Full Guide to Hostels in Europe 2024 – All you need to know to Book Smart, Stay Safe and Have Fun

Full Guide to Hostels in Europe - ALL you need to know

Welcome to the extended Guide To Hostels in Europe, covering all of the essential tips and tricks you need to know.

There are many myths and open questions for first-time travelers, as well as for the experienced, when staying in hostels.

This Guide to Hostels in Europe will help you to find out about

  • the basics of staying at a hostel
  • how to go about finding a good one
  • how to stay safe
  • where to book smart
  • how to get discounts

This article is part of the guide to hostels, and was last updated June, 2024. Here we cover many different topics around the topic of hostel-typed accommodation. We also wrote up a big detailed guide of the absolute best hostels in Europe with map.

You can find all official 5 Star Hostels with us.

We have been working on this European Hostel Guide for a long time, and we will always keep it up to date if and when anything important changes.

Do you have any questions, anything not clear, or maybe you have your own tips?

Please drop us a comment, we would love to hear from you!

Good to know: This European Hostel Guide is aimed at every kind of traveler:

  • newbie
  • experienced
  • veteran traveler

Each independent hostel is unique. Even if the difference is just slight.

This guide will help you to get an idea of the full picture. Here is an overview and table of content. Jump directly to the chapter of your choice.

Living the life: Hostels are a perfect way to Explore Europe and Make Friends
Living the life: Hostels are a perfect way to Explore Europe and Make Friends

1. Understanding Hostels: The 101 Hostel Basics

Travelers around the world love to stay in Hostels.

But why is that, and why did hostels become so popular?

We collected some of the most common questions about hostels and have tried to give an extended answer as best we can.

1.1 For now and ever: What is a Hostel?

A hostel is a type of accommodation, popular for backpackers traveling on a budget, who are looking for a place to get in contact with other travelers.

Hostels, often referred to as Youth Hostels, offer a cheap accommodation in the form of dorms where you can book a bed.

This means you will share a room with other travelers as well as the facilities.

Nowadays, almost every hostel offers the option of a private room and ensuite facilities.

Find a full definition of what is a Hostel! It covers 12 definitions and 1 final answer.

Here’s a guide on what is a boutique hotel; it is very different from a boutique hostel.

What is a Hostel? 12 Hostel Definitions and 1 final answer!

A good night sleep at Ecomama in Amsterdam.

In Europe, hostels are a common way to stay overnight in almost every travel destination across the continent.

Another important standard for a hostel is a common area which can be a living room or lounge for the travelers to get together.

The social part of a hostel is very important.

And many of them organize different events to strengthen this part of their accommodation.

Last but not least a hostel-type accommodation also has the facility of a guest kitchen. This, however, is not a requirement for a hostel.

1.2 Who is the traveler staying at a Hostel?

The people staying in Hostels are usually

  • travelers on a budget
  • looking for a social spot to meet other like-minded people

Travelers choosing hostels over a different type of accommodation are usually between 18 and 30 years.

This has changed over the time.

This audience is still very common, and you will find most young travelers hanging out at the local Party Hostel.

Read: Netflix and Chill – The 10 Do’s and Dont’s

Instagram Hostels

However, nowadays you will find a wide range of different travelers at hostels, for example,

  • retired couples
  • families with children
  • solo travelers and
  • the occasional group

The audience really depends today on the hostel’s theme. Read more details about the types of hostels in the next point. We at Hostelgeeks love to collect travel stories from Hostels as well.

Find fun Short Hostel Stories, written by travelers and hostel workers.

These stories can give you an insight view of the traveler staying at Hostels.

1.3 The 7 Types of Hostels

There are different types of hostels you should be aware of. We created a specific article about the 7 Types of Hostels.

It gives you a clearer idea of the options out there.

The range starts from the

  • cheapest budget option
  • to design conscious hostels
  • party-orientated hostels for the party animal,
  • activity and lifestyle hostels
  • and more.

There are also accommodations that are a hybrid of the different types.

There are no fix standards or definitions for any listed type except the 5 Star Hostels.

Here is a list of the best hostel chains in Europe.

7 Types of Hostels

Whenever you choose to stay at any type of accommodation, you have to be clear about your expectations.

A hostel is a more social type of accommodation where the budget travelers meet and get together.

The variety of hostels out there is big, and you have to be aware of what you can expect from each one.

The 5 Star Hostels by us at Hostelgeeks are the only type of hostels based on fix transparent criteria of sustainability, design, uniqueness, and social character.

The social character is a result of the traveler and the staff.

Here are the 7 different types of hostels:

  1. Cheap Hostels
  2. Homely & Cosy Hostels
  3. Boutique Hostels – Design, Luxury, Upscale
  4. Party Hostels
  5. Traditional Youth Hostels
  6. Activity and Lifestyle Hostels
  7. 5 Star Hostels

You can find all 5 Star Hostels here.

We also created this huge list of +120 design hostels all over the world as well as 28 Boutique Hostels.

1.4 Costs when staying at Hostels

As mentioned before a hostel is a great option for budget travelers.

