Once you ride a bike down Amsterdam’s narrow alleys, whizzing past beautiful houses, green parks, and waterway canals, you’ll never want to leave this magical city.
Amsterdam offers amazing food, culture, and local life. That said, it can also be an expensive, crowded tourist trap.
We created this insider guide on where to stay in Amsterdam where we’ve broken down the best neighborhoods, hostels, hotels, and apartments
Picking the right place in Amsterdam can be stressful, and if you’re not trying to mingle with the crazy drunk tourists and stag parties, there are certain neighborhoods to avoid.
That said, if you’re after a party, we’ve covered the best places to stay in Amsterdam for nightlife too.
Whether you want to stay somewhere central and close to the best restaurants, near the local life, or you want to stay somewhere on a budget, read on to learn more about our picks for the best places to stay in Amsterdam!
Table of Contents
- Quick Tips
- Where to Stay in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Neighborhood Guide
- 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Amsterdam
- 1. Westerpark Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Amsterdam for first-timers
- 2. Oud Zuid (South) – Where to Stay in Amsterdam on a Budget
- 3. De Pijp – Where to Stay in Amsterdam for Nightlife
- 4. Jordaan – The Coolest Place to Stay in Amsterdam
- 5. Plantage – Where to Stay in Amsterdam for Families
- Where to stay in Amsterdam first time – Westerpark
- Where to stay in Amsterdam on a budget – Oud Zuid (South)
- Best area to stay in Amsterdam for nightlife – De Pijp
- Coolest place to stay in Amsterdam – Jordaan
- Best neighborhood in Amsterdam for families – Plantage
In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:
- Relax at Het Stenen Hoofd, an urban beach that’s popular with locals
- Get your gaming head on and go retro at Ton Ton Club, a cool arcade with classic machines
- Sample local beers at De Prael brewery and Troost
Where to Stay in Amsterdam
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our top picks for places to stay in Amsterdam, organized by our favorite hostel, hotel, and apartment!
Best Hostel in Amsterdam: Cityhub Amsterdam
Located just south of Westerpark is the super modern and ‘techy’ Cityhub Amsterdam. Why so ‘techy’? Because instead of a traditional dorm room – you get your own private pod/cabin and it looks more like a spaceship than a bed!
Cityhub is a unique mix of the classic social vibes of old-school hostels, mixed with a new innovative experience – that’s probably why the ratings are so high!
Best Hotel in Amsterdam: Hotel Weber
Located near Leidse Square, this boutique hotel is in a prime position close to many places of interest. Rooms are en-suite and you’ll find the fridge stocked with goodies for breakfast.
Fresh bread is brought to your room each morning too! Rooms also have a TV, Wi-Fi, a safe, a phone, and a coffee maker.
Best Airbnb in Amsterdam: Best Amstel view
For a novel stay in Amsterdam, what could be better than renting your very own private houseboat? This cool Airbnb can sleep up to seven people in three bedrooms (plus a sofa bed in the living room). The comfy living room provides incredible views over the water, and you can sit and chill on the outside deck too.
There’s a long dining table and a well-equipped kitchen. The boat has an additional separate toilet as well as the main bathroom.
Amsterdam Neighborhood Guide
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Amsterdam
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The Dutch capital is split into a number of neighbourhoods; while many major attractions are in a fairly concentrated area that doesn’t mean that you should overlook other parts of the city. There are hidden gems everywhere!
Places on the fringe of the city centre are ideal for escaping the tourist crowds and mingling with locals. You’ll find cool cocktail bars, independent shops, bohemian clubs, cool architecture, laid-back cafes, and more.
Centrum is the pulsating heart and soul of Amsterdam, home to many major attractions, a lively nightlife, and an abundance of restaurants. It also attracts huge numbers of tourists. No trip to Amsterdam is complete without spending time here!
The central area is broken down further into smaller areas. The old centre is where you’ll find medieval streets and De Wallen, Amsterdam’s infamous red light district. De Pijp is a cool spot for nightlife, terrific restaurants, an arty ambience, and a hipster vibe.
Jordaan has managed to retain a village-like feeling while being home to several famous sights and within easy reach of the heart of Amsterdam, and Plantage has many museums and a strong Jewish heritage. The canal ring is a posh area with great nightlife. Westerpark is another popular area close to the centre.
