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 2024 (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.

Each 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 2024.)

But, first things first:

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

Answer:In short, the best area to stay in Amsterdam for first time visitors is the 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

Read more: Check out our guide on Where to travel in Europe for April.

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.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Amsterdam with family, you’re in the right place.

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.

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Amsterdam for couples, this section will guide you to the most romantic areas.

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 short 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 Sir Albert Hotel Amsterdam Common Area

The Dylan

Take your pick of four different room types at The Dylan Hotel. Enjoy a tailored experience with everything you need to make your stay special.

On-site Bar Brasserie OCCO and Michelin-starred Restaurant Vinkeles.

The perfect location for your Amsterdam home base, right along the Keizersgracht canal.

Book The Dylan Amsterdam here

The Dylan Amsterdam Room The Dylan Amsterdam Patio The Dylan Amsterdam Restaurant

1.3 Luxury

Luxury is everywhere in Amsterdam! A combination of Michelin-starred restaurants, high-end shops, amazing rooftop views, and trendy nightlife makes up this bustling city.

For those lucky travelers with the funds to indulgence, here are the best areas:

  • Binnenstad (Centrum)
  • Canal Belt
  • Museumplein area

This map shows you the areas recommended for luxury.

Handpicked accommodations for luxury

Our favorite Amsterdam luxury hotels are in a great central location and provide the top of the line service, amenities, and dining.

Conservatorium Hotel

Combining stylish sophistication and landmark tradition, Conservatorium Hotel is top of the line luxury, right in the heart of the Museum District.

It is located steps away from:

  •  Van Gogh Museum
  • Concertgebouw
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Vondelpark

You guessed it right, this is the Museumplein district, also known as the museum quarter.

Conservatorium hotel is known for its Art Nouveau interiors.

It has two fantastic restaurants on-site:

  • The Conservatorium’s Brasserie
  • Lounge and Taiko Restaurant
Book Conservatorium here

Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam Bar Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam Pool Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam Room

NH Collection – Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

It’s possible there’s no better position in Amsterdam than at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. Located in a historic building with beautiful views of the Royal Palace and the famous Dam Square, the hotel boasts a 5-Star reputation for luxury.

Choose between classically styled rooms or an over-the-top modern set-up.

In the evenings, relax in the cocktail bar, The Tailor.

What about a fine dining Michelin starred restaurant? Simply head to The White Room.

Furthermmore, Grand Hotel Kranaspolsky is located next to:

  • Amsterdam Central Station
  • Anne Frank House
  • Canal Boats
  • Heineken Brewery
  • Royal Carré Theatre
Book Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky here

NH Collection Amsterdam NH Collection Amsterdam Restaurant NH Collection Amsterdam Room

Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam

Rich history, an award-winning restaurant and beautiful garden terraces make up the luxurious Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam.

5-Star amenities, including:

  • butler service,
  • old center location,
  • indoor heated pool,
  • three bars, and
  • two restaurants.

Amsterdam’s train station is only a 10-minute walk. A perfect location for those looking for trendy bars and restaurants.

Book Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam here

Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam Pool

1.4 Design-lovers

The Dutch are known for their sleek and sophisticated design, so it’s no surprise that it’s rubbed off on countless Amsterdam hotels.

Whether your style is visual arts, modern furniture or just pure luxury, we’ve found your design lovers paradise here.

Design inspired hotels can be found everywhere in Amsterdam, no neighborhood is off-limits, however here are our favorite design districts:

  • Jordaan
  • Canal Ring
  • Dip Pijp

This map shows you the areas recommended for design lovers.

Handpicked accommodations for design

Trendy, quirky, dream-like or retro, whatever your design aesthetic, you can find it in Amsterdam.

Andaz Amsterdam

You’ll feel like you’ve taken a giant leap into Wonderland after staying at the Andaz Amsterdam Hotel. Whimsical art, bright accent walls, and furniture along with chandeliers and odd-sized floating objects make this a design lover’s dream.


  • Pet-friendly, so you can travel with the whole family
  • All the rooms feature an eccentric fish-themed piece of art
  • Open floor plans
Book Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht here

Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht View Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Room Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Dining Area

The Hoxton, Amsterdam

Once the Mayor’s home in Amsterdam,  The Hoxton takes advantage of the oddities and antiquity of the old canal houses and turns it into one of the most distinctive places to stay in Amsterdam.