The cheapest option for staying at a hostel is the biggest dorm available, and most likely with shared facilities.

You see that we used the term “usually“.

Every hostel has different sizes of dorms with and without en suite facilities.

By shared facilities we mean a shared bathroom with more than one dorm and this is most likely the cheapest option.

The same rule applies to private rooms.

Below we created a small table for you to show the scale of pricing for simply staying at a hostel.

  Dorm Private Room
Shared Facilities €€€
Ensuite Facilities €€ €€€€

Additionally you can buy many more things directly at the hostel.

There are accommodations with an in-house restaurant, bar and some even even have their own small travel-desk.

In point 2 we have listed the items you need to keep an eye on.

In point 5.1 Comparing prices of the different hostels in one city we show you in detail how you can compare the prices properly to avoid any misunderstanding from the very beginning.

pssssst: we wrote a detailed guide on how to avoid BAD Hostels

How to avoid bad hostels?

1.5 Are there Hostels all over Europe?

YES, in every large, well-known (and even the smaller) destinations all over Europe you will find hostels.

With the raise of boutique and design hostels, it is also likely that you will be choosing between budget and more upscaled options.

Every big city in Europe has (usually) a huge hostel-scene, and you can easily spend hours choosing the right hostel to stay at.

Smaller, but still frequently visited destinations in Europe are also likely to have a hostel available.

When it comes to smaller towns and villages, you need to have a closer look to see if there is any hostel around, and we would recommend checking this in advance.

If there is a hostel around the area of your actual destination, you might want to change your travel plans.

Hostels are most likely located in spots where budget travelers stop by.

This means if there is a hostel in the city next to your actual travel destination, there might be a reason for that.

Have a close look, and try to figure it out.

Maybe there is something special to do or see in the area?

The hostels website is a good point to start.

To cut a long story short: Yes, there are many fabulous and world-class hostels all over Europe!

1.6 History of Hostels

We understand this part might be boring for some of our readers, but we wanted to include it anyway, just to have a complete European Hostel Guide.

The very first hostel worldwide (as known so far) opened its doors back in 1914 at Altena Castle in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

This Medieval hill castle was turned into an accommodation for travelers, sharing rooms, and common areas side by side.

The original rooms used as dorms are nowadays part of a museum.

Fun Fact: This Medieval Hill Castle is still a hostel!

Update: find the 3 best hostels in Munich

Play the piano!Hostel Ruthensteiner Vienna

This photos shows the oldest hostel in Vienna, Austria: Hostel Ruthensteiner. It is one of the best hostels to stay in Vienna.

Back in the day, they helped intellectual refugees from the cold war to apply for visas all over the world.

1.7 Is there a membership fee for travelers?

NO! There is no membership necessary anymore when you choose to stay at independent hostels.

Only the Youth Hostel Association HI Hostel is a membership-based accommodation. Hosteling International is, however, the largest network of Hostels worldwide.

Here you receive your own membership card, and you will get special discounts when you choose to stay with them.

Also, there are booking platforms and services where you can join up for a membership; these membership cards allow you discounts with a specific hostel network.

5 Star Hostels: There is no membership fee for staying at any 5 Star Hostel! Every 5 Star Hostel is an independent hostel.

Not a membership card, but a voucher. At backstay Hostel in ghent you can buy those vouchers as a present for your travel friends.

1.8 Hostels vs. Hotels – the difference

This is quite a common debate, so let us break it down to the most basic differences between Hostels and Hotels.

  1. Hostels are budget-orientated
  2. Hotels are usually more formal than Hostels
  3. Hostels are usually more informal than Hotels
  4. Hostels offer different common areas like living room and informal lounge, whilst Hotels offer usually a more formal lounge and a Bar.
  5. At Hotels, you usually find an in-house restaurant and bar, while Hostels usually offer a kitchen for self-catering.
  6. Most of all: It is the mindset of the traveler arriving at the accommodation!

Read: Hostels vs Hotels

Personal note by Hostelgeeks: Comparing these two types of accommodation does not make a lot of sense to us, as both are designed for different purposes.

So in case you want to start a discussion about this topic, please save your energy for something more useful e.g. solving a math problem, or cleaning the beach.

Here’s a fun guide to Hostels from A to Z including everything you need to know & what to expect at hostels.

Hotels vs. Hostels

1.9 Are Hostels safe?

This question is a very common one.

We dedicated the full article “Are hostels safe?” to this topic.

It includes 13 simple tips and 1st hand experiences of travelers and hostels alike.

The simple answer is: YES, but as always you should pay attention to your things. When there is people, there is always the chance people do stupid things. Always use your locker and your hostel stay will be very safe. We never got anything stolen in any hostel in the world!

Read: Long-Term Travel Insurance? A step-by-step Guide

1.10 Hostel Etiquette and Rules

There are certain rules and etiquette you’ve to follow. These rules can be unwritten, especially when it comes to the dorm.

Read our big guide on 18 hostel rules and hostel etiquette to build lifelong friendships.

