Where to Stay in Amsterdam for a First Time Visit? An Insider's Guide

Where to Stay in Amsterdam for a First Time Visit? An Insider’s Guide 2021 (with map)

Amsterdam is a great all-around city to visit!

Now, you’re probably wondering, where should I stay during my visit? What’s the best neighborhood? What type of accommodations do I want? Although Amsterdam is relatively small in size compared to some of Europe’s other major cities, it’s very diverse.

Complete guide Where to stay in AmsterdamEach neighborhood projects a slightly different feel and offers something uniquely different. To help with the chaos of trip planning, we’ve created a guide on the best places to stay in AmsterdamI wanted to include tips for everyone – no matter if it is the first time you visit the city or the 25th.

Therefore, I included a big map with all neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for couples, families, solo travelers and groups.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated April 2021.)

But, first things first:

Question: Where to stay in Amsterdam for a first-time visit?

Answer: In short, you should stay in Amsterdam City Center or Old Centrum. When you look at a map of Amsterdam, you’ll notice a half-circle divided by the canals, then neighborhoods nestled along the outside.

This ring area should be your go-to for all of your accommodations.

How do you know you’re in the Ring?

As long as you’re on the inside of the A10 motorway, you’re in the clear!

Amsterdam is divided into separate neighborhoods, which we’ll discuss later in more detail. We know it is hard to understand some of the district names when you have never been there. So we created several maps to help you.

What does that mean? We highlighted the recommended areas in the map below.

A couple of our favorite city center neighborhoods include:

  • De Wallen
  • Oud-Zuid
  • De Pijp
  • Canal Belt
  • Jordaan

Check the map below to get a better idea.

Why do I recommend these areas?

Convenience is everything in a big city, especially if you do a short trip. In order to get around quickly and with ease, the Center Ring is the place to be. You’ll be surrounded by plenty of choices when it comes to hotels, dining, drinking, and sightseeing.

Rent a bike and easily cruise this area, checking out the sites and the beautiful Dutch architecture.

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

We highlight the districts, main tourists sightseeing in Amsterdam and our handpicked accommodations.

Please note: those are not the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Amsterdam

As mentioned, the city center of Amsterdam is the perfect place for first-time visitors.

Of course, each person is looking for something a little different. Perhaps you’re a solo traveler and can get around quickly or maybe you’re traveling with your family and need to move at a slower pace. As we all know, each situation is a little different and that calls for a slightly different lodging setup.

I created an overview of this. You will notice some areas are excluded or added to the previous recommendation.

Also, I would like to include an amazing discount on your stay:

In case you prefer Airbnb, here you have a 35€ discount for your AirBnB stay.

Read: How does Airbnb work?

Let’s see our handpicked hotels.

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

Finding accommodations for a family in Europe is always tough. Is there enough room for the kids? Do we need one room or two? Would a kitchenette be useful? The questions are endless.

Fortunately, we’ve done the leg work for you and tracked down the best family-friendly places to stay in Amsterdam.

Here are our favorite family neighborhoods:

  • Plantage Middenlaan
  • Amsterdam-Nord
  • Westerpark

This map shows you the areas recommended for families.

Handpicked accommodations for families

Booking for families can be insanely difficult – especially if you’re not familiar with the area. Remember to stay flexible, read reviews and narrow down what the most important amenities are to you and your family.

Here are a couple of great family options:

Hotel Dwars

With an updated bohemian vibe, Hotel Dwars offers a cozy hotel experience, perfect for families.

Relish with the LED TV complete with international channels, dimming lights and rain shower to make your stay a little more comfortable.

This hotel is located in a great area for restaurants, bars and parks with easy access to all the tourist sites.

Book Hotel Dwars here

Hotel Dwars Amsterdam Room Hotel Dwars Amsterdam Room Hotel Dwars Amsterdam Menu

Alp Hotel

Perfectly located near Amsterdam city-center, Alp Hotel is a quaint and charismatic hotel with a budget-friendly price tag.

