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Staying Outside AMS vs Haarlem

We are looking for a place to stay in AMS in early April (check-in April 5, check-out April 8). It will be my wife and two kids (8,6). We'd like to avoid being in one big room together, so that we don't have to sit in the dark and whisper after our kids go to bed.

I was shocked by the prices on Airbnb and Booking. As much as I'd love stay in Jordaan or other central neighborhoods, I hope to spend $200-$300 per night (less would be great, but looks impractical). Most places right intown are at least $400.

I've read the pros and cons of Haarlem. Here's my question: At what point does it make sense to stay there versus the outer neighborhoods? If it's 15 minutes from Haarlem, but also 15 minutes from a suburb, what's the difference? Is A-10 a good dividing line?

I'd love some advice. If this is helpful context, we took our kids to Rome last fall and stayed in the old core of Trastevere. That was perfect--away from the throngs, yet still walkable, with the occasional bus ride. We rarely returned to our apartment during the day, usually leaving around 10am and returning after dinner.

Posted by
1016 posts

I prefer to stay in the city. I just did a quick look on Airbnb for your dates in your price range and found several in the mid 200's (and yeah, the prices are astronomical. Must be Spring break + weekend pricing?). You will be walking from train station/tram station to destination in the city anyway (if you stay in Haarlem and commute in), so if you are walking from a neighborhood next to the Jordaan, it won't be much different except for less commute time. I saw several in the neighborhood just southwest of the Jordaan, and a few in the De Pijp neighborhood (Ive stayed in both these neighborhoods and liked them. They are more everyday living neighborhoods rather than cutesy tourist-centric) and a few over by the NEMO museum. But you may get a much better deal in Haarlem, but then you have to commute...

Like this:

Or this:

Posted by
9595 posts

We stayed in Haarlem a couple of years ago and loved it. It is a very compact town with some terrific dining options. The commute to Amsterdam was easy. We got passes to make that easier so we did not have to buy tickets each trip. We stayed there to save some money but would do so again in a heartbeat just because we got away from the throngs in the city.

Posted by
1807 posts

In April 2018, we stayed in Haarlem in the Carlton Square Hotel, an easy walk to the train station, pleasant hotel with large rooms. Haarlem is a pleasant town in itself, very old with very good restaurants, Museums and other sights. We enjoyed it very much. Also, the train is a 20-minute ride to the Centrale Station in Amsterdam.

Posted by
306 posts

Yes it is rooms are expensive in Amsterdam.
Haarlem is only a 30 minute train ride away - I would look for something there.
Since trains are so reliable, I would stay out a ways. In the evening you will enjoy the peace and quiet
Last year we rented a house in Zaandam, a suburb of Amsterdam - a 15 minute train ride through VRBO. It was very nice with plenty of room for four of us with room to spare and would likely be in your price range.
Don't be discouraged - you will find something but the accommodations at this time of year are at of premium because it is high tourist season.
Finally I know it is touristy, but your kids will enjoy Zaans Shans
Good luck and have fun!

Posted by
1606 posts

hey jake
been twice to amsterdam and stayed in the city. yes it is an expensive city, preferred in town.
it is kinda late to be booking but i'll give you places to check out, (check apt L10785) (vacation rentals)
april is a busy month with spring breaks, easter, tulip season. we stayed in an apartment on prinsengracht canal, first time and loved it. second time was a houseboat in jordaan area which was really nice too, your kids would love it, sot outside feed the ducks, watch the other boats pass by. has things to do, kid friendly and some are free with an adult.
you probably have to email or send info form to some places. good luck and have a great time
look at area and what floor on, most places no elevators and lots of steep stairs to climb with luggage, if early checkin and luggage storage so you're not pushing and pulling thru cobblestones or waiting.

Posted by
747 posts

I stayed in Haarlem once on a trip to Amsterdaym (other times have stayed right in center, but then prices did starting going way up, thus the decision to stay in Haarlem). It's actually a very cute little town and I don't think it was even 30 minutes train - my memory is it was more like 15 or 20. And trains were so frequent it was more like taking a metro than a train - just show up and there will be one along in a few minutes - as opposed to having to worry about schedules. The center of Haarlem is a good 15 minute walk from the train station though, so that adds times. Perhaps you could look for accommodations between the train station and town center.

Here's my photos of Amsterdam and Haarlem (Haarlem starts at photo number 71). Photo 11 is Hotel Brouwer in the center of Amsterdam. Fabulous place, and not that expensive but it seems to book up way in advance (like a year) so I doubt you'd get in. You could always check.

Posted by
41 posts

Hi, thanks to all the great advice I've gotten here, I've narrowed our search to the following options. Would love your input. When we travel, we typically stay out all day, not returning during the day. We're fine taking public transit, but obviously walkability is a bonus. Like most people, we love charming, local areas.

We've found some options in the Canal Belt at the very top of our range, but could save $50-$100 per night with one of the below.

All of these are in the $900-$1,000 range, although #3 is even cheaper. Canal Belt is closer to $1,100-$1,200.

1) Zeeheldenburt - Yays has some nice options

2) Between Da Costabuurt - Da Krommerdt. Examples: or

3) Overtoomse Sluis:

4) Near Oosterpark:

5) Farther east, near Park Frankendael. Examples: or