Where to stay in Amsterdam

Quartier de Pijp à Amsterdam

Are you planning to visit the « Dutch Venice » and don’t know where to stay in Amsterdam during your stay? Here’s a detailed mini-guide to the Dutch capital’s neighborhoods and places to put down your suitcases in Amsterdam.

If it’s your first time in Amsterdam, you’re likely to be faced with a dilemma: since you know nothing about the city’s atmosphere and prices, where should you stay in Amsterdam? Where to book for the following nights? What’s the best neighborhood for going out, sightseeing or relaxing, and where can you stay without exceeding your budget?

Would you like to find accommodation in Amsterdam’s old town, Binnenstad, where you’ll find Gothic and classical architecture and most of the interesting monuments and museums to visit; in the bustling Red Light District, where you’ll find tourists, noisy bars, coffeeshops, youth hostels and trendy places; in Leidseplein; in the popular Pijp; or is it better to book in the Canals district, for a romantic postcard of Amsterdam, but far from the city center and therefore involving many public transport journeys?

Here’s a brief overview of Amsterdam’s neighborhoods, mainly Binnenstad, Waterlooplein, Chinatown, the Red Light District, the Canal District, the Museum District, Leidseplein, Jordaan and Amsterdam’s famous working-class district, Pijp. So many places to find the accommodation you need in Amsterdam!

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Binnenstad

Binnenstad, Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Alwin Nöller

The Binnenstad district encompasses Amsterdam’s old town and historic center. It’s centrally located for quick access to other areas. A convenient place to stay in Amsterdam.

Here you’ll find the famous Dam Square, the red light district, the central station, the flower market, numerous bars, cafés, restaurants, fast-food outlets, souvenir stores and mediocre coffee-shops. The majority of monuments and museums to visit are located here, such as the Royal Palace (to be discovered on an informative guided tour ), the Amsterdam History Museum, Madame Tussauds, etc., dotted around the pedestrian and shopping streets.

The Red Light District (De Wallen)

Quartier Rouge, Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Anna & Michal

Famous for its window-dressed prostitutes selling themselves to onlookers, and for its coffee-shops that make it a cliché paradise for many a European tourist, the Red Light District – also known as De Wallen to the Dutch – is also home to some of the oldest churches in the city. It’s the city’s oldest district, and the one with the most contrasts.

If you want to party to the beat of the lively bars and streets, this is the place to stay in Amsterdam, and your night’s rental will be less expensive than in other parts of the city. And if you’re staying elsewhere, we still recommend that you come and discover this atypical place on a guided tour, which will tell you a little more about its history. You can also discover it as you wander around the city: the Red Light District promises a little adventure in its own right.

Waterlooplein and Le Plantage

Waterlooplein, Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Udo Geisler

In this district, you’ll relive the heyday of the Dutch Jewish community, and the dark days of the Second World War. The former Jewish quarter of Amsterdam until 1945, Waterlooplein was the birthplace of Spinoza – the great critic of religion – and the home of Descartes and Rembrandt.

Here you’ll find the Botanical Gardens, the Amsterdam Zoo (if you want to avoid long queues, remember to buy a ticket), green spaces (although you’ll have to pay for them), a high-quality cultural circuit – including the Rembrandt Museum, the Museum of Resistance, the Tropics Museum and the Museum of Jewish History – and social amenities such as thrift shops, coffee-shops and a micro-brewery. It’s a quiet, leafy neighborhood, ideal for a sleepover in Amsterdam if you’re planning a family vacation. Place Waterlooplein is also home to one of Amsterdam’s most famous flea markets.

The Canal Loop

Boucle des canaux à Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – r.g-s

Encircling Amsterdam’s Old Town, the Canal Loop is a concentric part of the city, home to a wealth of shops, bars and museums, for a memorably romantic and charming getaway.

A very central location for accommodation in Amsterdam, it surrounds the Jordaan district to the west, Leidseplein to the southwest, De Pijp, the museum district and Plantage to the east.

You can take a bike ride along the nine lanes and canals featured on every postcard, take a trip on a bateau-mouche or visit the Anne Frank Museum, the Villet Holthuysen Museum and the Barge Museum. Accommodation in the Canal Loop area is ideal if you’re a gourmet, a couple and/or a shopping enthusiast.

Jordaan

Jordaan, Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Diego Maia

Formerly a working-class neighborhood, now Amsterdam’s middle-class district, Jordaan is home to an eclectic mix of boutiques, bars and restaurants… And since it’s also the « arty » district, numerous contemporary art galleries dot the surrounding area.

Looking for an unusual place to stay in Amsterdam? Opt for the traditional Dutch houses to the west of the old town. This is one of the most charming and pleasant areas to stay in Amsterdam. There’s a high concentration of coffee shops, a famous flea market – Noorderkerk – brown cafés, organic grocery stores and a small village of artists, students and professionals.

Leidseplein

Quartier Leidseplein, Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Greg Neate

Located in the south of the city, Leidseplein is one of Amsterdam’s liveliest districts, with numerous bars, clubs and concert halls. There’s also a good selection of bars and coffee shops, and the neighborhood is just five minutes from Vondelpark and right next to the capital’s liveliest square, Leidseplein.

It’s a great place to party and go out, where you can regularly see artists, jugglers and musicians performing in the street, but it can sometimes be joyously noisy and crowded: so pay attention to the quality and location of the accommodation you choose.

The museum district

Vondelpark, Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Moyan Brenn

One of the city’s greenest neighborhoods, it’s also home to a number of Dutch cultural treasures that are a must-see during your visit, including the Van Gogh Museum and the Royal Rijksmuseu. The district also boasts the Vondelpark, reputed to be the city’s most pleasant park.

In a nutshell, you’ll find the most interesting art museums, one of the world’s best concert halls – the Concertgebouw – and, last but not least, a good, peaceful way of life. Are you a painting and music lover? Look no further for a place to stay in Amsterdam!

De Pijp

Quartier de Pijp à Amsterdam

Photo credit: Flickr – Sonny Abesamis

De Pijp is a district known for its bourgeois-bohemian, cultural and artistic atmosphere, with hints of authenticity as it has been abandoned by mass tourism. Once working-class and popular, it is located to the southeast of Amsterdam’s city center and offers a good solution for accommodation in Amsterdam.

It’s home to six major attractions: the largest market in the Netherlands, a large concentration of typically Dutch bars and restaurants, a highly regarded coffee-shop – the Green House – the Van Gogh Museum, the Experience Heineken Museum, and open-air creations by the Amsterdam School of Architecture. A relaxed atmosphere guaranteed!

Now you know where to stay during your stay in Amsterdam! What about you? What was your experience of the Dutch capital?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Amsterdam,nl