.
  • Metro Lines: Wilhelminplein station is on Lines D/E – it’s a direct train to Rotterdam Centraal. Or change at Beurs station (2 stops) for Lines A/B/C for Markthal or the Euromast. I’ll give more details below for each attraction on my DIY itinerary.

2. Paying for Metro Tickets: Your Options

In the Netherlands (not just in Rotterdam), the public transport fare is calculated based on (a) a Basic fare – set minimum amount and (b) an additional fare based on distance travelled. This means that the fare is calculated for every journey you take and is variable, unless you buy one of the all-day passes I describe below.

As a tourist, you’ve got three options to pay for your metro tickets:

  • OV-Pay (New since June 2023): Hurray for ease of buying public transit tickets! All you need is to tap in and tap out using the same card. This is easiest unless you’re traveling with kids and want to benefit from the child discount
    • Credit cards (recommended): Any Mastercard or Visa with a contactless chip will work, as well as Apple/Google Pay on your phones or smartwatches. Amex does not work!
    • Debit cards: Mastercard or Visa and if you’re based in the EU, then Maestro and V Pay works too. But bear in mind that the system will temporarily hold a balance and then only refund it a few days later.
  • RET Day Tcket: An unlimited day ticket is โ‚ฌ9.50 for adults and โ‚ฌ5 for kids. Purchase these at the ticket machines at metro stations (recommended) or you can download the RET app and buy these online. From my experience, you’ll need to travel at least 5-6 trips to make the day tickets worthwhile. If you’ve only traveling 2-3 trips, then it may even be cheaper for kids to travel as an adult using OV-Pay. Kids will need to tap in and tap out using a different card.
  • Tourist Day Ticket: โ‚ฌ15.50 for adults – useful if you’re intending to do a day-trip to The Hague, Delft, Leiden or even Keukenhof. See the area covered here.

Note about OV-chipkaarts: If you’ve visited the Netherlands before, you may remember having to buy an anonymous OV-chipkaart and then top-up the balance as you go. I remembered buying one of these in Amsterdam for โ‚ฌ7.50. It was not tourist friendly and needed โ‚ฌ20 minimum balance to travel from the airport to the city centre. It expired after a few years, regrettably still with a balance on it and could not be re-activated. If you’ve still got a balance on anonymous OV-chipkaart, you can try using it. If not, then toss your OV-chipkaarts and just use OV-Pay with your contactless cards.

Top Attractions Near Rotterdam Cruise Port

1. Erasmus Bridge

Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands, with a tug boat in front of it
Photo by Bas Geerlings

Nicknamed “The Swan”, this impressive cable-stayed bridge stretches across the Nieuwe Maas River. You’ll likely get a marvellous view of it from your cruise ship as it docks. Its asymmetrical pylon, leaning backward at a dramatic angle , makes it visually striking. If the weather is good, take a leisurely stroll to the city centre via the Erasmus Bridge – there’s dedicated pedestrian and bike lanes.

  • How to Get There: 3 minutes walk from the cruise terminal. Walk towards Wilhelminplein metro station as above and turn left at the junction towards the bridge.

2. Museumpark

Exterior of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Photo courtesy of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, photo by Ossip van Duivenbode

As the name suggests, Museumpark is home to a few world class museums! There’s too much to see here to visit each one on your port day, so just pick one or two that strikes your interest:

2A. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Probably the most well-known of all the museums in Museumpark, you’ll find art spanning from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. There’s an impressive permanent collection of works by the Dutch Masters, from Rembrandt van RijnFrans Hals and Johannes Vermeer. There’s also Impressionist art by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cรฉzanne, and Edgar Degas. Lots of prints and drawings are also part of the collection, including those by Albrecht Dรผrer, Rembrandt, Francisco Goya.

  • Closed for 2024: While this museum is currently closed, visit “The Depot” instead ๐Ÿ‘‡

2B. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

Next door to the Museum is the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility! Usually less than 10% of the Museum’s collection is on display but and the rest are stored in the depot. So come here to see a unique behind-the-scenes look!

The Depot showcases the majority of its holdings in open storage, so you can wander through the various storage areas. There’s also a 30-minute guided tour (bookable at the front desk) that provide insights into the different aspects of art storage and preservation.

Insider Tip: The Depot’s rooftop restaurant and garden offer stunning views of Rotterdam’s skyline. Come here as an alternative to the Euromast. Unfortunately, you need a valid ticket to the Depot to have coffee or lunch at the restaurant. The restaurant is open when the Depot is with lunch till 4pm.

2C. Kunsthal Rotterdam

Kunsthal, meaning “Art Hall” in Dutch hosts temporary modern art exhibitions. If you’re interested in architecture though, the building itself may be worth a visit on its own. Its sloping floors and ramps connect the distinct exhibition spaces. Check current exhibitions on the official website.

  • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday.
  • Tickets: โ‚ฌ18 for adults, โ‚ฌ10 students and free for kids under 18.

2D. Chabot Museum

Dedicated to the works of Henk Chabot (1894-1949), the museum is housed in a beautiful white villa. Known for his bold use of colour and dynamic brushstrokes, he’s known as one of the Dutch expressionists – depicting everyday people and scenes, capturing raw emotions and struggles of human existence. His famous War Drawings are here.

  • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday. 12 noon to 5pm Sunday.
  • Tickets: โ‚ฌ12 adults, โ‚ฌ6 students and free for kids under 18.

