6 Hostels You Need to Visit & 3 You Might Want To Miss

The Best

Arpacay Backpackers, Prague

Arpacay Backpackers is one of those hole in the wall hostels that you could walk past without ever realising a hostel was inside. However, if you do manage to find it, you are in for a treat. Located at 120 metres below the stunning Prague Castle, Arpacay is located within walking distance of pretty much everything and the views from the dorm windows are amazing. Not only this, the dorms are light and airy, the bunks comfy and the showers never seem to run cold.

The only downside is that it is set on a rather steep hill! If you weren’t fit before arriving at Arpacay, a couple of days walking up and down this hill and you will be well on the way.

10 bed dorms start at $13/night AUD, click here to book.

Source: arpacayhostel.com

Fairy Knowe Backpackers, Wilderness

Fairy Knowe is hands down the best accommodation on South Africa’s Garden Route. At first glance, Wilderness could look like a sleepy little beach town but there is so much just waiting to be uncovered (seriously – click here and here and here to find out more) and Fairy Knowe is the best possible base from which to explore this amazing town.

The dorms of this hostel are nothing particularly special (and heaven help you if you forget insect repellent) but the vibe is pretty wonderful. Hippy staff, communal meals, an awesome bar, morning yoga and a hostel cat that likes snuggles in the early hours of the morning make this place unforgettable. Not only that, Fairy Knowe is located at the starting point for some amazing hiking and canoeing trips, and the owners can help you organise cheap kloofing and paragliding. What more could you ask for?

Dorm beds start at around $10 AUD, click here to book.

Image captured by Ellen Burne with iPhone 5

The Lighthouse Hostel, Edinburgh

The Lighthouse Hostel certainly wouldn’t be the prettiest hostel in Edinburgh, but it is by far the best. The dorms may be slightly cramped, but the mattresses are as fluffy as clouds. The bathrooms may be tiny, but even in the harsh Scottish winter, the hot water never runs cold. The kitchen may lack space (sensing a theme here) but it is instilled with an undeniably communal vibe where making new friends is as easy as breathing.

The downstairs common room is stocked with comfy couches and more movies than you could ever need, making it the perfect place to recover from a hangover. The Lighthouse Hostel remains one of the most sociable hostels I have ever visited and I have nothing but fond memories of the place.

10 bed dorms start at around $18/night AUD, click here to book.

Source: lighthousehostel.co.uk

Loft Hostel, Reykjavik

I have been to Iceland on three separate occasions and each time I have returned to Loft Hostel, in fact, each time I have somehow ended up in the same dorm and the same bed within that dorm! Talk about some serendipity!

So why keep returning to Loft?

Well, it is centrally located in downtown Reykjavik, stumbling distance from Europe’s best hotdog stand (something I learned firsthand), has a super laidback vibe where it is easy to meet people, the bar does a great happy hour and the dorms are clean and reliable. Each time I have stayed at Loft I have made awesome new friends – many of whom I am still in contact with. Kex may be the prettiest hostel in Reykjavik, but overall, Loft is the best.

A bed in an 8 bed dorm starts at $40/night, click here to book.

Image by Eyþór Árnason via facebook.com/LoftHostel/

Academy Hostel, Florence

By far the most well located hostel in stunning Firenze (literally a few steps from the Duomo) the Academy Hostel doesn’t look like much, but it seriously delivers.

I arrived here early one morning around 4am after catching two flights and an overnight train, I was absolutely shattered and praying that I could check in early and get some sleep. When I arrived the guy manning reception told me that early check in wasn’t possible but that I could crash on the couch. I was a bit disappointed but a couch was better than nothing, so I quickly snuggled up and shut my eyes. Not 10 minutes later the guy woke me and told me that another guy had just checked out and as long as I could be discreet, I could crash in his vacated bed until 11am.

Now, it may sound gross to sleep in someone elses bed, but I was so tired it didn’t phase me one bit. That sleep was fricking amazing and as a result, I will always love the place.

A bed in a 6 bed dorm starts at $34/night, click here to book.

Image by Roberto Leone via hostelworld.com

Green Ele Backpackers, Cape Town

Anyone who says Green Ele isn’t the best hostel in Cape Town obviously has never stayed there!

Located a fair way out from the city centre Green Ele is often overlooked purely because of its location, but with easy connections via minibus cab, bus or uber, this is a rookie mistake.

Observatory – or ‘Obs’ – is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Cape Town; it is a university suburb, filled with vintage shops, cool cafes and some of the best coffee in the entire city. Not only that, it is walking distance from Woodstock (best suburb name ever) which is famous for the Neighbourgoods Markets held at the Old Biscuit Mill.

The hostel itself has brilliant staff, comfy beds, cheap drinks, weekly pizza nights and even a pool!

A bed in a 6 bed dorm starts at $17/night, click here to book.

Image via greenelephant.co.za

The Worst

Stumble Inn Backpackers, Stellenbosch

I stayed at Stumble Inn backpackers in late 2014 and I still remember it as being a truly horrible hostel. The workers in the hostel were rude, would leave you outside for hours (electronic buzzing gates that had to be manually opened during power shedding periods) because they could not be bothered getting off the couch to let you in, they played house music until 5am each night even when there was no party, there was no hot water in the entire place and to top it all off – I got bed bugs.

