Have you ever found an amazing fare deal, but couldn’t get any of your friends onboard? Don’t let this scenario ruin your fun. Traveling solo can be a unique and fulfilling experience. You’ll surely meet plenty of people along the way and maybe even some travel buddies for future trips.
Best Social Hostels in Europe
One of the best ways to meet others while traveling solo is to stay at a hostel. These usually include common spaces and events for meeting new people and, if you pick the right place, they’ll be as clean and hospitable as any hotel, if not more. Plus, it can be a super affordable way to travel since you can reserve a single bed, rather than pay for an entire room. Don’t like the idea of sharing a room with strangers? Many hostels now offer private rooms in addition to dorm beds, so if you’d rather pay more for some personal space, you can do so, while still having the social common areas available.
There are quite a variety of hostels these days, ranging from bare bones accommodations with just a simple bed to places that have pools, cinemas, bars, restaurants, and other activities. If you’re traveling solo and want to meet others, I would suggest paying a little more for a place that has a social vibe over the absolute cheapest bed available.
Here, I’ve listed the top 10 hostels in Europe for solo travelers. All have both shared and private accommodations and secure locker storage for your valuables.
This cozy hostel has a relaxed homey feel. It’s in a great location in central Berlin and there are daily walking tours leaving right from the hostel. Bicycle rentals are available if you’d like to see the sights on two wheels. There is a kitchen for guests to use and an outdoor BBQ area with hammocks where you’ll meet other guests while sharing meals. The hostel offers an all-you-can-eat continental breakfast and discounts to many surrounding cafes.
TripAdvisor User Review: “This hostel is perfect for any travelers looking to socialize and see Berlin sights.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $39/night
Private room: Starting around $108/night
Just steps away from the main train station in Paris, you’ll easily be able to navigate your way to this lively hostel. Below the hostel, mingle with other travelers and locals at Belushi’s, which is Paris’ biggest expat bar and restaurant. You’ll get 25% off food and daily drink specials. There are free city walking tours and a travel kiosk offering discounts on trips in and around Paris. Dorm beds have privacy curtains, which is a nice touch for some added comfort. Each bed is also equipped with power plugs, USB chargers, and reading lights.
TripAdvisor User Review: “There is a lot of activity around this place. The food and facilities are brilliant – lots of special offers.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $38/night
Private room: Starting around $133/night
Sunset Destination Hostel – Lisbon
Chill out and meet other travelers in the rooftop pool at Sunset Destination Hostel in Lisbon. There is a bar on the pool deck and a lovely common area inside to hang out with new friends. Funky dorm beds come with a privacy curtain, personal light, and a power outlet. You can cook your own meals in the kitchen or enjoy a nightly dinner cooked by the hostel. As part of the trio of Destination hostels in Lisbon, you can also use the facilities at the other two locations in town. Daily activities are organized by each hostel, including a Party BBQ night. For those looking to road trip around Europe, Destination rents out caravans equipped with a kitchen, shower, and toilet, so you can visit some off the beaten path locations.
TripAdvisor User Review: “Sunset Destination is one of the best! The atmosphere, the charisma of staff, the cleanness of rooms, location is perfect and decoration is also a bonus.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $38/night
Private room: Starting around $72/night
Carpe Noctem Vitae – Budapest
Translated as “Seize the night life”, The Carpe Noctem Vitae is the place to be to enjoy the scene in Budapest. Just steps away from 24-hour eateries and bars, you’ll be in the middle of all the action. The hostel organizes a party every night and over half of the property is dedicated for common areas. There is plenty of entertainment including a foosball table, dart board, and a projector room for movies. Enjoy cooking your own meal in one of three kitchens or partake in a family dinner cooked by staff.
TripAdvisor User Review: “I stayed as a solo traveler and had no problem meeting people as everyone there is looking to be social.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $8/night
Private room: Starting around $16/night
Hostel One Sants – Barcelona
One of the best ways to meet others on the road is to share a meal. Hostel One Sants makes this easy and affordable with a free home-cooked dinner every night. The property has a beautiful rooftop terrace complete with many different plants, art, and beanbag chairs. In the basement, you’ll find a pool table, reading corner, and a TV with both Netflix and a PlayStation 3 gaming station. The hostel is within walking distance of the main train station and also near Montjuic, which is full of history and excellent views of Barcelona.
