Despite its interesting name, a hostel is not nearly as bad a lodging place as it would seem. Hostels can range in price but are generally fairly affordable and come as a great option for those traveling on a budget. They're easy to check in and out of and provide a traveler with the very basics. While there are many hostels around the world, it's true that not each one is created equally.
Since they're such an affordable means of travel lodging, they can often be the site of rowdy parties, rude behavior, and cramped temporary living quarters. Alternately, many hostels are praised for their methods of coping with large volumes and see enough business to give travelers a world-class stay that would rival the best hotels. Depending on where travelers decide to stay, it could mean the difference between having an excellent hostel experience or having one that's maybe not so satisfying.
To make that process a bit easier, we've gone ahead and found the best hostels as well as some that visitors have warned others against. These are based on the highest ratings and the most jaded visitor reviews and will hopefully provide insight -- both the good and the bad -- into what hostel life is really like.
25 Worth It: Celica Hostel, Slovenia
Originally a prison, the Celica Hostel in Slovenia resembles anything but that nowadays. The entire 19th-century building has been remodeling in order to look like a chic and modern hotel. Each room -- once a jail cell -- is now nothing but an architecturally stunning room that offers both privacy and comfort. The cafe inside the hostel offers garden seating which adds to the atmosphere, both welcoming and accepting to every visitor. The most iconic room is called the "Point of Peace" where five corners of the room are dedicated to various faiths with a sixth corner left open and unlabeled.
24 Worth It: Gallery Hostel, Portugal
The Gallery Hostel boasts much more of a hotel feel rather than what many think as a hostel. While it does cater to groups and come at an affordable hostel price, it leaves travelers feeling inspired. Its walls are filled with local art and everything from the bedrooms to the shared bathroom spaces has been tastefully decorated and thoughtfully designed. It's modern, full of vibrant color, and perfect for those looking to get a real feel for Porto life. Common spaces are filled with instruments, games, and long cafeteria-style tables to encourage interaction and foster creativity.
23 Skip It: Hans Brinker Budget Hostel, Amsterdam
The Hans Brinker Budget Hostel is part of Amsterdam's local humor. While the hostel brags about their poor reputation, the hostel itself is said to be adequate for short-term sleeping arrangements. The hostel advertises poor sleeping quarters, unclean rooms and unsanitary conditions, but much of it is made up to spark a laugh in regard to hostel stereotypes. Although much of these conditions are made up, it's not the most glamorous or worthy hostel. It's great for the basics and bare minimum but if you're looking for something high-end, this isn't it.
22 Worth It: Hlemmur Square Hotel and Hostel, Iceland
Iceland is a beautiful place, to begin with, and should be accompanied by a place worthy of its experiences. The Hlemmur Square Hotel and Hostel provides just that with its combination of hostel and hotel amenities. The hostel is located in Reykjavik within a short walking distance to much of what the city has to offer. It caters to a more upscale clientele but offers something for everyone from the social gathering lounge downstairs to its hybrid hostel and hotel rooms.
21 Skip It: McCaig’s Return Hostel, Oban
Affordable isn't always better when it comes to hostels. The location of a hostel should be taken into consideration as well as what it's near, something many should consider when booking the McCraig's Return Hostel in Oban. One traveler said their stay was ruined due to the rowdy overrun from the bar next door, from which a crowd hung around just outside the hostel until all hours of the morning. While some people do stay in hostels for the party scene it's definitely not for everyone, especially if you're looking for a trip full of memories that don't include a lack of sleep.
20 Worth It: Swanky Mint Hostel, Croatia
The Swanky Mint Hostel in Croatia provides an aesthetically-pleasing stay as well as a bit of history. What was once a textile-dye workshop in 1887 is now a luxe lodging port for many who travel abroad. For those seeking a social experience, the outdoor terrace and lounge provides all one needs for potential new friendships. The combination of private and group rooms cater to any travel plans and allow a bit of privacy for those who don't want to share a room. It was voted as the best hostel in Croatia in 2016, likely due to its unique and intriguing historical decor mixed with modern designs.
19 Skip It: Hostel Abazia, Italy
One reviewer actually called the Hostel Abazia the "worst hostel in the world". The experience there was so bad that their travel plans were abruptly ended with the addition of a blog about how rough (and short) a stay it was. With a constantly clogged sink, a stench that's characteristic of the worst parts of Venice, and a severe lack of fresh air or ventilation, the conditions seem nearly unbearable to sleep in let alone stay in for an extended amount of time. This is not the first review the hostel has received along these lines and many know to steer clear when in Venice.
