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 has 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 charm that other European cities can only hope to achieve, 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. There are plenty of things to do in Amsterdam like marvel at the post-industrial buildings, art galleries and breweries, treasure-filled museums and vintage-filled shops.
There is an abundance of areas in Amsterdam with 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.
Wondering where is the best place to stay in Amsterdam? We will cover all types of Amsterdam accommodation options from hostels to luxury Amsterdam hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Amsterdam 2023, the best Amsterdam hotels, the best places in Amsterdam to visit, the best places to stay Amsterdam, hotels near Amsterdam attractions, Amsterdam neighbourhood guide and many more.
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Whether you like hostels, campsites, houseboats, quirky boutique B&Bs, luxurious apartments, or want to stay in a converted old 17th-century canal house, 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.
Below are 19 of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam to stay, to help you make the right decision when trying to work out best area to stay in Amsterdam for first time visitors. We have tried to make the guide as easy to follow as possible. We have also included some things to do or places to visit within the areas in Amsterdam so you can use this as a go to guide.
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The Old Centre – Where to stay in Amsterdam close to everything
If budget and time are tight, this is one of the best places to stay in Amsterdam city centre. 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 Centraal 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 and it is the best area to stay in Amsterdam for coffee shops, it;s also considered one of the safest area to stay in Amsterdam.
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! Wondering where to stay in Amsterdam city centre, check out the below selections:
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. Museum Quarter is one of the best neighbourhoods in Amsterdam to stay on a budget.
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 a 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 Museum 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. Lots of the hotels in this area have been remodelled from buildings like a former diamond factory and warehouses.
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 centre 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 travellers seeking a respite from the tourist crowds, but still want easy access to the Amsterdam city centre.
Best places to stay in Old Jewish Quarter
Self contained apartment/rentals in Old Jewish Quarter
Westerpark – Where to stay in Amsterdam with family
Just outside the canal belt of Amsterdam, lies the neighbourhood 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. For this reason, Westerpark is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam for families.
Westergasfabriek is a former gasworks plant turned cultural centre, 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 centre, and far less touristy, then the best location to stay in Amsterdam is Oud-West. For travellers who want a bit of green space, both Rembrandtpark and Vondelpark border this Amsterdam neighbourhood. 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 travellers who want to see how the locals live, this is one of the best neighbourhoods 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 neighbourhood 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 travellers. In addition to museums, this is a great spot for Amsterdam nightlife, with several music venues and performance theatres.
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 immigrants 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
Self contained apartment/rentals in Amstelveen
Leidseplein – Where to stay in Amsterdam for nightlife
Technically part of Amsterdam city centre, Leidseplein Square is a buzz of activity and the centre 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.
Best places to stay in Leidseplein
Oost – Where to stay in Amsterdam couples
Looking for a romantic break in Amsterdam for you and your partner? You should stay in Oost (translating to ‘east’ in English) which is unsurprisingly just to the east of Amsterdam City Centre. This district encompasses the Eastern Docklands and the trendy Zeeburg neighbourhood as well as Oosterpark. In fact, there are lots of cool parks in this district where you can have a picnic or enjoy the sunset views over the River Amstel.
The Brouwerij ‘t IJ, a working brewery with a windmill which offers tours, is on the edge of this district which is a perfect couples’ city break activity. Brouwerij Poesiat & Kater is a great alternative. It also has some fascinating alternative museums such as Tropenmuseum, a mixed arts museum and cinemas like Studio K.
The key to any good European city break when you’re travelling as a couple is staying in comfortable, noteworthy accommodation with a little bit of luxury if it’s within your means so you can recommend it to all your friends. Luckily, there are lots of unique Amsterdam accommodation options in the Oost district.
Best places to stay in Oost
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Oost
Budget Hotels in Oost
Canal Belt /Grachtengordel – Best area to stay in Amsterdam for history lovers
When the canals of Amsterdam were built (largely during the 17th century), they were vital to the city’s economy and infrastructure. Today, they are a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most picturesque parts of Amsterdam. So, if you’re asking yourself, “where is the best place to stay in Amsterdam if you absolutely love history?” then it has to be in the Grachtengordel district. This is the heart of the Canal Belt and where all the top historical buildings are!
Westerkerk is one of the top landmarks in Amsterdam and it’s in this neighbourhood. This church dates back to the Renaissance and it’s where the great Dutch artist Rembrandt is buried. Next door is the Anne Frank House and Singel 166, the smallest/narrowest canal house in Amsterdam, is also in Grachtengordel.
If you hear anyone mention Amsterdam’s ‘Nine Streets’ then that is in this district. These nine streets surround the three rows of canals here. Hop on a canal tour while you’re staying to learn as much about the architecture and its history as possible.
Best places to stay in the Canal Belt
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in the Canal Belt
Hans Brinker Hostel Amsterdam
Self Contained Apartments in the Canal Belt
Zuidas – Where to stay Amsterdam for business travellers
Business travellers can often find it difficult in certain cities to look for hotels; Amsterdam is no different. In a city that attracts so many tourists, you don’t want to be kept up all night by staying in an area known for nightlife.
Even though families tend to be quieter, you don’t want to see kids running around the breakfast buffet in the morning when you’re trying to prepare for a meeting or have an early video call. So if you’re in Amsterdam on business, you should stay in the Zuidas neighbourhood.
