The country's hotels, B&Bs and hostels provide any traveller – backpacker or five-star aficionado – with choice. If you’re visiting in high season (especially August) or during a big event, reserve ahead.
- B&Bs Very common in the countryside, and increasingly popular in towns and cities where townhouses are converted into B&Bs, some with automatic check-in.
- Camping Camp sites range from wild and remote, to larger sites with luxury tents to rent and ample facilities.
- Hostels Newer hostels are design-driven, with dorms and private single/double rooms.
- Hotels Hotels embrace every budget. The bulk are standard and highly functional, but a few are boutique.
Bed-and-breakfasts are an excellent way to meet the friendly locals face to face, and to see the weird, the wacky and the wonderful interior designs of the Dutch first-hand. While they're not abundant in cities, the countryside is awash with them. Local tourist offices keep a list of B&Bs on file; count on between €70 and €100 for a double.
The Dutch are avid campers, even within their own country. Campgrounds range from wild and remote, often with stunning sea views, as is invariably the case on the Frisian Islands, to self-contained communities with shops, cafes, playgrounds and swimming pools. Lists of sites with ratings (one to five stars) are available from tourist offices.
A camp site, which costs anything from €10 to €20, covers two people and a small tent; a car is an extra €2 to €6. Caravans are popular and there are oodles of hook-ups.
Simple bungalows, wooden cabins or luxury tents with shared bathroom facilities are also an option at many campgrounds.
Affiliated with Hostelling International (HI), the Dutch hostel association goes by the banner of Stayokay (www.stayokay.com). Most offer a good variety of rooms. Facilities tend to be impressive, with newly built hostels common. Some, such as Rotterdam's Stayokay, are in landmark buildings. Not all hostels offer guests use of a shared kitchen; if this is a priority, check before booking.
Almost all Stayokay hostels and most indie hostels have dorm rooms that sleep eight or more people, as well as private rooms for one to four people. Nightly rates normally range from €20 to €30 per person for dorm beds and from €60 for private rooms. Book ahead, especially in high season.
Amsterdam has scores of indie hostels (some cutting-edge, some shambolic, some party central filled with high jinks and stoners), and there's an increasing number appearing around the rest of the country. In small towns and outside the main tourist areas, hostel accommodation is scarce.
Any hotel with more than 20 rooms is considered large, and rooms tend to be on the snug side. You’ll see a ‘star’ plaque on the front of every hotel, indicating its rating according to the Nederlandse Hotel Classificatie (NHC; national hotel classification system). The stars (from one to five) are awarded according to certain facilities, rather than quality. This means that a two-star hotel may be in better condition than a hotel of higher rank, albeit with fewer facilities.
Wi-fi is nearly universal across the hotel spectrum, but air-conditioning and elevators are not. Be prepared for very steep stairs.
- Top End Expect elevators, minibars, Nespresso coffee machine and room service. At the top of top end, facilities such as air-conditioning and fitness centres are par for the course. Breakfast is often not included.
- Midrange Most hotels in this category are big on comfort, low on formality and small enough to offer personal attention. Rooms usually have a toilet and shower, and a TV and phone. Not many hotels in this category over two storeys have lifts, and their narrow stairwells can take some getting used to, especially with luggage. Rates typically include breakfast.
- Budget Lodgings in the lowest price bracket, other than hostels, are thin on the ground. The better options tend to be spick and span with furnishings that are, at best, cheap and cheerful. Rates often include breakfast.
Renting a property for a few days can be a fun part of a trip. In Amsterdam it gets you a kitchen and other amenities that make coming 'home' after a hard day having fun that much nicer, while out in the countryside it can provide your own retreat. Rentals are often priced competitively with hotels, which offer less in the way of facilities and space.