Top 10 Backpacking Destinations in Europe

Backpacking across Europe has been a veritable rite of passage for many years now, and it’s no wonder why this continent is an obvious favorite among the backpacking crowd. With so many options, it can be overwhelming trying to find the best destinations that also have affordable options for housing, food and entertainment. Before planning your European expedition, check out this list of the top 10 backpacking destinations in Europe.

10. Valleta, Malta

Via:
Via:

Malta is often overlooked as a backpacker destination. As a small group of islands picturesquely situated in the Mediterranean, many people assume it will be expensive and hard to get to. Malta is actually fairly close to Italy and you can easily hop aboard a ferry to the Port of Valleta or any number of affordable flights to the main island. Valleta, the capital city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of numerous historical sites on the islands. Most of the residents speak English and a reputable hostel is less than $17 per night.

9. Madrid, Spain

Via: Felipe Gabaldón
Via: Felipe Gabaldón

Madrid is a popular tourist destination, but what makes it so perfect for backpackers is the competition between hostel and hotel owners to have the lowest rates and a tapas culture that ensures cheap food and alcohol are plentiful. You can even visit some of Madrid’s famous sights, such as the Museo del Prado, Reina Sofia Museum and Plaza Mayor for free. Similar in cost to Valleta, a good hostel here can be found for $16 per night.

8. Santorini, Greece

Via: Maggie Meng
Via: Maggie Meng

Santorini has many attractions such as vineyards, museums, theaters and archaeological sites, but the beaches are by far the most popular tourist attraction. Volcanic eruptions have formed some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Visitors can chose from bustling beaches with many amenities like Kamari Beach, or relaxing beaches like the Red Beach, where the only amenities are peace and quiet. Santorini has hostels starting at nine dollars per night and food is quite affordable when eaten in restaurants without ocean views.

7. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Via: Ebs Els
Via: Ebs Els

Český Krumlov is the second most popular tourist town in the Czech Republic and lacks the crowds of the country’s most popular destination, Prague. This historic town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can pack a lunch and venture out into the beautiful countryside, visit Český Krumlov Castle and peruse the galleries and museums. Of course, Prague is a must-see when in the Czech Republic and can be reached by bus. This is an affordable option for backpackers wanting to visit Prague, with hostels starting at $10 per night.

6. Riga, Latvia

Via: Rob Oo
Via: Rob Oo

Typical tourists may consider Riga out of the way, but that is exactly what makes it a perfect backpacking destination, since backpackers are usually on extended trips and smaller crowds keep the prices low. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts architectural gems, museums, luxurious spas, nearby beaches and is quickly building its reputation as a party destination. Don’t leave without trying Riga Black Balsam, a local herbal tonic made from vodka. With hostels as low as six dollars per night, you’ll have some extra cash on hand to indulge.

5. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Via:

Sarajevo is struggling to attract tourists because of its troubled past. However, it’s a great stop on your trip and especially good for backpackers, since the lack of tourists keeps the prices low. It’s located in Dinaric Alps and offers some breathtaking views. This is the perfect destination for history enthusiasts. Here you can visit the Latin Bridge where Gavrilo Princip fired the shot that ultimately started WWI, see remnants of the 1984 Olympics and feel bullet holes made during the war in the 1990’s. Hostel prices start at around seven dollars per night.

4. Istanbul, Turkey

Via: Pedro Szekely
Via: Pedro Szekely

The cost of visiting Istanbul has fallen recently, thanks to the decline of the Turkish Lira. Turkey’s party capital is also the perfect destination for foodies as it is home to the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s best food bazaars, along with many top-rated restaurants. Since it’s covered in historical sites and museums, it’s also attracts history and culture buffs. Anyone will enjoy a trip to Süleymaniye Hamam, a historic Turkish bath, for a nice soak and massage. Backpackers can stay at hostels here for around seven dollars per night.

3. Krakow, Poland

Via: Isla-skorplon
Via: Isla-skorplon

Krakow is often recognized as the best travel bargain in Europe and attracts more tourists every year. For this reason, it’s best to visit before the increasing demand raises the prices. Krakow has many impressive sites, such as a medieval castle and one of the largest town squares in the world. It’s been said that Krakow has the most pubs per square mile in the world and, while that may not be exactly true, it’s definitely a place worth visiting for the nightlife. You can sleep off that hangover in a hostel for about nine dollars per night.

2. Berlin, Germany

Via: Reinhard Link
Via: Reinhard Link

Berlin is all the rage right now, and is another city you’ll want to visit before prices rise. It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has something for everyone. The many local attractions have reasonable prices for the time being and can be made even more affordable by using a Berlin Welcome Card or Berlin Pass, if you plan on staying a while and visiting several of them. Thirteen dollars will get you a place to stay for the night.

