“Not all those who wander are lost” is every true travelers motto. You know who you are: you thrive off discovering new cities, love tasting local treats and long for a getaway when you’re at home base. But with an entire world (literally) out there to discover, that means a ton of airplane tickets, road trips and expensive hotel stays. $5oo a night to sleep between some pricey sheets? No thank you. You’d rather spend that money zip lining in the Amazon or people-watching with a nice bottle of wine and tasty baguette on a chic Parisian street. Here’s 10 hostels from around the world that you’ll be skipping the hotel for (plus saving major cash because of) and be glad that you did. Bon voyage!
Hi-Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
This Canadian hostel is different than most. So what is its unique selling point? Hi-Ottawa’s located in a former jail. So if you ever wanted to spend the night behind bars… Besides it’s pretty cool accommodations, Hi-Ottawa offers free breakfast, tours and internet. Additionally, they’re located within walking distance of Ottawa’s most popular attractions, such as Parliament Hill. Plus, they have a bar, aptly named Mugshots, with open-mic nights and other monthly events. Rates start at an unbeatable $32 a night.
Gasthor Gruner Baum, Glorenza, Italy
With stunning views and ultra-sleek rooms, this stay will feel more like a hotel than a budget-friendly hostel. Located near the Swiss border, this Italian hostel has views of the Alps unlike any other, plus with only 10 rooms, you won’t feel overcrowded during your stay. Starting at just under $75 a night per person, you can get amazing mountain views and soak in the culture and architecture of this tiny Italian town, where you’ll be learning words like ‘danke’ rather than ‘grazie,’ as nearly every resident speaks German, not Italian.
The Backpack, Cape town, South Africa
The Backpack Hostel in Cape Town can accommodate up to 100 guests in the 100 year old Victorian house it’s located in. Starting at just over $20 a night, you’ll get wi-fi, a fully equipped, self-service kitchen, an in-house cafe and bar and a swimming pool with picturesque views. Plus, the hostel’s located in the heart of Cape Town, meaning there’s no time to be bored.
Oztel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Thinking of heading to Rio for the 2014 World Cup? Oztel might just be in your budget. Starting at about $22 per night, you’ll have plenty of wiggle room to buy your favorite team jersey. Offering private suites and shared rooms, Oztel’s modern and fresh design will make you feel like you’re far from a cheap hostel. Plus the yummy included breakfast, free wi-fi, on-site sandwich and cocktail bar and daily room service doesn’t hurt, either.
Home Lisbon Hostel, Lisbon, Portugal
Located in Portugal’s capital, this homey hostel is meant to be one’s home away from home while on the road. With a warm and cozy atmosphere and killer location (just a 20 minute cab ride from the airport), it’s hard not to want to stay at Home. The best part: Mamma, the hostel’s owner. She prepares home-cooked, traditional Portuguese-style meals, just like your momma made them. Plus, the hostel offers walking tours to the two largest neighborhoods around, and has nightly pub crawls to discover Lisbon night life (and meet new people along the way).
Kex Hostel, Reykjavik, Iceland
Kex is the Icelandic word for biscuit, which is appropriate, as this sweet hostel is located in none other than a former biscuit factory. The hostel’s described as a blend of “vintage industrial with an eclectic, contemporary touch” and boasts a gym, bar, cafe, heated outdoor patio and even an in-house barber shop. If staying in on vacation isn’t your thing, Hex is centrally located amongst shops, museums, cafe, bars and other attractions to keep you occupied. Whether you prefer shared or private accommodations, Hex offers both, starting at $24 a night. Not too shabby.
Sydney Harbour YHA, Sydney, Australia
Besides its stunning roof-top view of the Sydney Opera House and its location in the heart of the city, the YHA Hostel is the only one you can find in The Rocks. With an average customer rating of 93%, it’s easily one of the best hostels out there. Rates start at around $40 a night and guests can choose from shared, female or male-only, private or family rooms with a breakfast option. We’d stay for that view alone.
We Hostel Design, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Stay at Sao Paulo’s swanky We Hostel Design and you’ll forget all about traditional hotels. Designed by architect Felipe Hess, the hostel has 46 beds in a range of private, women’s and shared occupancy rooms. Starting at around $47 a night, you’ll go for carnaval (or the World Cup) but stay for the hostel’s awesome design. Oh, and it also happens to be located next to markets, bakeries, parks and the subway station. Is there a better way to explore Sao Paulo?
Tattva Design Hostel, Porto, Portugal
This hostel’s got design on its mind, drawing inspiration from the five elements: earth, water, air, fire and sky. As the largest hostel in Porto, it boasts 16 rooms and can hold up to 116 people. Free breakfast, laundry service, wi-fi and an outdoor terrace all add to the allure of this hostel, while their eco-friendly thermal solar panels make them appeal to any traveler. Tattva offers free walking tours and pub crawls, helicopter and bus tours and a cruise excursion at affordable prices. Close to metro and bus lines, and located in the heart of the city, starting at only $20 a night, you’ll have plenty left over to sip on some world-famous Porto.
U Hostel, Madrid, Spain
For anyone craving simplicity, the U Hostel in Madrid is the place to go. Located in a completely renovated 19th century palace, it is absolute luxury on a budget. Their philosophy is to offer hotel-quality on a hostel budget, with the hostel experience. That’s why U Hostel has spacious, clean rooms and comfortable beds, but offers common areas like a bar, cinema and laundry room. There’s free-wifi, free basic breakfast (or upgrade it to a breakfast worthy of kings for only $5), organized tours and transportation from the airport or train. Choose from suites, shared, women-only or family rooms starting at a cheap $24 a night.