18 Worth It: Generator Hostel, Amsterdam
The Generator Hostels are known for their upstanding quality, service, and amenities. Just as Amsterdam is colorful and bold, so is this hostel, located in a modern part of the historic city. The hostel itself is seated among a park and was once the home of the zoological department at the University of Amsterdam, adding a unique design to the space. Nescio café pays homage to the Dutch writer and serves as a meeting place as well as a comfortable place to socialize and relax. Travelers can also explore the library and bar, both of which have been designed to adequately serve their individual purposes.
17 Skip It: Hotel The Globe, Amsterdam
A review on TripAdvisor warns travelers to avoid this hostel at all costs for one reason: It's lack of cleanliness. From beds filled with bugs to small, dark rooms and a significant lack of personal space, this is one hostel to avoid for first-timers. While the location provides exceptional access to the city, it's just not worth it for the stress a traveler will deal with. Some hostels just aren't worth the price or the location, especially when it comes to dealing with bed bugs crawling all over them while they're trying to get some shuteye. Sleeping head-to-head with a stranger isn't exactly ideal either, no matter how much of a true hostel experience you're looking for.
16 Worth It: Ecomama, Netherlands
While Amsterdam does boast some pretty horrid hostels, this is not always the case. Ecomama changes the game as far as hostel stays go and you can't go wrong with their eco-friendly amenities. For those who are environmentally-conscious, this will be a little slice of heaven on earth. Everything from the food to the service have been praised and it features a sleek and modern design with upcycled decor, swinging seats that are attached to the ceiling, and plenty of cozy places to chill with a book or to socialize. It's a hostel that should be on everyone's radar.
15 Skip It: Dirty McNasty's Party Hostel, Belize
The main reason for Dirty McNasty's Party Hostel making the list isn't due to it being unclean or having shotty lodging accommodations. The reason it should be skipped is due to the drama that comes with the stay since the owner's son has quite the say in how it's run. On the hostel's Facebook page, there are several reviews that have sparked internet wars with choice words thrown around by the owner's son in a derogatory means to visitors. It's just not worth it for all of the unnecessary drama and unresolved issues that come with it.
14 Worth It: LOL Boutique Hostel, Hungary
For a truly unique experience, the LOL Boutique Hostel in Budapest should not be passed up. One wouldn't guess so from the outside, but the inside of the hostel is filled with fun and whimsical decorative touches that truly make you feel at home. It offers privacy as well as group amenities, each room featuring different quotes or an interesting decorative scheme, keeping any two rooms from being quite the same. The entire hostel is designed to promote positivity and a lighthearted nature, perfect for those looking to kick back and relax.
13 Skip It: The Original Backpacker's Hostel, Australia
While The Original Backpacker's Hostel in Australia sounds like one that would be a must-visit, it is known somewhat as a party hostel. With many young travelers, this hostel sees its fair share of late-night hours, much of which is moved onto the outskirts of the hostel once the local businesses close, making for a rather loud stay. It's a basic hostel in terms of amenities and sleeping quarters and while it's not a bad choice, it's certainly not for those who don't want to risk the chance of not sleeping.
12 Worth It: Wombat's City Hostel, London
While the location of this hostel is spectacular and within walking distance of several major tourist locations, the inside isn't too shabby, either. Its history is embedded in its walls (literally) as the entire downstairs lounge is encased in brick and stone. The rooms are updated and can be rented via group size or level of privacy and all are equipped with key cards to make travelers feel safe and secure. The decor around the hostel is rather vintage with a nice rustic touch, creating a warm and inviting space.
11 Worth It: TOC Hostel, Spain
When staying in Madrid, it's important to stay in a location that's just as enchanting as the city around you. The TOC Hostel offers all that and much more with their updated yet cozy rooms. The hostel offers visitor a choice of dormitory-style rooms or more private accommodations, each one just as clean and inviting as the next. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and able to point travelers in the right direction for a myriad of activities and sightseeing ventures. Overall, it's worth the money in both comfort and extra amenities.
10 Skip It: Flamenka Hostel, Spain
Although many reviews say otherwise, the Flamenka Hotel in Spain offers just the basics for those who need overnight accommodations. While the hostel is in well enough shape, the problem, it seems, stems from lack of cleanliness in the bathrooms and an outdated water heater. One reviewer stated that there was no hot water during their stay which resorted in cold showers in what were also filthy bathrooms. A shower that hasn't been cleaned in between stays is bad enough, but freezing in the shower is enough to send anyone packing.
