My Current Favorite Hostels in Europe

By Nomadic Matt | Published January 9th, 2014

During four years of European travel, I’ve stayed at more hostels than I can think of. Ones I won’t ever remember, ones I wish I wouldn’t remember, and ones I wish I could stay at forever. I love hosteling. I’d never want to stay at a hotel as I find hostels great value and easy places to meet people. Here are my favorite places to rest my head when I go to Europe:

Kabul (Barcelona, Spain)
Kabul Hostel in Barcelona, Spain is awesome
Kabul is tied for first with The Flying Pig (see next hostel) and attracts people who want to go out. This isn’t a quiet hostel where people go to bed. The dorms are very clean, the beds comfy, and the showers high pressured. But what makes Kabul so wonderful is the downstairs common area. The common area takes up a whole floor of the building and comprises a café, bar, tables, internet kiosks, and a pool table. The hostel is always full and booked out weeks in advance, especially during summer.

The Flying Pig (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
The Flying Pig Uptown in Amsterdam
What I love about this place is the people. I guess people are important everywhere. The facilities here are standard and the price is a bit expensive, but I love the atmosphere. While this hostel is popular with travelers looking to chill and smoke, the bar area gets very busy at night too. It’s not all about smoking here. But the staff is what does it for me. They hang out with guests, are experts on the city, and will always help you. In Amsterdam, I never stay anywhere else.

Ostello Archi Rossi (Florence, Italy)
Archi Rossi hostel in Florence, Italy
They had me at breakfast. I’ve never been to a hostel that had a menu for breakfast. This one does. You can get eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes—the works. It’s not the normal European bread-and-coffee breakfast that makes me sad in the morning. More than the food, the hostel also has character. You can sign your name or draw on the wall, their kitchen is a size of a cafeteria, and they have a great outdoor garden. And did I mention they have a full breakfast?

Aboriginal (Budapest, Hungary)
The Aboriginal Hostel has one of the best common rooms in Europe
Like the Archi Rossi, they also had me at breakfast (waffles) as well as free goulash for dinner. The place is centrally located in Budapest, has free Wi-Fi, free laundry, TV, and organizes their own nights out so everyone can meet each other. They do a lot of gatherings, making it great for a single traveler who doesn’t know anybody. The place is small, and everyone gets to know each other very well.

City Backpackers (Stockholm, Sweden)
City Backpackers is my favorite hostel in Stockholm
This is one classy establishment with a very nice café and outdoor eating area. It looks more like a trendy coffee shop than a hostel. The hostel has very comfortable beds and pillows and thick walls, making this one of the few places I’ve stayed where it’s easy to get a good sleep. This is also a great place for people who like to be connected. They have power outlets everywhere, the place is covered in Wi-Fi, and I couldn’t turn a corner without bumping into a public computer.

Francescos (Ios, Greece)
The view from Francesco's hostel on Ios
With a view like this, how could you not like this place? There’s pool, a kitchen, very clean rooms, and super comfy beds. The owners are super friendly and accommodating, the porch area is a great place to make new friends, and every night they have a hostel get together so everyone can meet people. The friendly owners who taught me Greek, the relaxed atmosphere, and the beautiful view kept me here for my time in Ios.

Wombats (Berlin, Germany)
Wombats Hostel is a great place to stay in Berlin, Germany
I think this place is a bit overpriced. Hostels in Germany are cheap, and even by European standards this hostel is still cheap, but I felt like they charged a lot because of the name. While the beds and bathrooms are pretty standard (all en suite, though!) the rooftop terrace provides great views of the city. On a nice day, it’s amazing to just go stare at Berlin.

Snuffel Backpacker Hostel (Bruges, Belgium)
Snuffel Backpacker is an awesome place to stay in Belgium
Close to the city center, this hostel is located in a very old building, which means the rooms are small. It’s also pretty inconvenient to take a shower as you have to go downstairs and then into the back courtyard. However, they have a back courtyard, free Wi-Fi, an amazing selection of Belgian beers (watch out for the 13% alcohol ones!), and bike.

