Visiting Rotterdam is easily doable with a tight budget. There are many cheap ways to get into the city, as bus companies like Flixbus offer cheap tickets from a lot of cities throughout Europe. Visit Omio to find the cheapest travel deal to Rotterdam from your city.
Finding a cheap place to stay will be a somewhat bigger challenge. Rotterdam is not that expensive as Amsterdam, but average hotel prices tend to be a little higher here than in most European cities. Luckily there are a lot of cheap alternatives, since the last couple of years quite a lot of hostels opened up throughout the city.
King Kong Hostel is a very popular hostel located in the heart of the Cool district, the busy Witte de Withstaat, with numerous bars and restaurants. The hostel is situatued between one of the best bars of Rotterdam, De Witte Aap, and one of the best burger joints, Ter Marsch & Co. WiFi is free and they also offer basic breakfast. Another cool thing is that offer a movie basement with free Netflix movies. Prices start from 25 euros a night.
Another popular hostel is the Stayokay hostel which is situated in the famous Cube Houses. It’s also right next to the busy Blaak station so getting there will be easy. At the station trains, trams and subway all stop there. Breakfast is included in this hostel and there’s free WiFi as well. Prices start from 28 euros a night.
Sparks Hostel is located near the busy and buzzing Kruisplein, just a 3 minute walk away from the Central Station. It’s right next to the multicultural West-Kruiskade street, where you can find cheap restaurants with cusines from pretty much all over the world. They also offer free WiFi and a guest kitchen. Prices start from 25 euros a night.
Things to do with a tight budget
Rotterdam is a great place to just wander through and experience the cool architecture. The city center isn’t enormous so a lot of stuff is walking distance. If you do not feel like walking a lot you can get day passes for public transport for €9.00. More info can be found on the website of the RET. The day pass will give you access to busses, trams and subway. Another option is to get a Rotterdam Welcome Card which also gives you discount on more than 50 attractions, tours and restaurants.
Ofcourse you can also do what the Dutchies do and just ride a bike. There are a couple of companies that rent bikes and you can rent a bike for 24 hours for as cheap as 15 euros. I wouldn’t advise on getting a taxi, because in The Netherlands getting a taxi can be very expensive. That’s also the reason why you don’t see them as much as in other tourist destinations.
A nice place to go is the Witte de With street, there are quite a lot of cool art galleries there that do not ask for an entrance fee. You can take a hop-on hop-off city bus, but if you want to save money, just take trams. You see just as much of the city and you can interact with the locals if you feel like to. A cheaper alternative to a city tour and tight budget friendly!
If you’re into street art, you can download street art tours that will bring you to many of the cool murals and paintings done in Rotterdam. You get to see the city, do something cultural, spend some hours and not have to spend a single euro! Rewriters Rotterdam offer 6 cool street art routes and even offer a free app.
If you are here with kids, or just like animals in general, there are a couple of very well maintained petting zoos throughout Rotterdam. Entrance is free of charge for all of them.
Where to eat with a tight budget?
Rotterdam has over a 1000 restaurants, of which some can be very pricey. But luckily there a quite a couple of cheap ones that offer great food too!
Rotterdam offer a couple of cheap Italian places like you can find in many cities nowadays with names like Very Italian Pizza, Vapiano or Happy Italy. In most of these places you can already get a decent pizza for as little as €7.50. If you feel like eating a little more ‘exotic’, try the Surinamese kitchen. Very well known to the average Dutch person, but probably not so average for the visiting foreigner. For the Surinamese kitchen visit Warung Mini in the Witte de With street. Very good quality and not that expensive.
A good and affordable Inidian restaurant is 55 Bombay Street, located in the Markthal. It’s not a restaurant, more a glorified market stand, but the quality and prices definitely make up for that! Another place worth mentioning is Vessel11, located on a boat in the Wijnhaven (Wine harbour!). The food is based on British cuisine and is very affordable. The fact that you’re eating it on a transformed lightship is a big plus for the whole experience.
If the British cuisine is not your cup of tea and you want to enjoy more of the exotic side of Rotterdam, Supermercado is also a great place to go. They offer great cocktails, but also good quality affordable food. You can already order a small taco for as little as €3,75.
If you stay at a hostel, ask them for other options. They often do know where to get the best food for the smallest price!
Purchase a Rotterdam Welcome Card which gives you a lot of discount on public transport, attractions, tours, restaurants and venues!