Notice the shapes, textures, and patterns available in each of the three concept rooms. Once the Mayor’s home in Amsterdam.

Amenities include:

  • free calls to anywhere in the world
  • daily breakfast and
  • canal views
Book The Hoxton, Amsterdam here

The Hoxton Amsterdam Room The Hoxton Amsterdam Common Area The Hoxton Amsterdam Garden

W Amsterdam

W Hotels are a favorite no matter where in the world, and Amsterdam is no exception.

Old meets new at the W Amsterdam with their historic buildings turned contemporary chic rooms, lobby, dining, and rooftop.

Some ideas for your stay:

  • Head to the roof and check out the 360-degree rooftop views at the W lounge.
  • Enjoy good food at Mr. Porter Steakhouse – located on the 6th floor.
  • Relax at the Away Spa with a sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, whirlpool, and relaxation areas.
Book W Amsterdam here

W Amsterdam Rooftop Pool

W Amsterdam Room

1.5 Groups

We all know that planning for a group is a little bit harder, a little bit more stressful and a little bit more time consuming than normal.

To avoid the transportation nightmare that comes with group travel, staying central is key.

The best places to stay in Amsterdam city centre offer easy access to various attractions, dining, and entertainment options, making them ideal for groups who want to make the most of their time without the hassle of long commutes.

Here are some of our favorite group neighborhoods:

  • De Pijp
  • De Wallen
  • Oud-Zuid

This map shows you the areas recommended for groups.

Handpicked accommodations for groups

Depending on the group size, apartment-style accommodations could be the best option for groups.

Eric Vökel Amsterdam Suites

New, fresh and clean apartment-style living at the Amsterdam Suites. Eric Vökel, a Danish designer, combines his Nordic style with city center convenience.

What makes Eric Vökel Amsterdam Suites a good option?

  • Located in a new building with views of Amsterdam and the IJ River
  • 1-3 bedroom apartments available
  • Fully equipped kitchens
  • large glass windows
  • free WiFi
  • coffee machine all included in apartments
Book Eric Vökel Amsterdam Suites here

Eric Vokel Boutique Apartments Amsterdam Suites Room Eric Vokel Boutique Apartments Amsterdam Suites Common Area

City Hotel Rembrandt Square

Located in Rembrandtplein neigbourhood, City Hotel Rembrandt Square offers a restaurant, lounge, central location as well as clean and comfortable rooms.

What else?

  • Various size rooms are available up to 8 people.
  • Only a 15-minute walk to Central Station or an easy tram ride.
  • Dam Square and the Flower Market are only a couple of minutes away.
  • If privacy is important, make sure to book a private room with facilities – otherwise, you’ll be sharing.
Book City Hotel Rembrandt Square here

City Hotel Amsterdam Room City Hotel Amsterdam Snack Bar

Quentin Zoo Hotel

This is a 4-star hotel in the center of the Plantage Buurt neighborhood! Although Quentin Zoo is a quiet hotel, it’s nearby a lively bar and restaurant scene.

What to expect?

  • modern lines, brick walls, and clean architecture
  • Walking distance from Hortus Botanicus, The Flower Market & Rembrandtplein
  • Rooms available from 2-6 people
Book Quentin Zoo Hotel here

Quentin Zoo Hotel Amsterdam Room Quentin Zoo Hotel Amsterdam Dining Area

1.6 Solo travelers

For those adventurous solo travelers, Amsterdam is the perfect place to travel. Although it may be daunting at first, Amsterdam hosts some of the most friendly hotels, hostels, and dining options in Europe.

To make the most of your solo adventure, knowing the best neighborhoods to stay in Amsterdam is key. People in Amsterdam are friendly, most speak perfect English, and the city is very accessible by walking, biking, and public transportation.

Here are some of our favorite neighborhoods for solo travelers:

  • Transvaalbuurt
  • Marken
  • De Pijp

Handpicked accommodations for solo travelers

If you’re looking to make friends, hostels and hotels with group events are always a good option. As a solo traveler, narrow down what you’re looking for:

  • party,
  • making friends,
  • private lodging or
  • luxury.


Home to 172 hotel rooms, plenty of social common areas as well as private nooks, Volkshotel is a great lodging option.

What will you find in this hotel?

