The Netherlands has long been on our bucket list and, just like you, we wanted to find where to stay in Amsterdam in order to enjoy a wonderful time, far from any digital distractions. In fact, in recent months, we started avoiding the busy centres in order to find secluded spots, more suitable for couples. We always look for mid-range or affordable luxury and we found that places outside the centre, offer lower prices for more amenities and nicer rooms. In fact, what we could have paid for one night in the centre of Amsterdam, got us 3 nights in a four-star hotel, located just 15 minutes from the main attractions. So here is our guide on where to stay in Amsterdam for first-time visitors and couples looking to reignite the romance.
Where to stay in Amsterdam [2020 Guide For First Time Visitors] - Contents
Where to stay in Amsterdam
Depending on the type of traveller you are, it's good to know that you have several accommodation options in Amsterdam. As a couple, we prefer to stay in hotels or apartments. For short periods, we normally book hotels because we can enjoy 24/7 reception as well as various on-site facilities (like a swimming pool or the fitness centre).
For longer stays, we tend to go for apartments, especially in cities where it's more difficult to find vegan food for our travels. It's nice to just get groceries from the market and cook in our apartment with locally sourced produce. In Amsterdam, we decided to stay in a hotel in the West, in a neighbourhood called Overtoomse Veld. We stayed literally next to the Rembrandt Park which offered us the tranquillity we needed for a nice and long evening walk. Here are your options for where to stay in Amsterdam.
Hotels in Amsterdam
As already mentioned, hotels are our preferred type of accommodation for short stays. When we want to escape digital distractions, we love to book a nice hotel which offers various facilities on-site. This is not because we don't like exploring the city, but because before bed, we like to relax for one hour at the swimming pool. Hotels in Amsterdam can be quite pricey, but if you are happy to book in advance and don't mind being a little out of the centre, then you can find great deals. Click to see the hotel we recommend: Ramada Apollo Amsterdam.
Apartments in Amsterdam
Apartments in Amsterdam are a great option for those looking to explore the city for several days. Amsterdam is not cheap, so having the option to cook in your apartment can save you a lot of money. It's also quite nice to have the layout of an apartment, as it will be bigger, offering you more space and comfort for less. Click to see the apartment we recommend: Amsterdam Dream.
Hostels in Amsterdam
If you are a budget traveller, or simply want to save on your travels, then hostels are the way to go. You can find cheap accommodation and get to meet new people. It's a great way to make new friends especially if you are a solo traveller. Click to see the hostel we recommend: The Flying Pig Downtown.
Want something more original during your trip to Amsterdam? Why not book your accommodation on a houseboat? We didn't book ours on time, although we really wanted to try it. It sounds like a unique, quirky experience, and it is most certainly suitable for couples wanting a bit of fun. Click to see the houseboat we recommend: Luxurious 110m² houseboat.
On a budget but not ready to stay in a hostel? Campsites are a great way to save whilst still having your privacy. Did you know that Amsterdam Area is home to a multitude of campsites? Wild camping is forbidden in the Netherlands, but campsites are modern, charming and sociable, and often offering a variety of extra services. What's not to love?
Amsterdam City Centre
Amsterdam City Centre is well known for its fantastic Canal Ring as well as renowned museums. It's a charming location with restaurants, shopping boutiques, great culture and entertainment. Amsterdam Centrum is perfect for first-time time visitors who wish to be right in the centre of it all. If you decide to be in the Centrum, you will be just walking distance from all main attractions. However, remember that prices here will be quite high and it might be difficult to find a quiet spot.
Why stay in Amsterdam City Centre
In the Centre, you will find the Canal Ring. We spent a whole day just walking around the centre and we couldn't stop taking pictures. The houses look unique and the bridges are beautifully decorated with flowers. The centre has a romantic air to it, which added to our experience as a couple. This is also a great location for shopping enthusiasts and for those who seek some entertainment. Ultimately, if you wish to visit Amsterdam because of the coffee shops, or want to see the red light district for yourself, staying in the centre makes a lot of sense.
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Amsterdam Noord is now one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. There has been a lot of refurbishment on the northern banks of the IJ and this district is now a popular destination. This particular up-coming district is home to some seriously cool avantgarde accommodation. All you have to do is hop on a ferry or tram and be on your way. The cool thing about this district is that you will find great accommodation options for cheaper prices.
Why stay in Amsterdam Noord
Prices pay an important factor here, especially if you wish to stay in a modern and exciting looking hotel. Don't forget to visit the A'Dam Toren which offers a really cool lookout over the city. We also recommend the Eye Filmmuseum to experience film in all its forms. If you decided to stay in the Noord, remember that you can either walk for about 20 minutes to reach the centre or take the public transport and be in key locations in less than 10 minutes.