9 Worth It: The Circus Hostel, Germany
When visiting Berlin, The Circus Hostel is definitely the place to be for endless fun and entertainment. The hostel has its own brewery in the lower part of the building, the only Hoff museum in the world, and a cafe for a quick bite or beverage. The rooms are interesting, clean, and offered in multiples or as a more private booking. It's what everyone should think of when they think of hostels, as it creates a fun and interactive environment with cozy, stylishly contemporary rooms.
8 Worth It: The B.I.G Backpackers, South Africa
South Africa is becoming much more of a travel destination as of late and there's no reason one can't consider staying in a hostel when doing so. The B.I.G Backpackers Hostel offers both comfort as well as a beautiful outdoor space. It's a cross between a hostel and a Bed and Breakfast which is probably why it feels so cozy and private compared to many other hostels. The best way to describe it is "homey", with plenty of personal touches as far as decor and design go. The rooms and shared spaces are also kept incredibly clean which is a plus.
7 Skip It: City Rooms NYC, US
With so many great and relatively affordable hotels in New York City, it's surprising that anyone would seek out a hostel if they don't need to stay in one. Hostels in the city can be dicey since there are already so many people crammed into one small area and to throw in an affordable, group lodging space is a bit dicey. City Rooms NYC is the basic of basics and offers a bed but not much else in the way of comfort. If you're planning a trip to NYC, try Airbnb or an affordable hotel.
6 Worth It: Sophie's Hostel, Prague
This cute hostel is bright and contemporary space, offering a bit more of an upscale stay as opposed to many other hostels. Travelers have their choice of dormitory-style, apartment, or private rooms, adding a level of reassurance for first-timers to hostels. The hostel was designed by architect Olga Novotná and the spaces filled with unique artwork that echoes the unique interior design. While not the newest hostel, it provides all you need in comfort and amenities while visiting historic Prague.
5 Worth It: Train Hostel, Belgium
You guessed it -- this hostel is entirely train-themed. So much so that there's even a train on the roof which adds a whimsical and fun touch to the overall decor. This hostel offers plenty of privacy with its hybrid hotel design and is a great deal of fun for the avid train fan. The entire building is full of unique touches and the exterior grounds are just as interesting as the interior with a large, open outdoor space for socializing. Group lodging is also available for those traveling with many people and it's just as comfortable as the private rooms.
4 Skip It: Flinders Backpackers, Australia
This hostel is definitely one that caters to much younger groups and is considered somewhat of a "party" hostel. While the ratings overall aren't bad, the biggest complaint of travelers was the noise level. Due to how many young groups visit this hostel often, it's not likely that it's going to be the most quiet stay, especially if you have big plans and are in need of a good night's sleep. This is probably due in part to its location right above a nightclub. Additionally, there's no free WiFi and the hostel charges a fee for checking out past a certain time.
3 Worth It: Generator Stockholm, Sweden
The Generator in Stockholm is one that combines modern decor with excellent service and upscale amenities. While it's decorated modestly, the unique contemporary nature is not lost on travelers. It provides travelers with a comfortable place to stay, plenty of privacy if necessary, and fun common spaces that are simplistic yet cozy. There are just enough pops of color to keep things interesting and the hostel itself is located in a good location for first-timers to Sweden. Mostly everything is within a short walking distance, bringing reassurance to the minds of those who are not keen on public transportation or cabs.
2 Worth It: Meet Garda Lake Hostel, Italy
The Meet Garda Lake Hostel is exactly what social travelers are looking for. It's a gem of Italy's and offers amenities and entertainment that many other hostels don't. With engaging social parties, concerts, and various spaces for just lounging around, this hostel has it all. The rooftop terrace allows visitors to take in the local landscape and get some peace and quiet when there's no entertainment. The decor is whimsical and fun and while there's no definitive decorative theme, everything seems to work together to create a cozy and unique space.
1 Skip It: The Raging Elk Adventure Lodge, Canada
Canada is known for being fairly laid-back and upbeat and while that's the general atmosphere, it certainly doesn't work for the Raging Elk Adventure Lodge. With an incredibly affordable price also comes discomfort, as some reviewers claim according to TripAdvisor. Among complaints of the lodge being run down, either too hot or too cold, and unnecessarily loud, there are some good reviews too -- but it seems to depending on timing and happenstance. The manager does respond to some reviews, but whether or not it's worth it remains to be seen.