My Favorite Hostels in Europe

During 4 years of European travel, I’ve stayed at more hostels than I can count. 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. They are a wonderful way to meet other travelers, stay somewhere for cheap, get the lay of the land, and, overall, have a fun travel experience. A good hostel can be as memorable as the city you are visiting.

Below is a list of my favorite hostels in Europe:

(Update 2015: All these hostels are still my favorite. See the bottom of this post for additional resources.)

Kabul (Barcelona, Spain)
Kabul Hostel in Barcelona Spain
Kabul is tied with The Flying Pig (see next hostel) as my favorite hostel in Europe. It attracts travelers who are looking for a good time. This isn’t a quiet hostel where people go to bed. If you come to hostel, be prepared to party. They have a lively common room area and organize nightly outings. The dorms are very clean, the beds comfy, and the showers high pressure. 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. Here travelers eat, play pool, drink, and hang out – and the people here want to hang out. It’s a good hostel for a solo traveler because everyone here wants to make friends. The hostel is booked out weeks in advance, especially during summer, so don’t book last minute!

The Flying Pig (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
The Flying Pig Uptown in Amsterdam
What I love about this place is the people. The facilities here are standard (though they have some of the best pillows I’ve ever put my head on) and the hostel is on the expensive side but I love the atmosphere here. 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 are always happy and helpful. 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. 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. It’s a full on hearty breakfast! More than the food, the hostel 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 where you can kick back with a bottle of wine! And did I mention they have a full breakfast?

City Backpackers (Stockholm, Sweden)
city backpackers stockholm
This is one classy hostel with an incredible café and outdoor eating area. The hostel has very comfortable beds, pillows, thick walls so you don’t hear your noisy neighbors. I always get a good night’s sleep here. They also have power outlets everywhere, the place is covered in wifi, and I couldn’t turn a corner without bumping into a public computer. Moreover, there is laundry, a huge common room, and a sauna. It’s pretty much the perfect place!

Francescos (Ios, Greece)
francesco's hostel view in ios
With a view like this, how could you not like this place? There’s a pool here, kitchen, very clean rooms, and 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 (free shot included). They also organize pub crawls (because it’s Ios and everyone comes here to party). It’s also the most centrally located hostel on the island so it’s easy to stumble walk home.

Wombats (Berlin, Germany)
Kabul Hostel in Barcelona Spain
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. However, while the beds and bathrooms are pretty standard (all ensuite 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)
Kabul Hostel in Barcelona Spain
Close to the city center, this hostel is located in a very old building which means the rooms are small and it’s 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 Belgium beers (watch out for the 13% alcohol ones!), and bikes.

Castle Rock (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Kabul Hostel in Barcelona Spain
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, stone staircases, and a very “old” royal feel. It’s like being in an old mansion. The common area features pool tables, T.V., newspapers, and free wi-fi. They organize events, dinners, and the staff is really nice.

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 who knows what travelers like and want and creates a hostel that really caters to their needs.

Since I wrote this post, I’ve stayed in a lot of other hostels. Here are more of my favorite hostels in Europe:
More great hostels in Europe
Best hostels in Europe, part 3

  1. I have never stayed at a hostel, unless you count guest houses in Thailand or Bali. Since I am married the cost for two in a hostel gets pretty close to a hotel room.

    However, it would be great to hook up with fellow travellers more often. We will be in Amsterdam in a few weeks so maybe we will give the Flying Pig a try. Anyone else going to be there?

    • SamB

      Even though staying in a hostel with both the hubs and I can sometimes rival the cost of a hotel, we always stay in them anyway, if only to meet other like-minded people. In a hostel it seems it is never a gamble to strike up a conversation with someone over breakfast, or anywhere for that matter. In hotels it’s considerably less sure that someone you’re interested in talking to is equally as interested in talking back.

      Plus, if your plans aren’t set in stone, hostels are a great way to find someone who has just come from the city you’re thinking of visiting next. Since you’re not likely to find people in hostels who are travelling for business, imho you’re far more likely to find people who are excited to share recommendations and tips for budget tourists, pretty much anywhere you want to go…

  2. Francesco’s in Ios is an awesome awesome hostel – I stayed there in 2005 when I was traveling through the Geek Islands. I was actually just in Ios two weeks ago, but we stayed at Far Out Beach Resort this time.

  3. Stayed in the one in Stockholm, was a great hostel!

    Will look to stay in the one in Budapest for my two week European trip :)


  4. Snuffel is great – especially their tour of Bruges. Not only do you learn the semi-factual/hilarious history of the town, but the tour is followed by a healthy pint at the end!

  5. Erika

    Do you have any certain hostels in Paris that are better than others? Last time I went to Paris I didn’t stay in a hostel.

    And thanks for the recommendation for Amsterdam, I’ll hopefully be staying there!

  6. Joe

    Hi, do you have any hotel recommendations in Southern Europe like Portugal, Malta, or southern Spain? Thanks a lot! Of yeah good choice on the Flying Pig!

  7. James

    “Hello BCN” in Barcelona is an awesome hostel with a cool staff and very clean and decent rooms. Fairly priced and they have an awesome common room and very good cheap Sangrias.

    Also @NomadicMatt, did you ever stay in Cats Hostel in Madrid? I thought it was an awesome place with a superb bar downstairs, great organized bar crawls and great location.

  8. harvey

    Australian Aboriginal in Hungary … huh!!?? that’s as strange as the Downunder restaurant with full Australian outback decoration I came accross in Dresden. very funny.

  9. wish i was still travelling

    Great list stayed in most of these! Should add Hostel 99 in Cesky Krumlov… there is just something about that place!

    • travler

      hostel 99 was amazing, we wishedd we could stay longer, one of those plaves with a great vibe!
      also loved the flying pig, and missed wombats in berlin, but munich was pretty good, and there recently built one in vienna is amazing, standard pricing, all rooms with clean ensuites, great common areas!

  10. In 1997 I stayed at a hostel in Budapest that had a bar that was open 23 1/2 hours a day. It closed from 5:00 am to 5:30 am to count the cash. That half hour was nothing but despair and violence as drunks stumbled and screamed for more alcohol. It was an amazing place for a young single traveller. I met a beautiful girl named Ildiko Nagy. I spent a week with her and still think about her from time to time. But the week I spent in that hostel was pure fun. And I arrived by accident. I just got off the train because I was disoriented and didn’t know where the hell we were going. Spontaneity makes the best travel. Trust fate. Bizarre travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. And Ildiko, if you read this, will you marry me?

  11. Laura

    Good list my top 8 so far have been

    Flying pig beach hostel – noordvijk
    Hi 5 – Budapest
    Hostel mostel – veliko ternovo ( Bulgaria)
    Hostel aloha – Berlin
    Green studio and lounge – Belgrade
    Buffalo backpackers – pristina
    Dubrovnik backpackers – Dubrovnik
    Old town hostel – koror

  12. I’m travelling Europe right now and just stayed at both Kabul and Flying Pig… really great hostels…the social life was unbeatable as everyone promised. I just wish you didn’t have to book these places so far in advance… kinda kills the fun of just rolling into a city with random people you met on the bus and looking for a place to stay!

  13. razz

    Thinking of checking our Barcelona this summer. Are there any hostel hosted events at the hostels mentioned, where one can meet more people. Been to hostels in Quebec, and it was great when the hostel organized events, great way to meet people. Any such hostel review, resources available?

  14. tiki

    i stayed at a great hostel called varad inn in novi sad during exit music festival it was so good we went there for new years. cheap drinks and beautiful staff.

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