The historical Dutch Zaanse-style architecture in Zaandam is a must-see, with its storybook-like buildings. The pace of life in this northern nook of the Netherlands is laid-back, creative and friendly. Hotels, bars and restaurants dot the banks of the River Zaan – a hub for swimming, fishing and boating – and it’s a stone’s throw from all the action in Amsterdam. Here’s our eclectic mix of the best hotels in Zaandam so that you can get in the swing of local life.
Ever wanted to sleep under the label of a giant advertisement for cocoa powder? Book one of the Taste Deluxe Rooms at this hotel for your chance (the city’s known for its chocolate). Firmly connected to its roots, this four-star property made up of a crazy storybook-style stacking of various traditional houses – the Dutch Zaanse style – is modern, quirky and takes pride in reflecting the rich history of the region. It only uses traditional products – hot chocolate included – and local craftspeople. The wellness club here offers the opportunity to wind down in the Finnish sauna or Turkish steam bath or while away an hour with a massage.
The Zaan Hotel in Zaandam is a short train ride away from Amsterdam, offering you access to all the canal-based action of the big city but with the comfort and convenience of a quieter town. The architecture is in keeping with the 17th-century Zaanse building style, and the rooms feel Scandi-luxe, with soft plush furnishings, romantic muted tones and sultry lighting. The on-site Brasserie Tsar serves a delicious organic breakfast buffet and à la carte dinner.
This stylish boutique hotel sits in the centre of Zaandam on Dam Square. Manzo’s has 10 rooms, with warm Loft Suites at the back of the hotel and the dark and moody City Suites at the front, each with a king-size bed with 300-thread-count cotton bed linen, a sunken bathtub and a large smart TV. Pop down to the hotel restaurant, Manzo’s Bar & Bistro, for lunch or dinner and a drink.
Waking up here will feel like opening your eyes inside a box of Dutch souvenirs. From the window, you’ll see colour-blocked old Dutch 17th-century buildings, a working windmill and the River Zaan, with plenty of distant meadows. The owner, Sharon, has the rooms done up in a way that’s authentic but also modern and comfortable. You can be in Amsterdam in 15 minutes via train. Breakfast is included.
This B&B trades on “small-town hospitality”, which is evident in the friendly service and charmingly chintz decor. Sitting along the River Zaan in the middle of the Zaanstreek, it’s still only a short train ride into Amsterdam and 2km (1mi) from a lively area of shops and eateries. Take advantage of being close to the water with some swimming, boating and fishing. It’s also possible to rent bicycles for €5 per day at the hotel. The lounge has an open fire, a blissful place to end a busy day of sightseeing.
To give you an idea of how big this juggernaut of a hotel is, it has 13 conference rooms and 143 luxury rooms, along with a wellness centre on the sixth floor, complete with a swimming pool, sauna and gym. There’s also a decent restaurant and bar. Van der Valk Hotel Oostzaan is both fancy and functional, and the staff at the front desk are very friendly and helpful.
You’ll feel like you’re staying in a design showroom at Boutique Hotel No 43, as the interiors are stylish, with plenty of potted plants, ’60s vintage-inspired furniture and flashes of gold. The building sits on Stationsstraat near the Zaanse Schans windmill-dominant neighbourhood, and you can reach all sights in the Zaanstreek and cute local restaurants with ease. This hotel is a self-check-in operation so that you have full freedom, but the hosts are happy to reveal their hidden gems should you need some direction.
It might look like a family home from the outside, but De Oude Slaght packs a style punch with its industrial-chic interiors, including exposed brick walls, Edison light bulbs and vertical gardens in the rooms. The building was once the office of the municipal slaughterhouse of Zaandam, built in 1934 by the Zaanse architect Jan Schipper. The leafy garden is a modern sanctuary with a hot tub, a sauna and loungers. Hosts Gabrielle and Hille will take good care of you.
This house can sleep up to four people, and Joan, the owner who lives in the main house, will serve you a tasty breakfast and help you find your way for the day. It sits close to the centre of Zaandam and is only 25 minutes by train into Amsterdam. The old-school record player is a major draw, with an impressive selection of vinyl. There’s also a lovely garden in the back.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.