I adore hostels. While some believe they’re best saved for gap year and college students, I’m firmly in the camp of “hostels for all!” I have met amazing people of all ages in hostels, including those I’ve later visited in their hometowns. Some hostels do indeed fit the old-school image of being grungy and seedy, but more and more, there are fantastic hostels popping up around the world. Some, you may even say, are luxurious. To express our love for these budget-friendly accommodations, I’ve teamed up with travel bloggers from all over to share with you the best hostels around the world. These are the places that made us go “wow!”
In alphabetical order by country, here are the best hostels around the world. All photos are courtesy of the respective bloggers unless otherwise noted.
The Best Hostel in Toronto, Canada: Planet Traveler
“I have stayed at Planet Traveler many times. It is a green hostel located on Spadina and College, very close to Kensington Market and the Spadina street car station. The hostel has six-bed rooms, five-bed rooms, and private rooms. Each shared room has an ensuite bathroom and a separate locker room. There is free internet access, a fully-equipped kitchen, free coffee and tea. The complimentary breakfast is provided until 1pm, so I did not have to worry about waking up late and missing the breakfast.
There is a rooftop terrace for guests to party and socialize, and friends and family are welcome. The walls and the floor on the rooftop are soundproof so we happily partied at midnight without disturbing others downstairs. Plus, the hostel hosts a $5 dinner on Tuesday nights, free movies on Thursday nights, free BBQ on Saturdays in the summer, and free pasta dinners in the winter. Winter in Toronto can be cold and brutal, and I would have holed up in my bed, but instead, I’ve met many interesting travelers and we mingled with each other, ate free meals, watched movies, and saw the night lights of Toronto. With the friendly and caring workers and affordable rates, this hostel is a perfect place for budget travelers.”
– Julie, China, Always on the Way
The Best Hostel in Prague, Czech Republic: The MadHouse Prague
“Consistently voted among the best small hostels in the world, The MadHouse is simply that – it’s mad! For a party hostel, the crew at the MadHouse make you feel welcome from the moment you check in (with a free Czech beer). From paddle-boating to bowling and pub crawls, there’s always a day and evening event planned each day of the week so you’ll never have the chance to be bored. Their knowledgeable staff know every part of beautiful Prague, and they take you out so you can enjoy your evening to the fullest.
Everything about the MadHouse is built around a fun but respectful community. You can come home to a quiet hostel where everyone respects each other’s sleep. That’s a guarantee. There are even “family dinners” in the kitchen so you can truly get to know everyone in the hostel. The facilities are clean, the lockers are large, the neighbourhood is safe, the hostel is secure, the beer fridge is close by, and the staff is awesome. What more could you ask for?”
– Eric & Lisa, Canada and Germany, Penguin and Pia
The Best Hostel in Lanquín, Guatemala: Zephyr Lodge
“When you’re visiting the beautiful but remote natural monument of Semuc Champey in Guatemala, it’s worth it to stay a couple of nights and enjoy the feeling of really being in the middle of nowhere. Zephyr Lodge offers some unique dorm settings for 5 to 14 people as well as boutique style private rooms. There’s an on-site restaurant and bar, a hot tub, and a large sundeck. There are a lot of cool things about this hostel but the standout is definitely the sparkling infinity pool looking out over the jungle.”
– Cristal, Trinidad and Tobago, Tofu Traveler
The Best Hostel in Reykjavik, Iceland: Loft Hostel
“The location is perfect! You are right in downtown Reykjavik on the main shopping street, Bankastræti, making all the hotspots easily accessible. That’s also useful after a few pints in the town in the evening. The bus station is at the end of the road, Hallgrímskirkja is a 5 minute walk away, you’re surrounded by restaurants, bars, shops, and a supermarket is just across the road. There is a little bit of noise from the street if you do want an early night, but it’s easily outweighed by the benefit of the location!
