Top 5 Hostel Chains In Europe

In my travels through Europe over the past 8 months, and the jaunts I have taken through this continent, I have stayed in A LOT of hostels! Most of these have been small, independents, as I generally find that indie hostels have the best atmosphere. Now and again though, I come across a hostel chain that manages to combine the benefits of both an independent and a chain establishment. Or occasionally I just like to rock up somewhere and know what standard of accommodation I am going to be getting, and with a chain hostel you always know that. With all this in mind, I thought I would share my top 5 hostel chains in Europe at the moment. Maybe you can use it to help you pick a hostel on your own travels through Europe. Should I discover more chain hostels on my travels that I would like to add, then I will create a new list or add to this one accordingly…

Oasis Backpacker Hostels

Oasis hostels have a very special place in my heart. In particular, the “Oasis Backpackers Palace Sevilla”. The reason the Oasis Hostels come top of my list is simply because they tick every box, and then some…

As soon as I walked into “the Palace” I felt like I was staying in 5 star accommodation. Everything is spotlessly clean, the interior design was amazing, they had free wifi & free computers to use, a beautiful terrace area, a cool bar area, and a swimming  pool! Oasis Hostels also regularly schedule live independent bands to play on their terrace areas, which is something I have never seen another hostel do before, and created some spectacular nights for the hostel guests while I was there! 

They run their own FREE city tours, tapas tours, pub crawls, and offer top notch food every night at the bar too, often offering authentic Spanish cuisine such as Paella or tapas for you to eat. Prior to the pub crawl they also take you to see a FREE Flamenco show on selected nights, and arrange other regular events each night to entertain their guests. This could be something as simple as a beer pong tournament, to having an Argentine Tango night. Regardless, there is always something happening at an Oasis Hostel every night of the week.

The staff are all exceptionally friendly, and always very helpful! In particular, the reception staff such as Emma, Michał, and Santino were particularly friendly and helpful to guests in my opinion. This was the case with the hostel bar staff too, such as Valentina, Cesar, and bar manager Joel. I saw first hand how Joel worked tirelessly to make the terrace and bar areas into somewhere that people thought was cool, that always had something going on, and that had a really cool, vibrant atmosphere. Afterall, that is what really makes a hostel great… the vibe. I also stayed in the other Sevilla based Oasis hostel, plus Oasis Malaga too. Both of which were also to a very high standard.

I would highly recommend anyone to stay at an Oasis Hostel (they currently have hostels in Spain, and Portugal.) I was supposed to stay 2 nights, and ended up staying for almost the entirety of the summer. That alone I hope should tell you how good this hostel chain is…

MacBackpackers Hostels

MacBackpackers Hostels are a chain of 8 hostels based around Scotland, owned by the company that runs the MacBackpackers tours around Scotland also. Confusingly, the hostels themselves don’t actually operate under the MacBackpackers name, as they all have their own independent names, but you can find them all at ScotlandsTopHostels.com.

By far and away the best thing about the MacBackpackers hostels is that they all have a very independent feel about them. Each one is very cosy, and has a bit of a different look and vibe to them. The key thing for me however, was they all have this way of making you feel very at home almost immediately. This is down to a variety of factors such as the friendly, welcoming staff, the cosy interiors, or the fact that most of the buildings look like they have actually been converted from what was once a a large house.

When I stayed at the Fort William Backpackers in particular, the best thing for me was that they clearly understood their customer. They had a lot of common rooms for people to hang out, and these were split into ones which were quieter, had soft music playing, or a guitar nearby, and ones where people typically went to drink, and could be a bit louder. The staff were able to recommend a lot of things to do in the area, the kitchen was very big for a hostel, and it’s position up on the hill gave it some spectacular views of Fort William. It really was just a lovely highland retreat. The only main downside for me was that they didn’t appear to have lockers… certainly not in the room anyway. If they had this, they would be much better.

Baxpax Hostels

I stayed at the Baxpax Mitte hostel in Berlin earlier this year. Baxpax currently have 3 hostels in Berlin. If you are really looking to party then I have heard the Downtown Baxpax hostel is the best out of the 3 (I haven’t actually stayed in the downtown hostel, but a friend of mine has), but I found my stay in Mitte to be very cool.

In particular, what makes Baxpax hostels stand out, aside from the fact that there facilities are top notch, is the cool design they have on each room wall. They have taken the Berlin Graffiti Art scene, and used it in a cool way to paint each room and hallway entirely different. They all have different designs by local Berlin graffiti artists. I thought this was a very nice touch to make it different from just any other chain hostel you might find around Europe somewhere.

Aside from that everything is spotlessly clean, the locations of all the hostels are great, and the staff very helpful. They also have free internet, hostel bars, and good showers… which is always a good thing.

St Christopher’s Hostels

St Christopher’s has quite a large chain of hostels in Europe. Their hostels tick all the boxes for facilities and helpful staff, but what makes them better than your average hostel in my opinion is the Belushi’s Bars they have situated beside their hostels. Back home in Edinburgh I’ve sometimes just went for a drink with my friends in the Belushi’s there, despite the fact that I’m at home and therefore not staying in a hostel. That’s because the bar has a very social and friendly atmosphere. It’s such an easy place to meet people. The Amsterdam St Christopher’s and Belushi’s is also very good, as is the London bar/hostel too which I have stayed in also.

If you are a solo traveller, then I think staying at a St Christopher’s Hostel would be a good idea because you know you always have a laid back bar to meet new people in, right on your door step.

Hostelling International

Hostelling International itself is not a chain, it’s an umbrella network for all the Youth Hostel Association hostels of each country around the world, but I’m going to class the whole network as a chain because they have strict minimum requirements for each hostel, and that means when you book a HI Hostel you know that the facilities and staff helpfulness are going to be to a very high standard.

Up until I discovered Oasis Hostels this year, I had never found another hostel or chain that matched the standard of facilities and services that HI Hostels offer. The good thing about HI Hostels however apart from their top notch facilities, is that they offer an alternative to those not particularly wanting the backpacker party atmosphere, but who would still like to pay budget prices (in comparison to the price of a hotel).

Unlike in many other hostels I may have stayed in, the times in which I have stayed at a HI Hostel I have come across families staying there, elderly couples, as well as the typical 18 to 30 year old backpacker. There is a real mix. For me personally, I tend to book a HI Hostel when I need a good sleep. If I want a major party style hostel then I don’t tend to book these, but I don’t think that’s a detrament to these hostels, they just simply cover a slightly different part of the market.

The best thing about HI Hostels though, above anything else, is that they have hostels all around the world. They have the biggest network of hostels around the world that I have seen anywhere. Whether you are wanting to travel to Europe, Asia, or South America, you will find a HI Hostel.

– Above are my top 5 hostel chains in Europe. Hopefully it will help some people reading, confused about which hostelsin Europe pick. I would be interested to hear your favourite hostel chains too! Please feel free to share any you think I may have missed in the comments field, or with me on twitter @runawayjane.

6 Responses to “Top 5 Hostel Chains In Europe”

  1. This is great, thank you, Jane 🙂

  2. Jeremy says:

    I stayed at the Oasis in Granada and it was truly a beautiful place that sported a rooftop terrace as well. It’s funny, in my younger years of traveling, ahemm 3 years ago, I used to think HI Hostels were lame, but now I think I might actually opt for them more often than not because if you want to party, you can always go to it. It’s better to lay your head where the crowd is lax and the music isn’t pumping all night long

  3. Scott says:

    Tres Bonne,

    If you were to travel from Portugal to Morocco what hostel would you stay in? Thank you.

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