Where can you spend the night in a huge passenger ship with fabulous sunset views, after having relaxed in a floating hot tub?
Where can you get the ultimate adrenaline experience by cutting through the water at 90km/h (50mph) followed by a great dinner at one of the most historical places in town with fabulous harbor views?
That place is Rotterdam!
We recently experienced one truly exciting weekend. We knew we liked the city of Rotterdam for its no-nonsense mentality and future-oriented vision. But now we really love the place for combining excitement and adventure with a strong focus on Water!
Rotterdam World Port Days
Rotterdam is the second largest city of the Netherlands and its people are extremely proud of having the largest port in Europe. For three full days in September visitors are able to enjoy a range of spectacles on and around the river Maas. The river Maas is flowing right through the city and was the center of activity during the 2013 edition of the World Port Days.
We could marvel at tugboats, crane ships, a submarine and huge cruise ships. There were demonstrations by the Navy and the Sea Rescue Squad. Last but not least we experienced a really impressive tour to one of Europe’s largest sea container terminals (more on that in part 2, don’t miss that one).
During the World Port Days you can easily stroll along the quayside of the river Maas – there are so many activities that happen on the water continuously! Don’t miss out on the Veerhaven, a small harbour that still breathes the old maritime way of living.
But there is more!
We could not only watch these great events, we could also join some ourselves! Let me show some spectacular (maritime) things to do in the city of Rotterdam. Let’s get this great city on your bucket list!
Hotel ss Rotterdam tour
First of all, who doesn’t want to spend the night on a huge passenger ship? The ship ss Rotterdam was built in 1958 and after more than 40 years of duty it was recently renovated and turned into a 4-star hotel. You can get extensive tours of the ship: from the engine room to the captain’s cabin.
There will be a full review of this hotel (and the tour) on Act of Traveling soon. Sleeping on this ship is a great way to experience all maritime activities you can embark on in Rotterdam.
RIB Experience – a real adrenaline kick
Time for action! RIB’s (Rigid Inflatable Boats) are used by the Special Forces of our world. These boats are designed for extreme conditions and therefore are extremely robust, stable and safe! Now you can book your own RIB thrill ride: cutting through the water (almost flying!) at 90 km/h! The ride can be very bumpy because of hitting all the waves on the river, but it’s really so much fun!!
At full speed there is only one thing you want to do: GO FASTER! We felt Kings and Queens of the water, passing the slow tour boats and watching the jealous looks on the faces of their passengers…
You can book a RIB experience in Rotterdam where you can also choose from different tours.
During our tour we also passed our ss Rotterdam hotel/ship. From the water you really see how huge this ship is!
Amphibious Splashtours bus
I just have to mention this attraction: the Rotterdam Splashbus. After a short drive through the city the bus suddenly dives into the Maas river! It’s an unique amphibious vehicle which we saw passing by early Sunday morning. Great sight, especially when you imagine we saw this through the little port-holes in our hotel room! Our kids had a big smile on their face: “We just missed our bus!“.
Spectacular evening show
We hardly had any time to relax (but we did not complain…not at all!). While enjoying our dessert in the restaurant of Hotel New York (more about this famous place in Rotterdam in part 2) we were alarmed by ship horns. It was already dark and we rushed outside (after quickly paying the bill of course). We saw big ships slowly passing, one of them carrying a music band! It turned out to be a complete evening show on the water, which ended with fire works. Exciting Rotterdam with a beautiful illuminated skyline as well!
We actually didn’t wait for the fireworks. Why not, you ask? Well, because we had another fun appointment at 10pm: the exciting day had not ended for us yet. We were about to enjoy an activity that is quickly becoming very popular in the Netherlands: a floating hot tub! We actually watched the fireworks from inside this hot tub, floating around in the canals of Rotterdam! Can you imagine people’s faces when they saw us passing by?
Wait, you haven’t seen any pictures of our hot tub, did you? Click on the link to read part 2 of “Spectacular things to do in Rotterdam – part 2″
Next year’s World Port Days
The World Port Days are a great opportunity to visit Rotterdam. The entrance is free where fees will only be charged for the excursions. The World Port Days are an annual event (this year was the 36th edition!) and tickets can be purchased online.
The port of Rotterdam is the most important port in Europe. Every year 34,000 ocean vessels call in to deliver or pick up some of the 12 million sea containers being transhipped here annually. It’s impressive to watch all the port activity….make sure to visit the World Port Days in 2014 from 5-7 September.
We were invited by Rotterdam Marketing to visit the World Port Days 2013. If you intend to visit Rotterdam, you should consider buying the Rotterdam Welcome Card (RWC). It offers discounts of 25% and more at 50 attractions, museums, restaurants and places of entertainment in Rotterdam and 1, 2 or 3 days of unlimited travel with RET metro, tram and bus. You can order the RWC already ahead of your visit.