On the top floor there is a bar, with a Happy Hour 4-7pm, a well-serviced kitchen and an amazing relaxing area with proper tables and chairs, alongside sofas. In the evenings they play music and the Loft is open to the general public. The hostel also hosts yoga classes every Sunday and lots of other activities and events throughout the year including cinema nights, drag queen shows and craft days. The only minor drawback I can think of is that pickups for tours are not allowed to stop on the main road. You have to walk to the next parallel road, but I’m pretty sure you can manage that!”
– Verity, United Kingdom, Veritru
The Best Hostel in Gokarna, India: Zostel Gokarna
“India doesn’t have too many backpacker hostels, but the Zostel chain has recently popped up to fill the gap. I’ve enjoyed all the Zostels I’ve visited, but my stay in Zostel Gokarna remains my favourite. The hostel combines stunning scenery with a relaxing, community-like atmosphere.”
– Arimo, Finland, Arimo Travels
The Best Hostel in Jaisalmer, India: Nomads Guest House
“Nomads Guest House is a quaint cozy hostel run by Aladdin and his family in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. In all the hostels we stayed at (which is a LOT), this one was the hardest one to leave by far! Aladdin’s hospitality was friendly, warming and he goes out of his way to make sure you are comfortable. He’s also incredibly honest and genuine, which at times in India, can be hard to come by. We felt so lucky to have found this hostel just by walking in off the street, we felt we’d found a real gem! The roof top is in the much needed shade and has a top quality view of the Golden Fort. They even make delicious food and a killer chai tea.
Jaisalmer is popular with camel safaris and is the main attraction here. Sadly, a lot of companies will try to overcharge you. Aladdin was honest about this and when booking our tour through him, he pulled through on every word and every promise. When you find yourself a million miles away from home, these are the touches that truly make you feel as if you’ve found a home away from home. Passing through Jaisalmer? You must stay here!”
– Zara & Charlie, United Kingdom, The Carefree Couple
The Best Hostel in Riga, Latvia: Naughty Squirrel Backpackers Hostel
“If you’re looking for the perfect crossroads for travellers in the Baltics – look no further! Naughty Squirrel is a hostel that prides itself on offering guests the best time while in Riga. Located close to the central bus station, Naughty Squirrel’s entrance is on a safe and quiet street that leads right to the heart of the Old Town. Featuring two common rooms, curtains on each bunk, plenty of rooming styles, and ample showers and washrooms for all, the facilities are excellent. There’s even a bar behind reception and a free shot of Latvian liquor on check-in. The staff are super knowledgeable – walking you through a map of Riga on check-in to make sure you know your way around. As for the activities, Riga offers army tank driving to bobsledding so there’s always something to sign up for.”
– Eric & Lisa, Canada and Germany, Penguin and Pia
The Best Hostel in Bagan, Myanmar: Ostello Bello Bagan
“Ostello Bello is a very prestigious chain of hostels originally from Italy and their hostel in Bagan, Myanmar is a true paradise for backpackers. I stayed there during my solo trip to Bagan and thoroughly enjoyed their unlimited coffee, free pasta offering and chit chat with fellow travelers. I must say their staff was simply amazing and they helped me with everything and literally anything in Bagan from guided tours to arranging pick up to the bus terminal.
I stayed in a four-bed mixed room and everything was clean, fresh and comfortable. They offer free Wi-Fi and considering the Myanmar standards, speed was good. Next to reception, they have a library which was my favorite pastime when I was not exploring Bagan on e-bike. After sunset, Ostello Bello gets lively with fun-filled games, trivia and one gets a chance to really mingle with fellow world travelers. I will recommend this place to every traveler as staying there in itself is an experience worth cherishing all your life.”
– Himanshu, India, Everything Candid
The Best Hostel in Amsterdam, Netherlands: Anna Houseboat
“Amsterdam is a charming city famous for many things but what could make your trip even more special? By staying in one of Amsterdam’s iconic houseboats! Anna Houseboat is a converted cargo ship from 1907 perfectly located in the downtown area; it’s only a 5-minute walk from Centraal Station. You can stay in one of the three cosy yet very spacious bedrooms. The boat has two shared bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room and has all the amenities you could ever need including free Wi-Fi!