TripAdvisor User Review: “There is a “free” family dinner (with the option to leave a donation if you are able) each night. The food is delicious and it’s a great way to meet other people in the hostel.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $25/night
Private room: Starting around $90/night
Flying Pig Downtown – Amsterdam
If you’ve ever sworn to stay at a hostel when pigs fly, this may be just the place for you. The Flying Pig is a popular chain of hostels in the Netherlands with three locations. The downtown location has a lively bar with a pool table and live music. Each bed has a reading light and private rooms are equipped with a mini-fridge. The location is very central and the staff organizes free walking tours and other activities daily. Shuttles are available to the beach hostel if you want to spend a few nights at the beach while in Holland.
TripAdvisor User Review: “Honestly, everything you want in a hostel. Central location, super clean, great showers, friendly staff, and loads of interaction.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $39/night
Private room: Starting around $178/night
Red Emperor Hostel – Tallinn, Estonia
A perfect place to find the underground scene in Tallinn. The staff will advise you to take local tours with special rates and they also organize some interesting activities such as archery tag and paintball. The attached bar is open to locals so you’ll be able to mingle with other guests and Estonians any time you please. With karaoke nights, live concerts, and pub quizzes, there is always something going on at the Red Emperor Bar. The hostel has a fully equipped kitchen and has a few parking spaces available if you have your own wheels.
TripAdvisor User Review: “I came to Tallinn with no expectations and no knowledge. These guys were great at giving me tips and answering any questions I had. The place is really cozy and it’s certainly easy to get to talking with the other guests.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $12/night
Private room: Starting around $49/night
Balmer's Hostel – Interlaken, Switzerland
The scenic surroundings of Balmer's Hostel will provide a majestic setting for your stay in the Swiss Alps. Adventurous activities are abundant in both the summer and winter. Go skydiving, paragliding, or bungee jump out of a gondola. In the winter, you can enjoy sledding, skiing, and snowboarding. The well-kept grounds of Balmer's hostel will give you the perfect opportunity to meet some others to share an adventure. There’s even a hot tub to soak in after all the daily activities. At night, you don’t have to go far for some drinks and exciting conversation as the hostel has its own nightclub.
TripAdvisor User Review: “The hostel was so well done, the rooms had a lot of space, the breakfasts were really good, pools tables, hammock room and even a little spa pool to relax in after going up Jungfrau.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $26/night
Private room: Starting around $89/night
Hostel Elf – Prague
The outdoor terrace at Hostel Elf will get you chatting with other guests in no time. Even better, the hostel offers a free breakfast buffet and a free Czech style BBQ three times per week. On other nights, there are happy hour specials and even a Jenga party. The alternative décor is full of paintings and murals that will make you feel as if you’re staying in an art museum. The knowledgeable staff has lots of recommendations in the area and keeps the hostel immaculately clean.
TripAdvisor User Review: “A very colorful place, ideal for backpackers who are travelling solo”
Dorm bed: Starting around $17/night
Private room: Starting around $55/night
Ostello Bello Grande – Milan
Only 100 meters from the Central Train Station in Milan, you’ll find one of the best-rated large hostels worldwide. Ostello Bello Grande includes breakfast and dinner as well as free tours. You’ll get a welcome drink upon arrival and have access to three open air terraces with hammocks, gardens, and a BBQ. There’s a great lounge with many different games to keep you busy or you can play some tunes with one of the house guitars or piano. All rooms come with ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning, and a USB plug at each bed. Pets are welcome in private rooms if you want to bring your furry friend along for the ride.
TripAdvisor User Review: “This hostel is great. It might be a reason to visit Milan just to stay here in this friendly atmosphere.”
Dorm bed: Starting around $55/night
Private room: Starting around $117/night
Header image by adriaticfoto via Shuttersock. Hostel images courtesy of TripAdvisor.