A day trip from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk should definitely be on every Rotterdam visitor’s list of things to do. The UNESCO World Heritage site that features working windmills from the 18th century is both historic and incredibly photogenic.
It’s absolutely possible to base yourself in Rotterdam for your stay and simply escape for a day out on the fields in Kinderdijk, before heading back to Rotterdam for dinner.
I was super lucky to be treated to a visit here on my fabulous trip with Thalys across Western Europe.
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What is Kinderdijk?
Kinderdijk is a beautiful Dutch village located in the south of the Netherlands in Molenlanden. It is hard to imagine a more quintessential Dutch sight than the still hard-working windmills that dot the landscape at Kinderdijk, pumping water.
Kinderdijk has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1997 and was recognised for being the location of the largest group of old windmills in the country.
These windmills are not flour mills, either. They are water pumping windmills that are quite literally keeping this area from flooding.
How to get from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk is a mere 25 minute drive from the city of Rotterdam and will take drivers across the water through Tuinenhoven and Oostendam before arriving at Kinderdijk.
Ubers are available in Rotterdam, however they’re not cheap! A rideshare will set you back just under 30 euros.
Taking the Waterbus to Kinderdijk is a great way to see Rotterdam’s unique rivers and streams from the water. A trip from Rotterdam on the Waterbus takes a brief 30 minutes however do note that between 1st November and April 30th there is no direct Waterbus and you’ll need to take the Waterbus line 20 to Ridderkerk and then transfer to the Driehoeksveer ferry.
Between May 1st and 31st October, a direct Waterbus runs between Rotterdam and Kinderdijk.
From the grandiose modern architecture of Rotterdam Centraal Station, a trip out to Kinderdijk is possible on a combination of public transport options.
First, you’ll need to get the train from Rotterdam Centraal towards De Akkers, then alight at Zuidplein. From there, you’ll need to take the 491 bus to Ridderkerk, Oostendam and then change to the 489 bus to Nieuw-Lekkerland via Kinderdijk.
The trip should take just over an hour.
Ride a Bike
You won’t be able to ride a bike all the way to Kinderdijk as you will need to take a ferry across the water. Still, the journey of bike and ferry together will only take around an hour, so it is still not a bad way to get to Kinderdijk.
Ride your bike all the way to the LF2 Stedenroute/Molenkade – Rijsdijk ferry stop and then take the ferry across to the windmills of Kinderdijk.
The benefit of having your bike when you arrive is the fact you can then use it to explore the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site as you cycle through the polder amongst the windmills.
Getting tickets to Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk tickets are available online and I’d suggest it is definitely better to purchase your e-tickets ahead of time to avoid lines. There is usually a discount for pre-booking in advance and it is also possible to grab boat tickets from Rotterdam as a package deal.
What To Expect at Kinderdijk
Walk amongst the windmills
Undoubtedly the most exhilarating part of visiting Kinderdijk is standing amongst the watery fields surrounded by giant wooden windmills.
The high grasses waving alongside the many well-trodden paths and the feeling of being surrounded by the elements is overwhelmingly peaceful.
Even when it is peak tourist season, a day trip from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk feels like an escape to a simpler way of life where the people and nature live and work together.
Visiting the museums at Kinderdijk give a unique insight into what life is like living inside a windmill. The museum is perfectly preserved as if the family living here only just left and the cute furnishings and fascinating use of space inside has to be seen to be believed.
Go inside a working Windmill
If you’re lucky, on your visit to Kinderdijk, you may have the opportunity to enter a working windmill and see the millers in action. Clad in traditional wooden clogs, these millers are responsible for their windmill and it definitely doesn’t look like easy work!
Where to stay to visit Kinderdijk
It’s definitely a great idea to stay in the city of Rotterdam to visit the Kinderdijk windmills from on a day trip. Rotterdam has plenty of great accommodation options to suit any taste.
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