This neighbourhood is in the Zuid district, so it’s a little outside of the city centre but it’s still easy to access via Amsterdam’s transport links. There are lots of great chain hotels here where frequent business travellers might have memberships or collect points and Zuidas is known as the ‘Financial Mile’ for a reason.
This is a rapidly developing business district, so if you are working for a global business, your meetings may well be in a building in this neighbourhood anyway.
Best places to stay in Zuidas
De Wallen – Where to stay in Amsterdam on your Bachelor/Bachelorette party
Stag do, hen do, bucks do, bachelor or bachelorette party… Whatever you call the last blowout with your friends before you get married, Amsterdam is a popular destination for it! Lots of Europeans choose to host a pre-wedding weekend here but it’s becoming more and more popular for Americans and Canadians seeking an extravagant party weekend too. If that’s why you’re going to Amsterdam, best places to stay for you would be in the De Wallen neighbourhood.
De Wallen is a small neighbourhood in the very heart of Amsterdam. To the uninitiated, it looks like a beautiful old town with medieval buildings, old churches, canals, and the Netherlands’ National Monument. Some might say that the Red Light District is one of the coolest places to stay in Amsterdam.
But take a second glance and you’ll find coffee shops (places licensed to sell marijuana products – very different from coffee houses or cafes!), and the sex shops and shows that makeup Amsterdam’s Red Light District. There are also tons of nightclubs and bars geared towards tourists who just want to have fun.
Staying in this neighbourhood means you won’t have to order taxis or navigate Amsterdam’s public transport system when trying to get back to your hotel in the wee hours. Plus, if you’re a bit noisy after one too many gins, hotels in this neighbourhood are more likely to put up with it than family-friendly establishments in other parts of the city.
Best places to stay in De Wallen
Affordable Luxury Hotels in De Wallen
Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam
De Baarsjes – Where to stay in Amsterdam off the beaten path
Amsterdam is a well-touristed city. When you’re visiting for the first time, you want to stay in the heart of the city close to all the landmarks and top things to do in Amsterdam; places to stay where you won’t have to walk far. But when it’s your third or fourth visit to the city, you probably want to head out of the touristed districts and explore somewhere totally new that not many people visit when they head to Amsterdam.
If that’s what you’re looking for, you should stay in de Baarsjes. This is a neighbourhood in the Amsterdam West district that centres around Jan Evertsenstraat. This is a wide, busy street with lots of restaurants, bars and shops. It’s on the Amsterdam tram line so there are great transport links to the city centre but it’s a bit too obscure for most tourists to venture here.
There are some fantastic examples of great architecture here that differs from the classic canals such as the Het Sieraad club which dates back to the 1920s. It’s close to lots of little parks that most tourists don’t visit like Erasmuspark and Jan van Galenplantsoen.
Best places to stay in De Baarsjes
Budget Hotels in De Baarsjes
Hotel Not Hotel Amsterdam
Rembrandtplein – Where to stay in Amsterdam to live like a local
Are you staying in Amsterdam for a month or more? Perhaps you’re a digital nomad or have the opportunity to work abroad for a while or go on an exchange semester with your university. If so, the best Amsterdam neighbourhood for you is one where you can easily explore all the top things to do but has a more local vibe. In that case, Rembrandtplein might just be the best place for you to stay in Amsterdam.
It’s technically part of the Grachtengordel neighbourhood but this is just a small section at the bottom that surrounds the Rembrandtplein square. You’ll find lots of cool cinemas like Pathé Tuschinski and Pathé De Munt as well as the Bloemenmarkt flower market. Imagine spending your Sundays choosing tulips from a barge before catching a film and sipping a coffee in your local cafe.
Best places to stay in Rembrandtplein
Added Extra: Areas to Avoid in Amsterdam
Figuring out where not to stay in Amsterdam is easy because there aren’t many places you need to avoid. Most parts of Amsterdam are safe during the day and you only need to watch out for pickpockets and scams. It’s also a welcoming city for diverse ethnicities and people in the LGBTQ+ community.
However, the suburban neighbourhood of Zuidoost has a reputation for being the most ‘dangerous’ part of Amsterdam (though that’s a relative term when talking about a safe city). Luckily, it’s so far out of the city centre that you wouldn’t stumble across this neighbourhood by accident.
Another place you might want to avoid staying in is Haarlem, especially when your plan to visit Amsterdam. Some people talk about Haarlem like it’s just another neighbourhood in Amsterdam but it’s actually an entirely different city. It’s a beautiful place and not far away from Amsterdam at all though it’s still a train ride away. If you plan on enjoying Amsterdam’s nightlife or don’t want to drag your children on a train twice a day, it’s not ideal!
FAQ for where to stay in Amsterdam
What is the best part of Amsterdam to stay in?
This guide highlights 19 different areas for different budgets, travel style or if you’re traveling alone or with your family. Where you want to stay in Amsterdam is highly depend on who you are and what you want to see and do in Amsterdam.
Where should a first time tourist stay in Amsterdam?
I’d highly recommend staying in Amsterdam city centre also known as Dam Square, the hub of the Old Centre. This area makes seeing and doing things within Amsterdam sure easy as it’s so centralised.
How many days in Amsterdam is enough?
In most cases, three to four days in Amsterdam are more than enough to see all of the city’s top sights and attractions. However, you might want to consider staying longer if you want to take your time and discover more of the city’s districts and cultural attractions.
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