12 In Europe/ Netherlands/ Rotterdam

Sailing On The Rotte, Rotterdam

Arriving at the boat hire shop on the Rotte River

If you are looking for some water activities in Rotterdam, sailing on the Rotte should be one of them. The Rotte Rotterdam, is the perfect location to spend a sunny day with friends on a boat. Whether it is just for 2 hours to a whole day, renting a boat on the Rotte is easy to organise. Take a picnic or stop at one of the many restaurant locations too to complete the day on the water.

For Easter Monday in April 2019 we decided to rent a boat with friends as it was gorgeous 24°c in Rotterdam. It was pretty busy of course and we we’re lucky to get one of the last boats!


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Sailing On The Rotte – The Rotte River

The Rotte is a river in the Rhine-Maas-delta in the Netherlands. The name originates from ‘rot’ relating to the mud and as a river, relates to muddy water. The river once flowed all the way to the River Maas in the center of Rotterdam. However when the city was bombed in 1940 and other construction works took place, the river connections were changed. This was also possible as the Rotter river was no longer used as freight transport after world war two.

The Rotte is now a beautiful river location that we actually usually cycle with our race bikes. You can make a full route from South to North and back again on the other side. However for this time we were sailing!

What Can You See While Sailing On The Rotte

Sailing on the Rotte or even cycling along the bank of the Rotte is always relaxing, even when it’s busy. There are some very pretty windmills to the north section and unique houses along the South section. Some houses are very modern with lots of windows. Others have very cute rooftops in an older typical Dutch style.

You will also pass many fields with sheep and farmland. We saw some cute baby lambs along the way, but they were too fast to take a photo. If visiting in Spring like I did, you will catch many ducklings and other baby birds along the waters edge too. There were easily 20 nests we sailed past.

There are also many restaurants and other activities which we have written about below.

Own Boat Rental

At Boat rental van Vliet you can rent different types of boats per hour. We were lucky to get one for the 5 of us, as it was a busy Easter holiday weekend for 2019. They provide you with with a boat suitable as well as more petrol for when you need to refill the motor. This is all explained how to do it when you rent the boats.

Once you have your boat, you are free to sail where ever you like on the Rotte. Sailing on the Rotte is pretty easy and the river is rather wide in most sections to navigate well. We first went North as there are some pretty windmills along the route.

After we had reached the most northern point we turned back and headed all the way South. The southern part is where you are sailing past all the pretty houses.

There are loads of places to dock too, such as if you want to swim, get an ice cream or some food at a restaurant. We highly recommended you to take your own snacks and drinks for during your boat trip too, especially in hot weather. You will also see some boats pulling inflatables for a fun water activity in Rotterdam.

Restaurants Along The Rotte

You can dock with your boat at all the restaurant locations along the Rotte. They can be extremely popular during good weather, as many people visit by car and bike too. Some of the restaurants have docking areas for bigger boats. There are usually some ice cream vans along the route on hotter days too.

We stopped at Cafe Oud Verlaat as friends recommended the schnitzel, which was delicious. It was very busy but didn’t take long to find a table for 5 outside.

Some other restaurants along the Rotte that you can stop at are:

  • Restaurant Meerenbos
  • De Strandgaper
  • De Prins Van Terbregge

Other Activities Near The Rotte

As well as Sailing on the Rotte, you can visit some other activity locations such as:

  • Zonnepont ‘t Verlaat – this is the green boat shown in the photo below. With this boat you can travel (with or without a bike) across the water. You can travel on it from Bleiswijk side at the restaurant Meerenbos to the Zevenhuizer. It will only cost you € 0.50 cents per crossing.
  • Outdoor Valley Wintersport – Here you can pretend it’s winter with all types of weather. Go skiing, snowboarding or tubing down the outdoor artificial ski slopes.
  • Rondje Rotte Cycling – As mentioned above, cycling the Rotte is a gorgeous 30km round route. You will pass windmills, farmland and follow the waters edge the whole way. Rent a bike in Rotterdam and try it out when the weather is sunny!
  • ElliptiGO – If you don’t have a bike yourself, you can always try ElliptiGO! With these guys you can get your cardio fitness in while enjoying the Rotte. Rent them in advance to secure it during your visit to Rotterdam.
  • Wiebertjes Bird Spotting – The Rotte is also a peaceful place to spot many water birds, since it is the ideal breeding location. Head to the Wiebertjes area where the reeds are maintained and looked after too.

There are many more activities near the Rotte – you can find all on the OokditisdeRotte website!


  • Take your own snacks, drinks and suncream etc!
  • Stop at one of the locations for an ice cream or a cold drink in sunny weather
  • Have fun and enjoy the sailing!

Pin for later:

Have you ever done any Sailing on the Rotte? We’d totally recommend it on warm days in Rotterdam!

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  • Reply
    Naomi Beemsigne
    8th May 2019 at 6:19 pm

    This is such an informative post, I can’t wait to try sailing one day. It looks amazing! The other activities look pretty cool too 🙂

  • Reply
    9th May 2019 at 3:34 am

    I loved this post. I really wanted to go to Rotterdam when I was in the Netherlands but I went to Haarlem instead. I had no idea how pretty it was on the water.

  • Reply
    Natasha L
    9th May 2019 at 4:58 am

    To be honest, I’m a bit of a wuss on boats, but this looks like such a calm ride. The windmills are beautiful, and seeing them from a different perspective is really cool. I’ll have to check this out when I visit Rotterdam.

  • Reply
    Chirasree Banerjee
    9th May 2019 at 6:40 am

    Oh the windmills! How I miss them! Thank you for the valuable tips on Rotterdam. I will surely try to go there on my next trip to the Netherlands.

  • Reply
    Katie Diederichs
    9th May 2019 at 7:15 am

    Oh, this looks like so much fun! For some reason, I wouldn’t have pictured sailing here, but it looks perfect! Great guide with useful tips!

  • Reply
    9th May 2019 at 7:36 am

    This is the quintessential Netherlands of my travel dreams 🙂 I’ve only visited Amsterdam, and the weather wasn’t ideal for exploring. I would love to see those beautiful windmills and little houses along the canals for myself one day!

  • Reply
    9th May 2019 at 10:10 am

    Wow hiring a boat and enjoying sunny day looks like a great option,I love the view of houses and wind mil. It must be super fun

  • Reply
    9th May 2019 at 1:57 pm

    This looks like the perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon. Thanks for sharing your insight to such a beautiful place. If only I knew how to sail?!

  • Reply
    9th May 2019 at 4:20 pm

    This sounds like an absolutely delightful way to spend a day. I haven’t been to the Netherlands yet, but I do love sailing. I can only imagine how idyllic it would be to go along past the windmills and Dutch countryside! Thanks for the trip ideas!

  • Reply
    10th May 2019 at 3:50 am

    I never heard about sailing on the Rotte before. The view is so pretty that makes me want to go there now. What is the price range for the boat?

  • Reply
    10th May 2019 at 7:04 am

    I love all the windmills! It looks like such a relaxing day!

  • Reply
    Caitlin Evans
    16th October 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing these informative tips. I want to go to Netherland but I have no idea about sailing. Here I know about unknown things. I just love this article.

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