Here we share on how NOT to be a total ass and what you should always remember. After all, a hostel is something shared.

Do you want o have a laugh? here’s a guide on how to become the absolute worst hostel guest in history – with funny gifs.

Hostel Rules and Etiquette

2. Features and Facilities of a Hostel

Hostels offer many different facilities, amenities and services.

In fact, we collected 46 details of what makes a hostel awesome!

Here we would like to give you an overview.

2.1 The Sleeping facilities

There are 3 different options for sleeping arrangements in a hostel. Here is a full guide to the different hostel room types.

2.1.1 Dorm

Every hostel has a dorm option as a sleeping room, and this is one of the very basics of a hostel.

The Dorm is a sleeping room where a traveler books a single bed, and shares the full room with other people.

Booking a bed at a hostel is (most of the time) the cheapest option.

The size of a dorm varies, starting from

  • 2-bed dorms (not very common!),
  • to 4-bed dorms,
  • up to x-bed dorms

the size of a dorm actually has no limit.

The most popular room at a hostel is the 4-bed dorm.

How about an example?

Dorm with Curtains and a splash of luxury and Urban Jungle Hostel

The green dorm shows Urban jungle Hostel in Malaga, Spain.

Let the sun enter! The dorm in the 2nd floor at Lemon Rock Granada

You can stay at this dorm at LemonRock , one of the best Hostels in Granada, Spain.

What about the facilities?

It depends on the hostel if there are shared facilities as well or ensuite facilities for the room.

Some Hostels in Europe even offer several options.

The cheapest option to stay at a Hostel is usually a bed in a big dorm with shared facilities.

The dorm at With Inn Hostel Kaoshiung

This is how a typical dorm looks like.

There are as well female-only dorms. We wrote up a detailed article about 7 pros and 4 cons of female-only dorms.

Below a beautiful female-only dorm in Amsterdam’s Ecomama Hostel.

Why Female Dorms? Pros and Cons of Female Dormitories

2.1.2 Private Room

At many hostels nowadays you can also book private rooms.

The size of a private room depends on each hostel independently, and there is no general rule about that.

There can be a

  • single room
  • twin room
  • double room
  • up to family rooms with several different beds

Also, there can be private rooms with ensuite facilities, as well as shared facilities.

This room type is popular for couples. There are many hostels for couples out there.

Hostelz.com has special guides for hostels with private rooms, e.g. for Amsterdam and London.


It is also quite common that in a hostel the dorms and private rooms are separated from each other.

It is possible that the private rooms are in a separate area of the building, away from the common areas and dorms where it is quieter.

Some hostels see the private area as a ‚hotel‘ part inside a hostel.

Private! A Double Room at Swanky Mint Zagreb

The double room at Swanky Mint Hostel in Zagreb, Croatia.

Good to know: Make sure you check which private room you book.

A twin room means that there are two separated beds. A double room means you will have one bed with a big mattress for two people.

To avoid disappointments, make sure you check this beforehand!

Last but not least: If you are traveling in a group, you can book entire dorms as private rooms. Check the booking portals for these options.

Private Rooms are very common nowadays at Hostels in Europe

This is private room at Wallyard Concept Hostel in Berlin.

This gorgeous hostel in Berlin offers stylish private rooms with ensuite facilities.

Read: complete guide to the best hostels in Berlin

2.1.3 Apartments

Less-known and not very common indeed is the apartment option at hostels.

Some hostels offer apartments in-house or next to their main building.

This means you can get the full benefit of staying at an apartment with the added privacy, own kitchen and bathroom.

Nevertheless you can still join in with the hostels events, and mingle with the other travelers in the common areas when you fancy.

Apartments in Hostel - The Mosaic House Prague offers Hostel Dorms and Apartments

Read: complete guide to best hostels in Prague, Czech Republic.

2.2 Kitchen

Another very basic and popular feature is the guest kitchen at a hostel.

Many budget travelers choose a hostel over a guesthouse for the ability to cook.

The benefit of a hostel kitchen is quite obvious: you can cook your own meals in a fully equipped kitchen and save some coins on food.

It is common for hostels to organize different events around the kitchen, such as cooking classes and dinner nights.

However, keep in mind that nowadays many new hostels in Europe do not offer any hostel kitchen.

Therefore, before booking the accommodation, check if a kitchen is available.

Read: Kitchens in Hostel and how to cook like a pro

The equipment at the hostel kitchen

A 5 Star Hostel comes with a Kitchen - The Share Hotel Kazanawa Hatchi

Full Equipped Kitchen!

2.3 WiFi and Computers

Nowadays almost every single hostel has WiFi, and most of the time the WiFi is for free.

However, be aware that there are still hostels out there that charge you extra for the privilege.

Before smartphones and tablets sneaked into our daily life, it was important to check if a hostel offered any free computers to use.

Lollis Homestay in Dresden offers as well free laptop rentals. You just need to ask at the reception, leave a deposit and here you go. Simple!

There are still hostels that offer computers for guests, so in case you need one while traveling, keep an eye on that during your research.

