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Going to the Netherlands for the first time. Any guidance on Rotterdam and Amsterdam?

I'm going to a conference in Rotterdam Mid May to late May--only staying for a weekend unless you all think I should stay longer, then about 5-6 days in Amsterdam.

Biggest problem I'm having is finding a good Air bnb at decent price in Amsterdam. I'm traveling with a colleague so need space and beds. No hostels or shared bathrooms for us.

What neighborhood is best to stay in? We're not young women, but I'd say we're pretty hip. haha.

Thank you for this space to ask questions!


Posted by
7634 posts

I love Amsterdam If you can stay near the Museumplein that would be nice. The reality is stay where you can afford to; space is tight and you may have to be flexible and look at hotels
The longer you wait the more expensive and less options. Since I've been there so many times and I'm almost 50 and know how to get around on public transportation I either stay at my favorite hotel by the airport or in Haarlem. Rotterdam has some interesting modern architecture and you can take a boat to see the old original windmills at Kinderdijk from there.

Posted by
1220 posts

Amsterdam is expensive and you are searching pretty late, so prices will be high. I like to stay in the outer rings or even beyond them. I like the De Pijp neighborhood, but staying there means more distance from places you might be interested in (however, I always recommend renting bikes, which you can do for several days at a time - they give you locks, you just park then on the sidewalk in front of your place like everyone else, and you can access the whole city in 15 minutes in any direction, plus it is exhilarating, but not for everyone I realize). Prinsengracht is nice - anywhere along it. Around Spiegelgracht is nice (Spiegelstraat is closed to cars for a few blocks starting at the Rijks and heading toward the center of town - makes for a nice shopping area). Anywhere around the Anne Frank huis area (called the Jordaan - "Yor-don" neighborhood) is nice - and also close the the "9 streets" which is a cute area to walk around....

Posted by
3551 posts

As others have noted peak season is mostly booked. However u may snag a cancellation, keep t4ying. In the meantime book Haarlem. Close and easier accessed by train and a beautiful and seeing draw for most sightseers.

Posted by
3938 posts

We stayed at an airbnb in De Pijp area last year - didn't find it really out of the way. The street we stayed on was a 1 min walk away from a tram stop - and from there it was 5 min to Museumplein. And they were either installing or fixing a tram line at the time (finishing up when we left) that was a straight shot to the first of the outer canals/Heineken brewery - about a 20 min or so walk, I imagine 5 min on the tram. And so many restaurants!

Looking now for May for 5-6 nights - you're going to be hard pressed to find something with airbnb - I booked ours about 5 mos out (we were going in April, so a popular time for tulips). Amsterdam is more and more a very popular destination.

Posted by
15477 posts

Friends of mine decided to stay in Haarlem last year (late April) on their (first) visit to Amsterdam, mostly to save money. They said it was an easy commute and they didn't mind being out and about from morning through evening. They aren't night owls, however. And they really liked Haarlem.

Posted by
1806 posts

In regard to Rotterdam, it's a great place to base yourself a little longer if you want to explore some nearby areas like The Hague or Kinderdijk. For Amsterdam, the Jordaan and Nine Streets areas are great, but likely will be the first areas to book up because they are so popular. Also, you'll pay more to stay in these neighborhoods because of the demand.

I also disagree with the comment on De Pijp. It's a great neighborhood with decent access to tram lines and is walkable to Museumplein in certain parts. I recommended De Pijp to a friend who was going to be in Amsterdam part of the time I was there. She booked a 3BR Airbnb on Van Woustraat a block from Sarphatipark while I stayed in a hotel near Museumplein. She loved the location - tons of restaurants, the Albert Cuypmarkt was right there and she found it very safe for her and her 2 teens even when they were out late at night.

Other neighborhoods I would highly recommend are Oud West or Helmersbuurt. As you are looking for a 2BR 2BA for a decent price, you'll find your money will get you a bit more space here. Both are solid neighborhoods with plenty of restaurants and shopping plus decent tram access.

Do consider that many Airbnb rentals are walk-ups and if you (or your colleague) aren't packing light, try to find something on a lower floor. I had another friend who traveled to Amsterdam while I was there and she found herself a really lovely 1BR with it's own rooftop deck that was only about a 5 minute walk to Museumplein, but it was a 5th Floor walk up with some seriously steep and narrow stairs.

Don't rule out separate rooms in a hotel if you can't find an Airbnb. Conscious Hotels has several locations that are generally very reasonably priced. I've stayed at the one near Museumplein. Ibis and Ibis Styles are also ones to check for rates. Their single occupancy rooms may not have the charm and character of an old canal house hotel, but you'll each get your space, free WiFi and a comfortable bed to sleep on. Do a search on to see what is in your price range for both hotels and apartment rentals - you can always book directly if you don't want to reserve it through

If not Haarlem, Utrecht can be a viable alternative to base yourself out of with cheaper hotels. You can easily train into Amsterdam as needed and Utrecht is a beautiful city with lots of canals and lively nightlife/restaurant scene.

Posted by
809 posts

For another home stay option, take a look at My daughter and I used them in the south of France a few years ago and were happy with the two places we rented. I just checked their listings for Amsterdam and found a number of places scattered around.

I also second the recommendation of Utrecht. We spent 2 days/1 night there last week and enjoyed the city a lot.