Choosing where to stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam WinstonWhere should I stay in Amsterdam? Of course that’s one of the most frequently asked questions from people who are planning their first trip to this fabulous city. I’ve just finished a major overhaul to the hotel and hostel sections of Amsterdamlogue and now I think they are much more helpful. I’ve added quite a bit of information and also added recommendations for both hotels and hostels in each of the major neighborhoods.

Here’s a quick guide on the choices you face that will get you to an answer quickly:

Hostel or hotel?

Amsterdam is loaded with both hostels and hotels and there is more crossover than you might expect. Of course the absolute cheapest beds are at hostels and the highest prices by far are at the hotels, but some of the hostels are actually more expensive than some nearby hotels, which of course means there are some cheap hotels even in good neighborhoods so the choice gets fuzzy for some people.

Hostels will always have a more social atmosphere and usually a party atmosphere as well. Some of the famous ones, like both Flying Pig hostels, are notorious party zones. But if you are in a self-contained social group and especially if you want some privacy you can look for cheap hotels that are sometimes the same price.

Which neighborhood?

There are literally hotels and even hostels spread all over Amsterdam, and most of them are walking distance from interesting sights, but there are really three main neighborhoods that are much better than the far-flung places that sometimes have prices that seem so tempting.

I’ve written basic guides to each of the three major hotel and hostel neighborhoods so if this is your first visit to Amsterdam you should check each of them out so you can decide which of the three is best for you.

Is the area around Centraal Station right for you?

Is the area around Rembrandtplein right for you?

Is the area around Leidseplein right for you?

Seriously, if you choose a hotel or hostel in one of Amsterdam’s many quiet residential neighborhoods it’s very likely you’ll regret it. One of the great things about this city is they’ve concentrated nearly everything the visitor wants to be near in these three areas. If you want a better insight into how the locals go about their day-to-day lives then by all means stay out of these three areas, but if you want to be near restaurants, bars, cafes, coffeeshops, and the main tourist attractions you’d be wise to try to stay in or near one of the major areas. Each of them is also a residential neighborhood so don’t worry about being trapped in a tourist-only zone.

Recommended hotels and hostels

Probably the biggest improvement I made to the hotel and hostel pages is I (finally) added recommended places to the bottom of each page. Each place I’ve chosen has an excellent location and offers good value compared to other properties in the city. I haven’t stayed in all of them, but I guarantee they all have excellent locations, which is one key to a great visit to Amsterdam.

For the hotels I listed at least one in each neighborhood in each price range, which should give you a good benchmark for your further hotel shopping. You can find cheaper hotels if you look around, but it’s likely they’ll be in inconvenient areas. I’m certainly not saying those are the best hotels in the city, just that I guarantee they are in good locations and appear to be good values.

If you have any questions about hotels, hostels, or Amsterdam neighborhoods, please hit the contact me thing above of leave a comment on this post. I really want to make this site as helpful as possible, especially for people planning their first-ever trip to this magical city.