  • Amenities for everyone like yoga classes, a hair salon, on-site massages, a sauna, and different workshop classes.
  • Dhokla, underground bar, and lounge on property.
  • Located in Amsterdam East – the cool De Pijp neighborhood.
Book Volkshotel here

Volkshotel Amsterdam Rooftop Bar Volkshotel Amsterdam Hot Tubs Volkshotel Amsterdam Room Volkshotel Amsterdam Common Area


Affordable and eco-friendly. Ecomama is a boutique hotel located in the Marken neighborhood of Amsterdam. A great option for solo travels.

You will find seven room types available ranging from budget dorm rooms to luxury private rooms.

Located at the end of the Red Light District, nearby Waterlooplein and countless bars, restaurants, and museums.

Also check-out their sister hostel Cocomama.

Book Ecomama here

Ecomama Amsterdam Bunkbeds Ecomama Amsterdam Snack Bar

Ecomama Amsterdam Room

Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel

Right off Vondelpark and the Rijksmuseum, you’ll find the Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel.

What does Stayokey Vondelpark offers?

  • Affordable stay in a central location.
  • Non-stop activities like welcome parties, movie nights, beer tastings and pizza gatherings.
  • Plenty of co-working space available.
  • Bar and restaurant on-site, great for meeting fellow travelers.
Book Stayokay Vondelpark Hostel here

Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark Dining Area Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark Lobby Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark Room

1.7 Nightlife Seeking Traveler

If you’re wondering where to stay in Amsterdam for nightlife, then you’ve come to the right place.

When considering the best areas to stay in Amsterdam, especially for those keen on experiencing the city’s vibrant nightlife, certain neighborhoods stand out.

Home to the famous Red-Light District, all-night coffee shops, and internationally renowned bars and clubs, Amsterdam is every night owl’s ultimate town.

If you are interested in party and nightlife, then I recommend you the following districts:

  • Leidseplein
  • Canal Ring
  • De Pijp
  • Rembrandtplein

This map shows you the areas recommended for nightlife.

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

Leidseplein is one of the main areas for nightlife, as well as the surrounding area. If nightlife is important to your travels, try staying near this area.

Hotel La Boheme

For a clean and comfortable private stay – try out Hotel La Boheme. This is not a party hotel, however, the convenient location to nightlife makes it the ideal spot to party all night and still get a great night’s sleep.

Located right off party central, Leidseplein.

The front desk is available to book:

  • excursions,
  • tickets to museums,
  • tours.
Book Hotel La Bohème here

Hotel La Boheme Amsterdam Room Hotel La Boheme Amsterdam Bar

Canal Boutique Rooms and Apartments Amsterdam

The perfect place for the clubbing tourist, stay at Canal Boutique Rooms and Apartments. Not only is Canal Boutique in a great location for daytime sight-seeing (an easy 7-minute walk to the Anne Frank House), but it’s also situated right between the bustling Leidseplein and cool Jordaan neighborhood.

Wanna know more?

  • Located on the Nine Streets shopping area.
  • Only a 10-minute walk to Leidseplein’s bars and clubs.
  • Near Dam Square and Royal Palace.
Book Canal Boutique Rooms and Apartments Amsterdam here

Canal Boutique Rooms & Apartments Amsterdam Living Area Canal Boutique Rooms & Apartments Amsterdam Room

Flying Pig Downtown

Quite sure you heard about Flying Pig in Amsterdam if you are a party lover.

Located only a quick walk from plenty of bars and restaurants as well as the famous Red Light District makes the Flying Pig Downtown a great party home-base.

They do have dorms and private rooms available.

Also, you will be able to use their:

  • Kitchen,
  • smoking lounge and
  • bar (located on-site).
Book Flying Pig Downtown here

The Flying Pig Downtown Amsterdam Room The Flying Pig Downtown Amsterdam Bar The Flying Pig Downtown Amsterdam Party

1.8 Budget Traveler

If you’re wondering where to stay in Amsterdam on a budget, this part of the guide is for you.

As a rule with most big cities, the further outside the city center you stay, the cheaper the cost.

If your budget is a big factor, consider traveling in the off-season, as Amsterdam hotels usually offer great deals when the city is quiet.