Oud Zuid (South) is a quieter part of Amsterdam, with more of an up-market atmosphere. Oud West is simultaneously relaxed and lively—you’ll find plenty to see and do but the vibe is cool, calm, and collected.
Oud Oost (East) has a down-to-earth and working-class feel about it and is great for people who like to fully immerse in the local way of life in a city. There are large parks and it’s considered to be a bit more off the beaten track.
Noord (North) has seen many developments over recent years, transforming it from a major shipping area to a place that’s full of life, with cultural, leisure, and entertainment venues. Spaarndammerbuurt is an up-and-coming neighbourhood and the island of Marken is charming, with traditional homes and a feeling of nostalgia.
So with so many options, where should you stay in Amsterdam?
Editor’s Note: For more inspiration, check out our post on Amsterdam’s best hostels.
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Amsterdam
Although it might seem like Amsterdam has many neighbourhoods to choose between, the city centre is fairly compact and easy to navigate by public transport. This means that you’ll never be too far away from the action, even if you decide to stay in one of the city’s quieter areas.
Note that while the old centre has heaps to see and do, this isn’t generally the best Amsterdam neighbourhood to stay unless you particularly want to be close to the red light district.
Westerpark is close enough to the city centre to make exploring a breeze, yet just far enough away to offer a more chilled out stay in Amsterdam.
It’s our pick for the best neighbourhood for a first-time trip to Amsterdam because it is conveniently located for hitting the sightseeing hotspots, you’re close enough to the nightlife without being put off by the red light district, and there’s a good choice of accommodations, shops, restaurants, and attractions right at your fingertips.
Top Things to Do in Westerpark
– Chill out in the area’s namesake park: Westerpark. Pack a picnic in the summer months, watch an array of cultural activities, and enjoy being outdoors. You can even swim in the pool on sunny days, and kids are sure to love the small petting zoo.
– Visit the monthly craft and arts market at Westerpark, held on the first Sunday of each month.
– Go window shopping along some of the best shopping streets in the country: the Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk.
– Satisfy your appetite in the neighbourhoods many excellent restaurants and large food centres like Market Canteen.
– Admire the artistic works at Museum Het Schip.
– Relax at Het Stenen Hoofd, an urban beach that’s popular with locals.
– Get your gaming head on and go retro at Ton Ton Club, a cool arcade with classic machines.
– Sample local beers at De Prael brewery and Troost.
– Watch a show at Amsterdam Theater.
Best Hostel in Westerpark: Dutchies Hostel
Friendly and sociable with a youthful vibe and tons of cool wall art, Dutchies Hostel has mixed and female-only dorms. There are several common areas, suitable for socialising, chilling, and working, plus a shared kitchen and an outdoor smoking area. Bikes are available to rent and Wi-Fi is free.
Best Hotel in Westerpark: WestCord Art Hotel
This charming three-star hotel sits right next to the green Westerpark while being just a 15-minute walk from the city centre. The modern and funky rooms are en-suite with a TV, coffee machine, wardrobe, and minibar. The swimming pool is a major draw, with sunbathing areas and a bar on the terrace. There’s an onsite restaurant too. The art display is sure to catch your eye.
Best Airbnb in Westerpark: Park Apartment with Balcony (10 min from Center)
This modern and comfortable apartment has a double bedroom and a separate living room with a TV, dining corner, and balcony. There’s also a well-equipped kitchen, with a washing machine, and a clean bathroom. WI-Fi is available and the property is filled with homey touches.
A major tourist area yet with lower accommodation prices than other parts of the city centre, this is the cheapest Amsterdam neighbourhood to stay in.
It’s actually a district made up of several neighbourhoods, Oud Zuid (South) has world-class museums, markets, parks, and more.
Top Things to do in Oud Zuid
– Marvel at the artistic gems in the famous Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.
– Discover more about the diamond trade in the Netherlands at the Diamond Museum.
– Visit a host of other interesting museums at Museum Square.
– Taste Dutch beers at The Heineken Experience and House of Bols.
– Take a bottle of wine to relax in the sunshine at Vondelpark or pick a spot on the grass at Amsterdamse Bos and admire the many flowers.
– Follow the locals and head to the beach at Strand Zuid.
– Peek inside the windmill of Molen van Sloten, the only windmill in South Amsterdam to be open to tourists.
– Browse and buy along the bustling Beethovenstraat, one of the city’s most popular shopping streets.
– Watch arty films at Rialto Cinema.
– Enjoy a classical concert at Concertgebouw.
