While visiting Amsterdam, you may like to spend a day or more in one of the world's major ports, Rotterdam. Rotterdam is approximately 52 kilometers south of Amsterdam and is easily accessible with public transport.
By car, it takes approximately one hour to reach Rotterdam traveling on the A4 and then A13.
Likewise, it also takes about 1 hour by train, which leave several times per hour from Centraal Station.. There are also high-speed trains that will cut your journey by about 15 minutes.
Rotterdam itself is a modern, contemporary city, although it still retains strong links with its past heritage and culture.
Unfortunately, due to the severe bombing during World War II, many of its historical buildings were destroyed. Only three buildings remained after the reconstruction following the war: the White House, St Laurence Church and the City Hall.
The rebuilt part of the city is famous for its innovative modern architecture. Some of the more noteworthy architectural structures include the Euromast Space Tower, which is the tallest building in the city. A view from the top of the tower affords a spectacular panoramic view of the city.
The Kubuswoningen or Cube Houses are a must see on any visit. These unusually shaped houses were built in 1984 and you have the opportunity of entering one of them called the Kijk-Kubus. There are many more examples of modern architecture including the Weena building, the Van Nelle factory, Feyenoords football stadium and the Erasmus Bridge.
The importance of the port can be captured in the Rotterdam Port Experience, conducted in the Port Terminal, underneath the Erasmus Bridge. Here you will take part in an interactive virtual experience of the port. A variety of tours around the harbor are also available, ranging from just over an hour to all day trips. Several of the tours leave from Willemsplein 85 at the bottom of the Erasmus Bridge center.
Rotterdam has a world renowned zoo called Diergaarde Blijdorp which also includes an aquarium.
Most of the museums, of which there are more than thirty, are found in an area known as Museum Park. Here you will find the Kunsthal Art Gallery, the Maritime Museum and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen housing Rotterdam's most prominent art works. An overview of the city's history from its beginning as a small fishing village to the now bustling city can be found with a visit to Museum Het Schielandshuis.
Rotterdam has a number of shopping precincts, many of which are traffic free. The main areas include the Lijnbaan, the Hoogstraat, the Coolsingel and the Beurstraverse. Most shops open from 9:30am until 5:30pm with later starting times on Mondays and late night shopping on Fridays.
The city is well serviced by public transport including buses, metro, trams, taxis and ferries. It is advisable to get a discount card for attractions and travel. The Rotterdam Welcome Card offers up to 25% off leading attractions for only five euros and you can team this up with a RET travel card for 1, 2 or 3 days unlimited travelling on tram, metro or bus.
For more information about the city, the main tourist information center is a good place to head once you arrive and is located within five minutes of the Central Station.
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