Best (and Worst) European Hostels: 2004
Europe's cheapest beds are in hostels! There are more than 2,000 hostels all over Europe and many are destinations in themselves. You can sleep in a castle (Britain or Germany), on a cutter ship (Stockholm), or in an Alpine chalet (Switzerland). Except in Germany's Bavaria region, most hostels welcome travelers of all ages. English is widely spoken by staff and guests and it can be a great way to meet people from around the world.
Which are your favorite European hostels and why? And which were not so great and why?
Hostels All Over
I just got back from a 6 week backpacking jaunt through Europe. I managed to avoid "bad" hostels and budget hotels but there were some that were definitely better than others.Munich - Wombat's - brand new, very clean, you can tell this was designed by backpackers for backpackers. No age limit which is a rarity in Bavaria, I guess. Every room has their own bathroom, I think. I can't remember how much I paid but I think it was a tad on the pricier side as far as hostels go but for a clean room, hot showers, and a good locker, you can't complain. Right by the train station and no lockout.
Prague - Boathouse Hostel - word of caution: in my experience, the biggest conmen in Prague are the taxi drivers who hang around the train station. I had a flier for the hostel which explicitly said that a cab ride from the big train station shouldn't cost anymore than 300 Kc (roughly 7 or 8 $ American). Showed it to the guy, he said okay and then charged me 1750 Kc and began (I assume) swearing at me in either Czech or Russian. But the one saving grace was that Boathouse Hostel is really great. The two women who run this place are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They have a laundry service - just drop your clothes off before a certain time and you'll have them the next day. They'll change money for you which was a big help as the Czech Republic was one of only two countries I was visiting that wasn't on the Euro. No lockout, you get your own key, lockers, good showers, clean, free breakfast. Can't say enough good thinks about this place. Oh and they have a special deal with cab drivers who will take you to the train stations at reasonable, i.e. not outrageous, prices.
Vienna - Wombat's, again. I liked the one in Munich enough to get a bed here. Not as new so not quite as clean but the same set up as the one in Munich. Had movies playing 6 nights a week and a bar which also serves decent food. Another very good hostel.
Bern - Bern Backpackers. Probably one of the cleanest places I have every been in my entire life (and I visited a lot of churches and museums on my trip). Has, seemingly, A LOT of rules but they didn't hamper me too much. Straight forward: "You can smoke here but not here, here, or here" "Clean up the kitchen before you eat" "Quiet hours are..." and so on. In retrospect, they seem like the same rules that are everywhere but here they seemed to make a bigger deal about them. Still a very nice reception staff (mostly Irish and a South African guy) and not terribly expensive for Switzerland. Only other drawback is that Bern itself is not very exciting but this is a good base to use if you want to cruise around Switzerland.
Gryon - Chalet Martin. This ended up being maybe my favorite place of all. Be aware that this hostel is the epicenter for 90% of the young people within miles. So if you're looking for complete quiet, then this probably isn't for you. But it is a lot of fun, impeccably clean (you leave your shoes in the room downstairs and walk around in socks so as not to track mud and snow inside), inexpensive as far as Switzerland goes, and has an awesome kitchen. Run by very nice people, mountains right outside your window, easy access to skiing (they run trips six days a week), hiking, thermal baths, chocolate and wine tasting, a room just for movies, internet access, and their own tattoo parlor...there's nothing not to completely love about this place.
Venice - Hotel Bellvedere. Note that this is technically not in Venice but in Mestre, the last city before the highway/bridge that leads to Venice. But it's a one euro, 10 minute bus ride into Venice so this wasn't a bad option. Spartan conditions in this budget hotel but for the most expensive city in Italy, you can't complain if you're trying to stay on a budget. Not the cleanest but okay.
Florence - Archi Rossi. This is considered the best hostel in Florence for good reason. HUGE rooms, a courtyard, free Internet, tv with movie library, clean, big lockers, by the train station but also close to all the sights, and breakfast is included. I paid 20 euros a night for a 9 bed room with private bathroom. My only complaint was that my room was RIGHT behind the TV/commons room and the paper thin walls made it difficult to get to sleep before 1 a.m.
Rome - Pensione Ottavione. Incredible location, a stone's throw from a metro stop and the Vatican. Free internet, rooms were clean, although the bathrooms could definitely use some work. Staff seems to speak a hundred different languages. Commons area is tiny/non-existant and usually filled with smokers. Yuck. But at dirt cheap prices, beggars can't be choosers.
Paris - Woodstock Hostel. A very lively, if cramped hostel. There were six beds in my room which was slightly larger than a postage stamp. Push button showers and a sink in every room. No lockers in the rooms but there is a luggage room for your backpack and a "safe" behind the front desk. I use "safe" loosely because when I was checking out I found out that they accidently gave away another guest's digital camera. Oops. A, honest mistake, sure, but enough to make me want to seek somewhere else out. Parisian-style breakfast is included and very inexpensive place for Paris. Lots of Americans and Aussies here.
Paris - Hotel Caulaincourt. My last hostel. A bit pricey as this doubles as a budget hotel. VERY nice free breakfast. Private bathrooms were a big plus. Very clean. Free Internet. Short walk from a metro stop. In Montmarte which used to be a big artist's hangout and is kinda touristy (Sacre Couer draws a flood of people) but seemed more relaxed than the rest of Paris.
Chicago, IL USA Thu 12/30/2004
Casa Olmata, Rome
Casa Olmata is great. I have been two Rome three times, and this is my favorite. I echo the previous posting. Very cheap. Very clean (relatively). THE place to stay in rome
Atlanta, GA USA Mon 12/27/2004
Straight A's for Casa Olmata
The Casa Olmata in Rome is great! It's close to the Termini station, easily found by its proximity to the Santa Maria Maggiore(where I went to mass that Sunday), and best of all: NO LOCKOUT!!! I repeat: NO LOCKOUT, which means you are free to go in and out as you please, even hang your wet laundry! Hopefully, you won't get a room in the 'annex' which is about fifteen minutes away on an adjacent street, but not so bad.
