In the past, I have mentioned my love for the city of Rotterdam. It is beautiful and it is lively. Considering that Delft and Rotterdam are right next to each other (they are merely 15 km apart), it is fascinating how there are more differences than similarities between these two cities. However, whenever I have visited the never-sleeping harbour city, I have stayed in the central areas where more or less all the other tourists stay also. Although we also checked out the centre today, we also gave a go for the more unknown spots when trying find longboardable streets…
We got off the train at Rotterdam Blaak, the hoods with slightly more absurd architecture: the Markthall, cube houses and so on… The area, you want to go to as a tourist. The whole Blaak area has pretty nice surfaces to longboard on BUT there is not really any space due to the amount of tourists. Also, the people cycling in those areas did not seem appreciative of us and we came across with a lot of broken glass as well as random items on the roads.
I would definitely recommend going to Blaak to check out the architecture as well as the Old Harbour but do not expect to be able to longboard.
The quayside is probably one of the best spots to longboard at: smooth terrain and barely any people in your way. The good-condition strip is not super long but it definitely makes the trip worth it. Also, you get to see the skyscrapers as well as Erasmusbrugge: the bridge that the city is famous for!
Unfortunately, however, also around the bridge, the terrain is filled with crap, literally: there is bird poop everywhere so you better make sure you do not fall over!
This area is maybe my favourite because of the park it hosts. Sure, the streets are old cobble streets and hell to drive on but once you enter the park, the terrain becomes smooth. I could imagine that in summer there are plenty of people around but today, we were one of the only ones. As the area is very well kept (there are banks and so on along the streets), this city park is really clean.
Also, if you wanted to see the city from above, you could always go and visit Euromast. I promise you will not be disappointed!
Delfshaven and Spangen
Towards the West, you get Spangen: the working-class neighbourhood of Rotterdam. Our reason for this leg of the trip was to find a specific cafe (for review, click here) and definitely not for the views. Delfshaven is still a very pretty area with all the locks and quays (you can see also some pretty old buildings) which is nice.
However, once leaving the park I just talked about, the terrain gets pretty rough and and cycle paths extremely narrow (the cyclists will definitely be your friends). Also, the connection to Central Rotterdam is a busy one and a slightly less experienced rider like yours truly, it can be a rather daunting experience. Therefore, I am not sure if I was to recommend this area for anyone else but true Rotterdammers.
In comparison to Leiden and its cobble streets, Rotterdam definitely provides better setting for longboarding. However, just like in any big city, everyone is always in a hurry and you may end up being verbally abused by cyclists. Rotterdam and its experimental architecture are definitely worth a visit but if I were you, I would prepare myself for quite some walking…