It is possible to enjoy a budget city break without compromising on comfort and facilities, as this selection from a new guide by Kash Bhattacharya shows.
1. Les Piaules, Paris
Parisian hostels are pretty average so Les Piaules, in an art deco building in trendy Belleville, is welcome. Opened during a shaky period for the city, following the tragic terrorist attacks in the area, the hostel, run by a group of friends, is the perfect hub for young people keen to make the most of the surrounding nightlife. Its bar does wine from €3 a glass and sharing plates for €12. Bunks have curtains and there’s a rooftop terrace.
2. Generator, Venice
This is Generator’s most expensive hostel but it is still a bargain compared to hotel prices in central Venice. The food and drinks are equally reasonable, with pizza from €5 and cocktails from €6. A waterside former granary, it has mosaic floors, murano glass chandeliers and lots of velvet, so there’s still a good dose of Venetian richness. The lobby is especially well done, with deep-red armchairs around an old fireplace, old leather sofas and a dark, heavy wooden bar top. .
3. ClinkNoord, Amsterdam
Clink Hostels’ first overseas foray is in Amsterdam Noord’s newly developed Overhoeks neighbourhood, handy for the Eye Film Museum and recently opened A’Dam Tower. It’s big and buzzing, and the in-house bar puts on regular events. While the rooms are quite basic – to be expected in a hostel with 750 rooms – the communal areas are social and inviting, with trendy sofas and benches to hang out on while plans are made.
4. Circus Hostel, Berlin
How many hostels can boast a museum dedicated to the Hoff (chest hair and all)? Well, Circus Hostel can. It also has a microbrewery, offers free walking tours, bikes and iPads for hire, and a busy events calendar ranging from yoga to night photography tours. Those planning late nights in the city will also be grateful for the all-you-can-eat breakfast, served well into the afternoon. This stand-out hostel is in Mitte, opposite St Oberholz cafe and 24-hour Mein Haus am See.
5. LaBanda Rooftop, Seville
With a beautiful roof terrace dedicated to communal dinners, held every night – with views over Seville’s stunning cathedral – LaBanda is an easy-going hostel. The rooms all feature handmade wooden beds and have a boutique feel but this is definitely a place for backpackers: there are no private rooms, only dorms for four, six or eight. As well as the cheap meals, and great communal kitchen, the hostel has cosy communal spaces for reading, browsing the vinyl collection and generally settling down.
6. Soul Kitchen Junior, St Petersburg
The decor in the Soul Kitchen Junior hostel is, to put it simply, wonderful. Brick-walled rooms are filled with a brightly coloured mix of vintage furniture, low-hanging lamps and kitsch wall decorations. Rooms range from eight-bed dorms to en suite doubles and there’s one “luxury” double for those looking to snuggle up in a huge, old wooden bed in a room with its own fireplace. The family-run hostel occupies a huge neo-baroque building in the heart of one of the most beautiful parts of the city.
7. Sir Toby’s, Prague
An old favourite for backpackers in Prague, Sir Toby’s is the kind of place that can really make a trip to this city. In an old house in the Holešovice area (it’s not the old town but it’s near some of the city’s alt music venues and the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art), the hostel has a great pub in the cellar, a beautiful back garden and light, spacious, wood-floor rooms, decked out with retro furnishings.
8. Tattva Design, Porto
Distilling the concept of the world’s hip hotels into an affordable hostel for budget travellers, Tattva Design Hostel takes two historic buildings in Porto and brings them up to speed with a creative contemporary makeover. It’s the largest hostel in Porto, with beds for 116 people and rooms ranging from dorms to doubles. All the rooms have en suite bathrooms, plus there’s a restaurant and terrace bar, also used for BBQs during the summer.
9. Celica Hostel, Ljubljana
It’s hard to think of a better use for an ex-prison than what the team behind Celica Hostel in Slovenia have come up with. After more than a decade of persistance from a group of artists from the city, the prison building, which ceased use in 2001 and was almost demolished by the authorities, was reopened as a hotel, founded on the idea of the potential of creative spirit. Over 80 artists from around the world collaborated to help with the conversion, with each room (or cell) redesigned by them – one room features original work by Antony Gormley. Now it’s a buzzing place to stay, with its own art gallery, great cafe and restaurant area, and alternative venues found in the old warehouse buildings just behind it.
10. The Yellow, Rome
“We are the people your parents warned you about” is the introduction on the homepage of the Yellow Hostel in Rome. So, yeah, this is definitely a hostel keen to foster a rowdy atmosphere. There’s a bar and club, as well as a rooftop terrace. It has a great mini cinema with projector and bean bags, plus there are yoga lessons. Despite all this, it still seems to be growing; plans for a barbershop and an escape-room game are on the horizon.