Castle Rock (Edinburgh, Scotland)
A great European hostel is Castle Rock in Scotland
Located near the Royal Mile and (you guessed it) the castle, this hostel is gorgeous. The building is old, so you get beautiful wood interiors. It’s like being in an old mansion. The common area features pool tables, TV, newspapers, and free Wi-Fi.

Whenever I go back to these cities, I stay at these hostels. I’m a loyal customer, and if a hostel can impress me, I’ll tend to stay there over and over again. Traveling around, you stay in many mediocre or down right awful places. It’s nice to find a place that knows what travelers want and creates a hostel that really caters to their needs.

comments 54 Comments

Thanks for the list! We stayed at The Generator in Berlin and I have to say it wasn’t so great, although I’d heard good things about the Copenhagen one.

NomadicMatt

I think they are all good.

Very interesting post! I will definitely visit some of these extraordinary hostels on my next trip!

Thanks Matt, I’m planning a trip to Amsterdam soon so I’ll look up the Flying Pig.

Regards and happy travelling

I stayed at St Christopher’s Inn in Barcelona a few weeks ago due to an awkwardly-timed layover and was really impressed; I was afraid it would be cold and corporate but it was nice and cozy. I had no idea they opened up just this summer, but everything was, like you said, fresh and new. I also liked the curtains on the beds, which also had individual lamps and massive underbed lockers. The free breakfast buffet was healthy and substantial.

Thanks for the other recommendations—I’ll have to look into the Gallery Hostel for when I end up going to Porto.

Good call on Hostel Mostel, Sofia. Stayed a few times and have to agree it’s great; the value with all the free stuff is awesome. Haven’t stayed at the others, though, I’ll keep them in mind when I get back to Europe… Gallery hostel sounds right up my street.

I will definitely be bookmarking this for when I head over there! Fantastic to know! Thank you!

Paul

Hi Matt.

Here are four travel issues that I’d love to see posts on.

1. What are the issues around having (or not having) a US address? Taxes? Jury duty? Keeping a US driver’s license (which sometimes requires an address)?

2. What about safe keeping of stuff? For example, you go hiking in Peru for a week, so you put your laptop in… a Peruvian bank safety box?

3. How reliable is poste restante? You may want family or friends to mail you stuff, like heavier gear, that you only want to use for part of the trip.

4. How to find buddies for sharing an apartment? Forums? Dedicated web site?

My fave was the Sunflower in Berlin! Also really liked the Belford in Edinburgh. We actually stayed mostly in cheap hotels throughout Europe though – as a couple it’s often cheaper than two dorm beds.

Diogo

I’m almost 100% sure that the picture from the Goodnight Hostel is actually from the “travellers house” in Lisbon…

Annie

Was back at the Flying Pig in November after a first stay in 2013 definitely the place to stay in Amsterdam! My favorite hostel in Europe is Mosquito in Krakow but haven’t been recently.

It’s good to know information like this. As traveler, being on a budget or sticking on your budget is a must. These hostels are cheap yet looks great too. Will consider this hostels when traveling to Europe this fall. Thanks

Hi Matt,
Have you travelled in Alesund and Bergen in Norway – if so can you suggest any great places to visit or things to do?
Thank you
janice

NomadicMatt

Been to both. There are articles on the site about them both. Just do a search. :)

I have to say, I’ve never been overly impressed with hostels in Europe but maybe I’ve just been to the wrong places!

MarkPhx

Yay! We’ve stayed in 3 on your top list!
Generator in Copenhagen is worth a stay just for the bar, so much fun we would cut our siteseeing short just so we could spend more time in the bar. Drinks are cheap (especially for Copenhagen) and awesome bartenders. Very fun! Felt secure with key cards to get into the building, elevator, and each floor.
City Backpackers in Stockholm was great. Very nice kitchen and sitting room downstairs, as well as comfy couches in open air courtyard upstairs. I liked the idea of everyone taking their shoes off. We got a double room and it was quiet and private. SOOO convenient and walking distance to train station.
Flying Pig in Amsterdam, not one of our favs. Even for Amsterdam seemed real druggy. Now always spring for a quiet BandB when in Amsterdam.
I’m going to try and book your suggestions for Portugal and Spain for our next trip this spring.
Thanks Matt!