5 Star Hostels: A requirement for a 5 Star Hostel is free WiFi.

Good to know: Some hostels try to keep the common areas as a social spot.

Therefore, the WiFi does not work in the common area. This means you could only use the internet in your sleeping area, or any other specific area. On the other hand, there are also hostels without the internet in the sleeping areas.

Their goal is to keep the rooms for sleeping only, and they want the travelers to join the common areas instead.

BTW: You should also considering getting a pocket WiFi in Europe.

Here is our review of Hippocket WiFi and Airalo eSim Card.

Ani&Haakien Hostel Rotterdam

2.4 Reception – 24-Hours, and additional Information

The reception is the first thing you will see when entering the hostel and it is here you at least check-in and check-out.

If you need any information you can come here and ask one of the team.

Some hostels offer a 24-hour reception, whilst others don’t.

In case you have to check in very late, you should first make sure that this is possible at your desired hostel.

Important: There are some hostels charging extra for late check-ins – keep this in mind.

Ani&Haakien Hostel Reception! Your first contact with the Hostel!

The Hostel Reception at Ani&Haakien Hostel, our favorite hostel in Rotterdam.

2.5 Common Areas

The common areas at a Hostel are highly important.

If not the most important area in the whole building.

This is where travelers meet, get to know each other and the social part of a hostel comes alive.

There are different kind of common areas at hostels, including:

2.5.1 Living Room/ Lounge

The living room and lounge is an area you will most likely come across at every single hostel. Here you will find sofas and spots to relax, get together and mingle with the other travelers.

the ladder and bar in the lounge of STAY Hostel Rhodes

2.5.2 Bar and/or Restaurant

An in-house bar and restaurant can be pure gold – if it is a good one!

Same as the hostel itself, the bar and restaurant are usually also budget conscious.

It can be an advantage of having a bar and restaurant inside a hostel.

You can save some money, it can be very convenient, and for sure it will have something fun going on.

Some travelers claim it to be a disadvantage as you will be spending more time inside the hostel instead of going out exploring the city – it really is person dependent.

Please note that an in-house bar does not instantly mean it is a party hostel.

The Bar! Would you have a drink here at Lemon Rock Hostel?

2.5.3 Balcony/ Terrace

Especially in Southern Europe, a balcony or terrace can make the difference.

Sitting on the terrace with a special view is always something you want to take with you.

Our personal favorite is the rooftop terrace.

Do we need to say anything more?

The view to the Castle from the terrace at Mosaic House Prague

2.5.4 Garden

A lush garden adds a special homely flair to a hostel, doesn’t it

It is simply the green version of the previously mentioned balcony or terrace.

It is mostly used for barbecues and as a perfect area to chill out.

If a hostel has a pet, this is also the place for finding it.

2.6 Laundry/ Washing Machine

Especially when traveling long-term, you will need to do your laundry at some point.

Most Hostels offer the service of laundry and a washing machine for an extra charge.

There are different ways a hostel handles this service.

There is the option of an in-house washing machine you can use on your own, or, the hostel can arrange for an external laundry service with which they are connected to.

We have also experienced a direct laundry service, whereby you just leave your laundry at the reception and you can pick them up later: clean, fresh and folded.

Laundry at a hostel in Copenhagen

2.7 Events

Hostels are famous for holding events.

This is one of the reasons why hostels became a social spot.

Specially organized events are a great way to get in contact with your fellow travelers.

The list of potential events at a hostel is endless.

Here is a list of different hostel events you may experience when visiting a Hostel:

  • Pub Crawls
  • Dinner Nights
  • Cooking Classes
  • Karaoke
  • Concerts
  • Game Nights
  • Drinking Games
  • Movie Nights
  • Craft Markets

2.8 Others (Travel Desk, Swimming Pool, Cinema, Game Room …)

By now you will have realized how unique every single hostel in the world can be.

This does not stop when it comes to the facilities either.

You can find travel desks to book tours, transport and more.

Also, there are several accommodations with an in-house swimming pool such as the Sunset Destination Hostel in Lisbon.

Another cool facility we want to mention is a cinema.

You can find a cinema for instance at STAY Rhodes, Greece.

Swimming Pool Hostel. The Sunset Destination Hostel in Lisbon has its own swimming pool on a roof top terrace

3. How to find good Hostels in Europe

This is a super interesting question, and every Europe Traveler wants to know it.

The most simple answer is checking Hostelgeeks.com to have a look at the one and only 5 Star Hostel in your chosen destination!

Here you find:

Here you can find all our 3-best hostels in Guides.

Simple as that!

We present you the hostel in detail, tell you why they are a rock star hostel and finally we lead you to their website.

Here you can find the lowest price, book your room/bed and there; you are done finding good hostels in Europe.

But! There is also a more complex answer to this question.

We will walk with you through the details on what is important, and how you can find a good Hostel in Europe.

The Best Design Hostels in the World

3.1 eBook (2017 edition)

Update: The ebook is no longer available, it was only available in 2016 and 2017.

