3 Best Hostels in Ottawa – Visit Parliament Hill, Tulip Festival & Rideau Canal

Best Hostels in Ottawa

Every adventurous backpacker longs to explore the world’s treasures and indulge in the history and nature that these places offer. But apart from the hidden gems that frequently make it on your list, big cities and countries’ capitals are also popular destinations that many wish to visit. Here you’ll find the best hostels in Ottawa.

Speaking of famous capitals, we would like to suggest that you consider Ottawa as a must-visit destination. The Canadian metropolis is immersed in rich culture, mixed with history and subtle touches of wonderful architecture that await you to explore! When you start planning your trip here, you will soon notice that a day or two simply won’t be enough. This is why you will benefit from a list of the best hostels in Ottawa that will make your stay more enjoyable.

The capital of Canada is conveniently located in the southern part of the Ontario region and has a population of little over a million citizens. Over the years, as the city has developed, the citizens have managed to maintain the perfect balance through which they incorporated a little bit of the future into the city, all the while maintaining the touches of the past.

Ready for your next destination? Here you’ll find our detailed guide to the best hostels in Canada.

Our favorite hostels in Ottawa are:

  1. Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel - best for adventure seekers and solo travelers
  2. Barefoot Hostel - best for female solo travelers
  3. Ottawa Backpackers - best for budget travelers

Money-saving tip: Compare hostel prices with Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld, Booking.com and others with 1 click.

From visiting museums to taking a look at the administration buildings, there is so much to see and do while you are there. One of the most popular activities you can enjoy is skating on the Rideau Canal.

The other is touring the Byward Market and taking the grand tour of parliament hill. Both of these require a substantial time in order to fully enjoy them, so make sure that you reserve a day or two for completing them.

The nightlife in Ottawa is hard to describe, which leaves you only with the option to experience it on your own. The first thing we suggest is hopping through the city, and of course, going to the most incredible rooftop bar the city has! This is a must if you’re willing to get a proper drinking experience there.

Of all the adventurous activities you can indulge in while you are visiting Ottawa, paddleboarding on the Gatineau River is one of the best we can recommend. All that is required to complete this activity is good weather and proper equipment. This is by far one of the most unique things you can do in the city, so book an instructor who can help you experience this!

Good To Know: We have a detailed guide to the best hostels in Toronto and the best hostels in Montreal

This guide is perfect for YOU, when you…

  • are tired of crappy hostels!
  • want a social Hostel to actually meet people
  • are happy to spend $1 to $2 more for a much better experience

For those searching for a serious adventure, here is something that we’re sure will pique their interest- organising a tour to fly with an actual plane from the Second World War! This activity is very popular here, especially during summertime, so if flying a plane is something you’ve always desired, here’s the perfect chance to make your lifelong dream come true. The experienced pilot that will accompany you during the flight can even do a few manoeuvres, and it is all so exciting to witness!

If you are looking for a serene place to relax, visiting Gatineau Park will prove to be the perfect destination. This wonderful place is filled with trails where you can walk and explore the best of what nature can provide. Add a little bit of an adventurous touch to it by hiring a mountain bike and going for more than just a stroll.

The national gallery in Canada is yet another place you shouldn’t forget to visit. The extensive art collection is bound to take your breath away, so it’s definitely something you should add to your itinerary list.

You can find all 5 Star Hostels here with Hostelgeeks and all guides to “Best Hostels In” here.

Quick Introduction to Ottawa

Average price for a bed: Hostels in Ottawa cost $28 – $35 per night for a bed in a dorm. A private room has an average of around $98 per night. This is a rough average, just to give you an idea.

Prices always depend on the season and holidays. Please always check the exact rates on Hostelz.com or Hostelworld.com.

Check-In and Check-Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3 pm), while the Check-Out time is before 11:00 (11 am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.

Best time to visit Ottawa: The best time to visit Ottawa is from March to May, as temperatures start to rise and the city starts to bloom. This is also the time of some of the capital’s favorite events, such as the beloved tulip festival. Summer is the most popular time for a visit but also the most expensive. If you’re looking for a good deal, go in winter; temperatures may dip below freezing, but you can still enjoy skating and hockey on the Rideau Canal.