The owners of Anna Houseboat also live on board and are some of the loveliest people you will meet. Staying on Anna Houseboat will only enhance your experience and will become a highlight of your trip. Anna Houseboat is the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in and will 100% stay again!
– Ashlee, Australia, White Petal Travels
The Best Hostel in Soest, Netherlands: Stayokay Soest
“Our family has become accustomed to great hostels. Whether it’s the fun of stepping off the train and meandering through a new town, or the simplicity of a clean and quiet hostel, the Stayokay chain in the Netherlands gets our vote.
Stayokay Soest is fantastic. Located a short distance to the east of Amsterdam, it immediately removes you from the hustle and bustle of the city. I’m not sure if it was the modern, well-designed clean layout of the lobby, the cleanliness of the rooms, the friendly staff or the funky courtyard outside which has made it to the top of our list. Breakfasts are free, and dinner is always delicious and is reasonably priced. There is a funky playground outside for the kids, and as always bike rentals for the whole family. We walked into town one evening for dinner and were treated to a stroll through the countryside complete with idyllic panoramic views of lush green fields with windmills in the distance. If a completely random destination with a fantastic hostel sounds appealing to you, don’t overlook the Soest Zuid hostel by Stayokay. It’s well worth the trip. However, you won’t be disappointed by any in the Stayokay lineup.”
– Kayla, United States, Wanderlocity
The Best Hostel in El Nido, Philippines: Spin Designer Hostel
“One factor that makes Spin truly stand out from the competition is their architectural design. Designer Hostel may sound lofty, but a title apt and really well-deserved for this one. The rooms are huge with beds on either end but still enough space to move around. The common bathroom (yes, for men and women!) is surprisingly spacious, housing toilet and shower rooms. You’re also entitled to a breakfast and the good thing about Spin is that they have a cook that cooks your meals upon order right in front of you.
During the night, people will be asking you to join on their games (either a bingo night, music night, etc) that will definitely give you a unique experience and treatment and make friends, unlike any other hotels. If there will be people to ask me about what’s our recommended hostel in El Nido, it would be Spin Designer Hostel at the top of my list.”
– Jerny, Philippines, The Jerny – Travel and Inspirations
The Best Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal: Lisbon Poets Hostel
Located just above the Baixa-Chiado metro stop in the center of the city, Lisbon Poets Hostel is my favorite hostel out of all ones I’ve stayed in around the world. It’s clean, well-appointed, and spacious (even in my 6-person dorm!), with an incredibly nice staff, delicious dinners, and fun activities. They have plenty of private room as well, and even two studios.
Do note that the hostel is moving to a new location after Christmas 2017. It’ll still provide easy access to all the hotspots in Lisbon, and it’ll have a rooftop terrace as well!
– Rowena, United States, A Nomad on the Loose
The Best Hostel in Ljubjana, Slovenia: Youth Hostel Tabor
“One of the nicest hostels I have ever stayed at is Youth Hostel Tabor. I stayed there a few years ago, but still tell people how wonderful it is. From the outside, the building is nondescript, but inside, they have done a nice job adding colorful, modern decor and color. There is plenty of space to spend your time in the common areas, including a kitchen and laundry facilities. The truly amazing part of this hostel is the rooms. Everyone gets their own, separate bed rather than a bunk bed. In addition to this, you get your own desk, places to put your belongings that you want out, and a large locked place to store your bags, complete with cubbies within so you can keep your stuff organized. The location is great, too, as it’s within walking distance of the train and the waterfront area with restaurants, bars, and shops.”