Europe can be expensive, and hostel research is time-intense (and can be annoying)!

When backpacking Europe, you want to invest your money in experience and cool stuff, right?! Therefore, the new ebook 2017 is a must!

Hostelgeeks put together 127 AWESOME hostels and 10% discounts to all of them. You can save more than $340 in your hostels across Europe.

We created this ebook for everyone traveling Europe in 2017 and staying in hostels. It is your backpackers bible and your smart booking hack!

Looking for hostel discounts? Check all our discounts here and Hostelz discounts for Hostelworld.com

eBook best hostels Europe

Here is a preview of the included hostels. Castles, island-hostels, swimming pools, historical monuments, and more!

3.2 What kind of hostel do you want?

Make sure you know what kind of hostel you are looking for.

There are 7 different types of Hostels as mentioned in the introduction.

  • Do you want to travel completely on a budget?
  • Do you like to party, or do you fancy a more design-conscious hostel?

The reviews of Hostels are full of disappointed travelers simply because they chose a hostel that did not meet their expectations. This is not always the case, but often enough it is simply the poor research beforehand.

Therefore, talk with your travel buddies and find out what it is that you want.

But bear in mind it is not necessary to narrow it down to the last detail.

3.3 Comparing Facilities, Amenities, and Services

In point 2 of this European Hostel Guide, we already talked about the different facilities, amenities, and services at a Hostel.

And this is now what you need to use when comparing different hostels in your upcoming destination.

3.4 The Pricing

We are talking about budget accommodation, right?!

Therefore, your budget and pricing of the accommodation has to be taken into account.

But being on a budget does not mean you have to miss any awesome accommodation.

In fact, especially now with the raise of boutique and 5 Star Hostels you can now get more for your money.

Welcome and Hi! The reception welcomes you with a smile!

Comparing prices of Hostels may seem easy, but in fact, this topic is quite a complicated one.


Over time, different hostels have found ways to lower their price on the first glimpse.

Simply comparing the final price on the booking page is not enough!

On the second glimpse you realize all the excluded amenities.

This could be the excluded but mandatory buying of bed linen, the charge for WiFi, or the breakfast.

At point 4 you will find „Comparing hostel prices properly and how to book“. Hostelz.com is the place to compare hostels properly.

3.5 Using Reviews to get an idea

Reviews are a very powerful way to find great hostels.

This is logic, isn’t it?!

When you are looking for a hostel based on reviews, make sure you take into account the number of written reviews.

You can sort the reviews by different parameters.

SMART TIP: Have a look at the extreme reviews, meaning the worst and the best ratings.

What do they say?

This helps you to get a feeling for the hostel.

If there are lot of really bad reviews pointing out one specific disadvantage, then there might be something wrong here.

Where do you find these reviews?

In the next point we will introduce you to the most important hostel websites you can – or even should – use to get the information you need!

3.6 The Hostel Location

Finding a good hostel is also about its location.

But what is a good location?

It certainly does not mean 20km far away from the city center, but you may do not want to stay in the very heart of the touristic center, do you? We will prepare a specialized article about this topic.

Here is a helpful video about Hostel location. Damon and Jo are two ex-hostel workers from the US.

In this video they collected 10 great tips on “How to book a Hostel”. They will walk you through the process of how to identify a good hostel location.

Basically they recommended to search for the main attraction in your destination and put it on the map. This way you get an idea of the area you may want to stay close to.

3.7 Hostel Websites and Booking Platforms

There are many different booking platforms and websites out there specialized for hostels and are a great resource for finding the good ones in Europe.

We show you the most important and relevant resources for hostel searches and bookings here.

Free Download List of Hostel Booking Sites

You can download the list of Hostel Booking Sites as a PDF. Simply open the .pdf and save it on your device.

Alternatively, check out our ultimate guide to the Best Hostel Booking Sites out there!

Hostel Booking Sites Download

Good to know:

If you want to keep it simple and non time-consuming, you can just drop us a message on facebook or instagram. We will be happy to recommend you great hostels in any destinations around the world.

Geeky Fact:

You will NOT find all hostels in the world on one booking platform!

Why is that?

Hostels have to choose to work with a certain website. There are hostels preferring one platform over the other and therefore (perhaps for more complex reasons!) they choose not to work with some websites.

Keep this in mind when checking out the different pages. Some of the 5 Star Hostels are not available on certain booking engine.

They do not agree with the way these platforms work, so they decline working with them.

The best hostel websites are:

  1. Hostelz.com
  2. Hostelworld.com
  3. Hostelgeeks.com
  4. Booking.com
  5. Hostelling International
  6. Airbnb.com
  7. Hostelsclub.com
  8. Gomio.com

3.7.1 Hostelz.com – Check ALL sites at ones

This website is your swiss knife to checking hostel prices and availability!

We like to stay:

Hostelgeeks brings you the BEST Hostels. Hostelz brings you the best PRICES!

The main advantages of Hostelz.com are:

1. Instantly check all of the booking websites at once!

Hostelz is an independent website comparing hostel prices taken from different platforms.

