Where to Stay in Amsterdam: The Ultimate Amsterdam Accommodation Guide

You’re planning a short trip to Amsterdam? Searching for a hotel in another city can be stressful and time-consuming because you probably don’t know which part of Amsterdam is the most suitable place to stay. Where is the most affordable, the most lively place, and where are the most sights?

We’ve been to this beautiful city many times now, and so we’d like to share the best areas to stay in Amsterdam with you. That way, you can focus on more important things.

The city is world-famous, but smaller than you may think: Amsterdam has just under 800,000 inhabitants.

Compared with other European capitals it’s pretty compact, especially the more interesting areas in the city center. All the better!

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the city’s any cheaper, quite the contrary: Hotels in Amsterdam can be pretty expensive.

But the good news is that the more interesting parts of town are all in close proximity of one another. That means no matter where you stay, you can get everywhere in no time.

We consider the historic city center, the Oude Centrum, one of the most attractive parts of the city. Laid out in a semi-circle around the old town is the canal belt and the popular hip neighborhood of Jordaan.

South of the Canal Belt is the Museum Quarter and the multi-cultural De Pijp with its lively streets and restaurants.

Our verdict: Really awesome!

Where to stay in Amsterdam – The best neighborhoods on a map

We recommend these areas in Amsterdam.
We recommend these areas in Amsterdam.

Our hotel in Amsterdam

Before we take a closer look at each neighborhood to help you make the right choice for where to stay in Amsterdam, we’ll tell you the hotel we stayed at: We stayed at the Volkshotel, east of the De Pijp neighborhood, so it only took us about 10 minutes to get to the canal belt, or only a few minutes taking the subway, which left right in front of our door.

We’d stay there again anytime, as it’s just after our taste: minimalist, but very well-designed and with stylish decor and an amazing view over the rooftops of the city.

The hotel also has a really awesome roof terrace with a bar and restaurant, and oh yeah, for 10 euros you get a really delicious breakfast up there.

Volkshotel Amsterdam

Amsterdam Hotel room
The rooms aren’t that big, but perfectly furnished.
View from the hotel in Amsterdam
The view from the room is also impressive.
Hotel rooftop Amsterdam
View from the roof terrace of the Volkshotel.

#1 Oude Centrum: Our Tips for where to stay in the old town

About the area: The Oude Centrum is perfect for you if you’re in Amsterdam for the first time and want to be where the action is.

The Amsterdam’s historical city center is relatively small and manageable. But it’s packed with restaurants, coffee shops, and some of the most famous sights.

It’s home to the Royal Palace, the notorious red-light district, the medieval Oude Kerk, and the over 100-year-old China Town. The two shopping streets Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat branch out from De Dam Square, right by the Royal Palace.

If you love being in the middle of the hustle and bustle and you don’t mind a bit of noise at night, then this is the perfect place for you. The greatest and best selection of accommodation options can be found in the Centrum. You’ll find everything there from hostels to luxury hotels.

Pros of staying in the Oude Centrum:

  • You’d be in the middle of all the action
  • It has the cheapest hotels
  • Many sights are within a couple of minutes walking distance

Cons of staying in the Oude Centrum:

  • It can be noisy at night
  • You won’t see much of Dutch everyday life
  • It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the Museum Quarter

Our tips for where to stay in Oude Centrum

If you enter “Amsterdam, Oude Centrum” into the yellow search bar on booking.com, it lists 184 hotels. So if you’re interested in staying in the old town, this should give you a good selection.

Our favorites in the Oude Centrum

We’ve selected a few of our favorites and want to present them to you now. All the hotels you see listed here have a good location and offer the best value for money.

Oude Kerk in Amsterdam
The Oude Kerk is the oldest building in Amsterdam

#2 The canal belt: Where to stay between house-boats and designer boutiques

About the area: The canal belt is quieter than the center, and its location provides a great starting point to explore trendy Jordaan and the Old Town. But you’ll also have to dig a little deeper in your pockets.

The canal belt is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and encompasses the historical center in a semi-circle. Here you can stroll down the wealthier part of Amsterdam, through the tangle of several canals and colorful streets.

The area is dotted with water-side restaurants, cafes, and Dutch designer shops. From here, you can explore the city from the water by boat and explore the trendy neighborhood of Jordaan, which borders the Canal Belt to the north-west.

Generally speaking, the major attractions in Amsterdam are easy to get to from the Canal Belt because it’s right in between the historic city center and the Museum Quarter.

Pros of staying along the Canal Belt:

  • You can blend in with the locals
  • The area is better maintained and quieter than the Old Town
  • You can easily reach all the sights on foot or by boat

Cons of staying along the Canal Belt:

  • The hotels are a bit more expensive

Our tips for where to stay on the Canal Belt

Booking.com lists 157 hotels for the area around the Canal Belt. The selection is large, but so is the area. We’d recommend taking a hotel in the southwestern part to be close to all the sights like the Museum Quarter and Jordaan. We picked our favorites on this basis.

