The city of Rotterdam always keeps it fresh, modern and vibrant when it comes to its food, culture, and architectural feats which made it quickly come to the top of everybody’s travel destination list. Really, what’s not to love? Cube houses, horseshoe-shaped market and basically being a city that never sleeps?

So if you’re planning to pay this city a visit, be sure to check out our good ol’ list of 10 free things to do here in Rotterdam.

1. Visit the Free Festivals 

Exploring one’s culture is a lot easier to do when you put music into the mix (see what we did there?). It helps you get an insight of the city’s lifestyle and culture. So why don’t you try coming to Rotterdam in time for its FREE festivals? Here are some of them:

  • Baroeg Open Air
  • Summer Carnaval
  • Roparun
  • ZigZagZuid
  • Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival
  • Sao Jao Festival
  • Eendracht Festival
  • Metropolis Festival

2. City Photography

Rotterdam has a few of the world’s most iconic architectures much like Dubai’s Burj Khalifa or New York’s Flatiron building.

It is absolutely free to walk/bike around the city and take a photo of the incredible cityscape at the golden hour just before sunrise or at sunset, take photos of buildings, bridges, the port, street signs, daily Dutch people’s hustle, street food, graffitis and other visual art scenes.

Here’s a short guide of a must-snap photo:

  • Erasmus Bridge
  • Cube Houses
  • The Rotterdam
  • Markthal Central Station
  • Euromast
  • Floating Forest
Free Things to Do in Rotterdam

Photo Credit: Rowan Heuvel @Unsplash

3.  See (more) Windmills

Getting a bike isn’t exactly free but getting to the windmills on the outskirts of the city is. Take a bike with you and drive a good 14 kilometers  (9 miles) out of Rotterdam to see the traditional Dutch windmills. Soak up in the beauty of the scenic waterways of Rottemeren where there are 19 breathtaking windmills along the waterways waiting for you.

4. Chill out at Rotterdam Parks

This city in the summer can take its toll on you which is why it’s important to find some time to just relax, kick back with a small packed lunch and cozy up with a book and chill out the local way. Visit parks like Het Park at the Euromast, Vroesenpark, Museumpark and Kralingse Bos.

However, these parks attract a good number of people so if you’re looking for a quieter space, check out Park Zestienhoven which is a bit far from everywhere else (61 meters from Rotterdam Airport to be exact) but is guaranteed to let you unwind without the worry of overcrowding. It’s good for other activities too such as biking and, fishing etc.

8 Free Things to Do in Rotterdam
This photo of Vroesenpark is courtesy of TripAdvisor

5. International Sculpture Route Rotterdam

If you’re into art, or maybe even if you aren’t, one free thing you must not skip doing is visiting the Westersingel Sculpture Route that displays various works of art from Rotterdam’s International Sculpture Collection. Find 17 works by major sculptors like Rodin, Carel Visser, Joel Shapiro and Umberto Mastroianni along the Westersingel canal.

8 Free Things to Do in Rotterdam

Photo Credit: Filip & Kristel Blog


6. Take a Free Walking Tour

If all the biking and walking by yourself is getting a bit lonesome, spare an hour or two by joining free walking tours all over the city. They will help you get back on your bearings and show you all key places you may have missed. All the while, providing you with the most fun, unpopular facts and not to mention, humor, that the internet can’t provide.

Tour guides can really bring a lot more extra knowledge to each site you’ll be visiting. It is, even more, fun to meet a lot of people at the same time while walking around. They can even give you awesome tips for pubs, bars, and restaurant while you’re at it. Book a tour with Free Walking Tour Rotterdam to experience the city like no other.

8 Free Things to Do in Rotterdam

7. World Harbour Days

If you’re visiting Rotterdam in the beginning of September then you’re in for a little treat! The World Harbour Days happens around this time and you can expect the event to bring in fireworks, performances, parades and other festive activities that will make your trip to Rotterdam even more worthwhile and it’s all for free!


8. De Leeszaal Rotterdam (Free Books)

For everyone who travels, we are guessing, reading is pretty much your go-to time pass activity. Which is why we are including this to our list of free things to do in Rotterdam. Feel free to take a book with you but you are also encouraged to exchange any book that may be of no use to you for the rest of your trip.

Leeszaal Rotterdam West is one of the best places to get a feel of being a local whether you want to read a book, work or meet with friends. Opens on Tuesdays till Friday: 10 am to 8 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm.

You know it’s true what they say, the best things in life are free… These are only some of the free things you can do in the city especially when you’re on a budget. Whoever said your experience can be limited by money is absolutely wrong.

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