– Sample a wide range of global cuisine in the area’s many restaurants.
Best Hostel in Oud Zuid (South): Hostel Van Gogh
There are mixed and ladies-only dorms plus private rooms in different sizes. The beds are comfy for a good night’s sleep and each room has its own bathroom.
Modern and secure and with keycard access, the hostel offers bike rentals, free maps, and free Wi-Fi. Amsterdam’s famous museums are a short stroll away.
Best Hotel in Oud Zuid (South): Hotel Verdi
A budget Amsterdam hotel, Hotel Verdi has rooms for two and four; some are en-suite and some share bathrooms. Rooms are cosy, breakfast is included in the price, and Wi-Fi is available in common areas. There’s a garden where you can relax and bikes are available to rent.
Best Airbnb in Oud Zuid (South): Room with a heart. Van Gogh 5 min.walk!
A cute bedroom for two people, people who stay in this budget private room have their own bathroom and can use a shared garden and kitchen. The home-owner lives upstairs and there is an attached hair salon. You can rent bikes and a laundry service is available.
Although Leidseplein in the city centre is Amsterdam’s major area for nightlife, De Pijp (in South Amsterdam) is a trendy part of the city whose nightlife can rival that of the centre.
It’s within easy reach for a few nights out in the heart of Amsterdam, but once you’re tired of tourist crowds and the red light district, De Pijp is the place for a great night out.
Additionally, De Pijp is also known for its great food scene, ideal for starting your night or for beating a hangover. A cool area with a youthful and bohemian vibe, you’ll be glad you choose to stay in De Pijp over the centre.
Top Things to Do in De Pijp
– Hunt for bargains and stock up on souvenirs at the biggest daily market in the Netherlands: Albert Cuypmarkt. With more than 250 stalls, the laid-back market has everything from snacks and fresh produce to clothes, home wares, and trinkets.
– Eat your way around the world at restaurants that sell Thai, Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Pakistani cuisine, to name just a few.
– Take a tour of the Heineken Experience and sample locally produced beer by the internationally known brand.
– Admire the decorative and detailed architecture around P.L. Takstraat.
– Dine al fresco with a picnic at Sarphatipark.
– Take kids to Kinderboerderij de Pijp.
– Chill at a café on Marie Heinekenplein.
– Sip a cocktail and admire the views from the Twenty-Third Bar located, as the name suggests on the 23rd floor.
– Experience the vibrant nightlife of the Latin Quarter.
Best Hostel in De Pijp: Amstel Riverview Bed & Coffee
Although this place only has rooms for two, it’s a top option for couples, best friends, and groups of friends who don’t mind splitting into different rooms to sleep.
Rooms have a safe, TV, free Wi-Fi, and free tea and coffee, and guests can make full use of the shared kitchen.
Best Hotel in De Pijp: The Arcade Hotel Amsterdam
You don’t even need to go out to have fun as this hotel has its own lively bar! With single, double, twin, and quad rooms, it’s a top hotel in De Pijp for all.
Rooms have a private bathroom as well as a TV and Wi-Fi. Relax on the terrace or rent a bike to explore Amsterdam.
Best Airbnb in De Pijp: Renovated modern studio near Albert Cuyp Market
A cosy and private studio for two, this place may be fairly basic but it’s comfortable, modern, and in a great location.
There’s a basic selection of crockery in case you bring street eats back for dinner, and you can make your morning brew with the kettle. There’s Wi-Fi too.
Jordaan is close to the heart of Amsterdam but the traditional village-like vibe makes it feel a whole lot farther away.
If you’re looking for where to stay in Amsterdam for couples, Jordaan is a good bet. It’s quaint, authentic, and has plenty to see and do. Traditionally a working-class part of town, today Jordaan is one of the coolest neighbourhoods to stay in Amsterdam.
Art galleries, the local music scene, unusual restaurants, and vintage stores all add to the area’s appeal. As accommodation here is fairly limited, the area also has more of an exclusive feel.
Top Things to Do in Jordaan
– Wander the historic streets and soak up the enchanting vibe.
– Visit the world-famous Anne Frank House, once the home of the famous child wartime diarist.
– Hit up the shops of Westerstraat, Rozengracht, and Elandsgracht, hunt for quirky finds on in the shops of Hazenstraat, and shop in colourful markets like Westerstraat and Noordermarkt.
– Stroll alongside the small canals.
