Spring is finally here and the Dutch celebrate that by getting out in the sun as often as possible. Parks, terraces, benches on the streets or even on the streets themselves; Rotterdam has no etiquette on where to soak up that precious vitamin D. LiveLikeTom went out and about and listed the best places to enjoy the sun. Which one do you prefer?
Free and green: parks or fields
The citycenter of Rotterdam is not a place to hangout if you love fields and forests. However, there are some nice green spaces that you can enjoy.
On the northern riverbank of the Maas-river, the city’s landscapedesigners created a small but enjoyable green oasis. Close to the Eramusbridge you’ll find a small park and if you walk eastwards you will find a few green fields where people love to go sunbathing. Swimming in the river is not promoted, but some skilled swimmers jump in for a fresh dive on hot summer days. Do not try that if you are not used to swimming in strong currents.
The northern neighbourhood Blijdorp has a wonderfull little park that is often referred to as the backyard of Blijdorp. Hipsters and happy singles bring their own barbecues and food and drinks to unwind. On warm summernights the Vroesenpark is more like a BBQ-party than a backyard. If you come here, you will most likely not read your book. So leave it at your hotel, bring a bottle of wine and enjoy the sun!
Most people visit the terrace of hotel New York to enjoy the sunset, thinking the lawn in front of it is part of the hotel’s premises. It is not, so use the free chairs provided during the summer or just chill out with your own brought food and drinks. The pier is windy and the sun is best enjoyed after 3 pm on warm days. Bring a sweater to warm you after sunset.
A rooftop terrace and the Asian swamp in the Zoo
Of course there are hundreds of great places to visit and most of them you will find in travel guides. But some spots are not listed as a great place to let the rays of sun touch your skin. Who would come up with such a cheesy description anyway, right? Nevertheless, I listed my personal favourites because it is very likely that you can enjoy the sun quietly, at least during working hours.
La Place Binnenweg – Oude Binnenweg 34, 3012 JE
This rooftop terrace is one of Rotterdam’s best kept secrets. Or maybe it is because the restaurant La Place is known to attract a lot of seniors and families. But give it a go: this is a beautiful little terrace where you can enjoy the sun during the afternoon. At ground floor you will have to take the escalators in a shopping mall. Go to the third floor and you will see immediately where to go.
Het Nieuwe Instituut – Museumpark 25, 3015 CB
This is one of my favorite for a sunny morning or lunch. This former museum of architecture has opened is terrace alo for non-visitors and is now a popular place to hang out on sunny days. This spot seems to be designed for relaxation: almost no wind, a lot of sun and comfortable seats. Het Nieuwe Instituut is located at the entrance of the museumpark and therefore also a great starting point for a rainy day.
De Tuin – Plaszoom 354, Rotterdam
The largest park of Rotterdam, Kralingse Bos, also has a small lake. From the shore you have a great view at the skyline of Rotterdam and if you are gay, you might be interested to know that the most well-known gay cruising area of Rotterdam is somewhere in the outerskirts of the park. (This area is even marked with rainbow coloured signs!) And also on the small nude beach you can find some excitement. But if you are here to just enjoy the sun with your pants on, the terrace of bar restaurant De Tuin has a nice view on the lake and the glass shields block the wind. So you can warm up in the sun during the early cold days of spring and enjoy a nice glass of wine.
Trompenburg – Honingerdijk 86, 3062 NX
When I go on a citytrip, I usually visit the botanical gardens on my last day. It is so relaxing after a weekend of running from museum to hotspot and from breakfast coffeebar to danceclub (the latter most likely in the opposite order). The Rotterdam botanical garden Trompenburg is a tranquil place where you can enjoy fresh air and beautiful plants and trees. In their little shop you can also buy seeds to create your own botanical forest at home 😉
Diergaarde Blijdorp – Blijdorplaan 8, 3041 JG
The Rotterdam Zoo Blijdorp is close to the Vroesenpark as they are both situated in one of the city’s nicest neighbourhoods. The zoo is large and you can easily spend a whole day here. Especially on sunny days this is a nice place to go. Of course the big aquarium and the butterfly garden Amazonica are must-sees. But to enjoy the sun, I usually find a bench in the Asian Swamp, where the monkeys entertain me and the zoo just appears to be a little garden.
What is your favourite place to enjoy the sun, either in Rotterdam or elsewhere?