1. Budapest, Hungary

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Via:

Budapest ranks as the top backpacking destination because not only is it one of the least expensive destinations, it’s also brimming with amazing things to do. The local castles and cathedrals are awe-inspiring and it contains several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s also home to the famed Széchenyi Medicinal Baths, the largest spa bath in Europe, which offers many services in a glorious setting. Prices range from $14.51 to $72.54 for the most expensive treatment. With hostels starting at just over nine dollars per night, this is a bargain that can’t be beat!

This post was written by Andrew Larson, a semi-retired software engineer turned globetrotter and full-time travel enthusiast which now runs Wanderlust 15. For more information, visit Wanderlust 15

13 Great Party Hostels Around the World

Hostels are a vital part of backpacking. There are a lot of factors that define a great hostel and reviews can often be skewed as what is going on in the hostel varies greatly throughout the year. With that being said here are 13 hostels in no particular order that have been reviewed positively when it comes to partying.

1. Retox Party Hostel, Budapest, Hungary

One of the most notorious party hostels in the world; with a name like Retox Party Hostel, you’re bound to have a good time or a terrible time due to the copious amounts of alcohol. Cruise the Danube on a party boat, drink in a castle overlooking Budapest or just relax at the Retox bar with a game of beer pong.

“Stayed at Retox and the place was insane. Make sure you know what you are getting into. The place is as advertised with it being dirty, crazy and loud. That being said it was a total blast and I would stay again in a heartbeat. Definitely not for everyone though.”

-Via Reddit user: photosandfood

retox

2. Dancing Elephant, Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

If you’re looking to experience the famous Full Moon Party, then this is the hostel you want to be at. Located in the heart of Haad Rin village it is surrounded by shops, restaurants, massage parlors and only a 2 minute walk from beaches and the full moon party.

“Great location, close enough to haad rin beach for easy access but far away enough that you cannot hear the noise from the beach night. The staff pull out all the stops for full moon and the nights leading up to it. Great party atmosphere and very easy to meet people.”

-Customer Review from Hostelbookers.com

dancingelephant
Via: Dancing Elephant FB Page

3. Pacha Mama, San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

With their famous Sunday Funday pool crawl, Pachamama is located quite centrally in San Juan del Sur and is close to the main beach and the main strip with all of the bars to party in of a night time. It is also only a short distance from the main street, where you can find all of the restaurants, food, and other amenities that you might need during your stay here.

Staff and service was always just ok. On the first day everyone looked at us like weird outsiders, it was unpleasant. A day later we realized we were looking at new arriving guests the same way. It was because we had bonded and formed little groups with the other guests. The hostel is super chill during the day, jump in the pool, drink a beer or watch Netflix on the lounge and take it easy before whatever wild party will ensue that night! Sunday funday was off the hook, if you stay at pacha mama you are guaranteed a ticket so stay there!

-captianpeanuts (2014-11-13) Tripadvisor review

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Via: PachaMama FB page

4. Asylum Cairns, Australia

A great hostel to make new friends, with their famous Mad Moon-day Party where for $15 you get your own original design t-shirt, free entry to awesome venues, BBQ sausage sizzle, a minimum of two free ‘things’ and free internet for a week (although internet should always be free). The atmosphere has a truly relaxed, ‘homey’ kind of feel, which is great for seasoned travellers and first-timers who may find it hard to make that first move in making new friends.

Great location. Party hostel. secure location to park your campervan if you have one. only a few blocks from the port/ocean. Be prepared to party on Thursday for they have their crazy Pants Down party. Kitchen is large and clean with fridge. Rooms are secure. Sadly you have to pay 2 dollars a day if you want wifi (5 dollars on first day to ‘activate).

-Anonymous (2014-10-29) Hostelworld review

asylum

5. The Flying Pig Downtown – Amsterdam, Holland

The Flying Pig is a great location for young travellers, partiers, and people who are planning on walking everywhere. It’s very close to the Red Light District, and train station. The Flying Pig is right in the center of the city, and is located on a shopping strip.

I found it to be very clean and welcoming, as were the staff. Thankfully, my group likes to party and there were no shortage of those in or around the hostel, but if you’re not the party type, you may want to look elsewhere.

— Kelly (2014-03-14)

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Via: The Flying Pig Downtown FB page

6. The G Spot Hostel – Lagos, Portugal

Hands down one of the best in Portugal, this review pretty much sums it up:

Planned to stay for 3 days, ended up staying for 10! Not much more needs to be said, if you are looking for a great party hostel with awesome staff this is the place to be in Lagos.