3. Euromast

Euromast Observation Tower in Rotterdam, Netherlands
Image by oljamu from Pixabay

For panoramic views of Rotterdam, head to the Euromast observation tower. On a clear day, you can see as far as The Hague and even the North Sea! A rotating glass circular elevator will take you up to the Euroscoop (observation deck), 185 metres up (~600 feet). There’s also a restaurant and a brasserie.

Note: For those afraid of heights, the elevator has a glass see-through floor though it’s possible to make the floor opaque using a button inside the lift. Your fellow passengers may object though!

  • How to Get There: Walk from Coolhaven metro station (~10 minutes) or catch tram #8 from Leuvehaven metro station
  • Opening Hours: 9:30am to 10pm daily
  • Tickets: โ‚ฌ18.50 for adults, โ‚ฌ17 for seniors 65+ and โ‚ฌ15 for kids under 12 for tickets including the Euroscoop (observation deck). Pre-book online to avoid queues. Note there’s a cheaper ticket on sale which does not include Euroscoop. So make sure you buy the right ticket!

4. Markthal (Market Halls)

The Markthal (Market Halls) at Rotterdam, Netherlands
Image by vzoest0 from Pixabay

The Markthal is an architectural and culinary marvel you won’t want to miss! This giant, horseshoe-shaped building is both an indoor market and a residential complex, with apartments lining the arched ceiling. The stunning ceiling mural is known as the “Horn of Plenty”, depicting oversized fruits, vegetables and flowers.

You’ll find stalls selling everything from Dutch cheeses, stroopwafels (two thin waffles with a caramel filling), baked goods as well as flowers, souvenirs and kitchenware. This is a great place for a rest stop, as there are plenty of restaurants and cafes, as well as seating outdoors. There’s also a big supermarket.

  • How to Get There: Closest metro stop is Blaak (Line A/B/C). From the cruise port, catch tram #23 or #125 and get off at “Beurs” stop and walk for a few minutes.
  • Opening Hours: 10am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, 12 noon to 6pm Sunday. Free to enter.

5. Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)

Cube Houses in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam’s Cube Houses, also known as Kubuswoningen, are a whimsical and eye-catching cluster of bright yellow houses tilted at a 45-degree angle. Designed by architect Piet Blom, these unconventional houses have become a quirky architectural icon and a favourite symbol of Rotterdam on Instagram.

Blom tilted the cubes to maximise living space. Each house consists of three floors, with the entrance on the ground floor, a living and kitchen on the first floor and two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. The houses are raised on concrete pillars, leaving ample space below for pedestrian walkways, shops and a playground.

  • How to Get There: Closest metro stop is Blaak (Line A/B/C) and just a few minutes walk from Markthal. So come take some photos after you’ve fuelled up at Markthal.
  • Opening Hours: 11am to 5pm daily.
  • Tickets: โ‚ฌ3 adults, โ‚ฌ2 students & seniors 65+ and โ‚ฌ1.50 for kids.

6. Oudehaven (Old Harbour)

Boats moored in Oudehaven, Old Harbour, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Image by djedj from Pixabay

Around the corner from the Cube Houses is Rotterdam’s historic waterfront. While much of Rotterdam was destroyed during World War II, Oudehaven managed to retain some of its historic charm. You’ll still see the harbour lined with restored 17th and 18th century buildings, which today are trendy bars and shops. There’s loads of outdoor places to hang around here, so it’s also a good rest stop.

How to Get There: Closest metro stop is Blaak (Line A/B/C), or walk from Markthal or Cube Houses if you’ve just been there.

7. Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum is not on the usual list of must-see attractions of Rotterdam but I’m including it here, as I had a wonderful two hours here. If you’re into maritime history or you’re after a kids-friendly activity ashore in Rotterdam, then this is for you (or your kids!)

The star attraction is the Matarรณ ship model – the only 15th century 3D model of a cargo ship that sailed between 1350 and 1500 in Europe that’s still intact today. There’s also great exhibits about the Dutch Golden Age. For kids, there’s a real tugboat to climb and guest ships to visit in the museum’s harbour.

  • How to Get There: Closest metro stop is “Beurs” station or walk here directly from the cruise terminal in 20 minutes.
  • Opening Hours: Closed Mondays. Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.
  • Tickets: โ‚ฌ17.50 adults, โ‚ฌ11.50 for students. โ‚ฌ12.50 for kids aged 4-15.

8. Witte de Withstraat

Sometimes known as Rotterdam’s “Art Axis” due to its high concentration of galleries and art institutions, Witte de Withstraat in fact has more to offer than just art. It’s also a great shopping street full of trendy boutiques, bookstores and cafes. If you fancy a walk around a vibrant neighbourhood close to the cruise port, this is a tourist friendly place to walk around.

  • How to Get There: Closest metro stop is “Beurs” station or walk here directly from the cruise terminal in 20 minutes. Otherwise, this is the perfect place to stop after museum visits in Museumpark, on your way back to the cruise port.

Featured Photo by Igor Passchier

Your Rotterdam adventure awaits! With its mix of modern marvels and historic treasures, this port city is sure to leave a lasting impression. I hope this guide helps you make the most of your day in Rotterdam. And if you found this guide helpful, please share it with fellow cruisers in your roll-call groups who may be planning a DIY adventure in Rotterdam! Safe travels!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error:
Scroll to Top