Furthermore, this hotel offers:

  • Rooms with a terrace and spa – bathtub are also available –
  • A breakfast buffet offered every morning
  • Free WiFi and
  • 24-hour hot drink and fruit bar available for all hours of snacking
Book Alp Hotel here

Alp Hotel Amsterdam Alp Hotel Amsterdam Triple Room with Balcony

Asile Flottant

Guaranteed to be a hit with the kids – book your accommodation on a boat! Yes, at Asile Flottant you will be staying on a boat. The children (and many adults) are always excited to sleep on this boat.

Also, this accommodation provides:

  • rooms to sleep a family of six comfortably
  • free WiFi
  • kitchenette
  • beautiful river views

This property is located in Amsterdam-Noord, however, don’t be discouraged by that. It is just a short ferry ride to the city center. It is easily to reach the Amsterdam city center.

Asile Flottant offers a unique environment, probably the perfect choice for families traveling with kids.

Book Asile Flottant here

Asile Flottant Amsterdam Deck Asile Flottant Amsterdam Common Area Asile Flottant Amsterdam Room

Generator Amsterdam

So you’re traveling with family and you’re on a budget? Generator Amsterdam is the perfect clean and comfortable accommodation, while still allowing you to feel like you’re in the center of it all.

Even more, Generator Amsterdam:

  • is located on the eastern side of the city, overlooking Oosterpark.
  • offers luxury apartment available for up to six people.
  • has a café, bar, library and outdoor space are available.
  • boost a family-style common room feel.
Book Generator Amsterdam here

Generator Amsterdam Room Generator Amsterdam Dining Area

1.2 Couples

Although sometimes known for wild nights and coffee shops, Amsterdam is an insanely romantic city for couples. Take a walk along the canals, dine at an outdoor café and bike along wistful paths out to a 200-year-old windmill.

Best of all, book a romantic hotel to come home to at the end of your day!

Here are some of our favorite areas for couples:

  • Jordaan
  • Oud-Zuid
  • Canal Belt

This map shows you the areas recommended for couples.

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Picking a charming hotel for two might be the hardest thing you do during your travels. Amsterdam has an overwhelming amount of the most dreamy, unique and romantic hotels in the world.

There are also plenty of cute Airbnbs in Amsterdam. Connsider this option if you like apartments.

To help you narrow it down, we’ve listed a few of our favorites!

Canal House

A boutique hotel in the West district, perfect for couples interested in nightlife, shopping and dining out.

Canal House is in a great location. Only a 5 minute walk to:

  • the Anne Frank House,
  • Amsterdam Tulip Museum

And a 15-minute walk to the Amsterdam Central Railway Station.

Enjoy a private garden, views of the canals, free WiFi and a beautiful breakfast spread.

Book Canal House here

Canal House Amsterdam Window View Canal House Amsterdam Room Canal House Amsterdam Restaurant

Lloyd Hotel

Lloyd Hotel offers a truly unique couple’s experience. Located along the IJ river, this hotel offers a little bit for every type of traveler from a 1-Star Budget to 5-Star Luxury.

Of course, the first thing it catches your eye will be the Dutch design with each room sparring a different size and shape.

Lloyd Restaurant is available as a popular choice for locals and travelers.

Book Lloyd Hotel here

Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam Room Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam Bar Lloyd Hotel Amsterdam Breakfast

Sir Albert Hotel Amsterdam

High ceilings and large windows overlook the Amsterdam rooftops at the boutique Sir Albert Hotel.

Also, you will enjoy:

  • 300 thread count Egyptian sheets
  • a surprise box with guilty pleasures
  • a rain shower which make this a truly unique hotel

This hotel is located right in the heart of the De Pijp neighborhood.

Book Albert Hotel Amsterdam here

Sir Albert Hotel Amsterdam Room