Getting Around cityName]: The best way to get around Ottawa is to go on foot. The city’s vibrant downtown area is densely populated and well-marked signs make it easy to get around. In case you get tired of walking, the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission (OC Transpo) operates various bus routes, all of which start from the Rideau Centre and wind through downtown and into the outlying areas.

🎁 New to Hostels? Read our guide to staying in a Hostel for the First Time here. We especially recommend reading:

The 3 Best Hostels in Ottawa are …

Let’s jump right into the coolest hostels in Ottawa.

  1. Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel – best for adventure seekers and solo travelers
  2. Barefoot Hostel – best for female solo travelers
  3. Ottawa Backpackers – best for budget travelers

These are our favorite hostels in Ottawa. We want to make your life even easier, so we put all accommodations on a map for you. We even added our own tips for favorite restaurants, things to see, and more.

Overview: Best Hostels by Traveler Type

🦸 Solo Traveler: Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel
🙎‍♀️ best for Female Solo Traveler: Barefoot Hostel
👩‍❤️‍👨 Couple Hostel: Barefoot Hostel
🤑 Budget-friendly:Ottawa Backpackers
👩‍💻 For Digital Nomads: Barefoot Hostel
🎒 for Backpacker:
Ottawa Backpackers
🧘 Cozy Hostel: Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel

1. Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel

This is one of the best hostels in Ottawa, which, apart from the interesting name, is bound to provide a magnificent experience that you’ll certainly enjoy. Being a former jailhouse, this is an interesting property that offers lovely accommodation and an excellent breakfast.

Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel  features a unique furnishing and architectural style, and in terms of amenities, it has everything that an adventurous traveller like you would need. There is a common room with a TV, you get a locker and some towels and linens too, and there is a shared bathroom which is extra clean, so guests can fully enjoy themselves.

The location is particularly good since it is close to some of the most exciting attractions in the city. One interesting thing about it, though, and probably something that makes the property so popular, is the tales of the haunted spirit of Gaol that roam through the hostel. To keep your interest spiked, we’re not going to share more on this topic and leave it to your curiosity.

Location: This hostel, situated in a renovated jailhouse, is located right next to the Ottawa Convention Centre and Rideau Centre Mall and is just 2 km away from the University of Ottawa and Chateau Des Charmes Wines. Casino du Lac Leamy is a 10-minute car ride away.

The best choice in Ottawa for

  • adventure seekers
  • solo travelers
Book Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel here

Check prices at:
Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel Dormitory

Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel Hallway

2. Barefoot Hostel

The second one on our list is just as peculiar as the first one! We have decided to give you some options that will make you step out of your comfort zone for a little bit.

The Barefoot Hostel is an adult-only hostel that can provide you with everything you might need during your stay. You can enjoy the common lounge area, shared kitchen, as well as on-site BBQ facilities.

It is a non-smoking property, which many guests appreciate, and it has several rooms offering stunning city views.

The staff is incredibly helpful and can help you with organising some biking tours. They can even inform you about the closest landmarks and city attractions and help you decide which ones are definitely worth your visit.

Location: The hostel is situated a short distance away from the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, which is 13 km away, and is also close to Rideau Locks, which is around 10 minutes walk.

A great choice for

  • female solo travelers
Book Barefoot Hostel here

Check prices at:
Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Barefoot Hostel Standard Queen Room Barefoot Hostel Common Area

3. Ottawa Backpackers

Last but not least, on our list of best hostels in Ottawa is a property that is suitable for all backpackers who are working on a tight budget.

Ottawa Backpackers is a lodging that can help you get the most out of your stay by providing you with everything you need for a significantly lower price.

The location is marvellous, and the level of cleanliness is exceptional! These two factors make guests choose this property over all others.

Ottawa Backpackers is one of the friendliest hostels you will ever visit, apart from being the cheapest one as well. You can enjoy a nice storage space, secure lockers, dormitory rooms, a common lounge and kitchen area, and so much more!

Location: This budget hostel located in downtown Ottawa is a short 5-minute walk from Rideau Centre and a 10-minute stroll from Byward Market. It is just 2 minutes away from the nearest grocery store, and the University of Ottawa is a 7-minute walk away.

This is one of the best hostels in Ottawa for

  • backpackers
  • budget travelers
Book Ottawa Backpackers here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Ottawa Backpackers Dorm

Ottawa Backpackers Front

Best Hostels in Ottawa for Solo Travelers? 

