Hostels and Budget Accommodation in Eastern Europe
Types of Accommodation For the purposes of this article, we'll include the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia in this region. Other European countries can be found in other regions including Southern, Western, and Northern Europe.
Eastern Europe covers a vast area with several cities among the top tourist destinations. Cities such as Prague, Budapest, and Krakow have grown into major destinations within Europe and each place has a lot to offer visitors. The days of very cheap deals in Eastern Europe are behind us, but it is still possible to find affordable accommodation in many places. There are a variety of budget accommodation options in the more touristy areas, and hostels are common. In particular, hostels are a popular option with young backpackers and students, who are looking to save as much money as possible while still getting the most out of their trip. Hostels usually offer social and fun environments at an affordable price. This informal but social setting appeals to backpackers and independent travelers who enjoy meeting other travelers and lingering for several days in each city.
If a hostel isn't your style, then you'll also find a variety of budget hotels or guesthouses in Eastern Europe. If you're traveling as a couple and plan to stay in a private room, there usually isn't a huge difference in price between budget hotels and private rooms in hostels. The main difference between these two options is that typically hostels offer kitchens and common areas. Socializing in hostels is easier and kitchens allow guests to prepare their own meals, which can help you save significantly on your food costs. Hostels are known for their social setting, so if you want a more quiet and private environment, then a budget hotel may be more your style.
Major Hostel Chains
Hostel One Hostel One is a growing hostel chain with two locations in Budapest and two locations in Prague, as well as locations elsewhere in Europe. The chain typically holds high standards and receives good reviews from guests. They are a favorite with backpackers in Europe, and have a relaxed and fun environment.
PLUS Hostels PLUS Hostels is another popular chain in Europe. They have hostels in a variety of countries including one in Prague. These hostels are known for their modern and comfortable facilities and unique amenities. Some hostels even have pools, saunas, restaurants, bars, or fitness rooms. In general, these hostels cater to independent travelers of all ages.
Wombats Hostels Wombats Hostels are found throughout Europe with one location in Budapest. They are usually clean and comfortable and have a fun and social atmosphere.
Bohemian Hostels Bohemian Hostels (BoHo), is actually a chain of three separately branded hostels. Each hostel is located in Prague and has it's own personality. The hostels cater to both independent travelers as well as groups and they have everything from dorms to private rooms or apartments. The three hostels are Sir Toby's, Czech Inn, and Sophie's Hostel. Sir Toby's is a more traditional backpacker hostel while Czech Inn is more popular with larger groups and Sophie's Hostel is popular for female solo travelers or groups of female travelers.
St. Christopher's Inn St Christopher's Inn is another famous hostel chain in Europe. The hostel began in London in the mid 90's and today it is located in at least eight different countries. Each hostel is partnered with a Belushi bar where you can buy affordable food and drinks. The combination of bar and rooms make this a social and fun place to stay for young travelers who want to have a good time.
Traveling Alone Eastern Europe has grown into a popular tourist destination and backpackers and independent travelers continue to discover this region. Many of the countries have reliable transportation networks so navigating the area alone is usually not that difficult.
If you're traveling by yourself, the most affordable accommodation option is likely a dorm in a hostel. Hostel room sizes can range from just a couple of beds to dozens of bunk beds. Prices are usually lower in the larger rooms, but the noise is also louder. If you're hoping to meet other travelers, look for a hostel that organizes activities for guests, has a lot of common space, and has a kitchen, as meal time is a common time to meet fellow guests.
Looking for a Party Some travelers head to Eastern Europe specifically for the nightlife, particularly in cities like Prague and Budapest. These cities are known for the bars and clubs, which can draw large crowds of tourists and locals alike. If you're hoping to make the most of the city's nightlife, it is not hard to find hostels designed for you. "Party hostels" often have nightly pub crawls, on-site bars, and music. If you're looking for a good night's sleep, then these hostels are best avoided, but if your goal is to hit all of the best bars and clubs, then these hostels are for you.
Dorms vs Private Rooms Most hostels offer a variety of options for travelers including both dorms and private rooms. In general, dorm beds are the cheapest option for solo travelers, but it's also not uncommon for small groups of friends to fill a whole dorm room.
Private rooms appeal more to travelers who have a companion with them. Some rooms have twin beds while others have double beds. Both shared and private bathrooms may be available, but rooms with private bathrooms are typically more expensive. Do note, that just because you're in a private room, it doesn't always mean you'll escape the noise of a social hostel. If quiet is a priority for you, you might do better in a private hotel room.