Rotterdam is a quirky city in the Netherlands that’s packed full of character. As most of the city was destroyed by the bombings of World War II, what’s sprung up since is both exciting and modern – offering a pleasant alternative to touristy Amsterdam.

Stroll along colorful graffitied streets, past post-war buildings and contemporary architecture. There are pretty canals to discover and beautiful green parks to explore. Not to mention plenty of hipster bars and popular restaurants you can add to your bucket list!

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam for one night? We’ve outlined the best neighborhoods to stay in this trendy city, from family-orientated areas to budget-friendly districts. Here’s everything you need to know:

Where to Stay in Rotterdam

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam for one night? Here are our top two recommendations for the best places to stay in Rotterdam: 

Large cruise ship blending into to the skyline at Rotterdam port.
All aboard!
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Hotel Orion | Best Hotel in Rotterdam

Situated in the best neighborhood to stay in Rotterdam, Hotel Orion offers a choice of private rooms sleeping one to three people. Each room comes with a flat-screen cable TV, tea and coffee making facilities, and a private bathroom. Other facilities include parking, a bar, as well as free daily breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

Designed Room in the Heart of Rotterdam | Best Airbnb in Rotterdam

This comfortable private room built in an architectural award winning complex comes with a bathroom and a toilet, and also has access to a roof patio. Located in an urban area in the heart of Rotterdam, it’s ideal for those who want to visit the best of the city. You will definitely feel cosy and home, and will have access to tea, coffee and a TV including Netflix.

Stayokay Rotterdam Cube Hostel | Best Hostel in Rotterdam

The best way to experience Rotterdam is to stay in one of its unusual hotels. Spend the night in a titled cube at the Overblaak development opposite the Markthal. You’ll enjoy free daily breakfast, free Wi-Fi and drinks at the on-site bar. Packed lunches can be arranged for days out.

Sometimes the best way to experience a destination is from a good dorm room with good people. Book one of these sweet hostels in Rotterdam and get ready for the time of your life!

Rotterdam Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Rotterdam

FIRST TIME IN ROTTERDAM
Delfshaven, Rotterdam
FIRST TIME IN ROTTERDAM

Delfshaven

Trying to decide where to stay in Rotterdam for your first time? Delfshaven is one of the oldest areas in Rotterdam. It’s also the only area to have escaped the World War II bombings.

ON A BUDGET
Rotterdam Zoo, Rotterdam
ON A BUDGET

Rotterdam West

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam on a budget? Rotterdam West is one of the most affordable areas to stay in this vibrant city. As Rotterdam West is a large, multicultural working-class neighborhood, it encompasses a lot of smaller districts such as Chinatown and Delfshaven.

NIGHTLIFE
Centrum, Rotterdam
NIGHTLIFE

Centrum

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam for nightlife? Staying in Centrum, the city center, will put you right in the heart of the action. As the main tourist hub in Rotterdam that covers the area between Rotterdam Central Station and the Blaak Station, Centrum is always buzzing.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
The Cool District, Rotterdam
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

The Cool District

Looking for the coolest place to stay in Rotterdam? The aptly named Cool District in the city center is one of the best areas to stay in Rotterdam.

FOR FAMILIES
Rotterdam Noord, Rotterdam
FOR FAMILIES

Rotterdam Noord

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam with kids? Rotterdam Noord, or Rotterdam North, is a quieter alternative to the city center. Yet it’s still close enough to the action should you seek it.

As we mentioned above, Rotterdam was pretty much flattened during World War II. In the years following the war, the city was rebuilt into the Rotterdam you’ll recognize today.

Because of its modern rebuild, the city is home to a range of progressive architecture, unlike the older places to stay in Amsterdam. It’s one of the most new-age cities in Europe! Sadly, very little is left of the ‘old Rotterdam’ – Delfshaven is the only area where some of the city’s old medieval charm still remains.

Split into two sections by the river Nieuwe Maas, Rotterdam is a cosmopolitan city. About 175 different nationalities call it home.  There are plenty of unique areas to explore. You’ll find the city center on the northern banks of the river, the commercial center to the east of that, and the city’s historic buildings to the west.

Filled with all sorts of character-filled, overlapping neighborhoods, you’re bound to find the right area to suit your needs. Whether you’re wondering where to stay in Rotterdam on a budget, or where to stay in Rotterdam for families, you’ll find a range of options available to you.

Top 5 Rotterdam Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Let’s take a closer look at the five top neighborhoods in this delightful city. We’ve narrowed down the options to include the best neighborhood in Rotterdam to stay in for families, budget travelers, and more!

#1 Delfshaven – Where to Stay in Rotterdam for Your First Time

Trying to decide where to stay in Rotterdam for your first time? Delfshaven is one of the oldest areas in Rotterdam. It’s also the only area to have escaped the World War II bombings. Thus, it’s the best place to get a feel of what medieval Rotterdam was like before the war.

