Kralingse Bos is not a typical city park. Part forest, part golf course and centred around an artificial lake, it’s one of the biggest and most innovative parks in Rotterdam. Spending the day in Kralingse Bos is like going on a mini holiday. If you’re feeling energetic, there are countless ways to get some exercise; locals swim in the lake, while others boat, and there’s a 5km running track around the main section of the park. You don’t even have to bring a picnic, as there are restaurants around the lake.
A small area by the river, Leuvehoofd is less of a park and more of a relaxing place to sit in the centre of the city. It’s one of those unexpectedly lovely areas that Rotterdam is good at, and it’s next to the sweeping Erasmus Bridge. Benches are dotted among flower beds, which can be colourful depending on the time of year. It’s a good place to take in the views of Rotterdam’s unique skyline.
Nestled between some of Rotterdam’s biggest museums, Museumpark is one of the nicest places to visit in Rotterdam. More than just a well-kept park, it’s influenced by the art and architecture that surrounds it. The Architecture Institute sits on one side, while the Kunsthal is on the other. The sculptures, fountains and carefully landscaped gardens connect each museum to the next. The greenery of the park is a refreshing contrast to the tall buildings that surround it. After spending half a day in Museum Bueningens van Boijmans, Museumpark is a good place to flop down and recover.
Centrally located, Het Park is one of the most impressive parks in Rotterdam. It’s very big and it’s very green. During the summer, the grass looks so lush that people throw themselves down everywhere with books and picnics. Weeping willows droop over the ponds and ducks swim in the shade. There are lots of paths, leading to various points of the park, and some are surprisingly silent. Although the park is surrounded by office blocks and busy roads, it seems much further away from central Rotterdam than it really is.
There’s something magical about Park Schoonord. It’s one of the smallest parks in Rotterdam, but it’s home to some of the oldest trees. Luxuriously green and dense with plants, the gardens are beautifully maintained. Wandering around, under the ancient branches of trees that are over 250 years old, is a real escape from the city.
Westerkade is a stretch on the banks of the Niewe Maas. On a sunny day, it’s the perfect place to sit with a coffee and watch the sunlight sparkle on the water. Running distances are marked out on the riverside path, so the area is popular with walkers and joggers.