2. Matching Traveler Type

They tell which hostel fits which traveler type. They tell you if it is a cool hostel for solo-traveler, backpacker, party or more for families. This is so helpful!

3. Availability

No beds left on Hostelworld? Check Hostelz.

No beds left on Booking.com? Check Hostelz

Hostelz.com is the ONLY website that shows you ALL availability.

4. Comparizon Tool

They have this so-called comparizon tool. You can compare up to 3 hostels side-by-side, highlighting prices, availability and facilities like breakfast, pub crawl, bike rental etc. Super handy! This tool is free to use and on their website.

Check out Hostelz.com

Compare Hostelz Tool

3.7.2 Hostelworld (Hostels.com and “Hostelbookers.com”)

Hostelworld is the largest hostel booking platform. We wrote an entire review of Hostelworld and how to use it. We also wrote a big guide and review of the Hostelworld App.

If you have been researching for a hostel in your lifetime, you will have come across Hostelworld for sure.

Update: It is also a main platform and is the owner of Hostels.com, Hostelbookers.com and other related platforms. Hostelbookers and Hostels.com no longer exist.

You will notice that Hostelworld does not only list hostel-typed accommodation but also

  • Hotels
  • Apartments
  • Guesthouses
  • B&Bs and more.

Over the years they expanded their market, so have a look on this when you are specifically looking for a hostel. There is a filter you can use to only show Hostels.

When booking your accommodation with Hostelworld you will need to pay a deposit of minimum 12%. You can choose between a non-flexible booking or a standard flexible booking.

With the non-flexible booking your deposit is non-refundable. The standard flexible booking costs an extra fee and your deposit is protected and in case of a cancellation you can use this deposit to make a different booking.

PRO: An Advantage of Hostelworld is their App

With their app you can book hostels within the app and see who else will be staying with you in the same hostel and city. It makes it super easy to connect with your fellow hostel mates BEFORE, DURING and even AFTER your trip.

Check oure in-depth review of Hostelworld App here.

Good to know: Do you have an account on Hostelworld? Your bookings from your laptop will be synchronized with your phone; well, better to say with your account. Make sure you login to your account; both on your phone and desktop.

QR Code to download Hostelworld App
QR Code to download Hostelworld App
Download the App for Free here

New Feature on Hostelworld.com: See who else Booked and get in touch!

CON: A disadvantage of Hostelworld is their information policy.

When you are looking for specific dates the website only shows their own available hostels during that time. This makes sense in terms of a booking, but unfortunately not in terms of information.

It means when a hostel is not available on Hostelworld for your chosen dates, you will not see this hostel at all – this is a real pity.

Why is that?

Even Hostelworld does not have 100% of the availability of all hostels in the world. Every single hostel chooses how many beds and rooms they allocate to the different platforms.

And this is why you NEED Hostelz.com! You will instantly check ALL booking websites at once!

Check Hostelworld.com here

Hostelworld App and Hostelgeeks Website - what a combo!

3.7.3 Hostelgeeks.com

Let’s talk about us. Hostelgeeks.com is an independent publishing & branding website reviewing and presenting you with 5 Star Hostels.

We do the leg work for you and collect for you the most awesome Hostels in the world. This is what we do. Period.

We and our international media team show you the outstanding 5 Star Hostels based on transparent criteria, a unique concept by Hostelgeeks. Read more about us here.

Hostelgeeks is NOT a booking platform, so unfortunately you cannot book with us at Hostelgeeks any of the 5 Star Hostels.

For making a booking, we always share the most convenient way to book the accommodation.

Good to know: Whenever you drop us a message, we will reply to you in person!

Even better to know: We get plenty of awesome discounts for our Hostelgeeks Community.

Just check out our shop or keep an eye on specific hostel articles. Be smart!

About Hostelgeeks

3.7.4 Booking.com

Booking.com is the largest booking portal for accommodation on the internet.

This gigantic web portal from Amsterdam offers almost every single accommodation on this planet.

booking.com is an excellent resource when you want to get an overview of accommodations in a destination.

The information you can get from this website is really the best one we can recommend. The design is kept simpler, with the text at a minimum, focused on relevant information rather than marketing.

When booking with Booking.com you may not even need to pay deposit.

They also offer free cancellations on most of the rooms you can book with them. This can be quite useful for you as a spontaneous traveler as plans can change.

3.7.5 Hostelling International

Hostelling International is the worlds largest hostel network.

HI (Short for “Hostelling International”) is a non-profit organization, and you can stay in more than 4000 affiliated hostels worldwide. This makes it very likely you will see them on your travels around the world.

Hostelz.com and Hostelworld lists hostels for Hostelling International, too.

3.7.6 AirBnb

AirBnb is actually a social accommodation platform for private house holds renting out their spare room.

Over time it has also become a booking platform for apartments, renting between two private parties. The reason why we list AirBnb here is simple: Here you can also find some hostels!

Although it is still not very common for a hostel to be listed here.

For using AirBnb you need to register.

Here’s our guide on how to use Airbnb.