Another great feature is the one euro dinners every other night on the rooftop of the hostel--nice city view at night. Initially, I stayed at some of the recommended hotels in the guidebook, but then traveling alone, one gets so lonely; hostels are a great alternative. Chances are 99% you'll meet some lovely Aussies(God Bless!)who'll be great company! The Casa Olmata is organized, clean, and more welcoming than some of the more institutional 'official' cookie-cutter YHA's. An A+ for hostel standards.
Spring, TX USA Thu 12/09/2004
my favorite amsterdam hostel
even though the flying pig in amsterdam is a great hostel, it is frequently booked, and if you are irresponsible and a last-minute traveler like myself, popular hostels aren?t always the way to go. recently i stayed at bob?s youth hostel, just down the street from the pig. it was 18 euro per night with great lockers and plenty of space. breakfast is included. the staff speaks english, but you are gauranteed to meet people from all over the place. the lounge downstairs is also super comfy with couches and tons of people ready to make new friends.
louisville, ky USA Tue 12/07/2004
Ok, just got back from Europe, here are the places I stayed:
London: Picadilly BAckpackers - Honestly this place advertises party hostel, but in their meeting room, everyone kept to themselves and watched tv. I never have recieved so many dirty looks before, and it seemed like a bad place for the solo traveler. I made attempts to talk to people and smile, but with smiling came more dirty looks. They also have a bar called Midas Touch. They play the most awful music; stuff from the late 80's to early 90's top 40. Bad. We ran into a middle aged british couple in the lift at the hostel who were there also, and they complained and said it sucked too.
Paris: Hotel Commines - I know, not a hostel, but it was cheaper than the hostel, and the people gave us a map of the area with cheap things to do and eat and where the metro stations were. They get a lot of backpackers, and it was a nice berak from the hostel.
Amsterdam: Flying Pig DT - Even if you don't party this place is great. There was a lot of people that went to bed early, or hung out in the bar all night, or hang out in the chill pillow area, or the meeting room. This was such a great experience, I can't stop raving. The staff was extra awesome; on the last night they grabbed my friend and had him dance to the DJ. It was cool and funny. This place is a must even if you don't party because it's nice to go somewhere where the people are cool and feels comfortable.
Minneapolis, MN USA Sat 12/04/2004
hostels in europe
simply put, hostels are for the young, the cheap, and the adventourous and outgoing types. sometimes dilapidated conditions can actually add the the experience. i've spent many a night in slums and many nights in pristine rooms, but i always go back to the slums. there is simply no better place to make good friends and create good memories than the "party" hostels.
for paris, check out the peace and love hostel. location isn't great, but if you can use the metro, it's really no problem. the people are fantastic, it's in a cheap part of town, and every night is a story for a lifetime. as noted earlier, the showers are in the rooms with a see-through door. this is only a problem if you have something to hide. it might just present a good opportunity....
in edinburgh, the princes street backpackers is without a doubt the finest hostel you can find. incredible people with funny stories always willing to befriend a lonely traveler await. the video room, common kitchen, and local pub with cheap deals for hostel guests cement this place as THE best option.
zurich: don't bother. one hostel in town, it's far out, and it's not even a hostel. everything in the town is a ripoff.
brussels: also, don't bother. horrible city, horrible hostels (ex:sleepwell), and no real local flavor. only go for the mannekin-piss.
amsterdam: the flying pig is a great option, but only if you're into the drug culture and you don't mind smells. a few too many people only looking for a quick party and not an experience for my tastes, but a good option to begin or end a trip.
koln: station backpackers is a must. not too busy, cushy beds, cheap beer, and right next to the train station. a great stop for a night or two to rest up and recoup.there's just a few options for those seeking experience over comfort. hope they helped....
steamboat, co USA Sun 11/21/2004
The BeeHive hostel in Rome was glorious. It is owned by two Americans and the staff was incredibly friendly. It is hard to find (no big neon signs), but it is clean and comfortable.
Indianapolis, IN USA Thu 11/18/2004
I stayed one night at Ostello le Sirene in Sorrento. It was fine, conveniently located near the train station, clean, and cheap. I stayed in a 4-bed room for 20 EU. The room had its own bathroom. There is street noise, but the room was quiet in the middle of the night. I noticed another "older" person staying there. There was no noticeable party atmosphere. Internet is available in the lobby. I'd stay again for one or two nights. Reservations may be needed in the summer, but in Oct. mid-week I just walked in late in the afternoon and got a bed.
USA Sun 11/07/2004
Walter and Petra are a hoot! Ask about a snow boot... Petra is so excited about coming out to Seattle to visit with Rick in a few weeks! Great place to stay.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 11/05/2004
Hostel in Prague
Hostel Elf in Prague is hands down the best hostel I've been to... good common room, great people, and a crazy german teacher named Steve on leave for a year who's full of info about the city and has lots of opinions in general. :)
Seattle, WA USA Fri 11/05/2004
Excellent cheap hostel in Rome
I wanted to recommend a friendly, extremely clean and cheap hostel/bed and breakfast in Rome - the Kerouac Bed and Breakfast on Via Cavour near Termini. Great value for money (especially with continental breakfast included) and convenient location. I stayed in a single room but they also have double, triple and quad rooms (no dorm beds). Bathroom is down the hallway and no A/C in the summer. However, all in all, a very pleasant place to stay.Website is http://www.romanhostels.com/ Email is email@example.com and phone is +39 06 4743428.
