The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is known for its elaborate canal system, narrow colourful houses and cobbled streets, all reminiscent of its origins as a small fishing village in the late 12th century. Since then, Amsterdam developed into one of the most important ports in the world and has continued to grow and evolve into many neighbourhoods and suburbs that make up the city that we know today.
Boasting a level of charming that every other European city can only admire, Amsterdam is famously ‘gezellig,’ a Dutch quality that translates roughly as ‘cosy.’ While the city definitely gives off homely vibes, it by no means compromises on the qualities that make it such a great city. Full of post-industrial buildings, art galleries and breweries, treasure-filled museums and vintage-filled shops, Amsterdam has an abundance of culture and entertainment, and that’s not even mentioning the quirky clubs, street art, and vibrant drinking and dining scenes. Explore the numerous bike paths and narrow streets and you’ll find something new on every corner.
Choosing where to stay in Amsterdam as a first-time visitor can be overwhelming, mainly because the accommodation options are plentiful and among the most exciting in Europe! While having too many options isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is worth doing your research beforehand to make the right decision for you.
We will cover off all types of Amsterdam accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Amsterdam hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Amsterdam, the best Amsterdam hotels, best places in Amsterdam to visit, the best places to stay in Amsterdam, hotels near Amsterdam attractions, Amsterdam neighborhood guide and many more
Whether you like hostels or campsites, converted old canal houses or houseboats, quirky boutique B&Bs or luxurious apartments, Amsterdam offers it all catering for every type of traveller and budget. To help you make a start on your search, here are our recommendations for where to stay in the Dutch capital.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
The Old Centre – Where to stay in Amsterdam close to everything
If budget and time are tight, the Old Centre is the best area to stay in Amsterdam. Close to all the main sights, great restaurants and bars, local shopping and popular nightlife areas are just a short walk away. Although close to the red light district, the area has great transport links to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, Amsterdam Central Station and to the rest of the city centre, and the streets are lined with cheap hotels.
Take a walk around the area and discover Dam Square, the hub of the Old Centre. Some people might consider the proximity to the red light district as one of the areas to avoid staying in Amsterdam but i personally love this area, the red light district is only really a few streets wide.
Wander the charming canals and explore Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk, the Old Centre’s shopping streets. Stumble upon sights such as the imposing Royal Palace, Oude Kerk (Old Church) and Rembrandt’s House in the busy Waterlooplein square where there is a daily flea market!
Best Places to Stay in Old Centre Amsterdam –
Museum Quarter – Where to stay in Amsterdam on a budget
For a more up-market stay, head Southwest of the city centre and you’ll find the Museum Quarter. An artist’s paradise, this district is home to world-class cultural gems such as the Van Gogh Museum (which is the biggest of its kind), the Rijksmuseum (the largest art gallery in Holland boasting works by Rembrandt and Vermeer), and Stedelijk (a haven for modern art).
Here you will find boutique and top-end hotels, exclusive shopping options, a plethora of eateries and bars, and the popular Vondelpark in all its glory. Although there are no canals here as the district is outside of the canal loop, there is plenty to do for every kind of traveller.
Best Places to Stay in Museum Quarter Amsterdam
Jordaan- Best neighborhood to stay in Amsterdam
If you’re looking for charm, culture and chilled vibes, Jordaan district is all three rolled into one. A former working-class neighbourhood, you can still see the original charm from its past lining the streets and sense the humble and welcoming atmosphere from the locals. Perfect for quiet getaways, unwind away from the busy city centre and explore the sights close by such Stedelijk Museum or Anne Frank House.
Take a walk and discover how the district has now become a hub full of eclectic restaurants and bars, cutting-edge art galleries, quirky shops and boutique hotels. Renowned for its photogenic townhouses, impressive culinary scene, and relaxed pace, you can see why this bustling neighbourhood would be an appealing place to stay in Amsterdam.
Best Places to Stay in Jordaan Amsterdam –
Vondelpark – Best place to stay in Amsterdam for tourists
Experience a different side of Amsterdam by staying in the lungs of the city, Vondelpark. A large, leafy space perfect for relaxing with locals, cycling and sitting in the sun watching free concerts, this elegant neighbourhood gives you the best of both worlds. As well as offering this big green space, Vondelpark is close enough to everything that you can get a great experience of Amsterdam without the busyness of the city.
Situated south of Jordaan and the canal loop and west of the Museum quarter, Vondelpark is a short walk away from the Film Museum and open-air theatre, designer shopping streets, artisanal food court and three of Amsterdam’s most popular streets. Along Overtoom, Kinkerstraat and de Clercqstraat, you will find more restaurants and bars than you’ll know what to do with.
Best Places to Stay in Vondelpark Amsterdam –
Amsterdam Noord – Cheap places to stay in Amsterdam
For a more modern area, opt to stay at Amsterdam Noord. Just a free ferry away from Central which takes 5-10 minutes, you can get a completely unique experience of Amsterdam away from the city centre without compromising on convenience or location. In this up-and-coming district, there are great accommodation options in every price category, modern cafes, outdoor bars where you can eat inside old shipping containers, and Amsterdam’s monthly flea market.
Although you may feel like a world away from the capital’s old-worldly charm, Amsterdam Noord is a great place to stay if you have been to the city before and want to experience it in a different way.