– A., United States, Exploring Curiously
The Best Hostel in Sarna, Sweden: Fulufjällsgården Hostel
“If you like to get off the beaten track, and like to spend time in nature, but still want to stay in a hostel, head to Sarna, Sweden, and stay in the Fulufjällsgården Hostel. The hostel is owned by three brothers who have done a terrific job updating many parts of the hostel already, and are continuing to make improvements. No matter if you are traveling solo or with companions, you will never have to share a room with strangers, nor will you pay a higher fee if you are traveling solo. The newly updated kitchen is well thought out. There is two of everything; stove, fridge, sink, pots, utensils, etc. Because of this, two to four groups can cook at the same time with no problem. You get a numbered bin on a shelf in the kitchen for your dry goods and plenty of fridge space.
The rooms have a table with chairs if you want a private space to eat, write, etc. They have a large, bright common room, as well as a nice, sunny deck to spend your down time. The Fulufjället National Park is within walking distance and boasts Sweden’s tallest waterfall and the world’s oldest tree. Although they will arrange to pick you up in Sarna if you take public transportation, I highly recommend renting a car in Mora or somewhere else so you can explore more of this beautiful area.”
– A., United States, Exploring Curiously
The Best Hostel in Gryon, Switzerland: Chalet Martin
“This hostel is in an authentic Swiss Chalet, tucked up on a hill above the mountain village of Gryon, just a two-hour train ride from the Geneva airport. The hostel has shared dorms, private rooms, a full kitchen, free WiFi + many cozy common areas. You’re surrounded by mountain views + more mountain trails than you can count on two hands. The owners, Merlin + Gemma, are from the UK + New Zealand, so English is the main language spoken. They’re also avid hikers, runners, bikers + climbers so they always have endless suggestions for the best places to explore.
The chalet is also located within a short bus ride from Solelax [more trails to hike, bike or run as well as great bouldering + climbing], Villars [a village with a ski resort, cafes + more trail] + Diablerets [more skiing, more trails + a glacier you can hike on]. Chalet Martin is a bit off the beaten path, but you’ll find so much to do, especially if you’re into exploring mountains!”
– Heidi, United States, Heidi Kumm
The Best Hostel in Chiang Mai, Thailand: 9 Hostel
“9 Hostel in Chiang Mai is without a doubt one of my all-time favorite places to stay. The night manager, affectionately known simply as “Boss Man” and his ragtag group of friends welcomed us with open arms from the moment we first arrived. Every night the two picnic tables out front spring to life with a wonderful assortment of locals and backpackers. The hostel is walking distance from everything from ancient temples to bars and the Thai nightlife. We stayed for several days and honestly didn’t even end up seeing as much as we had anticipated for the simple fact that we were having so much fun at 9 Hostel. They offer the standard dorm rooms, private rooms, fan or A/C, and the building is exceptionally well-maintained. I look forward to the next time I find myself in Northern Thailand so that I can go back to 9 Hostel and see the people I had so much fun getting to know.”
– Jessica, United States, Unearth the Voyage
The Best Hostel in Livingstone, Zambia: Jollyboys Backpackers
“I was first recommended Jollyboys Backpackers Hostel while in Tanzania and as my trip was taking me through the town of Livingstone, Zambia, it made sense to stay there. The dorms surround a comfortable chill out area, complete with plush cushions and a couple of friendly felines. Outside there is a gorgeous pool (perfect after a 28-hour train journey) with a tropical garden, complete with mango trees offering spots of shady protection from the Zambian sun, and a well-stocked bar.
However, what really makes the place is the team. All the staff I encountered were friendly and very helpful when organising trips to Victoria Falls. They are fair and explained local bus options as well offered tour bookings. They are also aware of their social and environmental impact. The hostel supports many local social projects for orphanages, artists and HIV hospitals as well as offering advanced vocational training for their team. They also utilise renewable energy through their property and encourage recycling to really minimise their footprint. I’m never sure what to expect after a recommendation. I expected it to be good, but this was better, this wasn’t like staying at a hostel, it was like staying with a family.”
– Matt, Spain, The Travel Blogs
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