This page is not so much about specific hotels or apartments, but about the city districts in general. Which districts are nice to stay in if you’re visiting for more than a day?
What is Amsterdam like?
By comparison, Amsterdam is tiny, so do some ‘Google Maps > Directions’ test walks to see how far out you would be. Walking from one end of the center to the other end takes about 45 minutes on foot. You can walk between most of the important sights.
It’s a very safe city as capital cities go. Within the A10 ring road and south of river IJ, violent crime is very rare even at night, but you should beware of sneaky pickpocketing (day and night), and mind the many cyclists. Even the notorious red light district is safe except for the pickpockets, and the illegal drug dealers you should just ignore.
Staying anywhere in the center is great, except I would avoid staying in the Red Light District because it is so crowded and noisy with bachelor parties and such. Most other parts of the center are great to stay in and will enable you to walk to many sights.
The ring of neighborhoods around the center is also very convenient and fun to stay in, and may in fact be ‘first choice’ for the more adventurous souls looking for the ‘local feel’, or the ones who want a quieter area away from the hordes of tourists. I will list some names of bigger and smaller neighborhoods, hence the names will not be mutually exclusive (for example Kinkerbuurt is in Oud-West). Staatsliedenbuurt, Frederik Hendrikbuurt, Da Costabuurt, Kinkerbuurt, Oud-West, Helmersbuurt, Vondelbuurt, De Pijp (preferably the northern half called Oude Pijp), Oud-Zuid, Oud-Oost, Oosterparkbuurt, Dapperbuurt, Indische Buurt, Oostelijk Havengebied, Zeeburg.
Anything else within the A10 ring road and south of IJ river is also fine, but will cost you more travel time. Do test runs in Google Maps > Directions to see how much time. You will still find plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops here.
North of IJ river and close to the water is also fine, especially if it’s walking distance from Buiksloterweg ferry which goes day and night.
If you stay outside the A10 ring road your experience of the city will be very different, you will depend more on public transport and taxis, and you are less likely to be able to make a mid-day stop at your accommodation to freshen up, drop souvenirs or pick up extra clothing. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, for a Dutch person 30 minutes travel time feels like being ‘way out’, whereas it may be peanuts for someone from north America or India.
However, keep in mind that beautiful historical cities like Utrecht, Haarlem and Leiden are only a 20-30 minute train ride away (!), and might be a better option than staying in an Amsterdam suburb outside the A10.
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