Where to stay in Rotterdam for first time: 4 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Rotterdam as a first-time visitor can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Rotterdam for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Rotterdam for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Rotterdam and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Rotterdam is a fascinating destination for travelers and a thriving hub for business and innovation. It is a major port city and is the second-largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam. 

The city is known for its modern architecture with many skyscrapers and avant-garde buildings. Major innovative architectural landmarks include the Erasmus Bridge (affectionately known as The Swan), Euromast tower, Market Hall, and Cube Houses designed by architect Piet Blom.

Rotterdam’s port is the largest in Europe and one of the busiest in the world, serving as a vital hub for trade and transportation. The port area has been extensively developed with modern facilities, including container terminals, shipyards, and industrial complexes.

The city also hosts several annual events and festivals, such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the North Sea Jazz Festival, which attract visitors from around the world.

Is Rotterdam safe to visit?

Yes, Rotterdam is generally a safe place to visit. The city has low crime rates compared to most other European countries, but as in any big city, it is essential to stick to the main tourist area, avoid dark alleys at night, be aware of your surroundings, and take care of your belongings.

Rotterdam city center is overall a safe area to stay where you can find a high concentration of accommodations, restaurants, and shopping streets. 

There aren’t really bad neighborhoods in Rotterdam, but I advise staying on high alert at Spangen, Zuidplein, Claes de Vrieselaan, and some parts South of Rotterdam, especially at night.

Where to stay in Rotterdam for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Rotterdam for first-timers and tourists are Centrum, Feijenoord, Kralingen-Crooswijk, and Delfshaven. Regardless of where you stay, it’s always important to use common sense to have a safe trip.

Rotterdam City Center (Centrum) is ideal for first-timers due to its central location and proximity to major sights like the Markthal, Cube Houses, and Erasmus Bridge. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops, and cultural venues here. Chinatown, Cool district, and Stadsdriehoek are popular parts of Centrum.

Kralingen-Crooswijk, just east of Centrum, is a great location for a quiet residential atmosphere and easy access to the city center. This area is home to the Kralingse Bos park and Kralingse Plas lake, which are perfect for outdoor activities.

Delfshaven, just west of the Centrum, offers a more quaint and charming experience. This picturesque neighborhood survived the bombing of Rotterdam during World War II and features historic canals, windmills, and old buildings.

Feijenoord is located south of the city center, great base for a football match at the the iconic De Kuip stadium, or attend event at the Rotterdam Ahoy. This area has a more residential feel and is well-connected to the city center by public transportation.

During my trip to Rotterdam, I stayed at the budget-friendly The James Rotterdam. It was a great 3-star hotel in the heart of Rotterdam, easy access to the train station, the river, and major sights. My room was very nice and spacious with a modern bathroom. The on-site 24/4 food market was very useful and delivered a good breakfast.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Rotterdam for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Rotterdam first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Rotterdam first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Rotterdam, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Rotterdam have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Best/ Safe areas to stay in Rotterdam for first-timers and tourists:

1. Rotterdam Centrum

Rotterdam Centrum is undoubtedly the best area to stay in Rotterdam for first-time visitors. This is the heart of the city, where you have easy access to major attractions, shopping areas, and the train station.

 The city center is home to many of Rotterdam’s top attractions, including the Markthal (Market Hall), Cube Houses, Erasmus Bridge, and the iconic Euromast observation tower. Staying here allows you to easily visit these attractions on foot.

Rotterdam Centrum is well-connected to public transportation, including trains, trams, and buses. You’ll be within only a few mins walk from the Rotterdam Central Station, one of the busiest train stations in the country, serving as a central point for both domestic and international train connections.

Rotterdam Centrum boasts a wide range of shopping options, from high-end fashion boutiques to quirky independent stores. The bustling streets are also filled with diverse restaurants, cafes, and food markets, where you can indulge in local Dutch cuisine or international fare.

Art lovers will appreciate the cultural offerings in the city center, including museums like the Kunsthal Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Additionally, theaters, concert halls, and live music venues host a variety of performances, exhibitions, and events throughout the year.

Rotterdam’s waterfront area, along the Nieuwe Maas river, is a focal point of activity in the city center. You can stroll along the waterfront promenades, take boat tours, or simply relax and enjoy the scenic views of the city skyline and harbor.

Best places to stay in Rotterdam Centrum for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Mainport Hotel Rotterdam, 5-star hotel located in the heart of Rotterdam, on the Maas River banks, 5 mins metro ride from Rotterdam Central Station. It has an indoor pool, excellent breakfast, riverfront terrace and a private jetty for direct access to taxi/party boats. It’s a short stroll to Witte de withstraat where you can find many nice bars and restaurants. 

Luxury ($$$): Rotterdam Marriott Hotel, 5-star hotel, located in central Rotterdam, close to Rotterdam Central Station. Only 5 mins walk from Rotterdam’s main shopping area. The hotel has bike rental and car rental services. It is surrounded by restaurants, bars and nightlife. 

