Rotterdam Tours and Excursions
From: Rotterdam Travel Guide
ABOVE: Spido operates 75-minute harbor tours throughout the year, plus longer excursions (up to 6 or 7 hours) during high season. INSET BELOW: A Spido sightseeing boat passes ms Rotterdam, Nehallenia returns from a 3-hour excursion to Kinderdijk, and a bicyclist puts her foot down at a pedestrian crossing.
Local tours and excursions
Rotterdam's center is small enough, and the tourist office's free Citymap Rotterdam and other materials are good enough, that you can enjoy most of the city's sights on your own. (See Rotterdam Architecture & Art and Rotterdam Sightseeing & Attractions.) Still, some sights are best seen by boat, especially if you're interested in the Port of Rotterdam.
Spido has operated sightseeing boats in Rotterdam since 1919, and its modern vessels offer 75-minute harbor tours with multilingual commentary throughout the year.
During July and August, Spido also has a longer "extended harbor tour" on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 12:45 p.m. that lasts 2˝ hours. Both the standard and extended tours offer a look at container-handling facilities, dry docks, and ships in Europe's busiest port.
A newer company, Splashtours, has announced 75-minute land and water tours in a custom-built amphibious bus. Lifejackets and diving goggles are included in the ticket price. (The tour wasn't yet operating when we last checked, so e-mail [email protected] if you can't find up-to-date information on the Splashtours Web site.)
Our own favorite tour is the Rebus Shipping Company's Kinderdijk cruise aboard an old-fashioned two-deck excursion boat, the Nehalennia. The leisurely three-hour trip takes you to the UNESCO-listed windmills at Kinderdijk, which is upriver from Rotterdam.
Day trips by boat
In addition to 75-minute and seasonal 2˝-hour harbor cruises, Spido offers day trips to the outer reaches of the Europort (6 hours) and ths Seven Rivers and Delta Works (7 hours) in July and August.
On these longer trips, the spoken commentary is in Dutch only, but English- or German-speaking passengers can ask for written translations. The fares include apple pie and coffee upon boarding and a buffet lunch.
Another Spido tour is the "Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier Package," which includes a 75-minute harbor tour, followed by a light lunch at the Keringhuis (the barrier's information center) and a tour of the project. For more information on this and other Spido tours, visit www.spido.nl.
Tours to other cities
From Rotterdam, you can easily reach Delft, Utrecht, Den Haag (The Hague) and other nearby cities by train. See the Netherlands Railways Web site for timetables and prices.
Rotterdam ByCycle offers 3-hour tours for groups of six or more and day tours for groups of 10 or more cyclists.
If you'd rather tour on your own or aren't traveling with an entourage, bring a bike or hire one at Use-it, at the bike-rental facility at the Rotterdam Centraal train station, or from your hotel or hostel.
To plan your self-guided trip, see Peter Hilton's Rotterdam Cycling Routes, which has detailed step-by-step directions with photos for several tours in and around Rotterdam. For longer trip itineraries, search the Rotterdam cycling maps at Bikely.com.
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Top photo: Spido Havenrondvaarten.
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