Neighborhoods to avoid and best neighborhoods in Amsterdam

When organizing my trip to Amsterdam, first of all I asked myself if there are any neighborhoods to avoid and where are the best neighborhoods in Amsterdam to visit on foot?

Neighborhoods to avoid in Amsterdam

And I noticed that it is very difficult to find a good neighborhood and a cheap hotel in Amsterdam! Indeed, it is a very touristic city where hotels are among the most expensive in Europe.

However, to find accommodation that is well placed to visit and in a safe neighborhood, you first need to know the different neighborhoods and the types of accommodation to choose from in Amsterdam:

  • Are there dangerous neighborhoods in Amsterdam?
  • What are the best areas for a tourist stay?
  • Which accommodation option is better to choose in Amsterdam: Hotel or Airbnb?
  • Which hotel or location to choose in Amsterdam to visit the city on foot?

Here are the answers to these questions with the Amsterdam neighborhood map to locate dangerous areas and the best areas for tourists.

Is Amsterdam dangerous?

NOT : In 2024, Amsterdam is not a dangerous city. Indeed, if we study the ranking of the most dangerous cities in Western Europe, we see that Amsterdam is well ranked with a crime index of 33,49. It appears much less dangerous than cities like Marseille, Montpellier ou Paris.

Dangerous areas Amsterdam map

However, it is necessary to underline the relative reliability of such a classification. Indeed, it is established according to the opinions and feelings of Internet users, therefore quite subjective.

Especially since these data are summarized in averages. However, insecurity in Amsterdam is only concentrated in certain places. Apart from a few neighborhoods to avoid in Amsterdam and the red light district, the city is no more dangerous than Rome, Madrid, Barcelona ou New York.

Neighborhoods to Avoid in Amsterdam – Map

Here is a handy Google Map to help you identify the different neighborhoods of Amsterdam (those to avoid but also those to stay in).

Dangerous neighborhoods in Amsterdam

Although it is true that Amsterdam is not a dangerous city, there are areas that are less safe than others.

Here are the few places that are not recommended for tourists:

  • Neighborhood Bijlmermeer which is located well to the south of Amsterdam is a low-cost housing estate which is part of Amsterdam-Zuidoost. It is a red light district to be avoided for tourists looking to find accommodation to visit.
  • The district ofAmstel III in Bullewijk which is part of the district of Bijlmerest is also to be avoided;
  • The area around the canalOude Zidje in the district Centrum has the reputation of being frequented by petty crime. We mainly talk about the Zeedijk Street right next to the De Wallen district where the Red light district,
  • The area Nieuwendammerham which is an industrial area in the district ofAmsterdam North 9 may be inadvisable to tourists for its insecurity.

If you enter these neighborhood names in the map above you will be able to locate them better geographically.

Areas to avoid in Amsterdam

As in all tourist cities, the areas to avoid in Amsterdam are those where tourists can be the target of pickpockets, scams or petty crime. These areas are mainly located in and around train stations, on public transport, in poorly lit and isolated streets at night and at tourist sites when there are crowds.

Red Light District Amsterdam

The famous red light district that tourists can visit during the day is an area to avoid at night for families with children. Indeed, we can say that it is the red light district of Amsterdam.

This neighborhood has been an integral part of Amsterdam for centuries and has become a symbol of tolerance and freedom. It's fascinating to learn how this neighborhood has transformed over time to its current status as an adult entertainment hub. The red light district is a testament to Amsterdam's progressive nature and liberal attitudes.

So let's be clear, the red light district of Amsterdam is not dangerous during the day but is an area to avoid late at night.

Best neighborhoods in Amsterdam

Here are the neighborhoods known to be the best in Amsterdam. And even if this notion of “best” is quite subjective and these are areas where tourists can stay in complete safety:

Grachtengordel district - The most beautiful in Amsterdam

grachtengordel is the district of canals which form a circle around the old town of Amsterdam. Developed during the 17th century, this district was rich and prosperous as evidenced by its beautiful and large residences well aligned along the canals. Note that they are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jordaan district - Chic and bourgeois

In the 17th century, this district brought together workers and the poor social classes of Amsterdam. In the 70s, following urbanization and development projects, the Jordaan district was transformed. Today, it has become a chic and bourgeois district which has preserved magnificent typical streets among the most beautiful in Amsterdam.

