Note: Selina Hostels and Hotels is actually primarily based in the Americas, but they do have a few hostels in Europe. We teamed up with Selina Hostels to bring the Hostelgeeks Community more unique hostels and experiences. If you love the 5 Star Hostels, you will love Selina! Jump to Selina Hostels section to find out more.
Ok, let’s jump in and discover the top hostel chains in Europe that span across major and must-see cities in many great European countries.
In this collection we’ve picked out the most popular and highly rated hostel chains which are ideal for a wide range of travellers types. Anyway, keep reading – everything you need to know about each chain is here.
Just for fun: Did you know the biggest hostel in the world (or at least in Europe) is Danhostel Copenhagen City? They have 1000 beds under one roof!
Here is a map with an overview of each of the hostel brands listed in this guide. They’ve been colour coordinated to make it easier for you.
Note: Some hostel chains have more than one hostel in a city. We’ve only pinpointed one hostel per city on the map.
Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, Venice, Washington DC, Miami
Generator Hostels offer an affordable luxury and social experience, with all properties boasting an onsite bar, cafe/restaurant, chill-out areas and a wide array of room types, from shared to private, luxury to budget.
This is a hostel-hotel hybrid experience, best suited to solo travellers, couples and groups.
Also, Generator knows how to party. Newly opened hostels tend to have a launch party, and many locations offer regular themed parties. You’re sure to have a good time here.
To get a really good overview of this European hostel chain, read our full guide to Generator Hostels.
Here you can view and compare prices per night of all Generator hostels in one place.
Our favourite Generator hostel? It has to be Generator Rome. Housed in a 19th century building, with big, bright modernised spaces and a swanky bar and restaurant; this hostel is ideal for solo travellers and groups of friends.
a&o Hostels offer an inexpensive choice for the budget-conscious traveller. What’s more, they are all very well located in each destination. As this is a hostel-hotel hybrid, you can expect a huge variety of rooms. Not only is it a good option for solo travellers and backpackers, but also for families, schools, business people and associations.
Facilities and rooms reach hotel standards, with a no-frills design. There is a 24-hour bar in all of their hostels.
We’d definitely recommend this hostel chain if you care more about doing your own thing and exploring the area, whilst enjoying a comfortable hostel with an affordable price tag.
Looking for a big hostel? It’s possibly the biggest chain in the world with +28,500 beds!
Our favourite a&o Hostel? We stick with a&o Frankfurt Ostend because of the great choice of rooms to suit every traveller type, and the dedicated work spaces for digital nomads. It’s also located in a central area very close to the main areas and sights.
Is this a hostel chain? Yes, but also a restaurant, gym, rooftop, pool, spa, pub and co-working space! Simply put, this is a hostel, but Plus.
Whilst the above facilities are found at EVERY Plus Hostel, each accommodation has even more social spaces. For instance, the hostel in Florence has two swimming pools!
What’s great is that Plus offer both shared and private rooms. We particularly enjoy the female only dorms as they have added perks such as large en-suite bathrooms and big fluffy pillows.
Female solo travellers and digital nomads will love this European hostel chain.
Our favourite Plus Hostel? Plus Florence is our top choice for female solo travellers, party animals & backpackers. They offer SO many amenities: swimming pool, bar-cafe-restaurant, sauna, terrace… need we say more?
Our favourite Wombat’s hostel? Wombat’s CITY Hostel Munich, without doubt! It’s a 10-minute walk from Oktoberfest and everyone gets a free welcome drink. There’s a bar, hammocks and a lovely glass-roofed courtyard with trees filling the space.
Easily the best youth hostel chain in UK and Europe is St Christopher’s Inn. These guys operate 20 incredible youth hostels in 10 of the most popular and liveliest cities on the continent.
Attached to every hostel is a Belushi’s bar or traditional British pub. A central location is also a guarantee.
It really depends which hostel you book, but in general, solo travellers & couples are suited to this hostel chain.
