With its winding boat-filled canals, beautiful parks, acclaimed art museums and plentiful coffee shops, you might wonder why you should leave at all.
However, the many varied neighbourhoods of Amsterdam can surprise you.
There’s so much to explore in this ‘big-little’ city! Here are just a few of the more culturally diverse places for you to explore on your travels.
1) Amsterdam Noord
This is the area you should choose if you want somewhere a little different.
There is an energetic artist community here and an ever-expanding variety of bars and restaurants. The large area hosts festivals, exhibitions, pop-up craft fairs, dance parties and a wide variety of other events in its unique surroundings.
Visit the largest flea market in the world at the IJ-Hallen — held once a month in the building in the wharf.
Pllek cafe offers some of the best panoramic views of the River IJ — its post-industrial setting and community feel offers an inclusive vibe for the young and old.
For lovers of the mismatched, check out Noorderlicht; nestled in a huge crystalline greenhouse, it has one of the most unique cafe bars in Amsterdam.
Noord is a good place to stay overnight if you wish to avoid the tourist traps, as the main attractions are a boat ride away. However, if you wish to be in the hustle and bustle of the city, this might not be the area for you.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam Noord:
Crane Hotel Faralda
A well-known spot amongst DJs, celebrities and even royals, this unique hotel won’t disappoint those with a large budget.
Situated inside a crane with two panoramic elevators, a wide range of rooms and security guarded entrances, this is truly an insane and intriguing place to stay!
Oud-Zuid is home to some of the world’s best museums and combines high-end shops and leafy lined streets with some of the most beautiful parks in Amsterdam, including the world-famous Vondelpark.
If designer brands aren’t your thing, zuiderMRKT is a weekly, small cosy market organised by the locals and enthusiastic residents.
Where to Stay in Oud Zuid:
With its magnificent colonnaded entrance and gorgeous original regal interior features (such as 19th century staircases, chandeliers and elegant marble floors) this is the place to be if you wish to spend your stay in the lap of luxury.
The Flying Pig Uptown
An infamous student/youth hostel overlooking the beautiful Vondelpark. Prices range, but are always a bargain.
3) Oostelijke Eilanden
A neighbourhood surrounded by water on all sides, the Oostelijke Eilanden (Eastern Docklands) is a great choice when choosing where to stay in Amsterdam.
It truly is a place where water and beautiful architecture meet. Perfect for those after a modern vibe, and lovers of the water, but not recommended if you wish to be nearer the centre.
Where to Stay in Oostelijke Eilanden:
Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy
The Lloyd Hotel offers a range of 1-5 star hotel rooms, along with stellar service in the Oostelijke Eilanden district. There is a popular restaurant on-site, and also a library, meeting spaces and a number of different exhibitions are held on many of the open platforms.
4) Noordelijke IJ-oever
A mix of urban dwelling and natural beauty, the Noordelijke IJ-oever district of Amsterdam is a treat for lovers of huge green expanses and alluring small villages. Of course, that’s not all — there’s also a mix of some of the city’s most cutting-edge architecture, thrilling festivals, studios and sleek waterside hangouts.
A unique, different side to Amsterdam, it’s worth noting that this area is best suited for tourists who wish for the best of both worlds — close to the city centre whilst being a stone’s throw from forests.
The area is known for its restaurants, some of which are the highest rated in the city.
Make sure to visit the confusingly named Hotel de Goudfazant. Not a hotel but a gigantic shed restaurant, with rustic, rugged decor and gorgeous food.
For a more affordable option try THT, a sleek restaurant in an old canteen.
Where to Stay in Noordelijke IJ-oever:
One of the nearest campsites to the heart of the city, you’d be surprised at how peaceful this site is amidst a forest setting. On the outskirts of the site, you can easily access rural fishing villages such as Monnickendam or Volendam, while the free public ferries across to Amsterdam Central Station are 10 minutes away.
5) De Pijp
With its colourful mix of cultures and cuisines, you can lose yourself for hours in this lively Latin district.
It has been a popular meeting place for creatives, students and the bohemians since the 1960s, with its cosmopolitan vibe.
A short tram ride away from the bustle in the streets of central Amsterdam, De Pijp is one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant districts of Amsterdam the perfect place for foodies, and beer lovers alike. This neighbourhood is also great for families.
The area is known for its lively atmosphere, family-friendly restaurants and its varied yet exciting nightlife, perfect for families and young couples alike.
Take a break in Sarphatipark, a beautiful urban park, regularly referred to as one of the nicest in Amsterdam.
For lovers of a market, you can’t miss the Albert Cuypmarkt, which is the largest and most popular outdoor market in the Netherlands, with 260 stands operating six days a week. For beer lovers, take a tour of Heineken’s historic brewery.
Where to Stay in De Pijp:
NH Amsterdam Museum Quarter
A functional and elegant hotel, without unnecessary flourish, the hotel is on the border between De Pijp and Oud Zuid. The hotel is decently priced, with a gym and breakfast available.
Would You Spend the Night Inside…A Dutch Crane?!
If you were to glance over at this crane in an old shipyard in Amsterdam, would you suspect that it has housed countless parties for the rich and famous?
It may not look like it from the outside, but this structure is actually the Crane Hotel Faralda.
But rather than a hotel that has been built to resemble a crane, the opposite is actually true…
A former construction crane operating on the NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam since the 1950s, it fell into disrepair after its parent company went bankrupt in 1984.
From then the crane’s future was uncertain until 2011 when work began on kitting it out as a luxury hotel — a resort in the sky! Just four years later, it officially reopened as the Crane Hotel Faralda.
A Creative Hub
The old shipyard where the crane is located is now a centre for creatives and artists, making it the perfect spot to visit for some inspiration. The crane even gently turns in the wind, offering guests a different view at any given moment!
The owners of Crane Hotel Faralda proudly talk about the fact that it’s a hidden gem hiding in plain sight, which people can see for miles but without knowing what goes on inside.
And with a panoramic lounge and spa pool to give you a breathtaking view of Amsterdam, we can’t think of a better way to look over the city. You can even check out a 360 tour of the hotel here.
“What Happens in the Crane Stays in the Crane”
A private hangout in the sky, the Crane Hotel Faralda is the place to be, with a clientele that includes DJs, company CEOs and even royalty. The appeal comes from the hotel’s privacy — there’s just one point of entry to all three suites, which can be monitored by the staff to ensure prying eyes and inquisitive fans don’t manage to get in.
However, you don’t have to be royalty to stay at the Faralda. As you can see from the Trip Advisor reviews, anyone is welcome, but be sure to budget €450 per night minimum depending on the room and the dates you plan on staying, and expect to pay extra for use of the spa pool.
Mystique, Secrets & Free Spirits
The three suites on offer each provide something a little different. The neutral and relaxing Free Spirit Suite is in stark contrast to the explosion of red, black and gold that adorns the Mystique Suite.
And the split-level Secret Suite has also successfully shed its history as a machinery room to become a romantic and private love nest.
Book Airport Parking
Once you’ve planned your trip to Amsterdam, don’t forget to book your airport parking! Choose from the menu below to find the cheapest price on parking at your local airport.