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Hop on a convenient fifty-minute flight from London’s city airport and before you know you will have landed, in what I am predicting as Europe’s new hottest city break. In 2016, we saw the rise of Copenhagen, this year Ljubljana became the go-to location, I am hoping that in 2018 Rotterdam, Holland, will be given its chance to shine.
The convenient quick flight gives the perfect opportunity to board a flight after work and be sipping a cold beer on Witte de Withstreet by 9 pm without feeling an ounce of jet lag. With city breaks becoming ever more popular with frequent travellers holding down full-time jobs, lesser known destinations are starting to fight their way through as the new places to explore, and Rotterdam is no exception, the cooler younger sister of Amsterdam, Rotterdam provides the chilled, laid back vibes that I found was missing when visiting Holland’s capital city.
Whilst I still have a time for quaint canals contrasted with the stand-out tourist attractions that Amsterdam provides, sometimes in order to relax you need a place with a more local, untouched feeling, and for me, that is what the Dutch port city in the south provided.
Voted one of the top ten cities in the world by Lonely Planet in 2016, the buzz surrounding the metropolitan city is continuously growing. Since being largely destroyed during the World War Two bombings, the city has been rebuilt with futuristic bold architecture that surprisingly compliments itself against the remaining traditional Dutch buildings and traditional port.
Aside from the obvious architecture, the city is also a hub for small independent businesses, from the world famous Schorem barbers, of which men have been known to fly in just for a traditional beard trim, to the plethora of food establishments providing cuisines from all over the globe, with a strong presence of middle eastern influences. The innovative Markthal provides the obvious choice to dine, a huge dome shaped building filled food stands and restaurants designed to fulfil every taste, however, my favourite places were Op Het Dak, a restaurant on top of a high rise that also boasts its own eco-system and the more isolated Fenix Food Factory.
Although the city does not boast the most obvious tourist attractions, its biggest being the curious Cubic Houses, it is a city that invites you to hop on a bike and explore deeper, take time for brunch, browse the boutique cave of wonders shops and talk to the locals. In typical Holland fashion, it offers you a more laid back approach, which in my opinion is perfect for people looking for a weekend escape from their hectic working lives at home.
This post is in collaboration with Visit Holland, in which they provided a press trip, but as always all opinions are my own.