We think that the best hostel in Ottawa is Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel.

It has a cosy ambience because of its unique style and hardwood floors. They also have a nice common area where you can meet your fellow travelers. 

This hostel is perfect for solo travelers who are seeking adventure. Imagine staying at a unique historic haunted Gaol. That is quite an experience, don’t you think?

Book Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel here

Check prices at:
Booking.com | Hostelz.com

More Hostels worth a mention

At the moment, we think you are all set with the hostels we just shared with you. We always try to keep our guides super fresh and up to date. We might add more hostels worth a mention here in the future if we feel that it could enrich your travel and hostel experience.

Backpacking Tips for Ottawa

1. When it comes to museums, there is so much to see and experience! And in order to save money on entry fees, we are here to provide you with quite a useful tip. Do a little research and discover the interval at which museum tickets come free of charge. This will help you save a substantial sum of money, which you can later allocate to something else.

2. Ottawa is a city that offers plenty of engaging activities that won’t let you feel bored even for a second, making it the perfect destination for any restless backpacker. All you need to do is browse through the selection of activities and pick the ones that best suit your interests.

3. If you want to make the most of your time spent here while still staying on the budget-friendly side, consider checking the variety of plane tours and their pricing. The more extensive tours are worth about 150 dollars, and the smaller tours can cost about 60-70 dollars. Before booking a tour, make sure you can book the one that will fit your budget.

4. Hidden in the centre of Gatineau Park, you can find some secluded but incredibly stunning beaches. This is a popular gathering point, especially during the summer months, so if you are looking for a quieter place to hang out, this is worth paying a visit.

5. Another thing, you can enjoy here is a free yoga class on Parliament Hill. This is such a fun activity to do, and being surrounded by many positive people is bound to put a smile on your face. It is definitely a unique experience that we suggest you try.

Since we have gone through the handful of the best backpacking tips we could provide, it is time to look at some of the best hostels in Ottawa. Enjoy the list!

What about the cheapest hostels in Ottawa?

Of course, there are always cheap hostels. But how do you actually find them? When you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you want to save every dollar, there are ways to find the cheapest places in Ottawa.

  1. Open Hostelz.com with a full list of all hostels in Ottawa
  2. add your dates
  3. Order the listings by price

Simple as that.

Hostelz.com is a price comparison site for hostels. They list every single one in the world and tells you exactly which website is cheaper to use.

Another smart Tip: Check what is actually included, and what is excluded. Take a closer look at the location, too. A further location might mean more costs in transport.

Any Discounts?

You can find all our hostel discounts worldwide here. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the freshest hostel discounts directly in your inbox. We even have special discount codes we only share in the newsletter.

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How to book?

The most popular booking platforms are Booking.com and Hostelworld.com. On both platforms, your credit card is 100% protected and the booking 100% confirmed.

We included some handy links to each of the recommended hostel. Just click on the hostel name. The link will lead you to check prices and availability.

Read: Step-by-Step guide on how to book with Hostelworld

We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible! All of Ottawa best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish and good hostels, secure your room/bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.

The coolest Hostel App you need comes as well from Hostelworld. It gives you super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand, ask questions, and make plans together. Find more details in our review of the app.

Download the Hostelworld App here

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Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to download the Hostelworld App from the App Store - like a real Hostel Geek!

The best way to find hostels: Hostelgeeks website and Hostelworld App

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Our Favorite Hostels in Ottawa put on a map + sights

We’re listing all the three best Ottawa hostels on a map to give you an idea of the location and distances between them.

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Flights to Ottawa?

We use Skyscanner and Omio.com to find cheap flights and good connections all over the globe.

Skyscanner has a bunch of cool features like Multi-City Trip. Instead of doing this research step-by-step, Skyscanner offers this flight planning tool.

Our Step-by-Step Guide to Skyscanner

review of Skyscanner flight searches

Discover all of the best hostels in Canada.

We did the leg work for you and bring you more hostel guides to destinations:

Staying on the other side of the border? Make sure you read our big guide to backpacking in the USA with all the top hostels.

Here are more detailed destination guides we have for you in the United States:

Over to you

Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!

Your question will help us to improve this Ottawa guide.

Last note: Our commitment

This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter, and find the best place on a budget! We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.

Safe travels,
The Hostelgeeks

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