Hostels are awesome for budget travellers – not only will they save you money but they also offer a friendly and social environment that is ideal for meeting other travelers and making friends.
However, not all hostels are created equal. The best hostels are more than just places to sleep – they offer a wonderful atmosphere and the little extras that really add to your experience.
I’ve asked some travel bloggers about the hostels around the world that really stood out for them – here are the recommendations.
“Dorms are airy and spacious, bathrooms spotless, the buffet breakfast absolutely delicious and the staff, whether dispensing advice on what to see in Istanbul and Turkey or serving Efes beer in the lively rooftop bar, unfailingly cheerful and friendly. Highly recommended!”
She explains that the homecooked food and the peaceful interior decor are highlights of this hostel. “The spicy Thai curry I had for dinner was delicious as was the fresh baked bread I had for breakfast… The capsules in which you sleep are comfy, clean and spacious and the entire guesthouse is painted in tranquil white colors and made of wood. Very fitting for such a serene environment as Koysan!”
“When you first walked in you noticed a sitting area with modern hanging decorations, and funky chairs that swung, spun, and rocked. From there you could follow a spiral staircase up to a common area with games, pool, a Photo Booth and more. Did I mention how good the sangria was at their dimly, but colourfully lit lobby bar?”
“Each floor was assigned a different colour, and the rooms had white bunks with the colour of the floor as an accent. It was clean, spacious, and had all the necessities I could ever ask for in a hostel. The vibe was good, it was colourful, and I felt like it was a little calm oasis from the bustling streets of Barcelona just outside its doors.” Sounds like an amazing base for exploring this vibrant Spanish city!
“Twice a week they have a delicious free dinner with cheap sangria, and since it’s a fairly small hostel it was really easy to meet people!”
Leah from The Sweetest Way recommends this beach hostel in Peru. “I’ll never forget the good times and lasting friendships I made at Kokopelli Paracas!” she says.
“Located right on the beach in the small city of Paracas, Peru, Kokopelli Hostel offers a relaxing retreat from the bustle of Lima a few hours north. Everything you need is right there on the premises: great food, a full bar, entertainment like ping pong, a swimming pool, billiards, and a slack line, and a fun and energetic staff.
“The rooms are clean and the beds comfortable and private, and the walls are covered in impressive and intricate murals by local artists. At night, you can chill by a beach bonfire, kick back in a hammock, play card games with new friends, or start a dance party.”
“How many hostels give you an ocean view from your $40/night private room? I love that they have so many options for every price point, too. You can camp, stay in a dorm, or get a cottage with a kitchenette. It has such a great social atmosphere as well, and lots of activities that they organize to help you meet others if you’re traveling solo!”
“There is a free breakfast daily, plus free taco and pasta nights a few times a week (and they don’t skimp on the selection). Finally, it is less than a block from Pike Place Market and there are free tours that depart daily from the lobby. There is nothing else you could want from a hostel.”
Cailin from Travel Yourself told me that this hostel really stood out for a number of reasons. She loved the comfy mattresses and the warm blankets (important in rainy and cold England) and also said, “A key feature to each bed was also that each one has its own reading light, shelf and wall plug as well as a direct USB plug. So important so that I can charge my phone as I sleep and keep it right next to me.”
She also loved the amazing breakfast. “For a couple extra GBP each morning you can also get yourself a ticket for the all you can eat continental breakfast served in the basement each morning. Meats, cheeses, boiled eggs, bread, cereal, juice and a few other items. Aside from toasters there are also panini press for making sandwiches.” She even made a video of the hostel, so you can take a look around.
Kash from Budget Traveller says that his favourite hostel in the whole wide world is this funky and chilled out one in Portugal.
“It’s a mix of an art gallery and hostel,” he said in an email interview. “They have a fabulous open lounge cum bar where you drink port tonics while chatting to guests. Plus they host live concerts on a regular basis. Also they do a 3 course traditional Portuguese dinner with wine for just €10 where you get to meet fellow guests – a great evening of good food , wine and conversation. Staff are wonderful too.”
The owner, Rodrigo, is incredibly warm and friendly and will make you feel right at home. The hostel common room is small, but that makes it very social and it’s almost impossible not to make friends with other travellers. The atmosphere is so much fun – we ended up laughing, playing cards, eating and drinking together with other travellers almost every night. Also, the rooms are clean, comfortable, stylishly designed and decorated with funky and strange murals – just like the street art that covers the cool and edgy city of Valparaiso.
What’s your favourite hostel in the world? Let us know in the comments!
Kelly Dunning is a Canadian freelance travel writer. She lives a nomadic lifestyle with no fixed address – working from the road for the last 5 years with her partner Lee, a web-designer from England. They have traveled to over 40 countries and they offer travel tips, stories and inspiration on Global-Goose.com.