Hikes and walks in Rotterdam: 12 places for the perfect nature escape

The Netherlands

A city known for its epic modern architecture, Rotterdam is the place to go when you feel like you’ve seen enough of the classic Dutch canals.

While there are numerous wonderful things you can do in Rotterdam for free, hikes and nature walks are not frequently mentioned among them.

However, if you’re looking for a place to stretch your legs, or simply want to discover more of Rotterdam’s hidden gems, the city offers plenty of opportunities for the perfect nature escape. Whether you’re looking for a long hike or just a short afternoon walk, Rotterdam has something for everyone.

1. Wandelen around Kralingse Plas

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Kralingse Plas is a spot for families, couples, singles, and groups of friends alike. Not only is it a wonderful place for a walk, but the area surrounding the lake also offers plentiful opportunities to sit down for a picnic or go for a quick swim at the local beach (if the weather and water quality allows). There are various restaurants and cafés on the way where you can grab a quick bite in case you need a refresher.

The local deer farm, as well as the playing ground next to it, will surely light up the eyes of the youngest ones. If you really enjoy the serenity of Dutch forests and the five-kilometer walk around the lake is not enough for you, you can also venture into the Kralingse Bos. To explore this piece of nature at a faster pace, simply bring your roller skates with you.

2. A walk-in Het Park, the perfect picnic spot

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Fancy a walk in one of the oldest parks in Rotterdam? Head to Het Park. With trees that are over 100 years old and a French-style garden, Het Park is the perfect place to relax after a long week of work. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot some woodpeckers or tawny owls.

In normal times, Het Park turns into a lively spot with various food festivals and events. Over the past year, it has been a bit quieter, but nonetheless a great spot to find some nature in the city.

For €10.50 you can go up the Euromast tower and enjoy the views of the entire city. Whether you go during the day, or at night when the whole of Rotterdam is lit up, you are in for some incredible views. Had enough greenery for the day? Head to the nearby bank of the river Maas and enjoy some views of the Erasmus Bridge.

If a moment of peace and tranquility is what you’re looking for instead, you shouldn’t miss the nearby Schoonoord at Kievitslaan. A true hidden gem, Schoonoord is the perfect place to unwind. You can visit from 10 AM to 5 PM.

3. Hiking the Lage & Hoge Bergse Bos

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Venture out of the forest and stroll in the sun along the river Rotte. Feature Image: Jana Vondráčková/Supplied
With highland cattle grazing parts of the forest, walking in Lage and Hoge Bergse Bos is probably as close as you can get to experiencing real wilderness in the Netherlands. There are numerous different hikes you can opt for, whether they are three or 13 kilometers long.

The two forests offer space for all sorts of activities from mountain biking, roller skating, climbing, and canoeing to golf. You may not be able to enjoy everything during a single hike, but luckily, there are camping sites which you can stay at if you wish to enjoy this piece of nature for longer than a day.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can also combine your explorations of Lage and Hoge Bergse Bos with a walk around the Zevenhuizerplas. On a warm sunny day, leave the shade of the forest trees and stroll along the river Rotte instead. You’ll see plenty of cheerful Dutchies sunbathing on their boats.

4. Walk around the Zevenhuizerplas

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Enjoy the peace and tranquility of your stroll around the Zevenhuizerplas. Feature Image: Jana Vondráčková/Supplied
Looking for a walk through a paradise of water birds? Then a walk around the Zevenhuizerplas is the perfect option for you. You’ll have the chance to spot kingfishers, cormorants, herons, or reed. While you’ll find birds in the more quiet areas around the lake, you can also stop by the more lively Nesselande beach for a quick swim.

This artificially created lake is also a great recreational area for water sports enthusiasts, as it is well suited for canoeing, paddleboarding, sailing, and even surfing.

5. Stroll through Zuiderpark

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If you want to venture to the south of Rotterdam, make sure you don’t miss out on a walk-in Zuiderpark. Zuiderpark is located in the neighborhood of Charlois and is supposedly one of the biggest city parks in the Netherlands.