Oud-Zuid district - Elegant and residential

This elegant and residential area is very pleasant to live in and attracts many upscale families. To the south of this district is the business district but also the main shopping street of Beethovenstraat (major shopping center in Amsterdam).

It is in this district that the “museum district” is located.

The Museum Quarter

The Museumkwartier district (museum district) is a very small part of the Oud-Zuid district.

Very quiet, this district brings together around the Museumplein, the most beautiful museums in Amsterdam: the Rijksmuseum  and  Van Gogh Museum. It is also the district of luxury shopping especially at PC Hooftstraat street level.

Where to stay in Amsterdam to visit on foot?

With my experience (but I won't tell you my age), I know that staying near tourist sites is more practical, more pleasant and saves a lot of time. When doing a city tour, the ideal is to stay as close as possible to the sites to visit while prioritizing safety of course.

The choice of the district is therefore essential to be able to visit Amsterdam on foot.

Here are the 2 safe neighborhoods ideally located to do everything on foot:

Binnenstad district - The best location for visiting Amsterdam

This district is the historic center of Amsterdam. It is the best located district for visiting Amsterdam on foot and it is safe!

Indeed, you will find there:

  • Dam Square,
  • le Red light district (to be avoided when staying there),
  • la central Station (practical for going to discover the villages Zaanse Schans and its mills and Brands),
  • the famous flower market,
  • and the majority of monuments and museums to visit.

Moreover, it is around Dam Square that the large luxury hotels are concentrated.

Grachtengorde district - Amsterdam's most romantic

If you want to be close to tourist sites but in a romantic and typical Amsterdam setting, I advise you to stay at the Grachtengorde. As presented above, this Boucle des Canaux district is (to my taste) the most beautiful part of town. Canals, small bridges, café terraces ...

But it is also the area where the Anne Frank House, the Villet Holthuysen Museum and the Barge Museum are located. You will also find many shops, bars and restaurants here. A great place for tourists!

Where to stay in Amsterdam to visit on foot: Good plan

In the area best located to visit, right next to the train station, I found a small hotel that was very modest but with a very good value for money for Amsterdam:

See also my Amsterdam tips

Best hotel in Amsterdam

If you want to treat yourself, here is a very upscale hotel which is a safe bet and very well placed to visit on foot: Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam 

Another city tour?

here's how visit Venice in 1 day

visit Florence on foot

Rome in 1 day

ou Paris in 2 days

9 thoughts on “Neighborhoods to avoid and best neighborhoods in Amsterdam”

  1. Hi,

    I wouldn't particular advice to 'avoid' Amstel III Bullewijk. It may seem a bit scary at night due to the plot residential area, but the area improved a lot since the construction and I WOULD reccomand going to this area! It is very central and there are a lot of cultural experiences to visit. For tourists, I would consider it as an overall safe place.

    Coming from someone who lives close to Bullewijk.

    Kind regards

    1. Hello and thank you for your comment. I am posting it because it is interesting to have the opinion and advice of a local resident.

  2. Also, the Prinsengracht is part of and typical for the Grachtengordel, your top pick for Best Areas. Not saying you're contradicting yourself, but there's at least a bit of a paradox there

  3. Hello,

    Regarding Amsterdam-Zuid, there are actually quite a few dangerous or unsavory corners. Especially Apollobuurt and Stadionbuurt, the most important neighborhoods for drug trafficking and serious crime (big incidents during Morocco matches, also for example). Schinkelbuurt is also not very engaging.

    Conversely, Bijlmermeer has changed enormously over the past ten years. This district is very popular with students and young professionals thanks to the lower (relative) cost of real estate.

    We could add in the neighborhoods to avoid Geuzenveld and Bos en Lommer.


    1. Good morning,
      per cortesia vorrei sapere cosa ne thinking of the neighborhood in the south east of Amsterdam che si chiama
      K-buurt Zuidwest, this is a safe zone and is recommended for university students.
      Thank you.

  4. Ping: Bangkok a dangerous city? Neighborhoods to avoid and best neighborhood to stay

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