Once the main harbor of Delft, it’s now a largely residential neighborhood with lovely hotels and apartments set along quaint streets and canals. Most of the Rotterdam accommodation here varies from mid-range to more expensive. However, you’re still able to find some great budget-friendly options.

Located to the southwest of the city center, a metro stop makes traveling to and from the center easy. Especially if you’re not planning on hiring a car. Delfshaven is one of the best areas to stay in Rotterdam if you’re interested in history, architecture, and museums.

Delfshaven, Rotterdam

Designed Room in the Heart of Rotterdam | Best Airbnb in Delfshaven

This amazing Airbnb in The Netherlands is built in an architectural award-winning complex and comes with an en-suite and a roof patio. Located in an urban area in the heart of Rotterdam, it’s ideal for those who want to visit the best of the city. You will definitely feel cosy and home, and will have access to tea, coffee and a TV including Netflix.

Hostel ROOM Rotterdam | Best Hostel in Delfshaven

ROOM offers a choice of dorms and private rooms with free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and lockers. Guests have access to rental bikes and a communal lounge with games and Netflix. Perks include weekly music nights, free walking tours, and weekly foodie nights!

Hotel Port | Best Hotel in Delfshaven

This 3-star hotel offers rooms for one to four people just a short drive from the city center. Rooms come with satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities, and a private bathroom. Facilities include an airport shuttle, parking, an on-site restaurant, free Wi-Fi, and a good daily breakfast.

Stroom | Best Hotel in Delfshaven

Located in a former power station, Stroom is one of the best places in Rotterdam to stay. It offers modern studios and lofts. Inside the hotel, you’ll find a bakery, a bio shop, and an espresso bar. Other facilities include a rooftop terrace, free Wi-Fi, and a lounge with a big screen.

Things to See and Do in Delfshaven

  1. Admire the old architecture that remains along the Nieuwe Maas River.
  2. Visit the Pilgrim Fathers Church (Pelgrimvaderskerk), dating back to the 1400s (open on Fridays and Saturdays only).
  3. See De Distillerketel, a historic 18th-century windmill that still works to this day.
  4. Sample the specialty beers at De Pelgrim, Delfshaven’s only brewery.
  5. Go for a walk or jog through the nearby Het park.
  6. See De Delft, a replica of an 18th-century warship.
Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

#2 Rotterdam West – Best Neighborhood to Stay in Rotterdam on a Budget

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam on a budget? Rotterdam West is one of the most affordable areas to stay in this vibrant city.

As Rotterdam West is a large, multicultural working-class neighborhood, it encompasses a lot of smaller districts such as Chinatown and Delfshaven. Depending on what area of Rotterdam West you’re looking to stay in, the accommodation varies from affordable to more expensive. So, you’re bound to find something that suits your wallet.

Statue of a horse in a crate suspended in the air by a crane in Rotterdam city centre
Artsy fartsy.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

If you’re looking for a sociable place to stay with an easy commute into the center, the area around Nieuwe Binnenweg is up and coming with local shops and restaurants just a 10-minute walk from the center.

Staying around this trendy street is the best area in Rotterdam to stay in if you’re on a budget as it offers some affordable hotels and hostels to choose from.

Hotel Light | Best Hostel in Rotterdam West

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam on a budget? This affordable hotel in Nieuwe Binnenweg offers cozy hotel rooms with queen-sized beds, air-con, and free Wi-Fi. Most also have a flat-screen TV and a private shower. Facilities include a communal kitchen, daily housekeeping, and an in-house shop.

Hotel Orion | Best Hotel in Rotterdam West

Situated in the best neighborhood to stay in Rotterdam, Hotel Orion offers a choice of private rooms sleeping one to three people. Each room comes with a flat-screen cable TV, tea and coffee making facilities, and a private bathroom. Other facilities include parking, a bar, as well as free daily breakfast and free Wi-Fi.

Hotel Baan | Best Hotel in Rotterdam West

Hotel Baan offers a choice of affordable guest rooms sleeping one to four people. Each room comes with complimentary Wi-Fi, a cable TV, free tea and coffee, and either a shared or private bathroom. Hotel features include parking, a garden and a bar with views of Coolhaven harbor.

Cosy Private Room in Rotterdam West | Best Airbnb in Rotterdam West

Located five minute walk from Coolhaven metro station, this private room is ideal for those visiting Rotterdam on a budget. It comes with a single bed, a bed drawer, a study table and a clothes hanger so you can really settle during your time there. Common rooms are to be shared with fun and friendy hosts.