The park covers 215 hectares which equal approximately 430 football fields. You can come here to enjoy swamps, the forest, a beach, little islands, and large playing ground. While you’re here, try to spot the reed warbler or look out for the dozens of bats at twilight.

6. Wandelen around Prinsemolenpark & Bergse Plassen

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Want to enjoy some good old Dutch windmills? Then a walk through Prinsemolenpark and around the Bergse Voorplas might be something for you. The windmill called Molen de Vier Winden (Mill the Four Winds) is located only a few minute’s walks from the upper corner of the park.

Prinsemolenpark is a green strip of land located in between the Bergse Voorplas and the river Rotte, which means you can enjoy marvelous views of the water from here. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, this is the perfect spot to come and savour a moment of tranquility.

7. Venture to Het Schollebos

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If your wanderings take you to Capelle aan den IJssel, which is right to the east of Rotterdam, make sure you walk around the Schollebos. Schollebos is home to all kinds of tree species and a great spot to encounter various mammals. Think moles, hedgehogs, rabbits, and occasionally also hares and foxes.

Although the pancake place called Petit Restaurant Schollebos is a great place to start your walk, we recommend treating yourself to this tasty delight only after you’ve walked around the park.

8. Hike around the Ackerdijkse Plassen

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If living in the biggest port city of the Netherlands still doesn’t fulfill your water view craving, head for a hike around the outskirts of the Ackerdijkse Plassen. Home to numerous kinds of birds, Ackerdijkse Plassen is a closed nature reserve and a designated bird sanctuary. But don’t worry about missing out on some great views just because the area is closed to humans. There are still three main watchtowers that you can spot birds from in every season.

9. Stroll around Prinses Beatrixpark

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If you’ve ever ventured west of Rotterdam to Schiedam, you probably already know all about this gem. A place to enjoy not only walking, but also a botanical garden, a petting zoo, various playgrounds, and some lekker eten, Prinses Beatrixpark is the biggest park in Schiedam.

After the construction of Wilhelminahaven in the 1950s, the park was supposed to make up for the lost forest, and its creation was meant to provide jobs for the unemployed. However, after the 1953 floods in Zeeland, much of the newly acquired workforce left to work in Zeeland and Prinses Beatrixpark began to decay. In 2012, it was finally revamped and now it offers a vibrant location in the city to be enjoyed with family and friends.

10. Visit Het Klauterwoud

Klauterwoud Vlaardingen; van klimmen en klauteren tot uitkijktoren en  struin doolhof - Mamaliefde.nl | Klimmen, Wandelen, Uitjes

Looking to venture even further away from Rotterdam than Schiedam? Plan a walk in Het Klauterwoud. Located close to Vlaardingen, Het Klauterwoud is a true paradise for children. Stroll through the labyrinth of trees and bushes and find your inner adventurer as you explore the natural playgrounds.

11. Walk through centuries of Dutch history: Kinderdijk

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Fancy a wander through seven centuries of Dutch water management? The Dutch have shown an incredible amount of skill and persistence when it comes to managing water and fighting off the seas, and Kinderdijk is a prime example of their efforts.

Located only a quick drive from the city, Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Netherlands’ most popular tourist spots. Stroll along the canals and enjoy the view of 19 picturesque windmills. People actually live in some of them, so who knows? Maybe you’ll make some friends with the locals while you’re here.

12. Walk to the coast: Hoek van Holland

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What’s better to lift your mood than some vitamin sea? The Hoek van Holland beach offers plentiful opportunities for walks with scenic views.

You can opt for a short two-three-kilometer walk and then spend a laid-back afternoon relaxing at the beach or instead go on a longer hike that takes you through the local dunes, forests, and charming villages. On your way, you can explore the bunkers and underground passages of the Atlantic Wall defense line. The options here are truly endless.

If you’d like to venture beyond Rotterdam and explore other natural areas in the Lowlands, check out our guides on hiking in Amsterdam, The Hague, and Maastricht.

By: dutchreview.com

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