Hostels have a rich culture dating back to the early 1900s. The idea of hostels began in Germany and appeared in the United States before the 1930s. According to Hostelling International USA, there are over 4,000 hostels recording over 33 million nights in more than 80 countries. Hostels offer travelers a cheap, unique experience that open new worlds and cultures. They also offer travelers the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
Whether you are a student ready to party or a history buff looking to sleep in a castle for the night, there is a hostel for you. Let’s look at what some of the best hostels are.
1. Budget hostels
Budget hostels are perfect for students and those on a tight budget. As hostels become more popular, it’s easier than ever to find a cheap hostel in almost any city. Travel costs decrease significantly when travelers stay in hostels, especially when they share a dorm room. Shared rooms are often furnished with bunk beds that fit 4 to 8 travelers and have a shared bathroom. Splitting the cost of an entire room with other travelers is the best option when it comes to budget travel.
Staying in a budget hostel is also a great way to get to know other people and make friends, as there are common areas such as kitchens, lounges, and bars where travelers socialize.
As many advantages as there are to spending nights at a budget hostel, there are also some downsides. Sometimes clean linens and towels are not included in the price, so an extra fee may be charged. Rentals, such as lockers, are also available for travelers to store their belongings and keep them safe.
Nepal, India, and China are some of the cheapest places to travel in the world, but there’s always a budget-friendly hostel in every destination. Here are some of the best:
- Andes House in Kathmandu in Nepal
- Hostel New King in New Delhi, India
- The Wandering Paisa Backpackers Hostel in Medellin, Colombia
- Kamelya Cave Hostel in Goreme, Turkey
- Hostel Riad Marrakech Rouge in Morocco
2. Party hostels
Hostels attract many young people, so, unsurprisingly, there are hostels ready to party. Party hostels can feature bars, nightclubs, no curfews, and a lively environment.
Ranked as the best party city in the world by CNN, Bangkok is home to Playground Hostel, the best party hostel in the city. Featuring a lounge and outdoor area, the hostel offers parties with the best drinking games every night.
Other cities and hostels where both group and solo travelers can have a great time are:
- Hostel One Paralelo in Barcelona
- The Pink Palace in Corfu, Greece
- Flying Pig Downtown Hostel in Amsterdam
- Wombat’s City Hostel in Berlin, Germany
- Nomads St Kilda (Base) in Melbourne, Australia
- The Hive Party Hostel in Budapest
3. Activity or adventure hostels
Adventure hostels come in many forms, just like travelers. Not every tourist is up for city sightseeing or wine tasting; many are looking for adrenaline-boosting adventures. This type of hostel offers access to plenty of activities and outdoor fun.
Adventure travel is exciting, from surfing the monster waves in Nazaré, Portugal, to swimming with sharks in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, there’s an adventure hostel for every thrill-seeking traveler.
Here are some of the best hostels to have extraordinary experiences.
- Adventure Hostel Interlaken in Switzerland (the best in Europe)
- Take Hostel Conil in Cadiz, Spain
- Snowbunny’s Backpackers in Austria
- Selina Jaco & Surf School in Costa Rica
- Blue Almond Hostel in Colombia
- Voss Youth Hostel in Nepal
- Pak-Up Hostel in Thailand
4. Eco-friendly hostels
Eco-friendly hostels are perfect for environmentally conscious travelers looking for alternatives to make their vacations more sustainable.
An eco-friendly hostel has a lower environmental impact due to its efforts to reduce energy and water consumption not by using solar panels and harvesting rainwater but by composting, recycling, growing its produce, or supporting the local economy.
Here are some green hostels that carry sustainability certifications:
- Pigeon Point Lighthouse in Pescadero, California
- Sleep Green in Barcelona, Spain
- Solscape Eco Retreat in Raglan, New Zealand
- Serenity Eco Guesthouse in Canggu, Indonesia
5. Flashpacking or luxury hostels
The difference between flashpackers and backpackers is their budget. Flashpacking hostels offer the luxury you can not find in a backpacking hostel room; they feature upscale amenities and unique chicness. These luxury hostels are great for travelers or digital nomads with a little extra cash to spend and enjoy extras such as larger private rooms, co-working spaces, free wi-fi, upscale decoration, and more convenient locations.
These are some of the best hostels for flashpackers:
- The Bowery House in New York City
- Hostel Equity Point located in Morocco
- Star Hostel in Taipei
- Dream Hostel Tampere in Finland
6. Boutique hostels
Those who don’t want to give up the vibe of the traditional hostel dorm but want exclusive spaces can find the perfect home away from home in boutique hostels or design hostels. They are smaller and more comfortable than budget hostels, but they are as chic as hotels. They offer a cozy, more relaxed atmosphere and multiple room options (private and shared).
Here are some of the best boutique hostels:
- Boutike Guesthouse in Seville, Spain
- Casa Pepe Hostel Boutique in Mexico City
- The Rumi in Los Angeles, CA
7. Quirky, weird, and out-of-the-ordinary hostels
Quirky hostels are prominent worldwide, especially in regions with a lot of history. Travelers who are seeking exotic accommodations should check out these unique hostels. Zhangzhou Wei Qun Lou Inn, located in China, was inspired by UFOs. The building symbolizes the wisdom and diligence of the Hakka people. At night, the light of the red lanterns hanging on each floor makes guests feel like they are in a fairy world.
Other quirky hostels include:
- Travelers’ Cave Pension in Cappadocia, Turkey
- HI Ottawa Jail in Ontario, Canada
- Skyewalker Hostel in Isle of Skye, Scotland
- The Lavender Circus in Budapest
- Chili Kiwi Lakefront in Pucon, Chile
8. Family hostels
These hostels are great for… you guessed it, families! Many hostels welcome families and offer unique amenities such as larger rooms to fit everyone in the same space. Other typical features include game rooms, family-friendly activities, and tighter restrictions like earlier curfews.
Accommodations for families with activities for everyone include:
- Villa Saint Exupery Gardens in Nice, France
- Sydney Beachouse Backpackers YHA in Australia
- Saban Treehouse, Olympos located in Turkey.
- Xishu Garden Inn in Chengdu, China
- So Cool Hostel Porto in Porto, Portugal
9. Historic hostels
Historic hostels are common in countries with long histories and rich cultures. Former prisons, renovated brothels, convents, and castles are just a few of the hostels you will find when looking for a more historic property. For example, Castle Rock Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland, was built in 1846 and turned into a hostel in 1997. Guests can sleep and dine where royals once did while enjoying beautiful decor and old-time vibes.
Other historic hostels worth a stay are:
- YHA Ironbridge Coalport in the U.K
- St Briavels Castle in Lydney, Gloucestershire
- Feldkirch youth hostel in Austria
10. Youth hostels
Youth hostels cater to young people, school groups, students, backpackers, and friends. They offer single or double rooms, shared dorms, and common areas for a reasonable price. They are usually built to promote youth travel by providing low-cost accommodation to students and youth groups who go on school excursions or study tours.
Youth hostels around the world include:
- YHA St Briavels Castle in Gloucestershire, UK
- Yellow Square in Rome, Italy
- Generator Hostel in Paris, France
- Albergue Inturjoven Granada in Spain
As you can see, there are many different types of hostels. Will you party all night in Greece, slumber in a treetop bungalow in Turkey, or sleep in an old jail cell in Canada? Finding the right adventure has never been easier. Where will your next hostel stay be?