New York, NY USA Fri 10/29/2004
Accomodations in Italy & Germany
Just returned from a trip to Germany and Italy. Had a ball (with thanks to Rick)and stayed mostly in Hostels and inexpensive (for Europe) Hotels.In Roma, the Beehive was excellent,neat, quiet, clean and near to all.
For those going to Pompei and the Amalfi coast, I recommend the "Casadel Pellegrino" Hostel in Pompei city, 10 minutes walk from the ruins - New spotless and quiet. firstname.lastname@example.orgIt's a central place for visits to Erculano, Naples, Sorrento, Amalfi and Paestum. 13 Euro/night. Buy the Art Card for travel and visits to the main attractions in the area.
If interested in the following places, let me know: Germany: Bacharach, Wurzburg, Bamberg. Italy: Bolzano (Otzi the Ice Man),Firenze, Roma, Napoli, Sorrento & Paestum.
San Antonio, TX USA Sun 10/17/2004
Hostal Suecia in Granada
Stayed two nights at Hostal Suecia in Granada. Comfortable accommodations in a small room. Was able to walk to the Alhambra and parked in front of the hostal (no charge). Breakfast is available.
St. Louis, MO USA Tue 10/12/2004
Avoid the Victoria Astor Hostel on Belgrave Rd. in London. They screwed up CONFIRMED reservations,and were quite discourteous when we arrived. However the hostel did serve its purpose, so our stay wasn't as bad as it could have been, and it was fairly quiet.
Glasgow, Scotland Wed 10/06/2004
AVOID HOSTEL FIORENTINA, FLORENCE, ITALY
If you ever get a chance to visit Florence - Italy, stay away from Fiorentina Hostel. They somehow call themselves 1 star hotel, but believe me, this is a 'nightmare for humans'. It looks like a creepy house, with screachy doors and a 100-years old elevator, but this is the good part. The counter desk staff, which is in fact made out of one guy (albanian of what I understood) who doesn't speak any language other than some italian, does not seem to know what is the meaning of "respect among people". He treated me and my wife like crap, and worse, the manager of the hotel is basically the same. On their web site, they advertise that you gone get a parking spot - included in the 70 EURO night charge. Believe, you won't get that - worse you'll be asked to pay extra for parking and - remember this - you need to leave the keys of the car with the parking owner. On the top of this, the rooms look like in horror movie. When we saw our room, we initially thought someone was killed in there or something like that: messy, messy, messy. I noticed also some dead bugs.Well, we ended up paying 140 EURO for an excellent room at Best Western, and we left the next day.
Vancouver, BC Canada Sat 08/28/2004
I just got back from 2 weeks in Europe and really enjoyed it! While there I stayed at the Yellow Hostel in Rome and found it fine. Only thing bad was their AC was not working in my room so I was ripped off by 5 Euro a night for "having AC" but overall it was clean, safe, and centrally located so it was fine.In London I stayed at the Pickwick Hall which I loved. The location was awesome you really can't get any better. The rooms were clean and it was safe so I can't say anything bad.
Las Cruces, NM USA Fri 08/27/2004
Belfast City Tour and Giants' Causeway tours bookable at HINI Hostel in Belfast
For anyone who wants to take the two-hour bus tour of Belfast, and the Giant's Causeway tour, can book both at the Belfast International Youth Hostel. I went my first day on the Belfast City tour since I was too late for the Causeway Tour. We went through the Shankill Road area to see both the Catholic and Protestant areas. It was very peaceful at the time, but I was always careful to stay close to the bus if I went out for a photo opportunity. There was much propaganda to see. We even saw the shipyard where the Titanic was built. The next day we went through the Glens of Antrim but could not see Scotland because of the cloudy weather. I was brave enough to go across the rope bridge. I did not spend much time at the Giant's Causeway since I had paid to visit the Bushmills' brewery. I even got to sample eight kinds of whisky without getting sick. For lunch we had to write up on a menu what we wanted and picked it up at a pub after visiting the rope bridge.
When I got back to Belfast, I felt it was twenty-eight pounds (twenty for the causeway tour with distillery tour, eight for the Belfast city tour) well spent.
Frisco, TX USA Sat 08/14/2004
No Black and White Pudding at Dublin Youth Hostel
I stayed at the Dublin An ?ige (Hostelling International) Youth Hostel from 29. July to 31. July 2004. On the 30th, I wanted to get the Full Irish Breakfast (EUR 3,00 extra from the continental breakfast which is included in the room rate), which I understood included black and white pudding, as well as potatoes, tomatoes, bacon and sausage. I was told that the black and white pudding was recently deleted due to low demand. I did get extra potatoes as compensation. I did get to try the black and white pudding the next day at the Dublin International Airport, so it wasn't all that bad.
Frisco, TX USA Sat 08/14/2004
Best Hostels in Europe
After a 3 month backpacking trip through 10 European countries, the best hostel I stayed at was 6 Small Rooms in Naples. The bedrooms are big with maybe 5 beds in each room and not crammed with bunk beds like so many other hostels. The location is great, the staff is extremely friendly, the common areas are great, and Simon the cat is adorable.
Another excellent hostel is Oasis in Granada, which is absolutely beautiful and clean with free tea, coffee, and internet. Be sure to book ahead. Bazpackers in Inverness is situated on Loch Ness (I had a great view from my window!) and is near the downtown area. This hostel has cozy tv and living rooms and is cheap for Britain. I also enjoyed Kabul in Barcelona because it was lively and I had a balcony overlooking Plaza Reial right off of La Rambla. Also Kabul has huge, sturdy metal lockers for each guest and a bar with cheap beer. Another great place to stay was Casa Gerotto in Venice because the price was reasonable for Italy's most expensive city. My hostel bedroom was actually a converted hotel room, so the room was spotless and included a bathroom. Finally I have to recommend Wombat's in Vienna because it is located near a metro stop, has a fun bar and friendly staff, and nice dorms which includes a bathroom in each room.
