Amsterdam, often dubbed the “Venice of the North,” is a city that effortlessly blends rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. When planning a trip to the Dutch capital, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is where to stay.
As I live in Amsterdam, I visit the city center almost weekly. If you’re staying in Amsterdam for a few days, finding accommodation that hits all the spots can be challenging. Amsterdam is known to have high accommodation costs and limited availability.
More often than not, accommodations have small rooms and steep stairs. Noise levels can be an issue in bustling central areas, and the crowds in popular spots like the city center can be overwhelming. I love staying a little away from the center, which isn’t an issue with good public transportation and the city’s walkability.
It is extremely important to know where to stay and which areas to avoid to make the most of your stay. Each neighborhood in Amsterdam offers a unique experience, and your choice can significantly impact your overall trip.
Understanding Amsterdam’s Neighborhoods
Before we dive into the neighborhoods, it’s essential to understand the layout of this picturesque city. Its concentric canals characterize Amsterdam, with the touristic city center at its core. Radiating outwards, you’ll find an array of neighborhoods, each with its distinct personality in one of the best cities in Europe.
Amsterdam is not just about its world-famous museums and historic sites. It’s a city that breathes culture, art, and diversity, from the lively streets of the Amsterdam Red Light District to the serene beauty of Vondelpark.
Each neighborhood in Amsterdam provides a distinct experience, from the bustling nightlife in the city center to the tranquil canals of Jordaan. Your choice of neighborhood should align with your interests and travel preferences.
Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Amsterdam
Centrum is the beating heart of Amsterdam. It’s where the city’s rich history and modernity collide in a vibrant burst of energy. Cobblestone streets, flanked by historic buildings, lead to iconic attractions like Dam Square, the Royal Palace, and the world-famous Red Light District.
This area hums with activity day and night, offering an array of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore. Staying in Centrum means you’re at the epicenter of the city’s action, with the convenience of major landmarks at your doorstep. It’s one of the best areas to stay in if you’re looking to visit Amsterdam’s most popular attractions.
Centrum offers many accommodations, from luxury hotels like the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky to budget-friendly hostels like Flying Pig Downtown. There’s something for every traveler.
- Budget: The Flying Pig Downtown Hostel
- Mid-Range: Hotel CC
- Offering a comfortable stay, Hotel CC is centrally located in Centrum. It provides smaller but cozy rooms, friendly service, and a convenient base for exploring the city’s vibrant core.
- Luxury: Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam
- Delve into history and art at Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam, the original home to Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. This Dutch gem offers 81 guest rooms, including seven canal-view suites. Savor Dutch delights in the Empress Suite, dine at Omber with Rembrandt-inspired dishes, and sip signature Jenever cocktails. Immerse yourself in Amsterdam’s cultural tapestry at Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam.
- Luxury: Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
- If you’re looking for different options in Amsterdam Centrum, discover the perfect blend of city life and contemporary luxury at Amsterdam’s Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. Overlooking Dam Square and facing the Royal Palace, this historic gem offers modern rooms, award-winning dining, and a new Anantara Spa for the ultimate city center experience. Explore nearby cultural landmarks or indulge in Anantara’s Signature Experiences, like a private dinner in the middle of a tulip field. Highlights include a restaurant led by a three Michelin-starred chef, a 19th-century glass Wintergarden, a unique “cake room,” and the award-winning cocktail bar, The Tailor.
Jordaan exudes a romantic and artistic charm that’s hard to resist. As you stroll along its narrow streets and cross over its arched bridges, you’ll be captivated by the serene beauty of the canals and the welcoming atmosphere.
This neighborhood is known for its picturesque canals, quaint streets, and artistic vibe. It’s home to the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk, and many art galleries. Here, you’ll find local boutiques, cozy cafes, and charming courtyards tucked away from the bustling city center.
Jordaan boasts boutique hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, and charming apartments, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a more intimate and local experience of hotels in Amsterdam.
- Budget: Hotel Linden
- Tucked away in the charming Jordaan neighborhood, Hotel Linden is a budget-friendly property that offers comfortable lodgings, a central location, and a delightful atmosphere, providing a cozy retreat for travelers on a budget.