-September 19th, 2014 Hostelworld review

gspot2
Via: G Spot Lagos FB page

7. Greg and Tom Party Hostel, Krakow, Poland

One of the fanciest party hostels around with a super modern common room, showers and kitchen. Every night, Polish students will take you out to the best party spots around Krakow and show you their special Vodka & Beer Tasting Tour. With a party 7 nights a week, it’s definitely a must when you’re in Krakow.

This is one of the greatest hostels available if you are looking for a good night out and a great stay. Brilliant location, free dinner and breakfast and the bar crawls are epic.

-June 30th, 2014 Hostelbookers review

gregandtom
Via gregtomhostel.com

8. Carnival Court Backpackers, Cape Town, South Africa

Located in the heart of the action on Long street, near bars, clubs and restaurants. The hostel is on top of a bar, so most guests complain that it’s too noisy to get some sleep. It’s always a wild night here and you don’t come here to relax.

A brilliant place in the heart of cape town. it has a nice bar and is so a good option for solo-travellers. it can be loud at night, but well.. were young aren’t we!!

-Moritz Heise (2013-01-13) Hostelbookers review

carnivalcourt
Via: Carnival Court Backpackers

9. X Hostel Varna, Varna, Bulgaria

As well as being cheap as chips this hostel really knows how to party. Epic parties in Varna or Golden Sands, unforgettable dinner parties, foam parties and pub crawls with around 400 people!

Ohhh X hostel Varna, how I love you so, where the golden Balkansko rivers flow. Definitely the greatest hostel on our planet earth. The staff seem like they were created in a rock and roll laboratory; they just cant stop the party. You walk through the gate and meet total strangers that you feel like you’ve known for years. Incredible parties, incredible atmosphere. Great tasting food that will even make your grandmother’s head explode. . I’ll be back without a doubt; see you there!

-Anonymous (2014-09-13) Hosteworld review

xhostelvarna
Via: X Hostel Varna FB page

10. El Viajero Hostel – Cartagena, Colombia

This Party Hostel in Colombia has a fun and relaxing atmosphere, with a colonial patio & garden outside, a bar with the best music & cheapest drinks in town, a common TV area with DVD & Netflix, and a well-equipped kitchen.

El Viajero was the first “party” hostel I’ve ever stayed at and to be honest, I’m glad I did. I didn’t think that the noise was too loud & boisterous at night (as others have said in their reviews), since the hostel bartender would close the bar around midnight and usher everyone to partake in a bar/club crawl outside the city walls. Decor was super cute & colorful, staff was friendly, nightly group events were plentiful – overall a great place to meet people & maximize your time in the city!

-drobles7856005 (November 1, 2014) Hostelworld review

elviajero
Via: El Viajero Hostel Facebook Page

11. The Pink Palace – Corfu, Greece

Located on a beautiful beach in Corfu, this is both a hotel and hostel that is a great place to meet others when solo travelling. Go kayaking, set sail on the booze cruise, drink at the 24 hour bar or just chill out on the private beach. With 368 beds, you’re sure to find someone to party with.

Great place to party with different themed parties each night, and they seat everyone together at dinner which was a good way to meet people. They run activities during the day which everyone seemed to enjoy. Rooms had AC which is all we really cared about when it came to bed time.

– Anonymous (2014-08-15) Hostelworld review

pinkpalace
http://thepinkpalace.com/galleries/

12. The Cambie Hostel, Vancouver, Canada

One of Vancouvers best hostels, the pub downstairs is always full with daily drink deals. It’s a great place to meet people and party, so don’t come here if you expect to get some R & R like this guest:

I understand that hostels tend to be party locations, but the groups partying in the upstairs common areas were out of control the Friday night I stayed there. In addition, the bathrooms were disgusting – pipes were leaking over the shower, there was a bandaid by the sink, empty bottles everywhere… and my comforter had a burn hole in it. Very unpleasant place to sleep (actually, not much sleep happened, to be honest). Would not recommend.

-Anonymous Female from the USA, Hostelworld review

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Via: The Cambie FB Page

 13. Couzi-Couji Party Hostel, Penang, Malaysia

Renown for it’s food, who knew Penang had a party hostel? Turns out this is the only one, and you’ll have a great time here with organized events, pub crawls and some of the cheapest beer in Penang.

Great place for partying! Met lots of new people and Alex the owner is a very cool and a funny party owner. I appreciate for the experience that I’ve had and made new friends not just travelers but also locals! Awesome bar experience and the activities that Alex organizes is just phenomenal! Definetely would like to come back! Long live Couzi Couji!

-Anonymous (July 26, 2014) Hostelworld review

couzi3
Via: Couzi-Couji FB Page

The world is huge, with lots of places and parties to explore. This is definitely not a list of all the best party hostels in the world, as there are too many to mention in one list. Feel free to mention your favourites in the comments below.

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