Best (and Worst) European Hostels: 2010
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?
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Hotel Golden - Rome, Italy
This small hotel is a GEM for the economy-minded traveler who enjoys personalized care and accurate advice while visiting Rome. The hotel is housed in a late 19th Century renovated building with rooms that include ensuite bath/toilet, air-conditioning/heating among other improvements. The ensuite remodel is a "step-up" addition similar to what you'd find on a cruise ship (probably done to accomodate plumbing.)
It has a wonderful "quaint" elevator (size of a small closet) that we truly welcomed and enjoyed. We're elderly and needed a lift. (pun intended)
It's located in a quiet neighborhood close to the Borghese Gardens/Museum, bus/subway stops and excellent local restaurants. (Be sure to ask for suggestions on restaurants and public transportation. INVALUABLE!!)
This is a family-owned and operated hotel. Marco, Giuseppe and the whole family provide a wonderful feeling of being welcomed and cared for. The customer service is personalized and VERY helpful. Giuseppe and Marco speak excellent English and may even provide some tutoring in Italian if needed. I did and it helped immensely.
There's an American chain restaurant that uses the slogan, "When you're here, you're family." That slogan can easily be shared by Hotel Golden and their wonderful staff.
Broomfield, CO USA Tue 11/02/2010
Thumbs down on Rome hostel
I hate to speak poorly of a Rick Steves suggestion, as he generally gets it right, but Fawlty Towers in Rome was far from memorable and doesn't, in my opinion, rate a recommendation. Yes, it is fabulously close to the Termini station. And, at 85 Euro for a double with bath, is sort of a deal...at least by Rome price standards, I guess. But it was closer to seedy than charming, breakfast would only appeal to recently-rescued castaways and the staff was indifferent rather than memorable. Unlikely that you'd ever show anyone a picture of your room.
Deming, Wa USA Tue 10/05/2010
Hostels in London
I also enjoyed my stay at the Palmer Lodge on College Crescent in London. Over this summer I stayed almost two weeks total. Breakast is good, the staff is helpful and food and drink in the evening is very reasonable. The only downside is that the Jubilee tube line often is closed on weekends, know your bus route alternatives as well
Austin, Tx USA Sat 10/02/2010
Best European Hostels
I travel with college students in England and Wales and have some favorite hostels: Leominster (in Herefordshire- near Ludlow and Hereford and on the main train line) is small, extremely clean, has a great kitchen, an herb garden for you to use, is set next to a medieval church, and attracts cyclists and hikers; York has an amazing staff, with a nice pub area and breakfast (though it does attract a large number of school groups- 40 rampaging 12 year-olds on holiday can be a bit much); and while I avoid the official hostel in Bath (terrible experience there) the YMCA in the center of the city is a very good option.
Waverly, IA USA Sat 10/02/2010
Youth hostel in Carcassonne
Rick Steves recommends the youth hostel (Auberge de Jeunesse) inside the medieval walled city of Carcassonne, France, and we wholeheartedly endorse it! Location & price can't be beat. Decent breakfast, usually with at least one freshly made special dish. Friendly, helpful multi-lingual Michel is amazing. He not only speaks a variety of European and Asian languages, but can switch from one to another without missing a beat as he turns from speaking with one guest to greet another. The ONE down-side is the dreadful bed "linens" - some sort of polyester webbing. So glad I had my silk sleep sack with me. Don't leave home without one...
Willits, CA USA Tue 09/28/2010
The Eastern Comfort in Berlin is great! It's a boat on the Spree river next to the largest section of the Berlin Wall. Staff is friendly and rooms are clean.
Lawrenceville, GA USA Wed 09/15/2010
Pensao Poveira in Porto. Easy to find, right across the street from Campanha Station. Neighborhood looks a little dodgy but actually is fine. The pensao is clean, ensuite bathrooms, very reasonable prices, friendly staff. Metro is right next to Campanha Station so easy access to other parts of Porto.
Laramie, WY USA Tue 09/14/2010
Residencia Erasmus Gracia in Barcelona. Available as a hostel when not used as student housing during terms. Clean, good breakfast, comfortable (room controls for a/c), very reasonably priced. Helpful and friendly staff. Beautifully located in a quiet neighborhood a few blocks from a metro stop, grocery store around the corner, lots of restaurants, walking distance to Parc Guell.
Laramie, WY USA Tue 09/14/2010
ACE Hotel London
The ACE Hotel in London is a hostel located in West Keningston Near the Distict and Picadelly lines. with access to Heathrow. Its clean and quiet. With cold beakfasts. The downside for me, while it had and internet room, it did not have free wifi.
