When choosing where to stay in Amsterdam, it can be easy to feel the pull of the city center. 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 small city of Amsterdam can surprise you, as you’ll find interesting clubs, hotels with beautiful decor, award winning hostels and unique restaurants, in the juxtaposition of urban architecture and natural greenery.
There are many neighbourhoods to explore in this ‘big-little’ city, but here are just a few of some the more culturally diverse for you to explore on your travels.
The hidden treasures of this northern part of the city are only recently being discovered, as it’s largely unexplored, even by its locals! This is the area you should choose to stay if you want to say somewhere unique and a little different. There is an energetic artist community present 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.
Where to stay in Amsterdam Noord :
Crane Hotel Faralda – Price: Expensive.
A well-known spot amongst Dj’s, 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!
Thalassa B&B – Price – Mid-range
For a cheaper stay in this neighbourhood, there is a docked boat named the Thalassa, which contains 16 rooms. There are facilities on board and a bar, and it is a stone’s throw from the main ferry that takes you to the city centre.
The area hosts a wide range of things to do, 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.
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 hussle and bussle of the city, this might not be the area for you.
Oud Zuid is home to some of the world’s best museums and combines high-end shops, leafy lined streets with some of the most beautiful parks in Amsterdam. Known for its stylish shops and trendy goods, this is good place to lay your head if the charm and expense of high-end living is your preferred lifestyle as the addresses are one of the most sought after in the city. Close to the centre, the area is bustling with tourists, shoppers and cultural explorers. The nearby Vondelpark is a playground for tourists (be warned it is also a pickpocket haven) and houses the best museums in the city.
Where to stay in Oud Zuid :
InterContinental Amstel – Price: Expensive
With its magnificent grand 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 Alfred Hotel: Price – Mid-range to Cheap
Comfortable yet chic, this trendy hotel offers a good base for travellers wishing to experience more of the local life in Amsterdam. There is a 24 hour reception desk, and luxury features, though they do offer a few budget rooms for a cheaper price.
The zuiderMRKT is a weekly, small cozy market organised by the locals and enthusiastic residents. The shops on PC Hooftstraat & Cornelis Schuytstraat are something of an intriguing mix, from designers to mainstream, they deal in exclusivity. The museum quarter resides nearby; The Van Gogh museum, which contains the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, and the Rijksmuseum, in which the beautiful building houses a large collection of famous works. Food wise, there is an abundance of choice, from the Argentinian delicacies at Gauchos to the varied choices (and people watching) on the terrace of Cafe George.
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 – not recommended if you wish to be nearer the centre.
Where to stay in Oostelijke Eilanden :
Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy – Price: Expensive, mid-range and cheap
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.
Highlights include the beer brewery windmill, wharf side restaurants, Czaar Peterstraat for shopping and creative hangout Roest. The Nemo science museum is in the area, as is the National Maritime museum. Many tourists aim to visit the python bridge, or spend an evening dancing in the Club Panama.
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 mixed with 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.
Where to stay in Noordelijke IJ-oever :
Camping Vliegenbos – Price: Cheap to mid-range.
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 a 10 minutes away.
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 and rugged decor and gorgeous food. For a more affordable option, try THT, a sleek restaurant in an old canteen. Make time for the North waterfront and EYE film museum, and check out the A’DAM Toren for 22 floors of cafes, exhibitions, views and a revolving restaurant.
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.
Where to stay in De Pijp :
NH Amsterdam Museum Quarter – Price: Mid-range
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.
easyHotel – Price: Cheap (you can pay for extras)
A small room, each with an en suite, there is a flat base charge for each room with the option of extras like having the room cleaned and the bed linen changed.
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.
Possibly the most famous of the neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, Jordaan is a bustling busy district in the city centre. Popularisation over the years means the working class, drinking background has gone, but there is still a lively and interesting atmosphere here. The area has lots of hofjes (inner courtyards), beautiful yards with little houses and pretty, peaceful gardens. The area is a popular one to spend the night, especially for younger couples looking to enjoy the nightlife. The area can be busy and noisier, but if that’s your scene, Jordaan is the perfect choice.
Where to stay in Jordaan :
Hotel Pulitzer – Price: Expensive
A historic hotel on the canal, it consists of 25 restored 17th and 18th century canal houses that have been combined and integrated to create this truly unique hotel in the centre of Amsterdam. Each room is beautiful with wooden beams, timber flooring and dutch tiled bathrooms. Perfect for a historic atmosphere.
Shelter hostels – Price: Cheap
This friendly, welcoming hostel has a courtyard and is close to the Anne Frank house. It is housed in a charming historic building, prices can range but are cheap.
There is much to do in the Jordaan district. The most popular would be to visit the harrowing Anne Frank house, which you must book in advance. Have a drink in Cafe Chris, Jordaan’s oldest bar,