Piscataway, NJ USA Tue 08/10/2004
Bern Hostel: Bern Backpackers
Bern Backpackers came to the rescue in my hour of need. I ended up in Bern by accident and needed a place to stay. Mirco was friendly and went above and beyond to share information about the city, sites, etc. The rooms, sheets and bathrooms were spotless - really!!!!! However, my flat mates were into having a humid sleeping environment ( they didnt open the windows). But like every other hostel, once the key components are set ( clean sheets, WC, and bed) its really your flat mates that determine what your room experience will be like. Also, the optional tour of the Caillier chocolate factory ( at the end of the tour you get unlimited amounts of chocolate to sample - YUMMMY!!!), Gruyere Village and Cheese Tour was a cheap way to have an eventful day. Not included in the tour is the HR Giger Museum (8 Euros) which is a must if you like something out of the ordinary or if you are fan of the ALIENS movie. I would HIGHLY recommend this for other backpackers.
Brooklyn, NY USA Wed 08/04/2004
I stayed at the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald last summer ('03) and it was one of the greatest experiences I ever had. Petra and her family were amazing along with all of the people we met while we were there. If you plan on traveling to Switzerland I highly recommend stopping here.
Seattle, WA USA Tue 08/03/2004
Beware of pickpockets
Thanks to everyones comments... the Sleepwell in Brussels is an "okay" hostel.... Beware of pickpockets. I was with an austrailian who got his camera stolen and both the hostel and police refused to do anything, they wouldn't even give us the security video. Hostel was clean and would recommend as long as your vigilant.
oxford, oh USA Sun 08/01/2004
Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre hostels
Mar Mar in Riomaggiore (mentioned in Rick's book) runs a 10-bed hostel - one big apartment with a well-stocked kitchen, 4 beds in the spacious common room and 3 little bedrooms with 2 beds each, and a nice terrace. It's right downtown so if the windows are open you'll hear a lot of stuff during the night (and a lot of roosters at dawn!), but it's a cool place.
In Florence I stayed at Istituto Gould. Basically what Rick says is right - bring earplugs in case you're on the road side of the building. Clean and quiet otherwise; not social at all, no kitchen.
Venice - try Ostello Santa Fosca. Quiet neighborhood, VERY quiet hostel (12:30 curfew, but I walked into my room at 11 to find the lights out and a few people already asleep). It's quite clean except for a lot of mosquito splatters on teh walls (bring bug spray or keep the windows closed!), and very cheap. (I paid 16 Euros/night after the rolling venice discount.)
Chicago, IL USA Thu 07/15/2004
If you can book it, the flying pig hostel both downtown and uptown (palace) in Amsterdam are fun places to stay. Avoid the hostel Meeting Point at all costs...the rooms are affordable, and perhaps may be a good place if you intend to set your packs down and stay out all night, but don?t expect to get any sleep. Someone had the bright idea of making 50 gallon drums into lockers and everytime someone gets a pack out, it wakes up all 18 people in the room. Better stick to the flying pig or some place else.
Baltimore, USA Sun 07/11/2004
Funny Farm in Interlaken
The funny farm is a great place to go to party and spend money on extreme sports...but don't expect to find any Swiss culture or anyone other than Americans. I had a rude awakening to mice in my bed, but they never promised anythign about being clean...only fun
Baltimore, USA Sun 07/11/2004
McCool's Hostel, Portrush Ireland
Anybody thinking of taking in the sites of the North Coast of Ireland, including the Giant's Causeway, Surfing and the Antrim Glens should definitely consider staying at McCool's Independent Hostel, Causeway St, Portrush. I stayed there recently whilst touring with my band and I found it clean and comfortable but with a great, relaxed, informal and friendly atmosphere. The rooms can be set up for groups and it averages out about ?10 a night pp. (plus you can kip on the sofa if the place is full)
Belfast, Ireland Wed 07/07/2004
Stayed at Pension Unitas in Prague. It was great! Extremely clean, quiet. Great breakfast. Stayed at Sherp Guesthouse in Kracow. Also wonderful. Extremely clean. Beehive in Rome was wonderful! New, very clean and well managed.
USA Mon 07/05/2004
Hostels in Rome and Paris
I must agree, Gulliver's House in Rome was an excellent place to stay. Gulliver was very helpful (maps to the city, highlighted things to do/see, answered all our Rome questions). The beds and rooms are very clean, though the bathroom situation (basically 2 1/2 bathrooms for the entire hostel) was a bit inconvenient. This is probably not a place for the party crowd, but if want somewhere to rest up and get ready for full days in Rome, this is the place.
On a negative, but necessary, not, I do NOT recommend the Peace and Love Hostel in Paris. This hostel does not have a/c, (I realize most hostels do not), but that was compounded by the fact that most of the rooms are 5-8 flights up very narrow, winding stairs. My room had a shower with glass doors AS PART OF THE ROOM. So anybody who rolled over in their bed could catch my naked self taking a shower. They put mattresses on the floor of rooms, leaving little or no room to manuever, and there is no curfew at all. The manager did give us a refund on our reservations, and the other young lady that was behind the desk was pleasant, but it was not a good experience, unless you are into the "stay up all night, come home drunk and smelly, sleep sweaty and nasty" vibe. Oh yeah, there's a pub on the bottom floor of the hostel. It's actual name is the Peace and Love Pub and Hostel.
Mesquite, TX USA Thu 06/17/2004
Just got back from a trip to the UK and stayed at The International Inn in Liverpool (http://www.internationalinn.co.uk/) and it was excellent. It is conveniently located and well run and adjacent to an internet cafe. Most of the people were half my age (I'm 40) but I still enjoyed the bargain twin room that I shared with a friend. It was even ensuite for 36 pounds! A great place if you are looking for a hostel in Liverpool.