In case you want to book a hostel, or any other accommodation with AirBnb you need to get verified and confirm your identity. This involves scanning your passport and sending it to the Airbnb team to help ensure a safe and secure platform.

3.7.7 Hostelsclub.com

Let’s talk about the smaller hostel booking platforms.

Hostelsclub is an Italian booking platform where you can also find hostels and budget accommodations from all over the world.

This website can be a good resource when traveling through Southern Europe.

There is service charge for bookings with Hostelsclub and they also offer a Membership Card – this can be a good choice if you’re looking to get some extra discount.

When booking with Hostelsclub.com, you need to pay a non-refundable deposit of 10%.

3.7.8 Gomio.com

Update: Gomio no longer exists and the website is offline

Gomio.com is a Spanish company listing the highest percentage of only hostel-style accommodation.

This booking platform has no booking fee and requires no membership fee.

It had its focus on the social part of travel, offering a free application to connect to your future traveler buddies in the hostel. However, currently this application is offline.

When booking with Gomio.com, you need to pay a non-refundable deposit of 10%.

4. Comparing Prices (Websites & Special Offers)

This is a very juicy topic. There are two parts of “comparing prices for hostels”.

The first part of comparing prices is finding the lowest price for your desired hostel which we cover in this part #4.

The second one is comparing prices for different hostels in one destination which we explain in detail in #5 (Hostel A vs Hostel B).

After finding a really great hostel you would love to stay at, this is the part where it gets even more time-consuming.

  • But is it worth it to compare prices?
  • Is there any difference, and why should you care in the end?

We had a close look at this topic at well.

At this point #4 we focus on websites comparing prices and websites offering a hostel booking service.

We also created a specialized article about 15 Hacks and Tips for Booking Hostels like a Pro.

4.1 Hostelz.com

Instantly check all of the booking websites at once!

Hostelz is an independent website comparing hostel prices taken from different platforms.

Hostelz compares prices taken from the previous mentioned booking platforms Hostelworld, Booking.com and Hostelsclub.

Whenever you have found your desired hostel, they will let you automatically book the cheapest price available.

This is indeed a very powerful way to book and is useful for travelers. On Hostelz.com you will also find more reviews, photos and the hostels website as well.

However, Hostelz earns its money through an affiliation system with the named booking portals. Therefore, they want their users to book with them rather than using any other service.

Fair enough as they offer a great and useful service!

Last but not least they claim to offer the biggest hostel database with more than 45.000 listings in more than 7.000 cities. Not bad, right?!

New Design: HostelZ - Comparing Prices for hostels
New Design: HostelZ – Comparing Prices for hostels
Old screenshot: HostelZ - Comparing Prices for hostels
Old screenshot: HostelZ – Comparing Prices for hostels

4.2  Platform A vs. Platform B

Above we listed the common and most important booking platforms for hostels.

Here you can type in your dates, choose your room/dorm, and hit the „book button“.

On the actual booking summary page (you know, the page where you need to take out your Credit Card), you will see the final price.

Some websites do have a hidden service fee that they sneakily only show at this point.

This makes comparing the prices even more time-consuming, and really tiring. We already mentioned this in detail above.

The best way to compare hostels is by checking Hostelz.com. For the final reservation, we recommend Booking.com and Hostelworld.com

4.3 Special Offers?

In the internet there is always the chance to find great offers – no doubt! Some booking websites, as well as travel agencies, offer special discounts or packages when booking.

4.4 Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor is a popular website to compare prices. It will do all the work for you and compare actual booking websites.

You’ll see all prices at a glance. Incredible handy. Yet, for the actual booking, we recommend using the booking platforms.

While Tripadvisor is a good tool to use, Hostelz.com is still the much better hostel booking site. Why? Well, simply because it is specialized in hostels, and not other accommodation types. Tripadvisor is more for hotels and upscale accommodation.

5. How to Book Hostels in Europe (and comparing prices)

We have put together 15 tips for booking hostels.

This handy guide to the best hostel booking sites is also very useful for finding the best price.

5.1 Comparing prices of different hostels in the city

Comparing prices for the different hostels in one city may seem easy. In fact, this is very complicated and here you can spend a lot of valuable time.


As said before, not every hostel has the same standard and hostels offer different services.

There are basically three options for the services.

The ones included, the extra services, and last but not least the service which is not yet available.

We had a close look and we will show you what you need to keep an eye on when comparing different hostels in one city.

How to book the 5 Star Hostels? The clever way!


This is the basic stuff you want to have!

It is the freebies you want to enjoy, included in the price already.

It can be free WiFi, free luggage storage and so on. Many hostels offer a free dinner night as well – more money saved that can go towards sightseeing.

Perhaps there is a free tour, or linen included?

Excluded/ Extra:

There are two sides of this: the things you expect to be included, and the ones you expect to be excluded. Let us explain that.

At a hostel you should (yes, you really can) expect to have free WiFi.

An extra service such as a tour which you can book with the hostel, would be something you can expect to be extra, but not something that’s included in the price.