Things to See and Do in Rotterdam West

  1. Watch a movie at Kino arthouse cinema in Gouvernestraat.
  2. Tuck into an excellent pizza at LUX, an Italian restaurant on ‘s Gravendijkwal.
  3. Have farm-fresh lunch at the Uit Je Eigen Stad city farm where the ingredients are sourced from the farm’s fields.
  4. Go for a stroll through the Dakpark, a beautiful green space with a view of the port.
  5. Visit the Rotterdam zoo and oceanarium.
  6. Stroll across the iconic Erasmasburg.
  7. Admire the European artwork at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

#3 Centrum – Best Places to Stay in Rotterdam for Nightlife

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam for nightlife? Staying in Centrum, the city center, will put you right in the heart of the action. As the main tourist hub in Rotterdam that covers the area between Rotterdam Central Station and the Blaak Station, Centrum is always buzzing.

rotterdam cube houses
You know this one, surely?
Photo: Roaming Ralph

Home to a range of exciting areas, such as the Cool District, with its buzzing bars, cafes, and restaurants, there’s so much to do here when the sun goes down.

However, due to its fantastic attractions and central location, Centrum does tend to be on the pricier side of Rotterdam’s neighborhoods. But as you’ll be right in the center, you’ll be able to walk or cycle just about anywhere, saving money on transport costs.

Comfortable Private Room in the Heart of Rotterdam | Best Airbnb in Centrum

This comfortable and private room is in the attic and has access to a roof patio, and is in a well-appointed typical Dutch house originating from 1907. Located in the heart of Rotterdam, you’ll be just a short walking distance to all the main tourist sights. It comes with a private bathroom and toilet with all the essentials. The common spaces are shared with the hosts.

Cityhub Rotterdam | Best Hostel in Centrum

This central hostel offers the best of both worlds: your own private hub inside a sociable dorm room. When I stayed for an amazing festival in The Netherlands, it had everything I needed. Each hub comes with a double bed, free Wi-Fi (plus a hotspot for the entire city), and an audio streaming system. Facilities include shared bathrooms, a communal lounge and bar, free maps, and more.

Hotel Bazaar | Best Hotel in Centrum

This 2-star hotel in Centrum offers a range of Oriental, African, and South-American-styled rooms for guests to choose from. Each room comes with a TV, minibar, a private bathroom, and some have their own balcony. A fantastic breakfast is included in your stay.

Euro Hotel Centrum | Best Hotel in Centrum

This 3-star hotel is one of the best places to stay in Rotterdam, located just 15 minutes’ walk from the train station. Stay here and you’ll receive free tickets to the casino and a tourist map of Rotterdam. Other hotel facilities include free Wi-Fi and an on-site bar. Euro Hotel Centrum is also pet-friendly!

Things to See and Do in Centrum

  1. Go shopping at Markthal, the Market Hall – the ceiling is home to the world’s largest artwork.
  2. Admire the unusual tilted architecture of the Overblaak Development.
  3. Browse the Tuesday and Saturday market at Binnenrotte Square.
  4. Stop for a lazy lunch at Picnick.
  5. Explore Het Park, home to a mini-golf course and walking and biking paths.
  6. Sip on beer at Bokaal, a unique beer bar.
  7. Get social at Biergarten Rotterdam where you can enjoy BBQs and live music.
The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

#4 The Cool District – The Coolest Place to Stay in Rotterdam

Looking for the coolest place to stay in Rotterdam? The aptly named Cool District in the city center is one of the best areas to stay in Rotterdam. Filled with trendy bars, quirky cafes, and sociable bars and restaurants, this neighborhood is full of personality.

Dating back to the 13th-century, the Cool District’s historical buildings were mostly wiped out during the war but the area now features a much more modern scene. While it’s not actually pronounced ‘cool district’ but instead ‘coal’ in Dutch, the essence is the same. You won’t find a more sociable and trendy district!

There’s so much to keep you busy in this hip urban quarter, whether its high street shopping or bar-hopping you’re after. Take a stroll through the Cool District and you’ll come across all sorts of street art. It’s a colorful quarter that’s perfect for Instagram.

The Cool District, Rotterdam

Stayokay Rotterdam Cube Hostel | Best Hostel in the Cool District

Stayokay Rotterdam Cube Hostel is one of the coolest places to stay in Rotterdam. Guests can look forward to free daily breakfast, free Wi-Fi and drinks at the on-site hip hostel bar. Packed lunches can be arranged so you can make the most of exploring the city.

EasyHotel Rotterdam City Center | Best Hotel in the Cool District

Take your pick of rooms for two, three or four people at this 2-star hotel in the heart of the Cool District. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, and a private en-suite bathroom. A variety of cafes, bars, and restaurants are within easy walking distance. 