Richardson, TX USA Sun 06/13/2004
Agora Hostel, Catania (Sicily) Italy
Friendly staff, opened up at 7:30 am to let us in. Nice place to relax, very safe (24 hour staff on duty at the front door) great location, 30 minutes on the train to Taormina (Greek city) or Giardini Naxos (for the beach). The bathrooms can get crowded however! Reasonably priced too, I think it's under 20 euro per night.
Orem, UT USA Sat 06/05/2004
Pop Inn - Roma
We stayed at the Pop Inn Hostel in late May. Good location-across the street from the train station. The hostel is very clean and the staff was nice and willing to help answer questions. My only complaint was sharing a bathroom with aproxmately 20 other people. I hated having to wait in line to pee every morning. But, I guess that comes with the territory ! Other than that, I thought this hostel was really good. It comes with high remarks on other web sites as well.
Philadelphia, USA Thu 06/03/2004
Fawlty Towers Hostel Rome
We stayed at Fawlty Towers Hostel in Rome. Loved the location near Termini, surrounded by quaint inexpensive cafes. There is a neat rooftop terrace looking out over the rooftops of Rome.
Prior Lake, MN USA Wed 06/02/2004
The Mainstay, Dingle, Co Kerry Ireland
The Mainstay in Dingle, Co. Kerry Ireland was a great value. It's not in any of the guidebooks yet and the owner of a listed hostel referred me to it when she wasn't open yet for the season. I stayed there March 2004.
The owners were amazing, the rooms great and the food really, really awesome.
Travelers should definitely check this place out.
Seattle, WA USA Fri 05/21/2004
We stayed in the BEST hostel EVER in Lagos, Portugal, Casa Amarela. You can book it online through hostelworld.com. I went two weekends in a row and stayed there both times - the first time there were 4 of us (paid 13.50? each night), the 2nd time there were 3 (paid 12.50?- I think there?s a hardcore competition between the owner and Margarida, the other one you can book online). We were REALLY close to the center of town and the beach. We had a living room with TV, our own bathroom, two separate bedrooms, VERY NICE fully-stocked kitchen. Basically it was like an apartment, only we got free breakfast. She has three buildings full of rooms and you get breakfast included. All the comforts of home and VERY clean! I recommend this to anyone!
South Bend, IN USA Wed 05/19/2004
Barcelona-Pensione Mari-Luz was a great place in beautiful apartment building on a quiet square a few blocks from Las Ramblas. Not the place to go if you're travelling alone and need to meet people, but it's clean and peaceful, but still close to the action and relatively affordable (18 euros--for Barcelona it's not too bad...). They also have single and double private rooms, and the showers have lots of hot water.
Pension Fernando--A little closer to Las Ramblas, but only about a block away from Mari-Luz, this place also offers dorms and private rooms. It's pretty big but very very clean, spacious and comfortable. Being on a main street just of Las Ramblas though means you hear a lot of drunken noise all night coming from the street and the bars.
Avignon, France Thu 05/06/2004
I stayed at the BCN Loft apartments in Barcelona. although it is an apartment it was advertised on Hostelworld and it was the worst place I?ve stayed in Europe.
There was mould growing all over the bathroom AND one of the pillows, the shower kept flooding until one of the other guests had to unclog the filthy drain herself, and it is all located in a backallley that smells like sewerage and is surrounded by "danger theives" signs.
Do not stay at this place it is utterly disgusting.
Sydney, NSW Australia Mon 05/03/2004
MS Rygerfjord hostel in Stockholm
Recently took Rick's recommendation to try one of the hostel ships in Stockholm. The Chapman, noted in ETBD, was booked so we opted for the Rygerfjord which is moored in S?dermalm, just south of Gamla Stan (the Old Town). In all honesty it was a mixed bag. On one hand, the rooms were very small almost to the point of being cramped, but the ship was quiet and at 550 kronor per night (about $70 US) cost less than half of what many hotels were charging. The upper deck had a small lounge area with a great view of the Old Town and the City regions and we had a chance to meet visitors from a number of other countries.
Some things to note: even though maps show the Mariatorget subway station as the nearest stop, it's actually a considerable walk as there's an intervening hill at least 50 or 60 feet in elevation. It makes more sense to use the admittedly somewhat dingy Slussen station for subway access, or just enjoy the 15 minute walk along the quayside to go to the Old Town. However, it's still worth making the hill-climb at least once to stock up on food at the Mariahall market on Hornsgatan. The store is open till 10 every night and has a great selection of breads, cheeses, fruits and other goodies for delicious Rick-style picnic.
King of Prussia, PA USA Sun 05/02/2004
Hostels from Prague to Paris
I stayed in these hostels this month:
NC USA Wed 04/28/2004
Rome: Friendship Place
I also had a great experience at Friendship Place. It is extremely clean (they are always always cleaning, they wash all the sheets and towels every day and usually mop the bathrooms each time someone takes a shower). The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff is very friendly--Francesco often cooks for his guests and takes them out every sometimes, he also is full of suggestions for things to see and do in Rome, and just a fun guy to talk to. The breakfast is generous, the bring in a big box of fresh pastries, as well as a stock of cereals, breads, jams, nutella, coffee, tea, etc that is available to guests all day. You also get 30 minutes free internet access per day (at the internet cafe down the street). The only downside is that there is no common area, but it's pretty easy to meet and make friends with almost everyone in the hostel anyway. Friendship Place was probably the best hostel experience I've had so far!
Avignon, France Tue 04/27/2004
Michaelangelo hostel ROME
Michaelangelo Palace hostel will not suit you UNLESS you are a chainsmoker, like bathrooms with sticky floors and bags full of everyone elses really dirty smelly laundry and surly, unprofessional service.
