Delfshaven is a charming place for travelers—and particularly history enthusiasts—to explore independently and discover Rotterdam’s past. Roam the cobbled, boat-lined quaysides flanked by 17th-century buildings, enjoy antique shops, galleries, and gin bars; and uncover highlights such as the 18th-century Delfshaven windmill, De Pelgrim brewery, Pilgrim Fathers’ Church, and Museum De Delft—a window into Delfshaven’s shipbuilding and maritime heritage.
The district is included on most Rotterdam tours. Typically, these combine a quayside walk with a guide for historical insight, plus stops at other Rotterdam landmarks such as the Cube Houses and Market Hall. Alternatively, explore Delfshaven during a city bike tour; or if time is short, on a combo tour that teams Rotterdam with visits to nearby attractions such as windmill-dotted Kinderdijk.
Things to know before you go
- With its historical ships and arty stores; Delfshaven will appeal to sailing and shopping enthusiasts.
- Book a Rotterdam tour that covers Delfshaven for insight on its history and hassle-free, door-to-door transport.
- The area is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, but be prepared for lots of cobbles.
How to get there
Delfshaven lies west of Rotterdam’s Het Park and is easily accessible on foot and public transit. The closest tram stops are Oostkousdijk, Schiemond, Spanjaardstraat, and Delfshaven; while the nearest subway station is Delfshaven. Alternatively, the district is a pleasant 30-minute walk from the Central Station. Driving to Delfshaven isn’t recommended as parking is difficult, although parking garages can be found in the surrounding districts.
When to get there
There’s no particularly good or bad time to visit Delfshaven, but for the quietest atmosphere, arrive early in the day or midweek during summer. For a buzzier vibe, head here in the late afternoon and evening when the shops are still open and locals and visitors fill the quayside gin bars, pubs, and eateries.
The Pilgrim Fathers and Delfshaven Gin
Delfshaven is forever connected with the Pilgrim Fathers, who colonized North America in 1620. Admire the Pilgrim Fathers’ Church—where they gathered before departing on the Speedwell ship for Plymouth where they transferred to the Mayflower ship. Also, while you’re in Delfshaven, don’t miss its brewery and gin joints—the area has a long history of brewing beer and distilling gin.
- Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp)
- Kunsthal Rotterdam (Art Hall Rotterdam)
- SS Rotterdam
- Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
- Miniworld Rotterdam
- Netherlands Photo Museum (Nederlands Fotomuseum)
- Kop van Zuid
- Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge)
- Maritime Museum Rotterdam
- Rotterdam Central Station (Rotterdam Centraal)
- Rotterdam City Hall (Stadhuis)
- Church of St. Lawrence (Sint Laurenskerk)
- Markthal (Market Hall)
- Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)