Please sign in to post.

Shoud We Stay Near a Canal?

We are looking at Rick Steves' list of hotels and B&Bs in Amsterdam in June and are wondering: what's it like to stay next to a canal? Is it noisy? What about a sense of privacy from the street? Anything else we should be aware of?

Posted by
16941 posts

Depending on what canal, it could be very quiet, if in the Red Light district, not so much.

Posted by
228 posts

Depends on the location . Red Light district is noisy as mentioned already. If you are on the ground floor ; parterre in Dutch and called 1-st floor in the US , it will be noisier than first or second floor ( second or third floor in the US ). That also means you will walk some steep stairs but if you are in good health it should not be a problem .

Posted by
24 posts

If you're here in summer there will be mosquitos so if you are on a canal, make sure you have air conditioning.

Posted by
1806 posts

I've stayed on the Herengracht and found the area to be quite peaceful, but if you normally live in a rural or very quiet suburban area, your perception of peaceful might be very different from others who live in a city. If you are a really light sleeper, seek out a higher floor or forego the canal view and ask for something that doesn't face the water/street side as you will hear some of the boats cruising past on the canals, a few cars, and bicycle bells ringing. Very few hotels actually have rooms that are at street level as the lobby/reception area typically occupies that space.

Don't limit yourself to only those hotels/B&Bs listed in Rick's guide. They tend to fill up very fast with other blue book devotees and then people panic when they can't find a room. Do a search for other options in your established price range in the area you want to be, look over photos and read reviews carefully to see what other travelers have to say about the hotel and the location. Use Google Street View to scope out what is located immediately near your hotel - you don't want to end up next door to a nightclub.

If you have any sort of mobility issues, or just tend to overpack and bring very heavy luggage wherever you go, then I would recommend you look for something with an elevator. Many of the hotels occupying the old canal homes have rather steep staircases. The canal buildings also sometimes have strange layouts because of their age. At the hotel I stayed at on the Herengracht, I had a room on the 5th Floor and when you would get off the elevator, you had to walk down a hall, go down 2 small steps, down another hall and walk up 2 steps and inside my actual hotel room there were 2 steps that you had to walk up to get from the bathroom/dressing area to the bed. Not a problem for me, but for someone using a wheelchair, walker or cane, it would have been an issue. If you think this would present a challenge for you, ask the hotel about more accessible rooms.

Posted by
989 posts

We stayed in a vrbo right on the Prinsengracht Canal and I didn't find it noisy at all. But we do live in a city (though we live in a more suburban part of the city). I loved being right on the canal (same in Venice!).


Posted by
1976 posts

In October last year I stayed at Hotel Brouwer on the Singel canal. I was on the fourth floor but the noise from the street (people talking and/or pulling luggage, cars moving) sounded like it was right outside my window because the windows aren't soundproofed. The canal view from my room was nice but I'd prefer to stay on a quieter street with no view. You get canal views almost everywhere in Amsterdam when you're out walking.

Posted by
1005 posts

I've stayed at hotels on canals and the noise never bothered me. However, canal houses have very steep, narrow stairs and usually no elevators. If you can't handle those conditions, stay elsewhere.

Posted by
286 posts

Recently my wife and I stayed in a rented houseboat moored on the Keizersgracht in the Jordaan. It is a lovely area. We had no problems with privacy, even though boats were rolling by during the day and walkers strolling past on adjacent sidewalks. I would think the canal-side homes or hotels would also present no real problems. Staying on a boat may not be for everyone, but staying in the right area (e.g., Jordaan) and away from the heart of the tourist crush can give you a chance to be close to the action without suffering the Red Light District / Damrak type intensity. Happy travels!

Posted by
73 posts

I stayed at the NH Museum Quarter Hotel, overlooking a wonderful, quiet canal, right between the Albert Cruyps (?) Market and the museums. I loved being able to sit in my room at the end of the day and look at the water and the boats going by and the bicycles. It's a small canal, not too busy, and that made it even better. Brilliant location because it was so peaceful, yet so close to everything. Very nice rooms, too.

Posted by
44 posts

I have stayed at Hotel Nadia twice which runs along one side of the Keizersgracht and I have stayed in apt on the Prinsengracht. Neither was noisy. I love the Jordaan area because the canals. They are peaceful and beautiful in my opinion. I love walking around there day or evening.