Toronto, USA Sun 04/25/2004
Burg Stahlek Hostel
Burg Stahlek in Bacharach am Main in the Rhine Gorge area is the best hostel I have ever been to. Located up over the town of Bacharach in a castle, it's very friendly, clean with smallish rooms and a good breakfast. We stayed in a room on one of the turrets that looked out over the bend in the Rhine. Sweet. Only downside is the 1 mile walk up the mountain to get there. And it is a Hostelling International Hostel
Vienna, VA USA Tue 04/13/2004
Rome: The Friendship Place
Rome: The Friendship Place is an easy walk from the train station, with nice staff and clean rooms. It is a small hostel, only 3 rooms, with a shared kitchen (fridge, stove, etc.)and several shared bathrooms. Free breakfast (cereal, toast) and the owner (CAnnot remember his name right now) made dinner for all of us for free. Also showed us all the best party spots in Rome and overall helped us feel at home in every way.
Clayton, Ca USA Tue 04/06/2004
COLOGNE The station house a few blocks from station rules!Free internet 24hrs.,big bottles of beer in lounge and very helpful staff.The big single size feather beds are the most comfortable I have slept in like being on a cloud.One block down the street is a Kramps coffee and pastry store,I love Greece but thier coffee sucks and I had the best freshly ground filtered coffee of the whole trip.Also try the many Turkish kabob joints thier food most excellant and great value.
USA Tue 04/06/2004
Italian hostels to die for!
I just got back from a week in Italy. We stayed at the Gulliver's House hostel in Rome and absolutely loved it. Simon is the best host and extremely helpful. The rooms are very clean and we felt very safe. But undoubtedly the best place we stayed was a hostel just outside of Sorrento. The name is Mami Camilla. It is a hostel and cooking school. The meals are amazing. It is run by a true Italian family and staying there feels like you are visiting family. I would recommend it to everyone who is going to Italy. You'll never forget it.
Yakima, WA USA Thu 03/25/2004
The Castle Hostle...right next to the steps leading up to the Edinburgh castle. Awesome views. Huge kitchen with everything you need to cook a great meal. We met tons of awesome people in the dining room & great room...some employees put on a mini concert with their guitars one night. Awesome people, price, and location!
USA Tue 03/09/2004
I stayed in 3 eu hostels in march 2003...1)stayokay heemskerk-heemskerk nord holland: this hostel is actually a castle, surrounded by a moat! it was a great stay, clean and ambient. biking distance from the famous dunes and north sea(bike rental right at hostel) and also the cheese town of alkaamar. about 30 mins. train from central station(ams) 2)belgium, bruges europa: great hostel, very clean, 15 mins walk to centre, 10 min walk from train station, freindly staff 3)brussels jacques brel: great location, 15-20 walk(scenic)to grand place and mannekin piss. bathroom could have been cleaner(2 bed room w/ its own toilet , shower...)but overall a great location for brussels...heading to eu end of april 04 , will post my hostel stays soon thereafter....peace, beano
hunt. sta., ny USA Sat 03/06/2004
The Woodstock on rue Rodier a few blocks below Sacre Cour. Market and laundry 1 block up the street, great cozy locals pub 2 blocks below, the woodstock lounge rocks with a new cast of characters each night a truly stimulating international crowd. I was there for 6 nights this past November. Thumbs up on this place.
USA Sun 02/29/2004
Gdansk Hostel is my favorite
Out of the 10 Cities & Hostels I stayed in Europe, my favorite has to be the Gdansk Hostel in Gdansk, Poland! It is a really nice hostel that has separate single and double rooms upstairs with a dorm downstairs in the basement. They have a common computer that has high-speed access the Internet and the owner Darek is a great host. He was the one who really made Gdansk for me by telling me where to go and what to see. He even provided me with a loaner bicycle and told me about some great local restaurants in town! What I really liked was this place is on the old canal and you can literally roll out of bed and eat breakfast on the main square 5 minutes later. Saves a lot of time commuting!
To me Gdansk is what Amsterdam wants to be when it grows up! It is a beautiful city with lots of history and museums in a more compact area (relatively) than most of the places I've been to in Europe! If you go there make sure to plan a day trip to Malborg Castle and perhaps take another day trip to the City of Glydia (15 min up the coast by train) if you like tall sailing ships and navel museums. Gdansk/Glydia are right on the Baltic and have very nice beaches to walk along. Forget swimming unless you like cold water though I was told the Beach scene cooks during the summer time!
The Gdansk Hostel web site is at www.gdanskhostel.com and it is a nice clean modern place with laundry service. I spent all total about two weeks there and never wanted to change locations. Just down the canal is one of the oldest restaurants in Europe and it was even cheap by American standards but kind of fancy. If you are into recent history, Gdansk is also the birthplace of Solidarity Union and they have a nice museum about it there (one of many)!.
Bellevue, WA USA Sat 02/28/2004
i was in the czech republic this summer and had the most fun of all my trip. i stayed in the golden sickle hostel in prague, which i would recommend to anyone. the staff all spoke perfect english (some were american) and all very accomodating-- the let us eat the free breakfast after they had put it away. the night staff guy even took us out to a club where there aren't many tourists. also, it has a great location, really close to good nightlife, grocery stores, trams, etc. its kinda small but easy to get to know people, and very clean. cheapest hostel i found without compromising anything. no complaints.
next i went down south and stayed in cesky krumlov for a few days. i stayed in hostel 99, and had sooo much fun. its a renovated 13th century hospital that still had a tower that acts as the entrance to the city. there's a view of the river and the green hills that's amazing at night, and a cool bar that serves cheap food and drinks. pretty much everyone stayed there at night and got wasted. they let you use inner tubes to take on the river for free, there's a ping pong table, kitchen, t.v. room, pool tables, a patio area, stereo (all free as well), and it was just fun! the staff were upset and yelled at everyone my first night there because there were tons of drunk irish and scottish people singing soccer cheers and beatles songs as loud as they could and dancing on tables. we eventually got kicked out, but we went to another bar and let them chill out and the next day was fine. they were like friends instead of staff. the rooms aren't much, you share them with like 20 other people but everything else makes up for it. the showers too are a little tricky, but managable. go here!
concord, ca USA Tue 02/24/2004
Best Hostels: Paris, Switzerland and Dublin
Paris, The Three Ducks: This hostel is great if you are not looking to go to sleep before 3am. The deal about the courtyard being open late though is not true anymore. Apparently the police have been called on them several times. The toilets were an adventure, but there were cold showers in the rooms and a place to sleep (eventually)! But the beers there are about the cheapest you can get in all of Paris and well, the people are darn friendly... (we had a few boys in our room though who were looking to be a bit too friendly so be careful.)