Amsterdam De Plantage
Pleasant strolls and waterside terraces? Head over to Amsterdam De Plantage and fall in love with nature. We loved the leafy streets and canals. We discovered the Hortus Botanical Garden, originally planted in 1682, with formal outdoor & greenhouse sections. Today, this beautiful garden is home to over 4000 plant species.
Why stay in Amsterdam De Plantage
De Plantage is mainly a residential area with few bars and restaurants, but that means you can enjoy a quiet time during your visit to Amsterdam. You are also just a few tram stops away from vibrant sights. When staying in De Plantage, don't forget to check the Newwerktheatre, a cool creative hub with art exhibitions and fashion shows.
If you are after a lively, multicultural neighbourhood, Oost is where you want to stay in Amsterdam. Home to wine bars, fruit and veg markets and creative incubators, Oost is a blooming district attracting more and more tourists. It's home to the Oosterpark and Tropenmuseum. This green district is characterised by wide streets with 19th-century buildings.
Why stay in Amsterdam Oost
Oost has a great mixture of cultures which makes it a vibrant neighbourhood. It's great for those looking to save on accommodation, although note that there are plenty of cool restaurants, cafes and bars in the area. Oost is perhaps not as busy as the centre, but having so many eateries and bars around, allows visitors to explore a more alternative Amsterdam, with quieter nights and cheaper accommodation.
Amsterdam De Pijp
De Pijp is known to be a student neighbourhood, home to an unimaginable array of different cuisines, cute terraces and funky cafes. De Pijp was once known as a working-class neighbourhood but nowadays is a multicultural hotspot for creatives with colourful markets. Don't forget to check out the Heineken Experience as well as the Albert Cuypmarkt which offers over 260 stalls selling everything from street food to delicious desserts.
Why stay in Amsterdam De Pijp
De Pijp reminded me of a bohemian district lined with eateries, pubs and cafes as well as colourful markets with all sort of delicious specialities. Love England? Head over to the Sarphatipark which features English-style gardens with ponds and meadows. Being so close to the centre (literally 20 minutes walk to the Van Gogh Museum), De Pijp is a great location for those who wish to be located in a lively neighbourhood but a little further from the busiest streets of Amsterdam.
Want to be in one of Amsterdam's wealthiest neighbourhoods? Head over to Oud-Zuid, an alluring neighbourhood with incredible buildings and luxury independent shopping boutiques. If shopping is your preferred sport, then Oud-Zuid will definitely satisfy your appetite for interesting creations. Oud-Zuid is home to Amsterdam's most loved museums: Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. It's also a lovely place during summer when locals and visitors alike have a picnic and fall in love with many outdoor performances.
Why stay in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid
If your budget allows it, then Oud-Zuid is a fantastic place for accommodation in Amsterdam. You will be minutes away from most major attractions and you'll have access to an array of restaurants, cafes and bars. Oud-Zuid is one of the most expensive areas in Amsterdam, however, there are some mid-range hotels for travellers who love this neighbourhood as much as we do.
Love concept stores and epic wine shops? Then head over to Oud-West where you'll find a fantastic food market as well as a cool nine-room cinema. If you happen to be vegan like us, then you will really love this part of the city, because there are plenty of trendy vegan restaurants (serving some of the best burgers we've ever had). Oud-West was constructed during the end of the 19th century.
Why stay in Oud-West
We stayed further West than this district but still, it only took us 15 minutes by tram to reach the centre. We spent most of our time here, in Oud-West because of the vegan restaurants we very much loved. It's a quiet place with plenty to do and see. It doesn't have the usual museums and tourist attractions, but it offers a real vibe and it looks how I've always imagined Amsterdam.
Westerpark seems to have a little bit of everything: green spaces, fun nightlife, creative spaces and iconic architecture. Fall in love with exhibitions, markets and festivals and immerse yourself in the indie shopping culture. Find eclectic restaurants and bars and walk around the residential area of red-brick Amsterdam School buildings.
Why stay in Westerpark
You should stay in Westerpark if you want to be in a place where nature meets culture. For the romantic at heart, Westerpark is ideal. It makes a great escape from the effervescent city centre but offers a unique blend of fun and zen.
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Are you ready for your trip to Amsterdam? Tell us where you will stay in the comments section below.
Thanks to Visit Amsterdam for sponsoring our trip to Amsterdam. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.