- Mid-Range: Mr. Jordaan
- Immerse yourself in Jordaan’s romantic atmosphere at Mr. Jordaan. This property offers well-appointed rooms, personalized service, and a cozy ambiance, ensuring a delightful stay in this picturesque neighborhood.
- Luxury: Pulitzer Amsterdam
- Nestled along the picturesque canals of Jordaan, Pulitzer Amsterdam is a luxurious 5-star escape offering elegant rooms with canal views and exquisite dining at Jansz. (a renowned restaurant within the hotel), private boat tours through the historic waterways and a tranquil garden terrace. This gem provides a quintessential Amsterdam experience amidst the charm of Jordaan.
De Pijp is the city’s cultural melting pot, where international cuisine, local markets, and artistic influences converge. This dynamic neighborhood is known for its trendy atmosphere, with the bustling Albert Cuyp Market at its heart. Visitors can explore attractions like the Heineken Experience and unwind in the leafy Sarphatipark.
De Pijp offers a mix of vibrant nightlife and serene moments, making it a perfect choice for those looking to experience the energy of Amsterdam.
In De Pijp, you’ll find stylish boutique hotels and well-furnished apartments, making it perfect for those who appreciate a lively neighborhood with plenty of dining options.
- Budget: The Arcade Hotel
- A hidden gem in the lively De Pijp neighborhood, The Arcade Hotel offers cozy rooms, easy access to the vibrant Albert Cuyp Market, and a warm, welcoming environment for frugal travelers. The property offers an interesting twist, as it’s a game-themed hotel with a game console in every room.
- Mid-Range: Sir Albert Hotel Amsterdam
- Immerse yourself in De Pijp’s trendy vibe at this unique hotel. Discover stylish rooms, unwind at the rooftop bar, and embrace the neighborhood’s energy at Sir Albert Hotel Amsterdam.
- Luxury: Okura Amsterdam Hotel
- Discover the epitome of luxury in De Pijp at Hotel Okura Amsterdam, a 5-star hotel in this trendy district. The hotel’s rooms and suites offer unparalleled city views. Guests can also indulge in the on-site Nagomi Gym & Wellness, with a swimming pool and treatment rooms. Each of the 300 spacious rooms is designed for comfort, featuring an Eastborn bed, a separate bathtub, a rain shower, and a large desk.
Oud-West, which translates to “Old West,” is a neighborhood that perfectly balances the old and the new. It’s known for its eclectic mix of cultures and the blend of historical and modern architecture. The iconic De Hallen, a former tram depot turned cultural complex, is a hub for food and art enthusiasts, offering a variety of restaurants, boutiques, and a cinema.
Oud-West is a vibrant neighborhood where you can explore the local way of life, enjoy the buzzing food scene, and appreciate Amsterdam’s multiculturalism.
Oud-West offers budget-friendly hostels, mid-range hotels, and trendy guesthouses, making it a great choice for travelers seeking affordability without sacrificing convenience.
- Budget: Best Western Amsterdam
- A budget-friendly oasis with comfortable lodgings, the Best Western Amsterdam offers affordability without compromising quality. Discover an on-site restaurant, easy access to public transportation, and a warm and friendly ambiance.
- Mid-Range: Conscious Hotel Vondelpark
- Offering a comfortable and eco-conscious stay, Conscious Hotel Vondelpark is a great option that embraces sustainability while providing well-appointed rooms and a convenient location.
- Luxury: Hotel De Hallen
- Elevate your stay in Oud-West with Hotel De Hallen, a boutique luxury hotel within the De Hallen complex. This unique 4-star hotel offers a blend of modern design, artistic flair, and comfort, ensuring a memorable stay in the heart of the neighborhood.
Oost, Amsterdam’s eclectic and vibrant eastern neighborhood, invites you to discover its unique character. This diverse area, known for its rich cultural tapestry, offers a blend of modernity and tradition. Explore the multicultural side of the city as you stroll through Oosterpark and immerse yourself in the creative atmosphere.
Indulge in an array of international cuisines at local eateries, visit innovative galleries, and experience the dynamic energy that defines Oost. Whether you’re exploring the historic Weesperzijde with its charming canal-side houses or embracing the artistic spirit of the Javastraat, Oost promises an authentic Amsterdam experience with a twist.