Here are some of our favorite budget-friendly neighborhoods:

  • Oud-Zuid
  • Amsterdam-Noord
  • Plantage

This map shows you the areas recommended for budget travelers.

Handpicked accommodations for budget

Even with a low price tag, we’ve found great lodging choices that are a steal with top-notch accommodations and amenities.

Here are some of our favorite inexpensive hotels in Amsterdam:

Budget Hotel Hortus

Aside from very affordable accommodation, Budget Hotel Hortus puts you close to:

  • the zoo,
  • The Hermitage Museum,
  • Waterloo Square, and the
  • Red Light District.

Rooms can sleep up to six people and are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a safe. Also, you will find:

  • Complimentary breakfast is available every day.
  • Shared bathrooms are also provided.
Book Budget Hotel Hortus here

Budget Hotel Hortus Amsterdam Room Budget Hotel Hortus Amsterdam Dining Area

CityHub Amsterdam

A cheap hotel in Amsterdam only a few minutes away from Vondelpark. CityHub Amsterdam is just just 20-minutes away on foot to Ten Kate Market and Leidseplein.

This budget friendly accommodation in Amsterdam offers a private sleeping cabin with a king-size double bed.

Also, you can make your drinks at the on-site self-service bar.

What makes it even more special? There is also a mobile app you can use to control your room and communicate with other guests and hosts.

Book CityHub Amsterdam here

Budget Hotel Hortus Amsterdam Room Budget Hotel Hortus Amsterdam Bar Cityhub Amsterdam Common Area

The Old Quarter Hotel

You will find The Old Quarter Hotel nestled in a historic building in the city center.

Rooms come with private and shared bathroom.

You can catch breakfast at the restaurant. There is also a bar you can grab a drink at the hotel.

Tourist destinations like The Red Light District, Kalverstraat shopping street, and Dam square are very near the property.

Book The Old Quarter Hotel here

Hotel Old Quarter Amsterdam Room Hotel Old Quarter Amsterdam Bar

The Neighbour’s Magnolia

If you’re traveling with your fur babies, then The Neighbor’s Magnolia is what you’re looking for.

Pets are allowed in the hotel.

You will be welcomed with a complimentary tea and coffee on your arrival.

There is also an honesty bar to get a few drinks or coffee.

Psst… Some rooms offer a balcony or patio that overlooks the neighborhood.

Book The Neighbor’s Magnolia here

The Neighbor's Magnolia Amsterdam Standard Room The Neighbor's Magnolia Amsterdam Reception The Neighbor's Magnolia Amsterdam Common Room

2. Top 10 Sights (and their locations)

With over 160 canals, 2,500 houseboats and more bridges than Venice, Amsterdam is truly an unforgettable place. A good portion of Amsterdam’s most famous sites are within walking or biking distance.

The sights in Amsterdam are endless. For a great all-around city experience, there are also some convenient walking and biking tours available.

However, Amsterdam also has a decent public transportation system. You can get a Public Transport Ticket (valid from 1-7 days) and get free public transportation on all trams, buses, ferries and the metro (day and night). Buy your Public Transport Ticket here. This is a fantastic deal!

We’ve created this useful map with our top 10 sights of Amsterdam.

This map shows you the locations of the top sights in Amsterdam so you can save and use it during your stay.

The top 10 sights of Amsterdam are:

  1. Anne Frank House
  2. Van Gogh Museum
  3. Rijksmuseum (Skip-the-line-ticket)
  4. Take a Canal Cruise
  5. Vondelpark
  6. Dam Square
  7. Go Beer Tasting at a Windmill
  8. Walk the Red Light District
  9. Concertgebouw
  10. Shopping for Tulips

You can activate and deactivate the different layers in the left sidebar. This makes it easier for you to see the sights and areas.

Tickets you have to buy before (Must Read)

Read this section carefully! It will make a difference.

Whenever possible, skip the lines and buy your tickets in advance. Unfortunately, with Amsterdam being a major tourist city, the lines can get long. As soon as you’ve chosen your travel dates, book these tickets online. We promise it will be well worth it to avoid the hours of waiting in line.

Here are the tickets you should buy beforehand:

2.1 Anne Frank House

Quite possibly the most well-known museum in Amsterdam, The Anne Frank House takes visitors on a journey of the Frank family’s life through photos, videos, original objects, and first-hand quotes. It’s a very moving and well worth the experience.

