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Unlike many historic cities in the Netherlands, which sport Gothic churches and Renaissance buildings, Rotterdam is a gleaming cluster of high-rises. Indeed, some of them are marvels of 20th-century architecture. Public parks, spacious streets and slick shopping malls dot this efficiently designed city, making it the perfect destination for travellers who lean more towards the modern than the classical.
Many parts of the city were bombed in World War II. In fact, only three buildings in Rotterdam's historic centre survived the onslaught, namely, the art deco City Hall, the iconic White House, and St Lawrence Church. The Delft Harbour area also escaped destruction. Extensive rebuilding has given the city a unique personality when compared to the rest of the country. Travellers should view it from the iconic Euromast Space Tower, which has a revolving sit-down elevator.
Rotterdam hasn't forgotten its roots, though, despite its modern look and feel. Its museums cover art, World War II, architecture, photography, maritime history, natural history, and the Netherlands' rail system. Rotterdam is also a multicultural city, with larger immigrant populations than most of the Netherlands.
That said, the city is roughly 16 miles (26km) away from a prominent cluster of windmills, which are an enduring symbol of the Netherlands. Located in the small town of Kinderdijk, these structures are fully functioning and drain water from the Alblasserwaard polder. They're also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most popular attractions in the region.
Like most of the Netherlands, Rotterdam has a temperate oceanic climate, though its position on the coast gives it slightly milder weather than cities farther inland.
Summers (June to August) are warm but rarely get too hot, with average temperatures staying between lows of 54°F (12°C) and highs of 72°F (22°C). The city sees roughly ten rainy days per month. Days are long and sunny, and many residents head to the beach.
The temperature cools off a bit as autumn gives way to winter, though it stays fairly mild and doesn't often dip below 32°F (0°C). Late autumn and early winter (October to December) tend to be the wettest months, while April and May are the driest.
The best time to visit Rotterdam is in late spring (May and June). However, the weather is usually unpredictable and visitors should always be prepared for sudden showers or swings in temperature.
Travellers will need to buy an 'OV-Chipkaart' (Public Transport Chip Card) to use public transport in Rotterdam. It's usable for all bus, tram and metro lines operated by RET. Tourists can also buy an anonymous OV-Chipkaart from ticket machines in all train and metro stations. Arriva and Connexxion buses operate outside the metropolitan area.
Taxis are available from taxi ranks or by telephone. The Thai-influenced tuk-tuks operate on a zone system and are a cheaper option.
Like most Dutch cities, Rotterdam is very bicycle-friendly, and has separate lanes and traffic lights for cyclists. Bicycles are often the fastest way to travel in Rotterdam, and can be hired near the Central Station.
No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination
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