My Current Favorite Hostels in Europe

The last time I wrote about great hostels in Europe was in 2011, and since then, I’ve stayed in many, many new hostels. Some were wonderful, others I couldn’t leave quick enough. Hosteling is very popular and established in Europe, and there’s a growing “luxury” hostel trend that incorporates more amenities (and higher prices) for travelers. Since hostels come and go and quality can change rapidly, I thought my 2011 post needed an update. Here are what I currently consider to be some of the best hostels in Europe:

(Note: The hostels on my old list are still solid and I’ve included some in this list.)

Generator Hostels
Bar at Generator Hostel Dublin
The Generator is a hostel chain with locations throughout Europe; I’ve stayed in two of their locations—Copenhagen and Dublin—and loved both. The hostels have great bars and restaurants, clean showers, comfortable beds, laundry services, and highly competitive rates (10 euros a night in Dublin!). My only complaints are that the Wi-Fi is often slow and they charge for breakfast, but having stayed in two of their locations, I’d surely stay in others. (They also have karaoke at their Copenhagen location.)

City Backpackers
Outdoor Lounge at City Backpackers in Stockholm
I stayed here years ago and recently returned when my tour group was in Stockholm. The place was just as amazing as I remember. They still have a very nice café and an outdoor eating/sitting area. Their beds and pillows are still super cozy and comfortable, plus they have a huge kitchen, common room, sauna, and laundry facilities. And you can’t turn a corner without bumping into a public computer. City Backpackers was and still is one of the top hostels in Europe.

St. Christopher’s Barcelona
Dorm room in St. Christopher’s Barcelona
Located right near La Ramblas, everything about this place is brand new since the hostel just opened in the summer of 2013. I really love the curtains on the dorm beds and the gigantic bar/outdoor area next to the hostel. In general, I really like the St. Christopher’s brand. They offer fun, clean, sociable, and modern hostels all over Europe.

The Flying Pig Amsterdam
Bar at the Flying Pig Amsterdam
This is still one of my all-time favorite hostels. The facilities here are standard and the price 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 with people who don’t want to get high. The staff here is what really makes this place special. They hang out with guests, are experts on the city, and are always helpful. Moreover, this hostel has some of the comfiest beds and fluffiest pillows of any hostel I’ve ever stayed at. The Flying Pig has two locations in the city, and I prefer the uptown location because it’s smaller and easier to meet people.

The folks behind the Flying Pig also run Winston’s, which is another hostel. That place has a great bar and is next to a rock club that showcases a lot of good local musicians. Tell Allen I say “hi!”

Goodnight Hostel
Common room at Goodnight Hostel in Lisbon
I stumbled across this hostel in Lisbon (mostly because they were super cheap), and I’m really glad I did. Conveniently located downtown, they offer free dinner and sangria, and they organize nights out. There’s a small common area, and the showers had amazing water pressure. This small hostel becomes very intimate and makes it easy to meet fellow travelers. This was one of the best hostels I stayed at during 2013. They have a sister hostel called Goodmorning Hostel, which I can only assume is just as good.

Skanstull Stockholm
Entrance of Skanstull Stockholm
My second favorite hostel in Stockholm after City Backpackers, this place was remodeled in 2013 and has a brand-new, larger kitchen and common area. They really did a good job, and the kitchen is one of the nicest I’ve seen in a hostel in a long, long time. The hostel is quite small overall, but that provides a close-knit setting for getting to know other travelers.

Gallery Hostel
Luxury lobby of Gallery Hostel in Porto, Portugal
This “luxury” hostel in Porto, Portugal is probably one of the best I’ve ever stayed in and is definitely a new addition to my “all-time favorite” list. It’s not the cheapest in Porto, but this hostel/art gallery features home-cooked Portuguese food, a backyard, free after-dinner drinks, a game room, and friendly staff committed to making sure everyone gets to know each other. The art on the walls is from local artists and is for sale (for those not traveling on a budget). I loved the nightly dinners they organized the best.

Hostel Mostel
Common room in Hostel Mostel in Bulgaria
This hostel has locations in three cities in Bulgaria (Sofia, Plovdiv, and Veliko Tarnovo), and they all follow the same principles: comfy beds, free breakfast, free dinner, free beer, free shots, a pool table, and free, fast Wi-Fi. I honestly haven’t ever seen a hostel offer so much free stuff to travelers. Usually everyone stays at all the Hostel Mostel locations, so you run into the same people frequently. I found them booked up a lot, so book in advance if you want to stay here.

So there you have it—my current favorite list of hostels in Europe. Hostels on the old lists (list one, list two) are still wonderful, but consider these too when you next roam Europe. And if you’re looking for even more value for your money, read my guide on how to find cheap accommodation.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. Diogo

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!)

  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. Lofome

    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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. Merrill

    Hi Matt,

    I’m planning a trip to Budapest and have searched both and for the Aboriginal hostel, but cannot find it. Is it possible that it changed names? If so, any idea what it changed to?

    Thanks for the great hostel recommendations!!

  27. Noelle Brah

    The Generator in Copenhagen has been one of my favorites as well (minus no breakfast)! Also really enjoyed the Flying Pig hostel in Amsterdam. Glad to know that you found these places worthy as well!

Leave a Comment