The best places to live in Utrecth

While Utrecht is smaller than Amsterdam or Rotterdam, it sure does hold its own in terms of the neighbourhoods on offer. Given the presence of large academic and research institutions such as Utrecht University, the city is often seen as a university town, but it's also home to plenty of expat families and working professionals.

Rental prices and an expat’s budget are often the biggest determining factors when looking for housing in Utrecht. We also recommend expats consider living in a suburb close to work, schools and transport links, while lifestyle preferences will also play a major role.

Here is a list of some of the most popular areas and suburbs in Utrecht.

City centre in Utrecht

Jonne Mäkikyrö, Utrecht

Living in Utrecht’s historic city centre will certainly be poetic with its narrow streets, beautiful townhouses, markets, canals and quaint cafes. Expats living in the centre of town will have their pick when it comes to restaurants, bars and quirky fashion boutiques.

As the city centre is a touristy area and housing is in high demand, accommodation here tends to be pricier and less spacious compared to what can be found further out in the suburbs. 

A major advantage of living so centrally is the accessibility of public transport networks that connect the city centre to surrounding areas. Those who need to travel further afield will be close to Utrecht Central railway station and can easily catch a train to Rotterdam, The Hague or Amsterdam within an hour – a plus for those who need to travel regularly for business.

Areas for students and young working professionals in Utrecht

Martin Suarez, Utrecht


The presence of Utrecht University sees a new influx of young students from all over the world each year, which accounts for much of the liveliness felt in the city and surrounding areas. 

Oost, which translates to east, is home to the university and Utrecht Science Park, so students typically look for housing here. Given the high demand and central location, accommodation in Oost can be expensive.


More affordable accommodation for students and young working professionals can be found in Zuid, south of the city centre. Expats students and young families often secure a budget-friendly rental property in a neighbourhood such as Hoograven or Tolsteeg.

Family-friendly areas in Utrecht

Margot Polinder, Utrecht


Nieuwegein is a relatively new town which was established in the 1970s to cater to Utrecht’s expanding population. It lies around 6 miles (10km) south of Utrecht’s city centre and is connected to the city by three main nearby motorways as well as the sneltram (light rail and tram) network.

There is a variety of housing options available in Nieuwegein, including classic Dutch brick homes and modern high-rise apartment complexes. Many homes are located close to green spaces, parks and lakes, so this is a great suburb for expats moving with children.

De Vechtstreek

This is a picturesque suburb located to the northwest of Utrecht and close to Loodsrechtse Plassen lakes. Local rail and bus services connect the area to the centre of Utrecht. Properties tend to be spacious, with most being located within new housing estates. The area is popular with young families and home to a number of good schools.

Leidsche Rijn

Leidsche Rijn is considered to be one of the largest new development in the Netherlands. It consists of a smaller area of the same name (Leidsche Rijn) and Vleuten-De Meern, which covers two urbanised neighbourhoods. 

This up-and-coming area has seen its population grow and, along with it, homes and a business space have been constructed – appealing to families and expats working in Utrecht. Accommodation in Leidsche Rij is modern with much of it being designed and built with environmental concerns in mind. There are also plans for a new hospital, shopping facilities, a train station and a bus system to be implemented here.