Rotterdam_5Need a break from the stresses of everyday life but the credit crunch has got your bank card telling you otherwise? Why not visit The Netherlands for a cheap city break that will provide that change of pace and scenery that you’ve been waiting for and still leave your purse strings smiling.

The Netherlands is known the world over for Amsterdam, the Red Light District and those oh so special brownies, but did you know that it was also host to the stunning city of Rotterdam, the European Youth Capital of 2009, dedicated to offering its youth the opportunity to mould their city and express their talent via a series of events created for young people, by young people? I bet you didn’t. And in addition to this the multicultural city is also set against the backdrop of the largest Seaport in Europe (who doesn’t love a riverside view?), boasts a rich history, stunning architecture, shops and restaurants galore and a vibrant nightlife scene providing you with something to do from sunrise to sunset.

Discover the undiscovered city by day
With most of the cities attractions just a stones throw away from one another, there’s no excuse not to experience everything on offer, from sampling the local cuisine, to going on historically and culturally enlightening tours across the city, and trips to the art galleries and museums.
The guided city bike tour is a great way to familiarise yourself with your surroundings, as your tour guide takes you past the cities landmarks from the amazing architectural skills that form the cubic houses, along the River Maas where the Spido waits to take tourist on a guided water tour of the City, past the highest lookout tower in the Netherlands which boasts incredible panoramic views of the city, the Euromast, through bustling shopping area Alexandrium with its mix of designer and high street brands and past some of the best and most recommended bars and restaurants serving worldwide inspired cuisines. Whatever you do be sure to take note so that you can revisit the sites that were of most interest to you!

Rotterdam_3Party hard into the night
With youth festivals featuring international artists such as N*E*R*D , Black Eyed Peas and dance DJ sensation Chuckie taking place across the summer as part of the YOUR WORLD Summer Events campaign aimed at enhancing opportunities for youths, Rotterdam really knows how to party and truly has something to offer everyone. From a rock/ pop inspired weekend, to a jazz and hip hop/ breakdance weekend, the Summer Events are just an example of the type of large-scale events that are never too far apart in the festival city of the Netherlands! So be sure to visit for information on upcoming festivals and events.

Keep it moving
Having experienced the TMF Awards and YOUR MUSIC festival in Rotterdam, I can guarantee you that the whole vibe and buzz will have you wanting to continue the party late into the night, so be sure to visit one of the many trendy bars that can be found scattered throughout the city playing a variety of genres of music. I personally suggest making a trip to De Witte Ape, but be sure not to judge a book by its cover as despite possibly being the world’s smallest bar, it is also claimed to be the world’s best bar as a result of its unrivalled atmosphere! I’ll leave this for you to decide, as the couple of shots of tequila I had on my visit may have slightly impaired my judgement!

Flight and accommodation prices for a weekend trip to Rotterdam are as cheap so what are you waiting for? Oh and another thing, in case you were wondering, you won’t be hard pushed to find a cosy street side café that sells those special brownies you thought were only baked in Amsterdam.

Words by Susanne Singh