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The Rotterdam River Route with Kids

While Amsterdam may be the City of Canals, Rotterdam's Maas River has its own distinct way of redefining the city. The port city relies on the Maas river for its economic and commercial progress, but also gives way to the alluring aesthetics and unique activities that cater to families and children. Along the riverfront is where much of the excitement of Rotterdam's true potential, charming for both young travelers and seasoned explorers. We'll give you a glimpse into what the promising city of Rotterdam has to offer for families and kids!

This day route is one of the 3 walking routes in the travel guide 'Rotterdam Met Kids' by Lisette Jerkovic (in Dutch). Find the extensive version of this route with interactive spots and in-depth stories available for €4,99.
Also, find our Rotterdam Guides in stores now at the Rotterdam Tourist Shop on Coosingel 114!
Cover photo by: Rob van Dalen/

Route Info

  • Route Name: The Rotterdam River Route with Kids
  • Duration: 1 day
  • Best by walking
  • Highlights: Interactive and lively Museum Park, the green space at Het Park, Erasmus Bridge, Family Mini Golf, and the historic cruise ship the SS Rotterdam.

Begin your walking route with your family in Eendrachtsplein, part of the vibrant city center that's lined with trendy cafes, brunch spots, restaurants, boutique shops and bookstores. This is one of the central intersection of the city since it borders the up-and-coming neighborhoods of Nieuwe Binnenweg, Oude Binnenweg and Westersingel. You can easily find a quick snack or a grand breakfast for your family here, but don't worry, you'll find plenty of hotspots along this route. If you happen to be walking from the Rotterdam Central Station, you won't be able to miss the controversial and symbolic Santa Claus statue by Paul McCarthy in the square.

MuseumPark by Matthijs Borghgraef

Just south of Eendrachtsplein is the Museum Park, a gracious complex full of greenery and, of course, museums. It's a great place to give your kids some space to run around and explore the surrounding. The park is divided up into five different areas, so there's plenty to see within this confined city space. The first two-quarters are designated gardens, one of which has a more romantic atmosphere and the other is a rose garden with a pond. The third area is houses the Kunsthal and the Natuurmuseum, and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, and the Natural History Museum Rotterdam - all of which have interesting exhibitions on a regular basis. The last two-quarters is designated for an event space, and lastly a park and city cross-section. After you and your family have checked out the museums and exhibitions, cross the Westzeedijk road to Het Park. This is a beautiful green space where you and your children can enjoy the pond with giant sweeping willows. Have a family picnic, or just relax on the lawn to rest off those tired legs.

Mini golf at Midget Golf Parkhaven

The water-front plays a major part in adding a sense of peace and calmness in Rotterdam's buzzing center. It also compliments the new architectural styles and buildings along the river. Ready for a quick game of mini-golf? Head on over to Midget Golf Parkhaven next to the waterfront. After swinging some rounds of golf, there's no better way to celebrate your winnings but with some delicious food. Back in Het Park, the hidden cafe called the Parqiet gives park goers space for relaxing and offers great beverages and small lunches. Or you can choose from one of the many surrounding restaurants in the area: Ballentent, a comfy bar setting, Loos, the grand cafe with a large terrace serving Dutch delicacies, or La Pizza, your typical thin-crust pizzeria .

Rotterdam Erasmus Bridge

After a family lunch, you can choose to cross the iconic Erasmus bridge, built in 1996 and is the main linkage over the Maas. You'll be able to show your kids the vast surrounding area of Rotterdam and feel the wind try to lift them up on a windy day. Or you can take the water taxi from Veerhaven at the Maritime Quarter to Hotel New York or to Katendracht. You can witness another historic landmark, The New York Hotel, which was formerly the Holland America Lijn Headquarters. From here, you can hop off at Katendracht and visit the makeshift warehouse, Fenix Food Factory, to sample some hand-made stroopwafels (for the kiddies) or the local specialty beers (for the adults). The final stop on this route is the historic SS Rotterdam, which will be a crowd pleaser among the family. It sits on the water as a fascinating example of Dutch ingenuity and reflects on the era of the luxury ocean crossing. The 228 meter Holland America ocean liner began service from 1956 until 2008, before being renovated into an upscale hotel, where you can board the ship and still view the engine rooms and luxury ballrooms of the past.

For more routes, recommendations, hotspots, maps, and insider tips, check out 'Rotterdam Met Kids' by Lisette Jerkovic of De Kleinerotterdammer (in Dutch). Plan your Rotterdam trip and book ahead for your attraction tickets with Skip The Line, making your trip efficient and affordable

Suggested reading:

New York Hotel

SS Rotterdam Cruise liner

Het Park

Recommended guide: