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Let’s be real. I did my research and picked some premier hostels in Europe. So I want to pass on my wisdom and share my top hostel picks, because I know how much a good hostel can make or break your stay in a new city.
I chose to stay predominantly in hostels last year when I travelled around the UK and Europe for a few reasons. Firstly, it was usually the cheapest option. Secondly, staying in female dorms allowed me to meet so many people along the way. Thirdly, hostels are usually found in perfectly central locations.
I know hostel life isn’t for everyone. I broke up my hostel stays with private rooms (and time spent with family), so I didn’t get overwhelmed and annoyed. Fortunately, I found that most of the girls I stayed with were respectful and courteous. But even if you don’t love hostels, keep reading as I also feature my favourite guesthouse in Europe and great private room options as well.
One more point before I delve into this post. I booked most of my accommodation through Hostelworld, because I really took note of all of the reviews on there. However, I did look at each hostel’s individual website beforehand, in case they had discounts or cheaper rates. The only time this worked in my favour was with Sophie’s Hostel, which had an autumnal special. Okay, enough chit chat. Here are the best hostels in UK and Europe, from my personal solo traveller experience.
CAPTAINCY GUESTHOUSE – BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
I wrote about my love for this guesthouse in my Brussels post. But the owner, Karel is just the friendliest and most welcoming person. I also fell in love with his Bernese Mountain Dog, Oasis. She is my ideal pet. Anyway, I stayed at the Captaincy Guesthouse twice during my Europe trip. The female dorm is a large loft room with four single beds and the biggest bathroom you’ll ever see. Karel enjoys breakfast with you every morning and loves to pass on information about Brussels too. I had such a great time in the city, thanks to staying here. It’s also around the corner from the Christmas Market. Have I convinced you to stay there yet?
Check out Captaincy Guesthouse (also called Sleephere on Hostelworld)
KINLAY HOSTEL – GALWAY, IRELAND
In my Ireland itinerary post, I mentioned that Kinlay Hostel in Galway featured everything I like in a hostel. It had modern ensuite bathrooms, social events, multiple common areas, free breakfast and shelves/lights/outlets at every bed. Kinlay Hostel is also in a very central location and every staff member I met was very friendly. It wasn’t voted Best Hostel in Ireland for nothing. This was one of my favourite hostels in the UK and Europe.
Check out Kinlay Hostel Galway
WOMBATS CITY HOSTEL – LONDON, ENGLAND
I became a bit of a Wombats groupie during my Europe journey. Firstly, they’re named after one of the cutest Australian animals. Secondly, every Wombats hostel had good things in common, including bars and free welcome drinks! Wombats City Hostel Budapest was in the best location, while I loved the free walking tour I did from the Wombats City Hostel Vienna: Naschmarkt.
The Wombats City Hostel in London is located about a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge. I visited twice during my trip, so got quite familiar with the area. It’s close to two tube stations, Brick Lane and three different supermarkets. It had cosy common areas and the ensuite in my first dorm room was honestly the biggest bathroom I’ve seen. I have since heard some London hostel horror stories, so if you’re looking for a comfortable and cheap stay in London, choose Wombats.
Check out Wombats City Hostel London
LE VILLAGE HOSTEL – PARIS, FRANCE
Le Village Hostel wins for me because of its location. This was the actual view of the Sacre Coeur from my female dorm room. I loved trying a different boulangerie every morning for breakfast and being able to see the sunrise from Sacre Coeur. It’s also close to two different metro stops. There’s a kitchen onsite, a small supermarket next door and my dorm did have a desk in the room. I also picked up a discounted Seine River cruise ticket, which was a bargain at €9. I really couldn’t fault it.
Check out Le Village Hostel
EURO HOSTEL – GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
Euro Hostel won points for me because it had reasonably priced (and good-sized) private rooms with desks! I loved having a space to myself for a few nights to work and do laundry. There was also a bathroom located across the hall. Euro Hostel is very centrally located in Glasgow, so you don’t have to walk far for groceries, shops or food. The staff were very helpful and booked my Rabbie’s Tour for me too.
Check out Euro Hostel
SOPHIE’S HOSTEL – PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Like I mentioned, Sophie’s Hostel in Prague was the one place I didn’t book through Hostelworld. I got an autumn deal that saw me spend $20 a night instead. So check out their website before booking. And you should definitely book a room here. The reception staff were very nice and the “dorm room” was an actual apartment. The massive bedroom had five single beds spread out and pressed against each wall.
We also had a large bathroom and a separate kitchenette with a dining table. The daily breakfast at Sophie’s wasn’t exactly cheap, but I got some bread, spread and fruit from the local supermarket and it cost me $2. The only kind of negative is that it’s about a 20-minute walk into the centre of Prague. But this didn’t bother me because I walked everywhere or took the cheap-as metro. You can purchase tickets from the front desk staff.
Check out Sophie’s Hostel
VILA VESELOVA – LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
Vila Veselova is located walking distance from the city centre and the bus station. I was staying in a four-bed female dorm, but there was only me and one other woman my entire stay. Once again, the reception staff were overly friendly, handing me a map with so many suggestions. Another staff member also gave me the exact directions to get the bus to Lake Bled. We had our own bathroom and there was a dining area for breakfast, as well as a kitchen upstairs. I love that so many dorms in Europe include single beds. Top bunks are my arch nemesis.
Check out Vila Veselova
THE DOTS HOSTEL – ZAGREB, CROATIA
Entering Dots Hostel is like entering a residential building. But once you’re inside, you discover this very modern and clean hostel. I also stayed in a private room at this family-run hostel, which was a good size and had a bathroom next door. As I was travelling during the off-peak season, it was very quiet. There are couches, as well as a kitchen and table and chairs in the common area. It’s also located two blocks from the city centre. I highly recommend Dots.
Check out Dots Hostel
VAGABONDS – BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND
I really like my stay at Vagabonds in Belfast. It was about a 10-minute walk from the city centre and felt more like a guesthouse. As soon I entered I immediately felt welcomed. The six-bed female dorm was quite cosy, but the beds were so soft and there were a few bathrooms to choose from just down the stairs. There was also free breakfast in the morning
Check out Vagabonds Belfast
BUDGET BACKPACKERS – EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
Now, there are a lot of hostels in Edinburgh. I mean, even Budget Backpackers has a sister hostel down the road. Budget Backpackers was in a superb location just off the Royal Mile, so you can easily walk everywhere. I was in a four-bed female dorm room and it was very modern, with bathroom facilities down the hall. There’s also a large kitchen if you want to save money. I think the only downside was that there weren’t a lot of common areas like the other hostels, if you’re working on the road. But my upside was the friendly Australian on the front desk when I arrived, who wrote down all of her favourite places in Edinburgh (there were a lot).
Check out Budget Backpackers
NOT-MY-FAVOURITE UK AND EUROPE HOSTELS
To make this a well-rounded post, I thought I’d mention a couple of places that I didn’t love as much. Firstly, Sheila’s Hostel in Cork. The female dorm was pretty cramped and the outlet situation wasn’t ideal. Meanwhile Generator in Amsterdam was very modern, which I loved. But I still can’t get over the fact they charged €5 for a towel. When I checked out, a guy at the front desk mentioned he could also drop me at the airport… for €15. Um, the public transport costs were less than half that and it didn’t take me long at all. Also, I don’t know you. No thanks, mate.
If you have had any memorable hostel stays in Europe, share them in the comments below. I need to know where to stay next time ;)
♥ My Ireland and Northern Ireland itinerary
♥ My entire UK and Europe itinerary
♥ My top hostelling tips for fellow solo travellers