The James Rotterdam | Best Hotel in the Cool District

If you’re looking for more of a splurge, this 3-star hotel has an enviable location on lively Coolsingel street. All rooms offer free Wi-Fi, air-con, and a private bathroom with toiletries. Facilities include 24-hour reception, a lounge with a 24-hour food market, and on-site parking.

Located in the cool neighborhood called “Blijdorp”, you’ll be right across the Rotterdam zoo and only a 10 minutes walk to the city center. The area is very trendy and upcoming and you’ll easily find restaurants and bars around. The place is also located near two supermarkets and one of Rotterdam’s most popular parks, Vroesepark. Rent a bike, explore the surroundings and end the day in the busiest and trendiest bars in Rotterdam.

Things to See and Do in the Cool District

  1. Stroll the streets and admire the funk street art, from a top-hatted man to a topless woman.
  2. Take part in a classic Rotterdam pub crawl.
  3. Have a drink at Ferry Store.
  4. Suss out at the vibe at Café KeerWeer, a trendy gay bar.
  5. Enjoy Shisha and tapas at Tapas Club.
  6. Savor a gin and tonic at Ballroom, a trendy gin bar.
  7. Watch a show at de Rotterdamse Schouwburg theatre.

#5 Rotterdam Noord – Best Area in Rotterdam to Stay in for Families

Wondering where to stay in Rotterdam with kids? Rotterdam Noord, or Rotterdam North, is a quieter alternative to the city center. Yet it’s still close enough to the action should you seek it. It’s close to Central Station; public transport is easily accessible and runs late into the night.

You’ll find fewer students hanging out here as you would in Centrum. However, Rotterdam North is still home to some hip and happening nightlife venues. There are plenty of exciting restaurants and jazz bars to enjoy, particularly along Zwaanshals street.

As most of the Rotterdam accommodation here is moderately priced, it’s a popular neighborhood for families and young professionals. Why? Well, the area is home to loads of green space – take your pick of Het Park or the more popular Vroesenpark.

Rotterdam Noord, Rotterdam

Hotel Rotterdam | Best Hotel in Rotterdam Noord

This 3-star hotel offers a choice of modern guest rooms in Rotterdam Noord. All rooms come with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and a private en-suite bathroom. Some have a buffet breakfast included. Hotel facilities include a 24-hour front desk and private on-site parking.

Bed & Breakfast Walenburg | Best Hotel in Rotterdam Noord

Settle into your modern suite at this central B&B. Perks include free daily breakfast, free Wi-Fi, an en-suite bathroom, and a private garden terrace. The tram stop is 450 feet away. You’ll also have access to BBQ facilities, a communal kitchen, and several restaurants within walking distance.

Modern and Spacious House for Family Holiday | Best Airbnb in Rotterdam Noord

This spacious and fully renovated duplex is ideal for families visiting Rotterdam. Only a ten minutes ride in tram from the city center, it’s ideally located to explore the surroundings and has supermarkets, shops, restaurants, bars and night shops nearby. The home comes with two balconies, amazing sunset views from one of the bedrooms, an onsite washing machine and a fully equipped kitchen.

Hostel De Mafkees | Best Hostel in Rotterdam Noord

Enjoy free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and more at this lively and affordable hostel. Facilities include a lounge area, bar, pool table, and a book exchange service. Other perks include bicycle hire and parking, luggage storage, a tour desk, and a 24-hour reception. 

Things to See and Do in Rotterdam Noord

  1. Challenge the family to a round of mini-golf at Het Park.
  2. Have a picnic or a family BBQ at Vroesenpark – the kids will love the playgrounds.
  3. Indulge in beer on tap at Cafe Anders.
  4. Take the kids to Blijdorp Rotterdam Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands.
  5. Browse the shops along Zwaanshals and Zaagmolenkade streets.
  6. Go for coffee or bunch at Man Met Bril, located beneath the railway arches.
  7. Hire bikes and cycle through this pretty neighborhood and across Erasmus Bridge.
Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Rotterdam

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Rotterdam and where to stay.

What To Pack For Rotterdam

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Rotterdam

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam is an exciting and modern metropolis waiting to be discovered. Each district brings something different so you’re bound to find one you like. Whether you’re wondering where to stay in Rotterdam with kids, as a couple or going solo.

While we love all of Rotterdam’s charming districts, if we had to choose the best neighborhood to stay in Rotterdam, we’d choose Delfshaven. Why? It’s close enough to the city center and it’s the only place in Rotterdam to still hold onto its medieval history. There are plenty of cool architecture and old side streets to explore.

We hope our Rotterdam neighborhood guide has been helpful for planning your trip. If we’ve missed anything out, please do let us know in the comments below. Have fun!

Looking for more info on travelling to Rotterdam and Netherlands?