Tickets to the Anne Frank House MUST be purchased in advance. Due to the high demand, you CAN NOT purchase tickets at the museum ticket counter on the day of your visit.

Tickets are released exactly 2 months in advance at noon (Amsterdam time). I highly recommend that as soon as you have your trip dates, you purchase these tickets.

Online tickets are only valid for a particular day and time slot so make your plans in advance! The early time slots usually sell out first.

Don’t bring a backpack! Purses are ok but must remain smaller than an A4 sheet of paper. The museum do not offer storage for suitcase or larger bags.

Buy Anne Frank House tickets here

2.2 Van Gogh Museum

Surround yourself with the famous Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh’s works of art at the celebrated Van Gogh Museum.

Tickets must be purchased in advance on the official Van Gogh Museum’s website. Check the calendar for a list of the exhibitions and special events.

Note: No luggage storage is available.

Buy your tickets for Vang Gogh Museum here

See the wonderful works of Van Gough

2.3 Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s famous museums – known for its Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages until the present day. It’s located at Museum Square right across the park from The Van Gogh Museum and behind the IamAmsterdam sign.

Tickets are available for online purchase as well as at the door. Although the estimated wait time for tickets is only 20-30 minutes, online tickets don’t require a date and can be claimed for up to a year from the purchase date.

You might as well save yourself the hassle. Therefore, buy in advance!

Note: The busiest times are April, May, and August so it’s best to avoid those months, if at all possible.

Tip: On a normal day, the quietest hours are before 10 am or after 3 pm.

Buy your entry for Rijksmuseum here

Don't miss to see the famous Rijksmuseum

2.4 Take a Canal Cruise

A few things in Amsterdam are as picturesque as a canal cruise. Host to the UNESCO World Heritage Canal District including 165 waterways, a canal cruise is a must for any visit to the Dutch capital.

Save at least 1-2 hours to sit back, relax, have a drink and take in the surroundings.

Tickets are available to buy in advance, however, it’s also very easy to purchase on the spot. This is one that I might suggest purchasing as the mood strikes unless you’re adamant about the day and time you’d like to cruise.

Book your canal cruise here

2.5 Concertgebouw

For those music lovers, visit Concertgebouw (Concert Building). Built-in 1888, this beautiful music venue is one of the busiest and is a favorite for locals and travelers.

Discount tickets are available for orchestral, festivals and other musical performances and can be purchased in advance online.

Check the site for free lunchtime performances and guided tours.

Get your tickets for Concertgebouw here

Bonus: Amsterdam Pass

If you’re planning on visiting multiple museums, tours, and landmarks during your stay, then it might be worth looking into the Amsterdam Pass.

This pass will allow guests free access to 50+ attractions as well as a discount to plenty of others, while also providing free boat and bus tours of the city.

Attractions included in the Amsterdam pass:

  • Rijksmuseum,
  • Heineken Experience,
  • A’DAM Lookout,
  • Rembrandt House,
  • Johan Cruijff Stadium,
  • The National Maritime Museum,
  • Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tours
  • and many more.
Buy you Amsterdam Pass here

Buy yourself an Amsterdam Card and enjoy the city in ease

3. Neighborhood guide (to understand the different areas)

As mentioned in the prior sections, central is best when exploring Amsterdam. As a tourist, you’re looking to see, do, and experience as much as possible and your time is valuable.

If you’re looking for the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam to stay, the central area is ideal for its proximity to major attractions and ease of transportation.

Never, go outside the the A10 highway (check our map), as it will take you quite long to reach the city center.

Note that Amsterdam Centraal Train Station is in the very center of Amsterdam ring along the IJ River.

Here is a breakdown of some of our favorite neighborhoods that we discussed in prior sections:

3.1 De Wallen

Starting in the city center is the De Wallen neighborhood, which includes the Red Light District. Although maybe best known for its drugs and debauchery, this area is actually the oldest neighborhood in all of Amsterdam.

Check out the long-standing architecture in this region, including De Oude Kerk, considered the oldest building in Amsterdam.

Take notice that many new, hip businesses are moving into this district, including some great breweries!