– Get to grips with tasty traditional Dutch food.
– Watch a performance at Theater Amsterdam.
– See the church of Noorderkerk.
– Drink in diverse rock, metal, and alternative bars as well as trendy watering holes.
– Enjoy unique museums like the Pianola Museum and the Woonbootmuseum.
– Discover the area’s many charming gardens, many of which are hidden from sight.
– Admire the artworks in the modern Galerie Buuf.
Best Hostel in Jordaan: Shelter Jordan
A friendly Christian hostel in Jordaan, this is a great place for people who want a restful and safe stay away from the drink and drugs scene.
The single-gender dorms are located on different floors and breakfast is included in the price. There’s an onsite restaurant and you can rent bikes and mingle and use free Wi-Fi in the common room.
Best Hotel in Jordaan: Hotel Il Fiore
The en suite rooms have free toiletries, a hairdryer, free Wi-Fi, TV, tea and coffee making facilities, and a separate seating area. There’s an onsite Italian restaurant and bicycles are available for rent. You can conveniently book trips onsite too.
Best Airbnb in Jordaan: Cosy Room on a Houseboat in Jordaan
This houseboat is perfect for those looking for a unique stay in a cool Amsterdam neighbourhood.
You’ll have a private bedroom and access to a shared bathroom, living room, and kitchen, all while staying on a boat moored on a canal and close to the major sights in Jordaan and central Amsterdam.
A predominantly residential area with a Jewish heritage, Plantage is the best Amsterdam neighbourhood for families.
As well as being calm and quiet, there are several family-friendly attractions close to hand as well as important and interesting historic attractions.It’s around a 20-minute walk from the heart of Amsterdam, but the metro makes travelling to and from the city centre a breeze.
Top Things to Do in Plantage
– Observe a large selection of creatures in Artis Royal Zoo, stroll through the lush botanic gardens, and learn more about the stars and sky at the planetarium.
– Marvel at Russian arts and treasures at the Hermitage Amsterdam.
– Visit Hortus Botanicus, the world’s oldest botanic garden.
– Snap a picture of De Gooyer Windmill.
– Pick up vintage items and unusual goods at the large and historic flea market of Waterloopleinmarkt.
– Learn more about Jewish history and heritage at the Jewish History Museum, the National Holocaust Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, and Hollandsche Schowburg.
– Step back to the times of the Netherland during the period of Nazi occupation at Verzetsmuseum the Resistance Museum).
– Relax in the scenic park of Wertheimpark.
– Buy tickets for a performance at the Dutch National Opera and Ballet.
– Try to conquer the different escape room experiences.
Best Hostel in Plantage: Generator Amsterdam
A welcoming, attractive, and friendly hostel, choose from one of the different-sized private rooms or a bed in a dormitory (ladies-only or mixed). There’s a café onsite as well as a separate bar/lounge for relaxing and another chilled-out common space.
A small store sells the essentials and other features include bike rentals, free Wi-Fi, a tour desk, laundry facilities, and round-the-clock security.
Best Hotel in Plantage: Wittenberg
Fresh, airy, clean, modern and comfortable are just a few words to describe Wittenberg. There are various apartments and studios available to rent and the building has an elevator.
Reception is open 24 hours. You can benefit from free Wi-Fi, luggage storage, and bike hire facilities.
Best Airbnb in Plantage: Tulip C Apartment in Amsterdam
This pretty two-floor home can accommodate up to four guests in two bedrooms. There’s a spacious open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room. There’s also a balcony with outdoor furniture from where you can enjoy great city views.
Final thoughts on where to stay in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is often famed for its coffee shops and Red Light District, which is honestly a shame because this city has so much more to offer than legal marijuana and hookers!
I love Amsterdam and think its architecture and water canals make it one of the dreamiest cities in the world, but it can be expensive, crowded, and – frankly – dirty in some areas. We created this guide to help you navigate out of the tourist traps and find out where to stay in Amsterdam based on your travel style.
To recap, our favorite hostel is Amigo Hostel Amsterdam. For more privacy, we recommend Hotel Weber! When in doubt, choose to stay in Westerpark, which is close enough to the city centre to make exploring a breeze, yet just far enough away to offer a more chilled out stay in Amsterdam.
If you stay outside the centre, you can experience a more local (and affordable) Amsterdam. The public transportation is great in Amsterdam anyway, so it’s easy to get around!
Let us know if we missed anything in the comments below!
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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