Lots of the enjoyment of interrailing comes from the places you stay and the people you meet there. Make sure you don’t leave anything to chance by booking yourself into some of Europe’s best hostels, the ideal bases from which to explore new and exciting cities.
The Yellow, Rome
Everything about this hostel is lively, from its bustling bar (which offers a nine-hour-long happy hour) to its in-house DJs. If partying is your thing, this one is definitely for you.
Located just around the corner from Rome’s Termini station, the hostel has good transport links around the city if you have the energy to explore the city by day – the forum, the Villa Borghese and the Doria Pamphilj in particular come highly recommended.
The Yellow offers a range of tours to suit everyone’s needs- from bike tours to Catholic tours of Italy’s capital- as well as cooking and photography classes.
In the hostel’s own words, The Yellow has ‘redefined’ the meaning of a hostel. This is a bold claim, but rest assured that you will never get bored during your stay: the endless activities available include yoga on the roof; going shopping with locals; or even changing your look in its very own salon.
Lavender Circus Hostel, Budapest
There are so many party hostels to choose from in Budapest, but if you’d prefer a quieter retreat head to the striking Lavender Circus Hostel, just a stone’s throw from the Hungarian National Museum and set in a leafy thoroughfare. Its vibe is bohemian – think vibrant colours, hand-painted murals and eclectic furniture.
Unlike many hostels, this one values privacy. Every room has a double bed in it, so you won’t be kept awake by your neighbour’s snoring or by people drunkenly clattering around in the dark after the lights have gone out. Some of the apartments even have kitchenettes, great if you’re on a budget or feel like some home-cooking.
The staff are extremely welcoming, the vibe is relaxed and the hostel is cosy. Once you arrive, the only hard decision will be how long to extend your stay for!
Porto Spot Hostel, Porto
The Porto Spot Hostel is housed in a classy 1930s building, designed in the Estado Novo style (Portuguese Art Deco) by Portuguese architect Armenio Losa. A modern refurbishment has respected the building’s original style, but has better equipped it for modern comfort. There are few hostels which are as architecturally pleasing.
The hostel provides a good base from which to stroll to some of Porto’s best-known landmarks: Coliseu do Porto theatre is only a ten minute walk away, and the hilltop Romanesque cathedral is just one and a half kilometres away. But if you want insider knowledge, wait for one of the specially- organised walking tours, which will take you to less-visited, local places.
Hostel Ruthensteiner, Vienna
Hostel Ruthensteiner has taken in backpackers since 1968, making it the first independent backpackers’ hostel in Vienna. It has always prides itself on its tranquillity. The building, recently renovated, dates from the early 1800s and it is situated close to both the historic city centre (go to the Albertina if you have a chance) and the dramatic Schönbrunn Palace.
The gardens at Schönbrunn are spectacular, but you can just as happily pass an afternoon in one of the hostel’s two gardens instead- complete with local artwork and handmade furniture. If you’re in an intellectual and competitive mood, make use of Ruthensteiner’s giant outdoor chess board.
Another plus is that the hostel is completely eco-friendly and sustainable: the solar panels on the roof ensure you have a warm shower and the garden has a small herb and spice patch.
Far Home Atocha, Madrid
As well as catering for solo travellers, Far Home Atocha has rooms for families and groups of friends. Consequently, it is less of a party hostel and more of stylish, sophisticated place to enjoy other people’s company.
Far Home Atocha could not be better positioned. From the Literary Quarter where you’ll be spending the night, it is a very short walk to some of the world’s best art museums: the Prado and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza.
After tiring yourself out with world-class art, head east to Retiro Park, where you can wile an afternoon away people-watching, sleeping or reading.