Rotterdam: second largest city in the Netherlands, busiest port in Europe, and home of the ITU Grand Final. With over 35,000 kilometres of cycling pathways in the country, the Netherlands is a fantastic country for any triathlete to travel to. Being close to, but not as busy as Amsterdam makes Rotterdam a great city to visit.
I was recently in Rotterdam for the 2017 ITU Age Group World Championships. Here are 3 Simple Tips I learned while there to make your trip to Rotterdam run just a little bit smoother!
Careful with Intercity Trains from Schipol Airport to Rotterdam Centraal.
I made the huge mistake of booking a train ticket prior to my visit to the Netherlands between the Schipol Airport and Rotterdam Centraal stations. Unfortunately, I booked the first Intercity ticket I saw.
You can purchase 2 types of InterCity tickets: NS or Thalys - MAKE SURE YOU GO WITH NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) INTERCITY DIRECT when travelling from Schipol to Rotterdam Centraal! They are cheaper and are meant to get you as quickly and affordably as possible from city to city. Thalys Intercity Direct tickets are meant for longer rides throughout Western Europe. These are assigned sitting and have different restrictions on baggage.
Also, make sure if you are travelling with a bike that you purchase a bike ticket (an additional 6.50 Euros) so that you are able to take your bike on the train.
Cycling Around Rotterdam is Easy Easy Easy!
The bicycle is simply the best way to get around Rotterdam. It seems that everyone in the country does it. I saw common commuters to recreational cyclists - I even saw a mother with 3 children on a single bike!
Cycling infrastructure is quite a marvel in the Netherlands with nearly every city having nearly as much mileage of bike lanes as road. I heard a local say that the cyclist has more rights than the motorist. Now, whether that is true or not is up for debate, but while in Rotterdam I did notice that cyclists were given the right of way in the majority of situations. While on foot, you MUST be careful when crossing not only the street, but any bike lane. Failure to do so may very well end up in a bike-pedestrian collision and a very upset Dutchman.
When travelling without your own bike, do not fear - there are many bike shops with available rentals throughout the city. The easiest to get to when arriving in the city is Rijwielshop near Rotterdam Centraal Station. For 7.50 Euros per day, these a a very affordable and convenient way to get around the city. Not to mention, the shop is open NEARLY 24-7.
THere is plenty to see and do while in rotterdam!
For an absolutely wonderful time in Rotterdam, do not miss out on the following:
The BEST Area to Sightsee
Erasmus Bridge Area
Bridging the north and south ends of the city, the Erasmus Bridge ("the Swan") is beautifully placed in the former Harbour area of the Nieuwe Maas River. Conveniently close to Het Park and Euromast Tower, there is plenty to see in this area of the city.
The BEST Place for a Healthy Meal
Coolsingel 141, 3012 AG
If you are a fan of healthy sandwiches and soups, New Fork is just what you need to give you the energy to pedal your way around the city.