Best Places to Stay in Amsterdam Noord
De Pijp- Best place to stay in Amsterdam for nightlife
Just a short tram ride south of Centraal station takes you into one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant districts of Amsterdam, De Pijp. Full of long narrow streets packed with brunch restaurants, Middle Eastern eateries, trendy bars and old-school pubs, this is one district where you won’t be short of food and drink options. With a picturesque urban layout, you can explore the neighbourhood and find many things to do. From the iconic Albert Cuyp Market and Heineken Experience to Sarphatipark, De Pijp, with its affordable lodging options, might just be one of the best places to stay in Amsterdam.
Best Places to Stay in De Pijp Amsterdam
Old Jewish Quarter – Where to stay in Amsterdam for relaxation
The Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam (Jodenbuurt) also called Plantage, has a long and troubled history. For over 350 years, this was the center of Jewish life in Amsterdam, until World War II. The buildings remaining after the Holocaust are now maintained by the Jewish Cultural Corner. The Portuguese Synagogue remains, along with the Jewish Historical Museum and the Holocaust Memorial.
The area now is filled with parks and tree-lined boulevards, as well as the Hortus Botanical Gardens and the Artis Royal Zoo. This is one of the best areas to stay in Amsterdam for travelers seeking a respite from the tourist crowds, but still wanting easy access to the Amsterdam city center.
Best places to stay in Old Jewish Quarter
Westerpark – Where to stay in Amsterdam with family
Just outside the canal belt of Amsterdam, lies the neighborhood of Westerpark. The park of the same name is a meeting hub of the area, with tons of things to do. Families love the amenities and attractions of Westerpark, such as the petting zoo and the picnic grounds.
Westergasfabriek is a former gasworks plant turned cultural center, brimming with markets and music venues. For families deciding where to stay in Amsterdam for the first time, Westerpark is a great option. With fewer Amsterdam hotels, fewer tourists and more green space, it’s really a lovely place to stay in Amsterdam.
Best places to stay in Westerpark
Oud West – Where to stay in Amsterdam for foodies
If you want to experience a lively residential area that’s not far from the Amsterdam city center, and far less touristy, then the best location to stay in Amsterdam is Oud West. For travelers who want a bit of green space, both Rembrandtpark and Vondelpark border this Amsterdam neighborhood. Many young families call Oud West home, and it’s growing quite the culinary scene as well, with all sorts of diverse ethnic restaurants.
De Hallen Amsterdam is a must-see destination in Oud West; the former tram station has been transformed into a food hall with restaurants, a bike shop and even a boutique hotel. For travelers who want to see how the locals live, this is one of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam.
Best places to stay in Oud West
Oud Zuid – Where to stay in Amsterdam first time
Oud Zuid, or “Old South” is an upper class neighborhood of Amsterdam, which is just south of the canal ring. This is also known as the Museum Quarter, and offers many cultural attractions to residents and visitors alike.
This is quite possibly the best area to stay in Amsterdam for first time visitors, as there are so many things to do, and many accommodation options, including a small selection of cheap hotels in Amsterdam for budget travelers. In addition to museums, this is a great spot for Amsterdam nightlife, with several music venues and performance theaters.
Best places to stay in Oud Zuid
Zuidoost – Where to stay in Amsterdam for the music scene
The Southeast quarter of Amsterdam is largely comprised of the residential area Bijlmermeer, as well as the other districts of Venserpolder, Gaasperdam and Driemond. Amsterdam Arena, or the Johann Cruijff Arena is in this area, so this is a great place to stay in Amsterdam if you are visiting for a football match or a music concert. Zuidoost is a city all its own, with over 100,000 residents.
It was originally a futuristic planned community, which later drew many immigrant to the area. It remains a multicultural district of Amsterdam, which has lately benefited from urban renewal projects. This is one of the few places where it’s still possible to find cheap hotels in Amsterdam.
Best places to stay in Zuidoost
Budget Hotels in Zuidoost
easyHotel Amsterdam Arena Boulevard
Amstelveen – Where to stay in Amsterdam for nature lovers
The district closest to Schipol airport is Amstelveen, a town just south of Amsterdam. This town on the Amstel River is called the second greenest city in the Netherlands. Although it may be a suburb of Amsterdam, don’t be fooled into thinking there is nothing to do here. It’s a lively city all its own, with lovely markets, shopping and museums.
Outdoor recreation is also in abundance with canoes and kayaks, plus the Amsterdam Forest for hikers and cyclists. If you have previously visited Amsterdam and seen the tourist sites and are looking for an alternative place to stay, consider this convenient suburb.
Best places to stay in Amstelveen
Budget Hotels in Amstelveen
ibis budget Amsterdam City South
Leidseplein – Where to stay in Amsterdam for nightlife
Technically part of Amsterdam city center, Leidseplein Square is a buzz of activity and the center of Amsterdam nightlife. There are tons of bars, restaurants, cafes and hotels here, plus Amsterdam’s most famous coffee shop, The Bulldog. The streets are filled with tourists and buskers from all over the world. It’s not the most family friendly area of Amsterdam, but if you are a first time visitor and want to experience what Amsterdam has become famous for, then this is the best location to stay in Amsterdam.