I normally do a lot of research before I book a hostel. After all, this is a huge part of the backpacking experience and can make or break a destination. Many of my favorite and least favorite places had a lot to do with the hostel I stayed at. So before we get into the Best Hostels in Europe, lets take a look at what I think makes a hostel great:

  1. Cleanliness is huge for me. I’m terrified of bedbugs, so I always pay close attention to the cleanliness rating on Hostelworld and read all recent reviews.
  2. Spacious rooms. Other travelers can be quite messy and I’ve seen a few too many suitcase explosions. A little extra space goes a long way to making a room feel more comfortable.
  3. Organized Dinners are probably the single biggest factor that can make an average hostel great. It makes a good social atmosphere and is the easiest way to meet people on the road.
  4. Like dinners, organized activities such as walking tours are also great.
  5. Not-for-profit pub crawls. I’ve been on a lot of bad pub crawls where the group is basically just corralled from one bad tourist bar to the next. The best pub crawls are when the hostel has one objective, to show you a good time.
  6. Location is always key. Whatever city I’m in, it always helps to be close to the action.
Pinterest - Europe's Best Hostels

Home Lisbon Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal

What Makes Home Lisbon One of the Best Hostels in Europe?

  • Mamma’s Dinner, the best hostel dinner I’ve ever had! Period. It’s not free, but that’s ok. For €10 you get a 3 course meal and all you can drink wine and beer. The meal is also finished off with a toast and one of Portugal’s specialties, port wine. It’s not a short meal either (~2 hours), so you’ll have plenty of time to take advantage of the free booze.
  • Home Lisbon has one of the best social atmospheres in Europe. The dinner attracts 20 – 30+ people per night and there’s a hostel bar, which makes it very easy to meet people. On top of that, they have daily excursions and bar crawls.
  • A perfect location in the middle of the Baixa District. The Alfama District is within walking distance, which is one of my favorite places in Europe.

Swanky Mint Hostel – Zagreb, Croatia

What Makes Swanky Mint One of the Best Hostels in Europe?

  • Swanky Mint has the best bar complex I’ve ever seen in a hostel. There’s two bars and a large outdoor terrace. The bar was popular with locals too, so it was a great spot to meet both fellow travelers and Croatians.
  • The place really is swanky (for a hostel). Swanky Mint was formerly a dry cleaning and textile-dye factory dating back to the late 19th century, but now has been transformed to have an urban, industrial feel to it.

Falling Lakes Hostel – Korenica, Croatia (Plitvice Lakes National Park)

What Makes Falling Lakes One of the Best Hostels in Europe?

  • There are few good restaurants in the area, which is an odd reason this hostel is great. Here’s what that does. It forces almost everyone to go to the local grocery store and make dinner for themselves. This creates a unique social environment that most hostels can never have. Imagine 20 people trying to share a kitchen at once.
  • Most people stay at Falling Lakes Hostel to go to Plitvice Lakes National Park, but there are many other hikes and outdoor activities in the area. Best of all, there’s a couple day hikes right at the hostel’s front door step.
  • Falling Lakes Hostel had the most spacious rooms I’ve ever seen. They easily could have fit twice the amount of bunk beds in the place.

Boutique Tag Hostel – Lagos, Portugal

What Makes Boutique Tag Hostel one of the Best Hostels in Europe?

  • I loved the interior of this hostel, which had high ceilings and large windows overlooking the sea. The building is over 200 years old and had a great homey feel to it.
  • There is a great outdoor patio that overlooks the sea and waterway, which made a great spot to have a beer, a glass of wine, or dinner.
  • Tag Hostel is one of the few non-party hostels in Lagos, so it’s a great place to recharge your batteries.

Sevilla Hostel One Centro – Seville, Spain

What Makes Sevilla Hostel One Centro One of the Best Hostels in Europe?

  • Free nightly dinners that were actually really good. As I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of hostels organizing dinners. I don’t care if they are free or not. It’s simply the easiest way to  meet other travelers.
  • This hostel offered a great free nightly bar crawl. They even took us to an illegal secret bar, which was one of my favorites in Europe.