If you’re looking for a great restaurant recommendation in the area, try Kaagman & Kortekaas

Address: Sint Nicolaasstraat 43, 1012 NJ Amsterdam

3.2 Nieuwmarkt and IJ Waterfront

Nieuwmarkt in the neighborhood front and center, next to Chinatown and the Red Light District. Alongside it is the IJ Waterfront area, which includes the main train station.

This is a great area for lodging if you just have a one-night layover and want an easy commute to the airport.

For instance, Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam is a well-known hotel conveniently located opposite Amsterdam Centraal Station, offering easy access to the airport and other parts of the city.

It’s an excellent choice for those who prioritize convenience and comfort.

The airport is just a quick 15-20 minute train ride from Amsterdam Centraal.

Great eats in the Nieuwmarkt neighborhood:

  • Cafe Piazza (Kloveniersburgwal 5, 1011 JT Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • De Witte Zwaan (Sint Antoniesbreestraat 46, 1011 HB Amsterdam, Netherlands)

For a great view, check out:

  • SkyLounge at the DoubleTree Hotel (Oosterdoksstraat 4, 1011 DK Amsterdam, Netherlands)

3.4 Canal Belt

Exactly as you would imagine it, the Canal Belt is built on the beautiful canals Amsterdam has come to be known for.

Take note of the posh homes built along the semi-circle canal ring.

In this neighborhood, you can find great nightlife, but usually comes with a great price tag.

Want a local experience? Catch a movie at the Filmtheater De Uitkijk, a 1920’s single-screen theater with balcony and café.

3.5 De Pijp

In one of Amsterdam’s outlying neighborhoods, you can find the artsy, trendy and sometimes hipster neighborhood of De Pijp.

At one point in time, this area was built as low-income housing. However, with the exception of the traditional Dutch narrow town-homes, you’d never know it.

De Pijp hosts Amsterdam’s most famous market, the Albert Cyup Market.

You can enjoy countless:

  • brunch cafes,
  • restaurants,
  • boutiques, and
  • the great nightlife.

It is an excellent place to stay if you want to feel like a local!

Take advantage of the great local brunch cafes:

  • Bakers & Roasters (Eerste Jacob van Campenstraat 54, 1072 BH Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Bakhuys (Sarphatistraat 61, 1018 EX Amsterdam, Netherlands)

3.6 Jordaan

In a past life, Jordaan was an old working-class neighborhood, however today it’s a bustling village of young professionals and tourists.

You may have heard that Jordaan has its own community vibe, apart from the rest of Amsterdam. It’s true. Due to the trendy shops, up-and-coming restaurants, and gorgeous bridges, you might not ever want to leave.

For a traditional Dutch meal, check out our favorite Jordaan restaurants:

3.7 Amsterdam Oud West

Along the eastern side of Vondelpark, you’ll find the calm and cool area of Oud-West.

A great place for “foodies” to explore, this area has a great selection of:

  • trendy bars,
  • cocktail lounges,
  • restaurants and
  • concert venues.

Check out our favorite Amsterdam Oud-West restaurants and bars:

  • Cantinetta Wine & Pasta (De Clercqstraat 105, 1053 AH Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Café Panache (Ten Katestraat 117, 1053 CC Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Café L’Affiche (1053 HB Amsterdam, Netherlands)

3.8 Oud-Zuid and Museumkwartier

Odds are, at some point, you’ll venture through Oud-Zuid neighborhood.

Possibly most well-known for the Museumkwartier area – you’ll run into the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum as well as the start to Vondelpark.

This is a major tourist area but somehow keeps a quiet, upscale atmosphere with lower hotel prices compared to some of the other central areas.

If you’re hungry, try a Museumkwartier favorite:

  • De Knijp (Van Baerlestraat 134, 1071 BD Amsterdam, Netherlands)

3.9 Plantage and Old Jewish Quarter

Located on the western side of Amsterdam center is the Plantage neighborhood. With rich Jewish heritage and plenty of green space to go around, this has become a traveling family’s ideal home base.

Great local market – Waterlooplein Market. You can shop for everything from used household items to fresh vegetables and flowers.

Home to the highest density of museums, including:

  • the National Holocaust Museum and Memorial,
  • Outsider Art Museum,
  • Jewish Historical Museum,
  • Nemo Science Museum,
  • The National Maritime Museum, and
  • the Rembrandt Museum.

