This blog prides itself on providing tips, and lodging is no exception. I’ve been dwelling on the idea of ranking my favorite hostels I’ve stayed in, which is hard given that I’ve stayed in some pretty fantastic ones. By no means is this meant to be a “this one is worse” or “this is the single best hostel I’ve ever been to” ranking; all of them are amazing to start, and I just wanted to spread the amazing word about them. There are purely subjective, and I do feel some pings of shame for having to rank them-compared to the vast majority of hostels, these would be tops on most lists. Before I begin, I want to say that these hostels all had extremely friendly staff and amazing fellow tourists. Each of these are highly recommended, and should you ever find yourself in the respective cities, hightail it to all five of these hostels!
Poet’s Corner Hostel (Olomouc, Czech Reublic); per their Facebook page, they’re temporarily closed while moving to another location, which is a shame.
Red Emperor Bar and Hostel (Tallinn, Estonia)
Franz Ferdinand Hostel (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Cocomama (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
The Coziness Downtown (Bucharest, Romania)
5. Poet’s Corner. I only started traveling on my own a mere 3 years ago, and this was the first “real” hostel I stayed at. Why did I say “real”? Prior to that, I was in Plzen (home of the ubiquitous Pilsner Urquell beer) and Brno, but the hostels there were fairly basic/devoid of a lot of interaction between guests. This hostel was a nice breath of fresh air for the young traveler that I was (and still am)-comfy spaces where you got to shoot the breeze with other guests. A recurring theme of these hostels is the proximity to the center of their respective cities, and this was the best example. After a ten minute tram ride to the center from the train station, Poet’s Corner was smack dab in the heart of the city, which was especially convenient when planning my excursions. The only reason why this is fifth, and again, this is absolutely nothing against the hostel itself, is that the other hostels offered a bit more.
4. For being in the fourth spot, this sure was a hard choice. However, this goes to my most recent one, The Coziness Downtown of Bucharest. The reason being is that while cozy, sometimes there was a lull where you’d stick around and do nothing. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing given how travelers do need to slow down and recharge our batteries. To accommodate this, the hostel offered plenty of cushions to park one’s weary body. Being away from home, you can develop a sort of homesickness, so literally being located in a house in a residential district was extremely therapeutic! I honestly can’t think of a time where being on vacation seemed so normal, thanks to The Coziness. Plus, the location of the hostel enabled you to easily walk to one of two metro stations as well as having downtown within 15 minutes by foot. Now, the only reason why I’m not ranking this higher is because it seemed to be a bit boring at times, as previously mentioned. Otherwise my stay was fantastic!
3. If you’ve ever wanted to pretty much stay smack dab in the heart of a city, Sarajevo’s Franz Ferdinand hostel offers you that choice. It’s a few minutes away from Baščaršija, the old town of the historical city, but rest assured you can and will enjoy peace and silence. The hostel rightly bills itself as a luxury hostel, as the common rooms and bedrooms are spacious and very cozy. As a nice nod to the history/legacy the Austro-Hungarian Empire left on both the city and the country, the rooms have paintings of key figures; the common room had a vintage map of Europe, which was a neat historical touch I greatly appreciated.
2. Again, another tough choice. Tallinn was a city that captured my heart, and having a great base to stay in Red Emperors greatly aided that process. As soon as I stepped through the doors, I knew I was in the right place! As the name of the place indicates, there’s a bar on the other side of the hostel, so one didn’t have to go far to nab a cold one. If you’re reading this with apprehension, the administration acknowledged that this might be off putting, therefore there was a divide between the bar and the hostel. With that in mind, if you didn’t want to go through all that trouble to head to the bar, paying reception 1.5 Euros got you a great beer from their tap. Yes, reception has their own tap, and boy was it great! The common room was a genuine attraction, as it was the single coziest one I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience! Along with the great friends I met, we spent several nights talking with beers from reception in hand, and those nights contributed to why Tallinn is my favorite city of the Balkans.
- Numero uno. As I’ve been constantly reiterating, this is solely my opinion, which I admit can change in the future. However, I think this is the hostel that, for now, captured my traveling heart the most. When looking for hostels in Amsterdam to stay at over New Year, there were plenty of great options, so at first, I didn’t know what to think. However, a recommendation from a friend (thanks, Mariah!) led me Cocomama, situated just outside of the central part of the city. What makes this hostel so special? For starters, it used to be a brothel, so in that regard, it’s a quintessential Amsterdam building. I kid, I kid. From the very get go, the staff were excellent. I believe that Matt, within minutes of checking in, mentioned that the hostel would be throwing a dinner for the residents. Love at first check in! After dinner, the staff took us/joined us for the New Year’s fireworks at a nearby bridge, attesting to the emphasis on quality service. From there, they made a special point of highlighting the daily events that they’d take us to, and the variety really was the spice of Amsterdammer life. Cocomama bills itself as being a boutique hostel, and it frankly was better than most hotels! The downstairs common room had plenty of space to cook, read, and watch TV, and even pet the resident lovable Dutch cat, Joop. Regarding the rooms themselves, they were incredibly cozy! Back home in America, I have a mattress topper, and the beds at the hostel rivaled it, even feeling better! Without a doubt, this was a home away from (home away from) home, and the best hostel I’ve ever been to. If you’re in Amsterdam, this is a must!