Paris, La Masion: The kitchen is nice, and so is the fact that this hostel has 4 person rooms with bathrooms. The best part was the elevator, which was top to bottom in plush purple shag. The social scene there was non existant though and its way far away from the Eiffel Tower even though they claim it is close.
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (near Interlaken), Valley Hostel: Not a party hostel at all, but probably the best place I have ever stayed at. The rooms were spotless, as was the kitchen, the other guests were friendly and the owners were more like hosts than hostelers. They even went to the doctor and translated for me when I fell and broke my wrist hiking. Be sure to ask Alfred for the best mountain hikes and visit in September when the cows are coming home. And go to Interlaken if you are looking for a party.
Dublin: Brewery Hostel: This place was cool, but way out from the center of town. It was located 100meters from the Guiness Brewery which was cool when we went. The kitchen is outside, the basement is meldewy and the TV room is constantly being used. But it was a great place and the staff is friendly. I would definately go back.
Poitiers, France Thu 02/19/2004
Paris Young and Happy Hostel
Like everyone says, you can't get a better location than this. Rue Mouffetard has got to be one of the most charming places in Paris, it has the feel of a smaller town, but is right down the street from the middle of everything. I only stayed one night at the Young and Happy, but I had a very good experience. It was a Saturday night and although the place filled up, I didn't have any trouble sleeping after the 2 am curfew (and I'm a light sleeper). The beds were fairly comfortable, although the sheets were a little threadbare, and the place was clean for the most part (one of the showers looked pretty gross, but I think someone had just worn dirty shoes in there). The showers had hot water, although you have to press the button every 17 seconds (I counted) to keep it coming. The friendly, some more than others, but I didn't get to stick around for breakfast since I had to catch a plane the next morning. This was a definite improvement over the dark dingy Bed and Breakfast Hostel I stayed in a while ago in the sketchy St. Denis area, and I would definitely stay at Young and Happy again.
Avignon, France Tue 02/03/2004
We were in Europe March 2003 for six weeks. The trip of a lifetime.
Rome: Beehive Hostel was the best place for the money. Clean and great location.
Paris: La Maison Hostel, the people were nice, but the building was not!
San Sebastian: Pension Amaiur, clean, friendly, English speaking. Stay here!
Florence: 7 Santi Hostel, not
recommended. Loud, dirty, gross and overpriced.
Mel & Flash
San Diego, CA USA Mon 01/26/2004
Paris Hostel: Young & Happy
The Young & Happy Hostel is a poorly run establishment in a great location (got to give them that). After confirming our reservations twice, and as recently has 10-12 hours before arriving, the staff told us the room was holding for someone else who had not yet arrived (with some pushing we prevailed). We stayed on the fourth floor and the smoke and noise from the ground level floor kept us up all night on the weekend nights. It was dirty, the beds were made of over-used foam and the kitchen was dirty. Although a beautiful location, it is it a nasty place to stay.
Midvale, UT USA Mon 01/26/2004
London hostel - Piccadilly Backpackers
Stayed at Piccadilly Backpackers in London for Christmas and New Years. Excellent location, located at Piccadilly Circus, everything within walking distance. ?14/bed for a 4 bed female room with shared bath. ?1 charge for staying the weekend. Bad things: elevator was always out of order (reception is located on the 4th floor) and sometimes, you'll be lucky to get a hot shower.
San Diego, CA USA Mon 01/12/2004
Upscale Hostel in Ljubljana, Slovenia
We discovered a clean and comfortable bargain in the lovely little Slovenian capital of Ljubljana: The Bit Center Hotel. While it calls itself a hotel, it is really an upmarket backpacker's style hostel, with basic rooms and midnight curfew. Rooms however, are private for 1-3 people. Facility is cheery, has a breakfast room and extensive sports facilities, including pool. www.bit-center.net. Address: Litijska 57, 1000 Ljubljuna, Slovenia. 386- 1 548 00 55. Prices as of last summer were $26.50 Euro for a single or $39 Euro for room that sleeps 2-3.
Glen Ellen, CA USA Sat 01/10/2004
Bayeux, France: avoid "Family Home Hostel"
When visiting the beaches at Normandy, my friend and I chose a hostel in Bayeux, France called "The Family Home", which was not family like at all. We were on a tight budget and the hostel had a 24 hour cancellation notice. We paid for 3 nights in advance but on arrival decided to stay only for two. That same day (which was at least 41 hours advance notice) we requested to cancel the last night. We were treated very rudely and yelled at in French (luckily I could yell back). The money was never returned and for a backpacker on a budget, that was really tough. Letting all tourists know about this experience is my recourse for the treatment we received. Please do not stay there, for your own benefit. Thanks.
Seattle, WA USA Sat 01/10/2004
London, Paris, Berlin, Salzburg,
Vienna, Venice and Rome Hostels
London: Generator Hostel. I loved this hostel. It is very big but so much fun. There is a great bar, a cafeteria, great staff, and clean rooms and bathrooms. Lots of computers with Internet, but I didn't use them. I have no complaints whatsoever about this hostel!
