Hostels in Europe
By Danait Kidane
When I traveled Europe I stayed in hotels, apartments through Airbnb, and hostels. Hostels are a great alternative to traditional accommodations. They are also an excellent way to save money, travel comfortably and meet new people. So if you’re thinking about planning a trip to Europe, check out these reviews on the hostels I stayed in during my backpacking adventure last September for a little help in deciding on where to stay.
Flying Pig Uptown – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Located just blocks from the famous Vondelpark and several museums, Flying Pig Uptown is a popular Amsterdam hostel. The hostel is housed in an old Amsterdam-style mansion, which means there are several floors (no elevators) to conquer before reaching your room. What I loved about this hostel was the funky vibe, cool staff and location. The Van Gogh Museum and the famous I AMSTERDAM letters are both very nearby making this hostel ideal for those who want to immerse themselves in the center of Amsterdam. The rooms are spacious and clean which is very important when looking for a hostel to stay in. Another huge bonus is that breakfast is free and filling. When you’re on a budget (this is for all of you backpackers out there) free breakfast is much appreciated! Also, for those who are going to Amsterdam to visit “coffee shops,” there is a smoking area in the hostel that is much like a homey living room. You’ll find that Flying Pig Uptown is a super social environment where you’ll be able to meet friendly down-to-earth travelers. Tip: Take a look at the Flying Pig Downtown (Amsterdam) and Flying Pig Beach (Noordwijk, Netherlands) locations also!
The Yellow – Rome, Italy
Voted by Hostelworld as the most popular hostel in Rome, Italy, The Yellow is a perfect place to stay if you’re prioritizing location and nightlife. Located blocks away from Rome Termini station, it’s really convenient for travelers to access. There is a huge bar scene on the first floor along with a club in the basement. There are visitors from all over the world sharing a drink and dancing, making The Yellow a hotspot for young travelers. The hostel itself is very stylish and rooms are very efficient and clean. The beds are also really comfortable, which is something I loved about The Yellow. On the downside, you have to pay for everything. That includes locks, breakfast, towels, and anything else you can think of. Also, the food at The Yellow Hostel is expensive for what you’re getting, however, there is a local restaurant right next door, Mama Angela’s, where you can find the best pasta for 4 euros. Tip: Like their Facebook page once you check-in and you get a free drink at the bar!
Athens Style – Athens, Greece
Named as one of “Europe’s Famous Hostels,” Athens Style Hostel is a popular choice for travelers coming to Greece’s capital. Even though I was not very impressed with the hostel as a whole, there are a few pros to staying here. The highlight of the hostel is a rooftop bar with an amazing view of the Acropolis. It feels as though the Acropolis is in you’re backyard – simply breathtaking. The hostel is very close to lively Greek neighborhoods and nightlife making its location ideal for many. The staff was also very friendly, offering tons of advice on where to go and where to eat. The downside to the hostel was its air-conditioning and breakfast (which consisted of slices of watermelon and bread). Also, the rooms were very tight, leaving little space between the beds and the bathrooms definitely needed some work. Tip: Book rooms in advance for cheaper rates – early reservations can save you 8 euros a night.
Casa Gracia – Barcelona, Spain
My experience at Casa Gracia Barcelona was amazing, making this my favorite hostel in Europe. It’s hard to call this a hostel because of how exceptional it was. Many travelers consider Casa Gracia a luxurious hostel because of its high rates (39 euros/night) and quality rooms. Located at the intersection of Passeig de Gracia and Diagnol in Barcelona, Casa Gracia is actually an apartment building turned hostel. It exudes a chic style and is absolutely gorgeous! The rooms are very modern and vibrant while also comfortable. Along with the beauty of Casa Gracia itself, the hostel has an incredible staff. Many of the interns I met became friends of mine and truly made my experience memorable. Also, the facilities the hostel offers are awesome. The Spanish outdoor terrace was a great place to lounge around and the happy hour bar service from 7-10pm was excellent. There was a state of the art kitchen that was available for guests to use and the hostel also served dinner almost every night, including authentic paella, for only 5 euros! Last but not least, the complimentary breakfast offered a wide selection and was delicious. I still miss the mini Spanish muffins they baked fresh every morning. I can’t wait to go back to Casa Gracia Barcelona, in three words it was: comfortable, artistic and modern. Tip: Look out for promotions they have during off-seasons, many of their rooms are discounted. Also, take advantage of their free walking tours! (I had a great guide who took a group of us to Güell Park, local tapas restaurants and wine bars.)
Born in Kenya to Eritrean expats, Danait grew up in the rainy city of Seattle. She recently went on an exploration seminar in South Africa and backpacked across Europe this past year. Danait is a culture and travel enthusiast who loves to interact with locals and pick up on new languages. Currently studying abroad in the Netherlands, she hopes to inspire others to travel well!