Located right outside of the Plantage neighborhood lies a beer hall that will be sure to delight all brew lovers:

3.10 Amsterdam-Noord

Just across the IJ River, you can find the neighborhood of Amsterdam Noord. The opening of the EYE Film Institute brought popularity to this area.

Ferries depart from behind Centraal Station at Waterplein West. Check out the great views at A’dam Tower.

Located on the east side of the Noord neighborhood, catch an independent film at FC Hyena and check out the great local beer and wine menu.

When traveling in the Noord neighborhood, stop by Café de Ceuvel. A great waterside eatery, bar and concert venue!

4. Safest area to stay in Amsterdam

Now that you’ve gotten a feel for the best places to stay, eat and explore during your stay in Amsterdam, let’s talk about safety.

Great news! According to the Safe Cities Index 2019 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Amsterdam is one of the safest cities in the world. The Venice of the North is extremely low in violent crimes and has a very safe public transportation system.

No matter what neighborhood you’re venturing, it’s relatively safe to walk alone.

That being said, when traveling to any city, foreign or at home, use common sense and always be aware. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

In every big city, there are some problems. The main problems in Amsterdam are:


Now that we’ve established that Amsterdam is a safe city, let’s talk about petty thieves. Yes, Amsterdam does have pick-pocketing.

Watch your bags, purses, and wallets on public transportation and in busy areas.

Especially be aware while walking in the Red Light District and during high season.

Pick-pocketing is easily avoidable as long as you stay attentive and keep your wits about you. For now, I leave you with some basic tips to avoid being pick-pocketed:

  1. Don’t keep anything valuable in your backpack.
  2. Limit what you carry.
  3. Put locks on your zippers.
  4. Don’t put anything in the back pocket.
  5. Keep bags in front of you when on public transit.
  6. Do not leave your belongings unattended.

Bike Safety

Amsterdam is an incredibly bike-friendly city; It’s even been said that Amsterdam hosts more bikes than people. A great start to have, but with that comes more biking accidents.

Approximately 28% of all accidents are involving a bicyclist within Amsterdam’s city limits.

Be careful when biking!

Amsterdam’s biking rules are mandatory, and you will be called out by locals if you’re reluctant to follow them.

Here are some helpful guidelines to remember when biking:

  • Follow the bike lane rules, stay on your side of the line
  • Don’t cycle on walking paths, shopping centers or highways
  • Signal when turning
  • Watch for all traffic – cars, trams and other bikes
  • Your bell is your friend
  • Don’t try and take a photo while biking, unless you’re completely alone
  • Use your lights after dark
  • Just because you see a local breaking the rules, don’t follow suit

Coffee Shops

One of the many draws to Amsterdam is the cannabis shops. Although this can be a fun and exciting activity, it should be done with caution.

Despite what most people think, marijuana and other drugs are technically illegal in Amsterdam. The police tend to look the other way and allow coffee shops to operate without worry. However, it should always be done inside an operating coffee shop, as it is possible to get picked up by the police outside on the streets.

The Netherlands does have an assortment of potent cannabis, so whether you’re experienced or not, avoid overusing. If you have any questions, feel free to ask any workers at the coffee shops, they’ll be happy to advise.

From time to time, you might see a drug dealer selling harder drugs to tourists.

Avoid this at all costs! If caught, you could face possible jail time.

Red Light District

We’ve all heard the stories about Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Drugs, Prostitution, Theft.

Of all the areas in Amsterdam to be extra cautious, it should be here.

This area can become a little shady after dark and extra attention should always be given. Some tips:

  • Avoid dark streets and corners.
  • Travel in groups.
  • Stick to populated areas.
  • Leave important documents and electronics in your hotel or keep them in a safe place.
  • Do NOT take photos. It’s forbidden with the Red Light District, especially near brothels.


Do not swim or wade in the canals. First of all, it is not really clean water. Furthermore, it’s illegal. Just don’t.

Summary on best places to stay in Amsterdam

There you have all the information about the best accommodations in Amsterdam. Hope I clarified all your doubts and you know which place to book right now.

Are you traveling around Europe? Then check:

Any Questions?

Do you have any questions? Doubts?

Please please please drop me a comment below. I know I am not perfect, and it is likely I missed a few things to point out.

In fact, your questions help me to make this article better. So I help you to help me. Therefore, bother me.

Safe travels!

Complete guide Where to stay in Amsterdam

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