Paris: 3 Ducks. This is also a great hostel! It's in a great area by the Felix Faure metro stop and only a 15 minute walk from the Tour Eiffel. It's central but in a non-touristy neighbourhood with many little markets and bakeries. The toilets and showers are outside, which is wierd but fine, and the little bar is great fun. The only complaint I have is that the shower facilities aren't spotless, but they're not bad and I'm planning on staying here again in a year. It also has a computer with the Internet at a reasonable rate of use.
Berlin: A&O Friedrichshain. Good hostel. I was here during a religious event so most of the hostelers were religious Germans so the bar wasn't very exciting, but it is a nice place. The breakfast is pretty good, bathrooms are really clean, and the rooms are nice. The building used to be an elevator factory but strangely enough there are no elevators, so climbing up to the 4th floor with big backpacks was a little difficult. Also, it is in the East section and us four girls didn't feel safe enough to venture out after dark except to the great pizza place next door. It has a computer in the lobby, but beware of the German keyboards-you're bound to make mistakes if you're not used to them!
Salzburg: Yoho. I liked this hostel too. Charming! The rooms are not co-ed, so if you are travelling with a partner of the other sex you'll be split up. Bathrooms are alright. Good breakfasts, and GREAT schnitzel dinners! My biggest complaint is that there are no locks on the hostel doors or the main door, and the lockers are 2 Euro per use. One couple had EVERYTHING stolen while we were there, but our own experience was good. Great computer in the lobby.
Vienna: Ruthensteiner. Great. Near the Westbahnhoff, but difficult to find at first. They have an annex in a different building down the block which is where we stayed, but it was nice, with a shower in the kitchen(which was great!) a full kitchen and big windows with sills that you could sit at (I watched a great lightning storm from those windows!). Each person got a key and a locker, and I have no complaints. Computers were great too.
Venice: Camping Village Alba d'Oro. We called ourselves the Trailer Park Girls! It's in Mestre on the mainland. We stayed in a trailer that was really an oven. It was about 50 degrees C in there, and it was infested with mosquitos and fleas. We were covered in bites. There were two twin beds to be shared between the four of us, but it was only 12 Euro per night, so I can't complain too much. The cabins looked nice. Took about an hour and 3 bus/vaporetto trips to get to Piazza San Marco, but it has a FANTASTIC pool that probably saved us in the heat wave! There were computers but they were expensive so we didn't use them.
Rome: Pensione Kenzo. Terrible! We got there and I told the guy working that we had Hostels of Europe cards and that we were supposed to get a discount, but he didn't have a clue what we were talking about. He called the owner, who I spoke to over the phone. He was a very rude man who talked down to me, and refused to give us our discount. It's also in a shady area near the Termini.
We left and ended up getting
two double rooms at the Embassy Hotel for only 33 Euro each with our own
bathrooms and televisions (later they moved us to a quad-literally! They
moved all our stuff for us). The lady at the Termini accommodation booking
booth said that Pensione Kenzo and his other hostel, Hostel Chiara are
not recommended. I highly recommend the Embassy Hotel however. It's in
a nice area just north-west of the Piazza della Republica, and the beautiful
young man at the desk (whom we named Vittorio for lack of knowing his
actual name) was incredibly nice and helpful in every way. The building
is very old and very nice, and you get breakfast and air conditioning,
which literally saved my best friend who was suffering from heat stroke.
There are no computers but Vittorio directed us to Internet cafes at Barberini
and across from the Vatican wall. I hope I've been helpful to everyone,
and feel free to email me if you have questions!
Victoria, BC Canada Sun 01/04/2004
My wife and I just came back from two weeks in Central Europe. We got a lot of advice from this board so we thought we'd share.
Salzburg - The Yoho Youth Hostel. Clean, cheap, very helpful staff. Rocking brewpub on site. We had a blast! Our favorite! Recommended!
Vienna - Hotel Ruthensteiner. Close to the train but quiet. Nice rooms, safe, and cool courtyard to hang out in. Not a party place (gotta BYO), but central to everything.
Vienna - We had breakfast one morning at Wombats -- holy cow it was like homecoming weekend at the freshmen dorms. Lots of music and kids. Not our style, but it is THE party hostel in Vienna.
Budapest - Hotel Marco Polo. Nice, clean, safe (don't let the neighborhood fool you) but definitely on the pricy side. Staff was helpful, there's a bar downstairs with cheap beer and music. Ask for a room upstairs, the first floor rooms were loud when the band was playing
Zamardi-felso, Hungary -- We
took a local train from Budapest to the little town of Zamardi-Felso on
the shores of Lake Balaton. We stayed at a resort (of sorts) called Kocsi
Csarda. We stayed in a bungalow for 18 euros a night (it was off season
- mid Sept) and went horseback riding across the Hungarian countryside.
And these weren't old nags either, there were several stretches at full
gallop! We got to see a "native" horse show with trick riders that was
pretty neat. The resteraunt there is outstanding and it's walking distance
(about a mile) to Lake Balaton. Fantastic! If you are adventurous and
don't mind braving the local Hungarian trains, it's something you shouldn't
miss! They have a web site too, check it out, you'll probably need reservations
Attleboro, MA USA Sat 01/03/2004
I stayed at the Beehive twice in December 2003 and highly recommend it. The dorm rooms are clean and feel safe. You meet interesting people. I also stayed in a double and a single at the Beehive. They are like hotel rooms decorated by Ikea! I didn't much care for the Beehive's apartments located on the other side of the Termini. Stayed in one that just was not as clean as the Beehive (lots of mold problems in the bathroom - old building). That side of the train station has shadier characters and doesn't feel as safe.
Orlando, FL USA Thu 01/01/2004