0 In Netherlands/ Rotterdam

Hidden Gems of Kralingen: Activities, Parks & Nature

Spend some time in Kralingen Rotterdam for some unique places, hidden gems and great places to eat!

Kralingen is a vibrant and cosy neighbourhood in the Netherlands. Since the city of Rotterdam is becoming ever more popular among tourists, I wanted to focus on this neighbourhood to highlight the hidden gems of Kralingen. This peaceful location is worth a visit to experience the nature, some activities or some fitness in the park.

Where is Kralingen?

Well you first need to think of the Netherlands. Kralingen is a neighbourhood in the city of Rotterdam, just east of the city center.

In 1895 the village of Kralingen merged with the modern city of Rotterdam. Compared to the city, many houses were constructed before 1960 with only around half of them being affected by the bombs during WW2. This location used to be where all the rich residents would live in the city (and many still do!). These days, Kralingen is also a vibrant location for students, as it is the closest neighbourhood to the Erasmus University and Rotterdam Business School.

Things To Do In Kralingen

Trompenburg Botanical Gardens

One of my favourite hidden gems in Rotterdam are the Trompenburg Botanical Gardens. This is at the top of my hidden gems of Kralingen list as even many Dutchies do not know about this place!

They organise fairs throughout the year too, so keep up to date with their facebook page to see all the upcoming events.

No matter what the weather is, take a visit and explore for yourself. Follow the paths through this gorgeous location and dont forget to check out the cactus house! Stop for a piece of cake and cup of tea before you leave.

Trompenburg botanical garden Rotterdam togetherintransit.nl Rotterdam Kralingen

Kralingse Plas

This park and lake is gorgeous to spend time at whether you are alone, with friends or family. Plus it is the biggest recreational area in Rotterdam! I always find myself walking or cycling around the lake, but always stopping at some of the locations where you can see the city skyline. Which is perfect for watching sunsets. The Kralingse Plas is also part of the Rotterdam Marathon route every year.

The Kralingse Plas is not so much one of the hidden gems of Kralingen for Dutchies and Rotterdammers as it is the most well known among lake. But for tourists and expats, it’s well worth the visit.

It is lovely to take a picnic and BBQ in the summer, to possible ice skating on the lake in winter (when it’s safe!). There is also an area you can swim in the lake or let your children play in the paddling pool. Else climb the lookout watchtower nearby to see across the water. Though beware of where you sit on the beach area, as one section is for naked sunbathing.

Bonus Tip: Stop at the northern part to visit the deer!

Rotterdam Kralingen October 2018 - A deer at the Kralingse Bos park

Kralingse Bos in the Summer within Kralingen

Eat At A Pancake House

There are a few pancake houses situated in Kralingen. In my experience the Dutchies love pancake houses. WIth all the different delicious choices for your toppings. As an expat I love some of the popular combinations, such as bacon, cheese and syrup! The two in Kralingen I can recommend are:

  • De Nachtegaal
  • Boshut De Big (reachable by bike and by foot only as it’s in the middle of the forest path)
Rotterdam Kralingen October 2018

Photo source here.

Go Swimming

If you dont feel like going for a walk or cycle at the Kralingse Bos Park, why not go for a swim at the local pool. The Oostelijk Zwembad offer multiple times a day to swim the lanes, join an aqua class or to have fun with your children.

Swimming inside at the Oostelijk Zwembad In Kralingen

Walk Through The Neighbourhood

When the sun is shining, it’s the perfect opportunity to walk around Kralingen and just enjoy the nature. I love going for walks no matter what the weather is as it’s perfect to think about what the week looks like ahead. If you ever walk in Kralingen in the evenings you may even see some hedgehogs!

Spend some time in Kralingen Rotterdam for some unique places, hidden gems and great places to eat!

Fun Forest Rotterdam

Ever wanted to be climbing through the trees? This attraction allows you to follow an obstacle course high up, through challenging swinging steps and zip lines. Popular among families, it’s a fun course for all ages. This sure is one of the hidden gems of Kralingen for those who love an adventure and not scared of heights!

Rotterdam Kralingen Climbing Park Forest Fun

Photo source here.

Shopping at the Lusthofstraat

As well as some recognisable supermarkets and stores, the Lusthofstraat offers more than you think. Little boutiques fill the street for those unique shopping items. There is also a local butcher and cheese store that usually have some great deals on!

Watch Football

Enjoy watching a game at a stadium? Well you are in luck, as Kralingen is the home location to Rotterdam club S.B.V. Excelsior. Buy your tickets online and join the crowd in cheering on the winning team.

Photo source here.

Food & Drink

There are many restaurants within Kralingen for a bite to eat or evening drinks. These restaurants range from the typical Dutch snackbars to the fancy restaurants. We are usually to be found at the pancake houses so we have lots of places on our list to still try!

Rotterdam Kralingen October 2018

Photo source here.

Walk The Fire Boundary

The city Fire Boundary, outlining the bombs and 4 day long fires from WW2, are represented by lights and symbols on the streets. Check out the interactive map on the Brandgrens website to see the exact route through Kralingen. You can read more about the Germans bombing the city of Rotterdam in our post related to the Museum Rotterdam 40′-45′ NU.

One of the lights for the fire boundary route in Rotterdam


As an expat, I have now lived in four locations in Rotterdam, with our latest location in Kralingen. It’s a neighbourhood I definitely think of when I say ‘Home Sweet Home’. For those visiting just once, a walk in the Kralingse Plas is a must. But for those who are more often in Rotterdam you should visit this neighbourhood every season!

Pin for later:

Hidden Gems of Kralingen, Rotterdam Netherlands. There are many nature parks to explore, activities to join in with and delicious pancake houses you must try!

Have you visited Rotterdam before? Did you see the Kralingse Plas or find yoursef in Kralingen? Let us know in the comments!


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