Mid-range ($$): citizenM Rotterdam, popular stylish modern 4-star hotel, conveniently located in the Old Port (Oude Haven), close to the Chinatown, Cool District, and the Saturday market near Markethaal. Easy access to Blaak station, for short train rides to Rotterdam Centraal, The Hague and Delft. Rooms are clean and comfortable.

Mid-range ($$): Bilderberg Parkhotel Rotterdam, 4-star hotel in the center of Rotterdam, close to Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen and Koopgoot shopping mall. It is set in Stadsdriehoek, where you can find many waterside bars, restaurants, and the Markthal food hall. Very convenient base to explore the city.

Budget ($): The James Rotterdam, popular 3-star hotel in the middle of Rotterdam, close to everything, including the main train station and major sights. It is a short walk to major lively streets like the Coolsingel, the Lijnbaan, and the Meent. Rooms are nice and spacious.


2. Feijenoord

Feijenoord is a great location south of Amsterdam, linked with the city center via Erasmusbrug bridge. It is where you can find numerous hotels, and some attractions such as the iconic De Kuip Stadium, Kop van Zuid, and Rotterdam Ahoy.

Kop van Zuid is a modern waterfront district that offers stunning architecture, including the iconic Hotel New York and De Rotterdam building. It’s a bit more upscale and quieter than the city center but still within walking distance or a short tram ride away from major sights.

Best places to stay in Rotterdam in Feijenoord:

Mid-range ($$): nhow Rotterdam, 4-star modern design hotel, situated on the Wilhelmina Pier, offering views of the skyline and river. It is a short stroll to Metro and tram station Wilhelminaplein for explore the city by public transportation. It features delicious breakfast, family rooms, and a fitness center.

Mid-range ($$): ART Hotel Rotterdam-Fully Renovated, popular 4-star accommodation in Rotterdam, close to Metro D and E, so it is super easy to get to the center of Rotterdam. It’s a great base to escape the hustle and bustle of the center. 

Budget ($): ibis Styles Rotterdam Ahoy, 3-star hotel located only a few mins walk from Ahoy Rotterdam, a big park, and a shopping mall. It is a little away from the center, there is a bus or tram nearby to access the heart of the city easily. Rooms are spacious with good amenities. Great base for attending an event at the Convention Hall.


3. Kralingen-Crooswijk

Kralingen-Crooswijk is a great base for a quieter atmosphere, outdoor activities, and easy access to the city center. This borough is located in the eastern part of Rotterdam. It’s known for its diverse population, vibrant neighborhoods, and mix of residential and commercial areas. 

Kralingen is characterized by its leafy streets, Kralingse Bos park, the huge Kralingse Plas lake, and the Erasmus University campus, while Crooswijk has a more urban feel with its historic architecture and lively community spaces. 

Best places to stay in Rotterdam in Kralingen-Crooswijk:

Mid-range ($$): The Slaak Rotterdam, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, 4-star boutique hotel located in a nice safe area in Kralingen, within walking distance of the city center. It has a 24-hour front desk, family rooms, and a fitness center. You can find many local pubs, restaurants, and a supermarket nearby.

Mid-range ($$): Novotel Rotterdam Brainpark, 4-star hotel, located 15 mins drive by car from the city center. Excellent base if you are visiting Erasmus University. Rooms on high floors have beautiful views. Rooms are modern and have great sound isolation.

Budget ($): The Social Hub Rotterdam, 3-star hotel, in Kralingen-Crooswijk, east of the city center. close to the tram and metro station. Great base for students and young people to stay.


4. Delfshaven

Delfshaven is a historic district known for its picturesque canals, charming old buildings, and maritime heritage. The area has a rich history, dating back to the 14th century when it was founded as a harbor for the nearby city of Delft. 

One of the most famous landmarks in Delfshaven is the Pilgrim Fathers’ Church (Pelgrimvaderskerk), where a group of separatists who later became known as the Pilgrims worshipped before their voyage to America aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Today, the church is a museum and a popular tourist attraction.

Delfshaven suffered heavy damage during World War II, but many of its historic buildings have been restored since then, preserving its old-world charm. The district is also known for its cozy cafes, restaurants, and cultural events, making it a delightful place to explore in Rotterdam.

Best places to stay in Rotterdam in Delfshaven:

Budget ($): Alberti – Bed & Bike, 3-star good value for money accommodation in Delfshaven, in a quiet and green neighborhood, just outside of the city center. It offers free use of bicycles, so you can take a bike ride to all attractions ( 10 mins ride away). 

Budget ($): Sam’s Place, 3-star good value for money accommodation in a quiet residential area, featuring an apartment with a balcony with river views, and a well-equipped kitchenette.


In conclusion, Centrum, Feijenoord, Kralingen-Crooswijk, and Delfshaven are the best places to stay in Rotterdam for first-timers and tourists. Rotterdam City Center (Centrum) is the overall best area to book your accommodations as it has a super central location and a wide range of amenities for all budgets.

You can continue reading about the Netherlands in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Rotterdam. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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