My 22 year old daughter and I will be first timers for a 4-day stay in Amsterdam. I am considering booking a bed and breakfast near Dam Square but concerned that the neighborhood in that Central District may not be the nicest. We plan to be very active both in and outside of the city and will be using public transportation to get around. We would like to stay in a charming "quintessential" area of Amsterdam, but near public transportation, restaurants and shopping. How is the area around Dam Square?
While I like to stay in Dam Square area because it's in the middle of the action and has easy access to most of the trams lines, it doesn't fall under the category of charming;)
What you are looking for is a hotel in the Jordaan neighborhood, very near the Anne Frank House. Here's a sneak peek:
You can easily fill four entire days within Amsterdam without taking any day trips.
If you like shopping, look for something near the "9 Little Streets" neighborhood just beyond Jordaan. We spent a week last fall just on the edge of it, at a B&B on the Prinsengracht canal. Wonderful small shops & restaurants in that area. It is about halfway between Dam Square and the museumplein, so we walked everywhere -- no need for trams or buses. We loved wandering along the beautiful canals.
With just four days I agree you will find plenty to do in Amsterdam, but if you want to get into the countryside for a day, you can catch inexpensive buses behind the train station (we chose the water lands bus for 10 euros that took us to Edam, Volendam & Marken). They run frequently throughout the day and drop you off, you stay as long as you wish, then catch another bus for the next stop.
I also recommend the Jordaan neighborhood. It's very close to Centraal Station where I think all of the trams stop, and you can walk to Dam Square in 15 or 20 minutes (my memory of this is a little rusty).
Thank you all! i very much appreciate your insights. I will keep looking further, in the Jordaan area which just seems to be a better fit.
We really liked our stay at the Eelhouse in the Jordaan. Check out the pictures on tripadvisor - great room and location! You'll love the Jordaan.
I like to stay in the Rembrandtplein area. It has multiple restaurants and is close to a lot of things - the Flower market, the Waterlooplein flea market, the zoo/arboretum. Also, on the tram you are only a few minutes from the Dam.