Amsterdam Canal Boat
Amsterdam is perfect to explore by boat.

#3 Jordaan: Where to stay in the hippest neighborhood in Amsterdam

About the area: The Jordaan is perhaps the most beautiful neighborhood in Amsterdam. You’re in the right place here if you like it quiet but still fairly central, and if you don’t mind spending a bit more for accommodation.

Jordaan is located just west of the Canal Belt and was originally a workers’ neighborhood. Today it’s one of the most famous neighborhoods in Amsterdam with colorful streets, overgrown canals, and vintage boutiques.

The atmosphere is more idyllic than in the center, but there’s still a wide range of culture, music, and entertainment, as well as numerous cafes.

If you stay here, you’ll be right in the middle of Amsterdam’s social life, outside the tourist bubble. Nevertheless, you can easily reach all the major sights on foot. There are more vacation apartments than hotels in Jordaan, but all of them are in a higher price range.

Pros of staying in Jordaan:

  • Close to the city center, but quieter
  • You can blend in with the locals
  • You’d be staying in what has to be the most beautiful neighborhood in Amsterdam

Cons of staying in Jordaan:

  • The Museum Quarter is quite far away
  • The highest accommodation prices in the city

Our tips for where to stay in Jordaan

If you enter “Amsterdam, Jordaan” into the yellow search bar on booking.com, it lists 53 hotels. Most of them are actually apartments, there are only 8 real hotels in this area.

#4 The Museum Quarter: The best places to stay between world-class cultural treasures

About the area: If you’re especially interested in Amsterdam’s museums and are willing to spend a bit more per night, then the Museum Quarter might be a good alternative for you.

The Museum Quarter is located to the south of the Canal Belt, between the multicultural neighborhood of De Pijp and Amsterdam’s most popular city park, Vondelpark.

On the world-famous Museumsplein, you’ll find all the most important museums in Amsterdam, like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. From here, you can stroll through the large Vondelpark, where Amsterdamers spend their days off, especially in the summer, with free concerts and picnics.

Besides art and relaxation, the Museum Quarter also boasts two exclusive shopping streets, Cornelis Schuytstraat and Jacob Obrechtstraat. The quarter only has middle- and upper-class hotels. Staying here, you’re not just a stone’s throw away from the museums, but you can also reach the lively hip neighborhood of De Pijp, which borders it to the east.

Pros of staying in the Museum Quarter:

  • High-quality hotels
  • The most important museums are within a few minutes walking distance

Cons of staying in the Museum Quarter:

  • Higher room rates
  • The Oude Centrum is about 20 minutes away on foot, or 15 minutes taking the metro.

The best places to stay in the Museum Quarter

If you search for accommodation in the Museum Quarter on booking.com, you’ll see a range of 59 hotels, mostly individual boutique hotels in the higher price range.

Our favorites in the Museum Quarter

We had the pleasure of staying at the Conservatorium Hotel for two nights ourselves. The hotel is just pure luxury, but of course that also comes with a price tag attached! (On map: star nr.2)

Good and cheap

Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark (10 minutes’ walk from the Museum Quarter)

Luxury hotel Amsterdam
The rooms at the Conservatorium Hotel are pure luxury and that’s just the top floor of our room.

#5 De Pijp: Where to stay in the Amsterdam’s multicultural neighborhood

About the area: If you like mingling with the locals and you have a weakness for street art, then De Pijp should be right up your alley.

The neighborhood of De Pijp is the southernmost of the neighborhoods presented here. It’s about 30 minutes’ walk from the Old Town, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing going on there.

De Pijp has a colorful range of international cuisine, cafes, and entertainment. You can listen to street musicians and stroll through lively markets, such as the famous Albert Cuyp Market. Ever since the 1960s, the area has attracted students, artists and bohemians from all over the world.

But seeing as it’s so popular, hotel rates aren’t exactly low. De Pijp might be your kind of thing if you already know Amsterdam and don’t need to scope out all the sights. But the Museum Quarter, where there are always new exhibitions. Is just around the corner.

Pros of staying in De Pijp:

  • A wide range of restaurants and night life
  • Close to the Museum Quarter

Cons of staying in De Pijp:

  • About 25 minutes’ walk to the Old Town, or about 15 with the metro
  • Only mid- to high-range hotel rates

Our tips for where to stay in De Pijp

You can also enter the De Pijp neighborhood into the search box on the left-hand side to see the 49 accommodation results. Unfortunately, most of the hotels listed here are in the higher price range.

We hope you have a great time in this beautiful city!

Do you also have a great tip on where to stay in Amsterdam? Where did you stay and would you recommend it to others?