Rotterdam is beautiful in spring – flowers bloom and trees blossom as nature begins to thrive under the sun. This guide offers five of the city’s most stunning green spaces for an urban trek.
To the east of the city lies Kralingse Bos, a stunning wooded park surrounding an artificial lake. There’s so much on offer in this 200-hectare park. Activities include cycling, swimming, renting a sailboat or exploring the enchanting forest paths flourishing with flora and fauna. On and around the water, there are glorious places to pause for a picnic or enjoy a barbecue while watching the sunset with a bottle of wine. To the north bank, grab a table at Restaurant De Tuin van de Vier Windstreken which offers a waterside terrace where you can admire the views against the backdrop of the city. Whatever you desire, the park provides a haven for anyone in search of fresh air and serenity away from the rush of the city.
For budding horticulturists, this botanical garden is an absolute must. Cocooned in the Kralingen district, amid some of the city’s most magnificent houses, the Arboretum hosts a vast collection of trees, shrubs, perennials and exotic plant species from around the world. Follow winding paths over white bridges, discover the cacti and succulent greenhouse, marvel at the assortment of mature trees and the 700 varieties of rhododendron. It’s a magical place to find a quiet corner, sit on a bench and immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. If you’re interested in learning more, join a guided tour through the gardens. You will be accompanied by a professional who will explain the origins and history of the plants as well as their seasonal evolution. Entrance is €9.75 (or free for those with a Rotterdampas or Museumkaart). It’s Rotterdam’s not-to-be-missed hidden gem!
Tues-Fri 10 AM – 4 PM
Sat-Mon 10 AM – 4 PM
Located next to the Euromast, this English landscape-style park is a tranquil space to enjoy a short stroll. Sit under a tree with a book, picnic on the banks of the canal among the wildlife, or spend time with someone special at the box hedge garden overlooking the water. Although it’s a relatively small park, the meandering trails over the canals with their shady trees make this an unmissable delight.
Historische Tuin Schoonoord
To the east of Het Park, cross a small bridge to arrive at winged wrought-iron gates welcoming you into this secret Eden. Dating back to 1706, when it belonged to one of the nearby villas, Schoonoord has since kept its quaint allure. It’s the perfect place to spend a peaceful afternoon as the city noise disappears, replaced by the sound of chirping birds, rustling trees and flowing water. Wander among the 250-year-old cedars, herbaceous flowering plants, beech trees and swamp cypresses as you lose yourself in this luscious garden.
Mon-Sun 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
With an abundance of activities on offer, the city’s ‘South Park’ is replete with swamps, forests, islands, lakes, play areas and many hiking and biking trails. From sports to impressive art sculptures and events in the summer (music festivals, the circus and flea markets), it’s no wonder the Netherlands’ biggest city park brims with life. Venture to the west side, where you’ll find the grand De Oliphant country house, mill and farmlands. Or, escape the crowds and relax in a meadow. Throughout the park, visitors are invited to walk through the allotment gardens. If you’re keen on wildlife, you may even spot wild deer on the peninsular, breeding buzzards at the cemetery or bats soaring over the water at twilight.