Our favourite St Christopher’s Inn? St Christopher’s Inn hostel at The Bauhaus, part of the best hostels in Bruges, is a wonderful example of what to expect. Think free walking tours, beer tasting and bike hire.
It’s no secret that we at Hostelgeeks are big fans of Clink Hostels. We’re so impressed with their convenient locations and stunning design in fact, that we’ve awarded two of their hostels with 5 stars!
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, UK
As you can see, MEININGER Hotels is one of the world’s leading chains with +14,700 beds spread across their hostels. It’s easy to hop around Europe staying only in MEININGER Hotels if you really enjoy them.
This accommodation blends the best of hotels and hostels to create an atmosphere to suit groups, families, backpackers and school classes.
MEININGER surely includes some of Europe’s famous hostels.
Our favourite MEININGER Hostel? MEININGER Hostel Salzburg City Center offers a superb panoramic view from the hostel terrace, a trendy design and array of room types. There’s also plenty of games to keep you entertained.
We’ve chosen MEININGER Hostel Salzburg City Center as the #1 hostel in our guide to the best hostels in Salzburg. Have a read to get a better idea of what to expect.
Safestay hostels have a focus on having good access to the city, and fun social events and tours to keep you entertained.
This is also a really good place for digital nomads to settle down, especially as they offer great CoLive packages in both private and shared rooms. You can choose a short or long-term stay at affordable rates. CoWorking spaces & Wifi included!
Our favourite Safestay hostel? We love Safestay Warsaw because of the laid-back atmosphere and stategic location, surrounded by great bars and nearby historical monuments.
Whilst many of the aforementioned hostel chains in Europe include cities like London, you may wish to explore more of the UK whilst enjoying a hostel lifestyle.
Check out YHA England & Wales. YHA hostels Europe is a charity with over 150 properties in these two countries alone. They’re open to backpackers, couples, families and schools.
FYI: YHA stands for Youth Hostel Association and is a charity NGO, not a hostel chain. Still, we think they are definitely worth mentioning.
A membership is also available which can be used in all YHA hostels and gives you 10% off every stay.
Our favourite YHA England & Wales? It has to be YHA Liverpool Central because of its lively amosphere and cool design. This hostel also has male-only rooms alongside female-only dorms. The licensed bar & Strawberry Field Cafe are certainly highlights.
TOC Hostel & Suites is a hostel chain only found in Spain, with one hostel in Barcelona, Granada, Seville and Madrid. The design is fresh and the suites are wonderful for travelling couples. There are upcoming hostels in other parts of Spain, so keep an eye out.
Toc Hostel Seville is one of the 3 best hostels in Seville, especially for couples. This hostel gives a great overview of what you can typically expect.
Alternatively… Oasis Backpackers Hostels is another option and is more than just a bed. Book your stay here if you’re into roof terraces, bar crawls, open mics etc. Their hostels can be found in major Spanish cities as well as Portugal.
EXTRA: Selina Hostels and Hotels
Mexico, USA, Central America, South America, Europe, Isreal
Let’s cut to the chase here; we’ve teamed up with Selina Hostels to bring the Hostelgeeks community even more unique accommodation and experiences around the world. In fact, readers also receive an exclusive 5% discount on all Selina hostels worldwide!
This is an upscale hostel experience, with each property focusing on CoWorking spaces, organised activities, plus in-house bar-restaurant.
They spread over a whopping 60 locations around the world, and whilst they’re mostly found in the Americas, they also have some hostels in Europe and Israel.
Freehand is another hostel-hotel hybrid with a stunning design. Find their hostels in North America in these cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago.
In fact, Freehand New York City is one of our 5 Star Hostels! It’s positively gorgeous, with innovative design, award-winning food and a community driven atmosphere. Enjoy live music, workshops and a choice of over 300 rooms!
Zostel is the biggest and best backpackers chain in India (and Nepal). They have more than 30 hostels spread across the country, including hotspots and lesser know areas. They are a wonderful retreat from what can be overwhelming India life.