I like hostel reviews. Hostels get vibes and personalities like major cities….

My two favs ever are Plus Florence & SafeStay London.

NomadicMatt

I hear Plus is great. I’m going to stay with them in Berlin.

Leigh

I just stayed at Skanstulls! Was a good little hostel and I agree, the kitchen is top notch and great for meeting fellow travellers!

Considering that I’m making steady progress at building an online income, traveling in Europe is quickly becoming a feasible reality for me … thanks for these excellent suggestions (10 Euro to stay in Dublin = amazing!)

andy

Matt – thanks for this – another great post. My favourite hostel from a visit in 2010 has to be Haris Youth Hostel, Sarajevo. Haris the owner is brilliant and he set the tone beautifully for the most relaxed hostel you can imagine. When I visited with my 12 year old son (yes 12) we just fitted in perfectly with ALL the guests – the atmosphere is great, the trips Haris arranges are excellent value and Sarajevo is a fascinating place to visit. Must take my wife next time. (PS Don’t let the location of the hostel put you off. They can arrange lifts with you and your heavy backpack and after a day or so you really do get used to the walk up) Just go to Sarajevo – just book in at Haris YH

Clay

Thanks for the great post! I really enjoyed it.

Hi Matt,

Please notice that the photo ilustrating Goodnight Hostel is from another amazing hostel called Travellers House.

Thanks for the list.
Filipe

Well, I guess you went to 5 star hostels because they look amazing. All I know hostel is a place where rats and cockroaches are having party all day

Rachel

Hey Matt, I stumbled across your website and it’s been really useful for me- I’m planning on travelling during my gap year and am saving up for it. My original plan was just going to be a month teaching English in South America, a month in New Zealand and Australia (I have family and friends in both countries) and then travelling Europe (I have friends in Berlin, Salzburg and France but apart from that it’s hostels). However, I’ve recently become enamoured with the idea of seeing some more of South America and Asia and I know I won’t be able to fit it in- what do you recommend? I’ve got a year and a bit to go but I need to start looking at aeroplane tickets, etc. Are there any places you would recommend as must see?
Any advice would be much appreciated!

NomadicMatt

Shoot me an e-mail ([email protected]) and let’s chat!

I also like Generators Hostels, especially the one in Copenhagen. Centrally located and incredibly large common rooms, including a movie room!

I stayed at St Christopher’s in Paris. It was a great hostel with a curtain on your bunk bed and spacious rooms. I really Plus Hostels too as they all have a pool and sauna and a girls section too.

Suzanne

I really like the St. Christopher’s chains, they’re always clean and its nice to have a bed with a curtain and its own charging port built into it. Sometimes having the Belushi’s bar attached can be more of a hassle then a blessing. Since its also the common area in some locations, it can get crowded when locals come in for sporting events. Overall though, a great brand to stay with. That being said, my all time favorite is still Carpe Noctem Vitae in Budapest. Its the best of the BPH network and though its not high tech or fancy, the staff are phenomenal and make you instantly feel part of the family. I extended to stay there just for the Thanksgiving holiday and I still regret not hanging around Europe long enough to return there for their amazing week of Christmas shenanigans. Best place to celebrate the holidays if you can’t be with your actual family.

NomadicMatt

I agree with you. I like the bar but sometimes it’s a hassle. That being said, the hostel itself is wonderful.

I love the hostel The Flying Pig in Amsterdam.
The hostel is great and I met so many amazing people there.

The St Christopher’s in Prague is awesome. It’s half hotel, half hostel. Great bathroom facilities and a pretty cool bar that often has live music. I’ve stayed there at least 10 times, love it!

