My Top 5 Favorite Hostels I Visited on my 7 Month Euro Trip8/31/2010
I stayed in around 60 hostels and guesthouses on my recent trip to Europe. To me that’s a lot for most people that number is insane!
Most of my experiences were very positive. The main benefits in staying in hostels as opposed to hotels include, cheaper, meet more travelers, and receive better advice about local attractions and hot spots.
The criteria I used for determining my top 5 are fun factor, price, location, and amenities, with fun factor being the top determinant.
Here are my top 5 favorite hostels from my trip.
1. Bahaus Hostel Resort, Dalyan, Turkey
2. Atlantic Point Backpackers, Cape Town, South Africa
3. Rossio Hostel, Lisbon, Portugal
4. Youth Hostel Plakias, Plakias, Crete
5a. X Hostel, Varna, Bulgaria
5b. Giovanni’s Home, Naples, Italy
Funky Donkey, Brac, Croatia
Vila Jarak Guesthouse, Makarska, Croatia
Wombats City Hostel, Berlin, Germany
Haris Youth Hostel, Sarajevo, Bosnia
Big Apple Hostel, Istanbul, Turkey
Hostel Che, Belgrade, Serbia
Bahaus Hostel Resort
The ultimate in hostel traveling. A 5 star resort at hostel prices. A personal chef, organic garden, swimming pool, billards table, table tennis, Foosball table, weight room, Tempur-pedic beds, outdoor bar, on the backdrop of a stunning view of the mountains of Dalyan, ALL FOR $20 A NIGHT. YES I SAID $20! An absolute bargain!
The owner, Neco, built the most luxurious hostel that I’ve ever seen, without taking away the fun factor. There were many days when I never left the hostel. Enjoying home cooked meals and relaxing in the pool while reading a book in the mornings, playing games of pool and table tennis in the afternoon, and talking with fellow travelers at the bar in the evenings was a typical summer day for me.
I haven’t even mentioned what the city of Dalyan is like…read on
Dalyan, Turkey is a resort town about 20 minutes away from Iztuzu Beach, my favorite beach in Turkey. A remarkable little beach that is the nesting ground for the Loggerhead Turtle. Thus the beach is protected, meaning no buildings allowed!
You can enter the beach by minibus or from the other side, about a mile away, by ferry via a fresh water river that flows into the sea. I highly recommend you take this route at least once to enjoy the splendid delta scenery.
There are numerous activities in Dalyan. Historic site seeing, mud baths, scuba diving, island hopping, turtle watching, white water rafting, para sailing, and fishing are just a few of the fun activities Dalyan offers. However, when I’m not staying at the hostel, on most days I prefer to just lounge at the beach. Thus Bahuas Resort Hostel is my #1 favorite hostel.
Others that made the list include….
Atlantic Point Backpackers
I arrived in Cape Town without a place to stay…during the World Cup. I visited 3 different places before finding this gem, shockingly with availability for only $20 a night! I paid 4 times that the first night in Cape Town in a hostel that wasn’t even close to the level of quality this one is.
The reason I was able to find this bargain for the World Cup?
Atlantic Point had only been open for 2 weeks and had maybe 3 ratings on Hostel World at the time. The rooms were incredibly well furnished when I arrived. I felt like I was in my friend’s house. Perfectly outfitted with two flat screen televisions and a bar for getting my daily World Cup fix. Everything was so well designed, new, and clean. The colors of the building blended well with the theme of the hostel.
In addition, Atlantic Point was only a 5 minute walk from Green Point stadium. I could easily hear the stadium from my room. However, what set Atlantic Point Hostel apart from the others were their world class breakfasts, all for free! Fresh fruit, vegetables, toast, cereal, and various meats and cheeses were included on their buffet style menu. I made sure I received a hearty meal before setting out exploring my favorite city of all time, Cape Town.
Rossio Hostel was the first hostel I stayed at, and completely jaded my experience. I thought all hostels would be on par with this one. I was completly wrong!
I remember walking in after my 9+ hour flight from Dallas into a lounge area similar to what I would find in Austin coffee shops. Laid back, smooth music with people chatting, some playing chess, while relaxing on pillows scattered along the floor, and a guitar for the musicians to strum at any moments notice.
Everyday there was a new activity hosted by the hostel for travelers to enjoy. Home cooked dinner, pub crawls, and Wii tennis matches were some of my favorites.
The rooms were very spacious, with computers free of charge, and a hearty free breakfast. The staff was 2nd to none in terms of service. A memorable experience to start off my backpacking journey.
Youth Hostel Plakias
It took me two and a half days to reach Plakias from the port of Iraklio. I was immediately blown away by the scenery of this southern coastal town. Mountains, devastating cliffs, secluded beaches and river walks were the highlights of my trip here.
Chris, the owner, welcomes all to join his little beach hut in Crete. I remember there being a diverse age range, from college students to 9-5 exhausted adults looking for a relaxing atmosphere. For $8 a night you can’t find a better bargain anywhere!
I arrived in the middle of Spring, still in offseason, but shops were just starting to open for the anticipation of summer season. I did not have a better adventure than doing the 4 hour walk up the river, a Hostel Plakias exclusive. Tip: Make sure when you arrive to ask for a map of the river walk. The secluded One Rock Beach is also a Hostel Plakias special.
The atmosphere was superb, beds were comfy, people were great, and the beaches incredible. I can only imagine what the vibe would be like during the summer season. On my list of places to go back to!
The ultimate party hostel. I never stayed at a hostel that embraced the party atmosphere more than this one! X-Hostel is one of those hostels that truly makes the travel experience. I found the beaches of Varna to be relatively average crowded with older vacationers at Golden Sands.
However, the cheapest beer in Europe, world class German DJs, and Daniele, the manager, create a perfect storm of perfect ten partying!
Every day and night Daniele and staff made sure travelers had something fun to do. Thermal springs, boat trips, gun range, bungy jumping, and scuba diving during the day with foam parties, pub crawls, and beach parties at night. You close track of time and your mind in this alcohol eden. For $10 a night and beer .50 a pop, your dollar can go a LONG way if your body can handle it!
I may have arrived at X-Hostel too soon as now I am starting to see people leave the hostel with X Tattoos! That is insane! I don’t know how he convinces them, but Daniele mad props for priceless advertising!
I couldn’t decide between X-Hostel and Giovanni’s Home to round out my top 5. They were both incredible experiences in very different ways.
Giovanni’s Home embraced a family type atmosphere. Giovanni looks after travelers like we were his own kids. He really did care about our safety in Naples and ensured we had a great time while we were at his house. Giovanni’s home delivered big time.
The most special part of this hostel experience was dinner. Once or twice a week, Giovanni would round up all his travelers, and cook up a fantastic meal for all his guests, but wait there’s more! After dinner Giovanni would sing us classic American songs as well as a few Italian ones.
During this time other musicians in the group would participate while the less talented, myself included, would sing along. Truly a one of a kind experience!
I also received great information on sights and places to stay away from at night. My only regret is booking day trips in advance to Capri and Pompeii when I could have gone with the hostel group.