Where to stay in Leiden for first time: 2 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Leiden as a first-timer can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Leiden for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Leiden for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and things to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Leiden and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Leiden is a vibrant cultural center with museums, galleries, and festivals, attracting visitors from around the world. The city is located in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is known for its rich history, beautiful canals, and well-preserved historic architecture. 

Leiden is home to one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands, Leiden University, which was founded in 1575 by William, Prince of Orange. The city also played a significant role in the Dutch Golden Age, particularly in the fields of science, art, and commerce. 

Notable figures associated with Leiden include Rembrandt van Rijn, who was born there, and the Pilgrims, who lived in the city before embarking on their journey to America on the Mayflower.

Is Leiden safe to visit?

Yes, Leiden is overall a safe place to visit. Most areas are generally safe, there are no bad areas, but I always advise you to take common sense wherever you go to ensure a safe trip. These include staying aware of your surroundings, avoiding poorly lit areas at night, and safeguarding your belongings.

Where to stay in Leiden for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Leiden for first-timers and tourists are Leiden City Center and Near Leiden Centraal. The city is small, so you can easily explore attractions no matter where you stay.

Leiden City Center is the heart of Leiden, characterized by picturesque canals, historic buildings, charming streets, and bustling squares. Staying here puts you within walking distance of most attractions, restaurants, cafes, and shops.

If you prefer easy access to transportation links, staying close to Leiden Central Station is a good option. It’s a short walk or bike ride from the city center, and you’ll have convenient connections to other cities like Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam.

During my trip to Leiden, I stayed at the Boutique Hotel Steenhof Suites – Adults Only. It was a good hotel in the middle of the city, close to everything. It is near the Saturday and Wednesday markets, and some good restaurants on the canals. Just be mindful that the staircase can be challenging if you have heavy luggage to carry to your room. This is normal in the historic building in Leiden.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Leiden for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Leiden first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Leiden first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Leiden, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Leiden have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

2 Best areas to stay in Leiden for first-timers and tourists:

1. Leiden City Center

Leiden’s historic center is the best area to stay in Leiden for first-time visitors. It is a charming area renowned for its rich history, picturesque canals, and well-preserved architecture. 

Much like Amsterdam, Leiden boasts beautiful canals that wind their way through the city center. You can take a leisurely stroll along these canals, enjoy scenic views and relax at waterside cafes.

The city is home to several historic windmills, such as the Molen de Valk (Falcon Mill), which now houses a museum showcasing the history of windmills and milling techniques.

The city center is home to Leiden University. Founded in 1575, Leiden University is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. Its historic buildings, including the Academy Building, are scattered throughout the city center and add to the area’s scholarly atmosphere.

You can vist the 14th century Gothic-style Pieterskerk (St. Peter’s Church), and admire its impressive architecture and beautiful stained glass windows. It’s also the burial place of several important figures, including the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed to America on the Mayflower.

Leiden is home to several museums, including the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities), which houses a vast collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

The Hortus botanicus Leiden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, dating back to 1590. It’s a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, featuring a wide variety of plant species from around the globe.

Wandering through the streets of the historic center, you’ll encounter a wealth of beautifully preserved buildings dating back centuries. The city’s architecture reflects various styles, including Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque.

Best places to stay in Leiden Old Town for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): Boutique Hotel Huys van Leyden, 4-star boutique hotel in a historical building, located right next to Oude Singel canal  and within walking distance to the well preserved old town, Pieterskerk, and the Castle de Burcht. The hotel has exceptional breakfast, and limited private parking. Just be mindful that you need to reach rooms and apartments via stairs and there is no lift.

Mid-range ($$): NR22 Leiden, 4-star bed and breakfast in the heart of Leiden, close to the local farmers market, held twice a week. It can be a bit noisy at night due to its central location. You can easily explore this lively university city on foot. The rooms with views of the canal are spacious and comfortable, with a great bathroom. 

Mid-range ($$): City Hotel Rembrandt, 3-star accommodation in the historic center of Leiden, close to everything, within walking distance from museums, the main shopping street, and Central Station. Also close to The university and the Rapenburg canal. The hotel has an Elevator, which is a bonus as many hotels in Leiden don’t have this facility. 

Mid-range ($$): Boutique Hotel d’Oude Morsch, great accommodation in Leiden located close to the city center, train/bus station. Within walking distance to the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, and the International Institute for Asian Studies. It has exceptional breakfast and comfy rooms. They have Bike hire and car hire services, which is convenient for cycling.

Mid-range ($$): Boutique Hotel Steenhof Suites – Adults Only, good value for money accommodation for couples and adults in central Leiden, featuring comfortable air-conditioning rooms with modern bathrooms. Close to bars and restaurants. Because this is a historic building there is no elevator and spiral staircase can be challenging for some people.

Mid-range ($$): Breathe Hotel Leiden, great hotel located in the quiet and picturesque area of Leiden, featuring air-conditioned rooms with a desk, and a small kitchen with fridge and microwave.


2. Near Leiden Centraal

Leiden Centraal Station is the main railway station in the city of Leiden, Netherlands. It’s a bustling transportation hub connecting various parts of the Netherlands and beyond. The station serves both regional and intercity trains, making it an essential node in the Dutch railway network. 

Leiden Centraal Station underwent significant renovations in recent years, enhancing its facilities and modernizing its infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of passengers and improve the overall travel experience.

Best places to stay in Leiden Near Leiden Centraal:

Mid-range ($$): Poelgeeststraat, great self catering apartment located in a quiet area, within a short walking distance from the main train station and the historic center. Accommodation comes with a bedroom, a living room and an equipped kitchen. 

Mid-range ($$): Hotel VIC, 4-star hotel set in a nice location close to the train station and the old town. 20 mins train ride from Schiphol Airport. Guest rooms have easily controllable air conditioning.

Mid-range ($$): B&B Hart van Leiden, good value for money old-style hotel in the city center of Leiden, easy access to the train station.  Easy walking to all major locations and attractions. Rooms have great views of the canal.


In conclusion, Leiden City Center and the area around Leiden Centraal Station are the best places to stay in Leden for first-timers and tourists. These areas are generally safe and provide a variety of accommodations for visitors to stay and explore the city.

You can continue reading about the Netherlands in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Leiden. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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