Traveling through the Balkan is great. The area has some beautiful nature and landscapes, has a rich cultural history, great food and…cheap accomodation. If you stay in a hostel, that is. Last year I noticed that there are actually some great hostels around that are cheap, look great and have the nicest atmosphere. Here is my top 5 list of hostels (in no particular order) in the capital cities around the area.
Hedonist Hostel – Belgrade, Serbia
After a long trainride, the taxidriver dropped me off at Hedonist Hostel in a peaceful part of downtown Belgrade. I rang the bell, openened the door and immediately felt at home. The greatest atmosphere blew my way, even when I was all alone standing in the hallway with my luggage. Despite being very tired, the staff of the hostel was so nice, that I ended up chatting for an hour and a half before I settled in.
The hostel itself looks really cozy, with a couple of dorms. I stayed in the four bed dorm and beds were provided with curtains for extra privacy. While you are there you can hang out in the cozy looking living room, the kitchen or game room where you can watch a movie together or play games. In summer there is a really nice garden as well.
The staff was also very helpful to provide good tips for me to get to Romania from there and love to book train or busrides for you. If I ever go back to Belgrade, I will definitely stay in this hostel again!
See the website for more information.
Art Hostel – Sofia, Bulgaria
After staying in one of the worst hostels I have ever been for a night, I decided to get some breakfast in the centre of Sofia and got my hands on a really nice cartoon map of the city with tons of tips on where to stay, eat and what to do. One of the tips on staying in the area was the Art Hostel. After breakfast I walked to the hostel and found out that it must been a great one. It is located in an old building not too far from the main shopping street, again it has some great helpful staff, a lovely garden and a cool basement to hang out at night.
Given the fact that the city pub crawl (which I can highly recommend a well) comes along there every night, says something about the atmosphere in the hostel as well. (:
Being a place for everybody to hang out, the dormrooms are locked off with a gate. When you get upstairs, you find yourself in a big beautiful old building with wooden floors, old ecletic furniture, private bathrooms and spacious rooms.
Although I was there for only one night, I really loved it there!
More info on the website.
Tirana Backpackers Hostel – Tirana, Albania
Tirana Backpackers Hostel. A hippy-vibed oasis in one of the most chaotic cities in Europe. Entering the gate of this hostel is for me going through some kind of time portal to a cozy and laidback second home, as I stayed there three times already.
The staff is lovely. I really like it when hostel staff remembers you and ask how things go (in my case my internship in Albania last year). The hostel is neat and has quite of lot of space and dorms in comparison to other hostels I stayed in. In summer you can hang out in the nice garden which has a bar where you can hang out and have a drink, or relax on the couches and hammocks with the hostel dogs. Fun fact: It even has a mini museum with objects saved from the science museum that was closed down a couple of years ago. Great idea. (:
Next month I will go here again and I wonder how much the puppy has grown.
Go to the website for more info.
Cozyness Downtown Hostel – Bucharest, Romania
Okay, while I was staying here I had the flu, which made me not the most social person and therefore stayed in bed most of the time. But I did notice that the name of the hostel does do honor to it. Inside it does look very cozy, is provided with a spacious living and game room.
The nice part about the hostel was that the kitchen is located next to the living room, which makes it a good opportunity to have some fun cooking nights together. The small hallways to the dormroom makes the small dormrooms itself very private. And again, lovely helpful staff. Too bad I wasn’t feeling well, but I know where I’ll be staying when I go back to Bucharest.
More info on the website.
Home Made Hostel – Budapest, Hungary
As this was the last hostel I stayed in on my trip through the Balkan last year, it makes me feel a bit melancholical almost. And not because the hostel itself wasn’t good, but because it was a great one! Almost a case of save the best for last. Why? First of all: A big dorm room shaped like a tree house. Really, that is all you need.
The hostel centrally located in a beautiful old building on walking distance of the city centre and easely reachable by metro. This hostel has the most beautiful entrance of all the hostels I stayed in I think.
The staff is very nice and helpful and the hostel itself is provided with a small living room, a spacious kitchen en three private bathrooms. Oh, did I mention that it has a dorm room shaped like a tree house?
See the website for more info and pictures of the entrance and the dormrooms.