Hostel Mostel sounds awesome! I won’t mind if they charge a little more than the other hostels, because to not to think of what to eat is a huge deal.. plus to hang around with people who loves to get drunk and have a good time without leaving your place.. that’s just amazing.

NomadicMatt

It’s a great place! Stay there if you get a chance!

Goodnight Hostel perfect hostel in Lisbon.I have been here with my friends last year.Hostel is nestled in the very heart of Lisbon, close to supermarket. Hostel offers spotless facilities with designer bathrooms, clean bedrooms and lockers in each room.You can enjoy the tasty pancakes during the free breakfast which lasts for four hours

Daichovo

Hostel Mostel! Another vote there. Cool vibe, nice rooms. It’s in a huge building that formerly was an inn. They also give you free breakfast and dinner and a beer for the real cheapskate.

Colleen

Any tips on options in Greece? Athens or Corfu would be helpful. I’m planning a trip in April and want to find the best spots for a great trip.

Personally I’m more a fan of smaller and independent hostels instead of the chain hostels. My choice of hostel also depends on my reason for a visit. If I want to have a great time and meet other travellers, I visit more the backpackers hostels. If I want to spoil myself in some luxury than I choose a boutique hostel.

Luckily there are more good hostels around in the cities in Europe. And I do have a list of my favorites per city but new tips are always welcome. So thanks Matt!

jvl

Do you have a list of boutique hostels in Europe offering single rooms preferably with en suite facilities? Thanks. JVL

Everytime I enter this website, it looks different, do you make changes or somehow its because of my adblock?

NomadicMatt

I haven’t changed the layout in a long time!

Didn’t know it was possible to still find a good hostel anywhere in Europe for 10 Euros a night – great to hear. Speaking of great to here, did you say SAUNA at City Backpackers?!

NomadicMatt

Yes, yes I did :)

Hannah Cavaciuti

These are so useful! especially need to go to Generator in Dublin 10 Euros a night is amazing.
Just wondering what you would recommend in Paris? The cheaper accommodation always turns out so sleazy, but i’m going for a few days next month with a few girls on a tight budget so any recommendations would be great.

What a great list! Your choices of favorite hostels in Europe is hard to beat, they all look great. I’ll be saving this list for future reference, thanks!

Great list, heard all good things about many of the hostels listed. Lisbon hostels have to be the best in the world though, hard to choose a place to stay there with so much great competition!

Hi Matt thanks for the list, I really love the gallery hostel, I’ve never been to Portugal before but I will add that one on my list for sure.

Just returned from a trip around Europe, didn’t stay at any of these, although I did stay at Interhostel which you mentioned in your article about Sweden on a budget, which was pretty nice. Would also recommend Times Hostel- Camden Place in Dublin and Sant Jordi- Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, have you stayed at any of the times hostel or sant jordi chains?

Really appreciate your articles by the way, have been super helpful in gaining perspective, encouraging wanderlust, and planning trips!

coffeecream

great list !!! thanks matt.

Fantastic list! Just disappointed I didn’t learn of Hostel Mostel when I was in Sofia last year – always next time :)

Next time you’re in Munich, check out The Tent Munich – it’s my all time favourite hostel; it’s only open during summer and the Oktoberfest period.

I think all the Hostels up here are good!

Jeremy

I have travelled extensively and stayed at many hotels and hostels. Highly reccomended Levitt Smart Hostel, Sofia .it’s like everything at that hostel took a perfect pill. It was in the heart of Sofia,cleanliness of that hostel was outstanding.Great bar. Amazing location a lot of things are near by like restaurants, bars and all tourist attraction. There is no a human reception- only a robot speaks many languages and use facial and biometric recognation to protect the guests .Also you can access hostel doors by smartphone. There was nothing I didn’t like.

Hannah Goldman

I had a amazing stay in Levitt Hostel and made great friends from all over the world. Amazing location, cleanless and comfortable beds. Amazing Wifi – there are four networks highest quality Wifi. Highly recommended

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