In this vibrant neighborhood, boutique hotels and guesthouses provide an authentic Amsterdam experience away from the tourist crowds.
- Budget: Generator Amsterdam
- Set in the diverse and vibrant neighborhood of Oost, the Generator Amsterdam is a designer hostel offering affordable dormitories, a lively bar, a scenic terrace, and an on-site restaurant, making it a hub for exploration and connection.
- Mid-Range: Hotel Arena
- Immerse yourself in the multicultural tapestry of Oost at Hotel Arena. Enjoy comfortable rooms with park views, savor delectable dishes at the on-site restaurant, and soak in the trendy bar atmosphere.
- Luxury: Breitner House
Noord, Amsterdam’s thriving artistic hub, beckons with its modern architecture and creative energy. Once a district of abandoned warehouses, it’s now a playground for the avant-garde. Venture to Noord for a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience. Explore modern art installations, waterfront views, and a vibrant community redefining Amsterdam’s cultural landscape. The iconic Eye Film Museum and A’DAM Tower, home to Europe’s highest swing, are must-visit attractions.
Noord offers a captivating blend of art, culture, and modernity, with a creative atmosphere that sets it apart from the city’s other neighborhoods.
Consider unique waterfront hotels and hostels for an unforgettable stay in Amsterdam Noord.
- Budget: ClinkNOORD Hostel
- In the creative and evolving Noord neighborhood, ClinkNOORD Hostel combines affordable dormitories, a captivating waterfront setting, a lively bar scene, and the opportunity to explore the vibrant local culture.
- Mid-Range: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam – NDSM Wharf
- Embrace the allure of Noord’s transformation at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam – NDSM Wharf, where comfortable rooms offer waterfront views, an on-site restaurant beckons with culinary delights, and a fitness center invites guests to unwind.
- Luxury: Sir Adam Hotel
- Perched within Amsterdam’s iconic A’DAM Tower in Amsterdam Noord (North), Sir Adam Hotel, part of Sircle Collection, offers luxurious accommodations with stunning views of the IJ river and the historic city center. Culinary delights await at The Butcher Social Club, serving burgers and cocktails with terrace dining, while a gym area with classes and instructors keeps you active. Bike rentals are available, and Central Station is a short ferry ride away, providing easy access to Amsterdam’s attractions.
Frequently Asked Questions – Where to Stay in Amsterdam
What Is the Most Walkable Area in Amsterdam?
The most walkable area in Amsterdam is the city center, specifically the Centrum neighborhood. You can easily walk here to major attractions like Dam Square, the Royal Palace, the Anne Frank House, and the Red Light District. The compact layout of the city center makes it convenient for exploring on foot.
Additionally, neighborhoods like Jordaan and De Pijp are also highly walkable and offer plenty of shops, cafes, and sights within walking distance.
Is 3 Full Days in Amsterdam Enough?
Three full days in Amsterdam can provide a wonderful introduction to the city, allowing you to explore its major attractions, cultural sites, and experience some local culture. You can visit famous museums like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, take a canal cruise, explore historic neighborhoods, and enjoy Dutch cuisine. However, Amsterdam has much more to offer, so extending your stay could be worthwhile if you have specific interests or want a more leisurely experience.
Where Is the Most Central Location in Amsterdam?
The most central location in Amsterdam is the Centrum neighborhood. Within Centrum, areas around Dam Square, Rembrandtplein, and the Central Station are often considered the city’s core. This central area provides easy access to major attractions, public transportation hubs, shopping streets, and a vibrant atmosphere. Staying in or near Centrum ensures you’re well-connected to everything Amsterdam offers.
Conclusion – Where to Stay in Amsterdam
Choosing where to stay in Amsterdam is a crucial decision that can greatly influence your travel experience. Whether you prefer the historic charm of Centrum, the artistic vibe of Jordaan, or the emerging culture of Oost, Amsterdam has the perfect neighborhood for you.
By understanding the unique characteristics of each area and considering your budget and preferences, you’ll be well-equipped to make the right choice for a memorable stay in this enchanting city.
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.
Meet Marjolein, the founder of Radical FIRE, a personal finance blog that helps you reduce money stress by making more money and investing. She has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job and is currently traveling the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to inspire people to explore the world.