When I checked out, I made a complaint to a female employee and after I was done verbalising all my gripes, I requested (possibly more like demanded) a refund to which she responded with “yeah okay, this place is pretty shit”, which kinda says it all.

Book instead: Banghoek Place, click here for more information.

Image via stumbleinnbackpackers.co.za

Venice Academy Hostel, Venice

This hostel is pretty dirt cheap by Venetian standards, so I guess when you book, go ahead knowing that you definitely get what you pay for.

I got bed bugs in this hostel, which is honestly not that big of a deal, it can happen anywhere! What really sets different hostels apart though is how they handle such a situation.

A good hostel will replace your linen, help you wash your clothes and offer you a refund or discount.

This hostel did no such thing. The main worker vehemently denied the presence of bed bugs, despite the bed very visually obviously being full of them and the fact that the entire right side of my face and body (my go-to sleeping side if tummy sleeping isn’t comfy) was covered in bites, red and swollen. He told me that they were a clean hostel and that if I had bed bugs then I must have brought them with me.

I was livid. Exceptionally so because I had had to pay to use their linens and was down to my last 12 euros! I literally had enough moolah left to catch the bus to airport and get my flight home, so a change in hostels was not an option.

Book instead: Generator Venice, click here for more information.

The Mixed

Sheebang Hostel, Puerto Princesa

Ah, Sheebang. So gross yet so damn fun!

This hostel in the Filipino city of Puerto Princesa stirs mixed feelings in me. On one hand, the place is pretty disgusting. There are only two toilets in the whole hostel and one of them was pretty much backed up and out of order the entire time I was there. The showers had no pressure so you bathed under a drizzle. There were rats running around the place. I bought a beer which had gone so bad it literally tasted like blood. The place is a bit of a cesspool.

However, I had a great time at Sheebang! I met awesome people, went on awesome adventures and the hostel staff were really accommodating.

Would I go back to Sheebang? Heck yes!

A bed in a 14 bed dorm starts at $8/night, click here to book.

Image via facebook.com/SheebangHostel

Posted by

30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

46 thoughts on “6 Hostels You Need to Visit & 3 You Might Want To Miss

  1. I’ve got to say, I think I’ve gone past my hostelling years, especially now that for a little more I can do AirBnb. It’s been fun while it lasted, but my last hostel jaunt – in a dorm in Yerevan, Armenia – made me wish I booked a proper hotel or a house. I guess it’s an age thing!

    Anyway, the Edinburgh one sounds familiar, do they have MASSIVE dorms? Like 30+ bunk beds?

    1. No, the dorms were all like 8 bed ones! However, I do know that there was another Lighthouse Hostel many years ago which closed down and then a new owner reopened it in a different location, so you may have stayed at the original one.

  2. I also stayed in a not-so-great hostel in Stellenbosch, might have been the same one but I can’t remember the name. Been in some fabulous ones in other countries though to make up for a few less enticing choices. Didn’t notice the Loft when I was in Reykjavik, will try and remember that one if I ever make it back.

    1. It is wonderful when you find a really good hostel. It probably was the same one in Stellenbosch! There are only two hostels there and Banghoek gets pretty decent reviews whereas I know I was not the only person who hated Stumble Inn!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Feeling very lucky that I never got bed bugs in my hostel stays (like 10 so far around the world), I really cannot bear dirty bed and toilets!

  4. I always check my bed and surroundings, when in any hostel or hotel/guest house. So far, no bedbugs, and cockroaches were only in one place, in coastal Texas. Nonetheless, I will remember about Venice and Stellenbosch. The other places sound awesome, and I will definitely book at the Loft.

  5. Wow, thanks for sharing. Who thought hostels were this beautiful. My favourite has to be Green Ele Backpackers, Cape Town. I hope that I will visit S.A next year and I will definitely try this. Thanks

    1. I stayed at the St Christophers Inn Canal the last time I was in Paris. It was fine, nothing special but also not terrible. It was also pretty reasonably priced which is a rarity for Paris hostels! It is a bit of a party hostel though, so it would be worth spending a few extra dollars for a smaller sized dorm.

  6. Amazing tips! I stayed at a terrible ‘hotel’ in Prague last time I was there but it was still one of my favourite cities- will have to check out Arpacay next time! Do you have any recommendations for Barcelona, Lisbon, Budapest, Vienna, Munich or Malta? Im looking into booking soon 🙂

    1. Casa Gracia in Barcelona is really great! I didn’t love Barca as a city in general, but I really liked that hostel. Black Sheep Hostel in Budapest is also pretty good and very centrally located. When are you visiting Vienna? I will be heading there in Feb!

  7. I will bookmark this for when I finally get to Iceland (and Venice)! Out of interest, when do you think is the best time of year to visit Iceland?

  8. Hi, where ever you may be and game as Ned Kelly is what I like about your travel adventures. Bit old in the tooth for me to be travelling round this big old world with all its troubles and mass migration. I’ll stick to my own backyard for even if I keep travelling for the next 10 years, I still won’t see half of what Australia has to offer. Go girl and the best of Aussie luck to ya. Cheers Kev

Leave a Reply