Gone are the days of bootleg hostels and nasty rooms. Now the humble hostel has had a very modern makeover, and in its place has emerged something that resembles a luxury Airbnb. These days, even the affluent occasionally choose to opt for a hostel over a swank hotel, as the former can often be more conducive to meeting fellow travellers and experiencing a region’s culture without the gloss of tourism. With the thirst for authentic travel on the rise, hostels across Europe have seriously pulled themselves together, and now it is perfectly easy to have a luxe experience on a shoestring budget. These contemporary hostels don’t even feel like they’re meant for budget travel; thanks to these, the modern travel experience might just change for good.
Paris might be one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, and it has made huge developments in the hostel world. Opening in what was perhaps the shakiest moment for French tourism last November, Les Piaules thrived against the odds and built itself up as a must-see spot. Located in Belleville, Paris’ answer to Brooklyn, the hostel is a hotspot for freelancers and digital nomads alike, providing plenty of airy, open working ground. The hostel has its own bar, and when the sun is out you can try venturing up onto the roof terrace. Dorm rooms come with privacy curtains, so even when you’re sharing, you can find a little quiet space.
A hotspot for design and interiors, Amsterdam is making serious waves in the luxe hostel industry. While there are numerous cool, contemporary spots to choose from, the recently opened ClinkNoord should be high up on your list. Big, bright, and buzzing, the hostel is always hosting some kind of event, curating the best and brightest from the city’s creative scene. The rooms might be pared back but the bars and social areas more than make up for it. Take a group of friends and act like you’re at home.
Home to some of the most beautiful architecture in Europe, Seville really lends itself to rooftop flourishes. It’s lucky, then, that hostel LaBanda Rooftop has one with a fully functioning bar. A hostel that is as laid back as they come, LaBanda is kitted out in wood furnishings and small dorm rooms. Serving up great, cheap food, the place caters to all kinds of travelers and with the rooftop terrace open every night, you’re not likely to want to leave.
Known as the Venice of the east, St. Petersburg is increasingly becoming the place to go when you’re in Europe. More European than Russia’s capital city, St. Petersburg has increasingly good hostel options, although Soul Kitchen Junior is arguably the best out there. Kitted out with vintage furniture, kitsch decorations and a lot of light, the hostel feels more like a boutique hotel. Family-run, the place is warm and friendly and always a great place to meet a fellow traveler on the move.
Taking the idea of budget travel to new levels, Tattva Design in Porto is one of the most luxurious hostels in Europe. Having taken over two historic buildings in the city, Tattva Design has given them a complete contemporary overhaul with the very latest in interior design. One of the largest hostels in the city, Tattva Design comes equipped with a restaurant and terrace bar, giving you plenty to do on those warm Porto nights.
Once the site of a former prison in Ljubljana, Celica Hostel has more than turned the empty space around. Abandoned in 1991, the prison was almost demolished from the area, but was rescued thanks to the help of over 80 artists from around the world who restored and reimagined the premises. Now the building is a shadow of its former self, having been entirely transformed. Inside the hostel, you can expect to find 80 eclectically designed rooms, a stand up café, and a buzzing restaurant. Who said that a leopard can’t change its spots?