Have a look on the towels, linen, luggage storage, and breakfast. Are those included or extra?

Not Available:

These are the facilities and services you will not find at all throughout the whole hostel building. This part is often not shown when you are searching for your hostel. Therefore, you have to have your expected basics you want to have made very clear.

Let’s say you need to have WiFi for whatever reason, then keep an eye on it.

If the hostel description does not state anything about WiFi or Internet, then it may not be available at all.

Having that said, watch out for all 3 different types of facilities and services. Many booking platforms try to list all the required facilities and services.

However, it is also common to not show non-available items at all.

Meaning, when there is no guest kitchen available, you won’t find any hint, it will simply not be mentioned on the website.

Therefore, this can make it even harder to find all facilities and services you would like available at the hostel.

5.2 The Website of the Hostel

The time has (almost) come to an end when hostels had terrible websites, where it was easier to understand the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein than making a booking on a hostel‘s website.

However, you should know that while some hostels have a good website, you will be missing the pros of a booking platform. On Booking.com and Hostelworld your reservation is 100% confirmed. There has been cases where the hostel honored the Hostelworld reservation over a website reservation. And that leaves the traveler without accommodation. Not cool.

In our opinion: Stick to the booking portals.

For the hostel owner:

Make sure you run a smooth website which loads quickly and is easy to navigate. We may not neccessairly need to see your puppies and read 4 pages of your story. But what we need is to see your hostel photos from common ares to sleeping areas, a location description and how to get there, and finally, prices.

Make it easy for us to check prices and rooms as well. We recommend using a software like Cloudbeds for this. Here is our Cloudbeds review and an insight review of Cloudbeds PMS.

5.3 Booking Platforms

As mentioned above, Booking Platforms are a great resource for finding hostels. Every booking platform has its own advantage for using.

Good to know: Booking platforms are resellers.

We included a free download list of Hostel Booking Sites as a PDF. You just have to open the .pdf and save it on your device.

Hostel Booking Sites Download

5.4 Oldschool: Call!

Let’s go old school! There is still the opportunity to call up a hostel, and make the booking via a phone. The advantage here is of course talking directly to a person plus it is obviously faster than an email.

This can be especially helpful in case you have a few more specific questions. (e.g. when does the first ferry leave to the other island, until what time can I do the Check-in etc).

Good to know: Many Hostels provide a telephone number on their website and due to European law, the hostels have to have an official telephone number.

This being said, there are hostels refusing bookings via phone.

Important: Yet again, your booking might be overruled by a reservation coming from a booking portal like Hostelworld. Better stick to the booking portals. It is easier.

5.5 Email & Facebook

The equivalent to calling a hostel today is email and facebook. If there is one social network to contact all hostels in the world, it is the big blue one with the white F

Important: However, it seems like many facebook and instagram pages are abandonded or it takes a lot of time to get a reply. If you want to secure your reservation, yet again, go with Hostelworld or Booking.com

6. More Helpful Tips for Hostels

As always, we will keep this post updated. We will keep adding more useful information for hostels.

Here are more helpful tips for hostels.

6.1 Ultimate Hostel Packing List

Before hitting the road, make sure you download our free hostel packing list.

It highlights 23 things you need to pack.

Download Hostel Packing List

Also, our friends at Wanderlust Storytellers created a printable travel checklist. It comes in super handy to avoid forgetting some important things like vaccinations or photo id’s for visa requests.

6.2 The term „hostel“ in the name?

You may notice some Hostels not using the word „hostel“ in their actual name. When looking for a hostel, take this into account.

Many booking portals offer the search option to filter by property-type.

Remember: A hostel offers minimum one dorm, a common area, and a guest kitchen.

This is very basic definition of what a hostel actually stands for.

Oxotel Chiang Mai, Design Coffee shop and 5 Star Hostel

6.3 Hostels on Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…You can find the budget-accommodations all over the web. It can be useful to follow the hostels on your preferred channel.


They post information about their city, special events, fun facts, and sometimes even discounts!

We created a special post about 25 awesome Hostels on Instagram.

Also, watch out for „social signals“ throughout the hostel.

Is there a hashtag being promoted?

When you take a photo of the common area, the party, or whatever you fancy inside the hostel, make sure you tag the hostel properly.

Drop them a message, and let them know you are there.

They will appreciate it, and most likely share your posts on their social networks as well!

What’s next? More powerful info:

Any questions? We are here for you, simply drop us a line!

Happy hosteling,
The Hostelgeeks

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Guide to Hostels in Europe

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Our Favorite Travel Resources 2024

👏 Booking Hostels: Always find better deals for Hostels on Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld and Booking.com.

✈️ Cheap Flights: The first websites we always check are Skyscanner and Google Flights.

🤒 Travel Insurance Simplified: We always go either with Safetywing and Hey Mondo.

🤓 Smart Travel Tools you need to know: Find a list of our favorite travel tools.

Get your Smart Packing List (Free Printable): Knowing what to pack and what not to pack is key. Get our ultimate list of smart items to bring on your trip.

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Best Hostel Packing List