Where to Eat
Where to Exercise
One of the biggest parks in Rotterdam, Kralingse Bos is a dream for fans of outdoor exercise. As well as a 5km running track around the main section of the park, there are paths suitable for cycling, horseriding and skating. The lake is busy with boats during the summer, and sailing lessons can be booked with the local sailing club. For those who want to stick to dry land, there are hiking trails in the park’s very own forest.
Yoga Maya is all about authentic yoga. The centrally located studio offers classes in traditional forms of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Sivananda. The poses and sequences are adjusted to different levels, so Beginners sessions are available. It’s a relaxed studio, where mingling and chatting over tea before class is encouraged. A single class pass costs €15. Vijverhofstraat 47, 3032 SB Rotterdam, Netherlands
If you’re in the mood to strengthen while you stretch, then The Pilates Place is probably the best place to go. Mat classes are held regularly, but the studio also offers Reformer and MVe sessions. This terrifying-looking pilates equipment is used to enhance the positive effects of the exercises, and classes are kept to a maximum of five people. Rates are monthly, but the centre offers a free trial class per customer and private sessions are available on request. Oostzeedijk 160a, 3063 BK Rotterdam
Where to Relax
One of the most tranquil spots in Rotterdam, EIland van Brienenoord is just a few minutes from the city centre. Tucked underneath the Van Brienoord Bridge, the island has become a quiet haven for birds and small animals. Part of the island is divided into allotments for Rotterdam residents. The wilder part, which is filled with trees and plants, is the perfect place to escape for a few hours. Although you can hear cars on the bridge overhead, the island seems much further from the city than it really is.
Non-members of the Rotterdam Buddhist Centre can go along to their weekly open meditation evenings. The sessions are held every Tuesday, 19.30 – 20.30, and participants are asked to donate €5. The centre also runs meditation weekends and beginner courses. Chö Phuntstok Ling, Rodenrijselaan 25d, 3037 XB Rotterdam
Where to Escape
It wouldn’t be a trip to Holland without a bit of windmill-spotting. Luckily, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk is just 15km east of Rotterdam. With 19 windmills dotted along canals, the area is home to to the highest concentration of old windmills in the world. It also happens to be a magical place, where huge lily pads float on the water, and the sky seems huge. For anyone interested in wellness travel, in Kinderdijk it’s as simple as renting a bike and pedalling away. The paths alongside the canals are flat, and stretch for miles into the countryside. Bikes can be rented from the café near the entrance of the park. To get to Kinderdijk the fun way, hop on a Waterbus at Rotterdam Erasmusbrug.
A short train ride from Rotterdam, Delft is actually a small city. But wandering around its medieval centre is a complete escape from the futuristic architecture of Rotterdam. The old town is all canal-lined streets, pretty terraces and flower baskets. After Rotterdam, visiting Delft is like stepping back in time. The pace is slower, the buildings are lower, and the ice cream from Beaart Ijs is very, very good.