St Albert, AB Canada Mon 09/06/2010
I like Generator hostel in both Berlin and London
I like Generator hostel in both Berlin and London. The London location is superb. Walking distance to the Britsh museum and some great pubs with terrific pub food.
houston, tx USA Mon 08/23/2010
agree with comments regarding Palmer's Lodge in London. A great hostel, near metro, good breakfast, very helpful staff, big common room, washer/dryer, internet access.
san antonio, tx USA Wed 07/21/2010
Greg and Tom Hostel, Krakow, Poland
The Greg and Tom Hostel in Krakow was a great choice. It's a very quick walk (one block) from the main train station. I booked a private room with shared bath. The staff was very friendly and helpful and the building where I stayed (basically an apartment broken down into lockable bedrooms and shared kitchen and bath) was modern and clean. There were opportunities to socialize if you were looking for that. I would definitely stay there if I returned to Krakow.
Arlington, VA USA Wed 07/21/2010
Favourite hostels: the Tom and Greg hostel in Krakow, no bunk beds, no lockouts, free breakfast and dinner, great kitchen, friendly staff that knew my name after 1 day, video games, free internet etc. Castle Rock hostel in Edinburgh, fantastic location, lots of funky artwork, and it felt to me a bit like a mini Hogwarts.
Least favourite - Friends Hostel in Paris, they said I didn't show up within 3 hours of my reservation, even though I had called and switched it and gave up my room, so I was stuck in the shed which had 15 bunks, a tin roof and a bathroom that didn't lock. Awful
Halifax, Canada Sun 06/20/2010
Oxford HI/IYHF Hostel
Stayed here last summer with spouse and child. Had a private family room with double bed, bunk beds and private ensuite shower and toilet. Room even had a TV! Very close to train station and easy walk to center of town. Also close to Waterman's Arms, nice pub with good food. Great stay, full English breakfast and dinner served as well (for a small cost). Free internet in the lobby if you bought something from the cafe. Quiet, clean, family friendly, not at all a party scene.
Boston, USA Sun 06/06/2010
Best hostel in Switzerland!
Best Hostel in Switzerland! It's called 'Chalet Martin' located on the Brig - Montreux train line. You stop at Bex, and then take a cograil train up to Gryon, way up high in the Alps. The Chalet is located only 5 minutes on foot from the train station...just follow the signs. This is a real Chalet, built entirely from wood. It's a wonderful atmosphere with such friendly owners. Many lovely people end up at this hostel. My favourite thing was to make a communal meal and sit with everyone to enjoy the food and the amazing mountains. I highly recommend Chalet Martin - I left to continue travelling, only to find my way back for a splendid 10 days in Paradise. http://gryon.com/
London, Ont Canada Wed 05/26/2010
Great hostel in London
I stayed at Palmers Lodge in London and was very pleased. It's a hostel in a converted old mansion, complete with ornate wood paneling and a lovely sitting room with lots of light. Also the bunks have privacy curtains and individual reading lights, which was a nice touch.
Seattle, WA USA Sun 05/23/2010
Nice B&B in Rome
We stayed 3 nights at B&B Smart in Rome . The room was large , nice and very reasonably priced. It is near the train station Termini , easy to get around by bus and Metro also within walking distance of the Coliseum, and the Roman Forum... The owners are wonderful and the place is incredibly clean. It was great. We definitely recommend this place for budget travelers. www.bandbromeitaly.com
New York, USA Sat 05/08/2010
Sicily is the best!
Sicily is stunning and the history ancient; 2,700 year-old ruins. The LOL hostel in Siracusa is almost posh, very clean, new, chic and for only 22 euro a night for a dorm bed. Things are definately less expensive in Sicily. I would recommend a night train to the island and base yourself at the LOL and then walk to all the amazing sites. The sun, blue water is gorgeous. There is definately a peaceful feeling here.
Skagway, Alaska USA Wed 04/28/2010
Great gasthof (small hotel)
My wife and I visited Reutte in Tirol, Austria. Reutte has gotten a lot busier since I last visited it in 1987. We ended up staying in NesselWangle, a smaller village about 20mins out of Reutte, at my Aunt's family run GastHof: AlpenGastHof KrinnerSpitze. The rooms are very clean and the food great. And best of all, the prices are very good. Their webpage is :
Seattle, WA USA Wed 03/31/2010