Set in Rotterdam’s maritime district, Oude Haven has some handsome seaworthy vessels and comely waterside stretches. Built in the 14th century, it’s one of the city’s oldest harbours and rivals Delfshaven for historic landmarks. There’s still a small boatyard here, where ships are deftly restored. Modern architectural intrigues make it an eminently Instagrammable neighbourhood, too. Capture Willemsbrug’s red arches and the Art Nouveau elegance of Europe’s first skyscraper in one shot. Or aim for a high-angle snap of the curious ‘Rubik’s Cube gone rogue’ houses by visionary architect Piet Blom.
To match this unique urban landscape, there’s plenty of life here. Waterfront terraces let revellers eat and drink till late. Join street-food seekers at the jaw-droppingly vast Markthal, or grab a table at hip hangouts such as seafood joint The Social Club and neon-flooded Club Vie. Go north to browse Meent’s boutiques and rummage through Blaak Markt’s bric-a-brac – there are antiques to be sought, too. In August, there’s a Summer Festival with alfresco concerts, fun for kids and sometimes walk-on-water balls for those who dare. But, if you miss that, simply settle in a beer garden and linger a while...
Set in the Old Port, with views of the Witte Huis and boats, this welcoming eatery has a waterfront terrace for sunny days. Its menu is simple yet hearty, with sandwiches, sharing boards and fried nibbles (yes, there’s bitterballen). Staff are friendly and a welcoming ambience is made all the warmer with their impressive beer range, with blondes, dubbels, saisons and such.
The peckish are well rewarded in the city’s signature food market. Its curvaceous cathedral-size space is the sprawling canvas for the mural Horn of Plenty by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. A fitting piece, as it shelters more than 100 food stalls, 15 delis and a handful of restaurants. Buy farm-fresh spoils and picnic staples, or pause for pintxos, seafood, dimsum, teas and more.
The best way to do Oude Haven? Eat your fill from the stalls at the Markthal, then go for a walk and a beer by the river.