Adopt A Hostel – A Little Help For Our Friends
Adopt a Hostel is a gift card campaign that was started by a few wonderful hostel allies, who wanted to help hostels get through this current coronavirus pandemic. As a result of government and travel restrictions, many hostels worldwide have found themselves in the tough situation where they still have bills to pay, but have no money coming in. Through Adopt A Hostel, you can help save hostels by buying gift cards for future stays, or simply make donations. It really is the best way you can show support – by the giving hostels cash now when they need it most, you can help ensure they will get through to the other side. Think of it as a promise that you make to yourself and your favourite hostels that you’ll be back to visit when everything settles down.
One of the best things about being in this industry is the hostel community we are fortunate to be part of. We’ve met incredible people along the way who have opened up their hearts and doors to us. If you’ve already bought a gift card to come back and stay with us, why not support some other hostels at the same time and make a whole Euro-trip of it? These are some of our favourite hostels in Europe who are also selling gift cards on Adopt a Hostel.
Budapest Party Hostels – Carpe Noctem, Vitae, Retox, Grandio, Meander, Penthouse Privates (Budapest, Hungary)
The city: Budapest hardly needs an introduction – it’s a bustling city with no shortage of things to see, or places to eat and drink. A lot of people compare it to Prague, although where Prague is beautiful and romantic with its twisty, winding roads, Budapest is alternative and cool with its sprawling boulevards. Come nighttime, you’ve got the ruin bars which will leave your senses tingling as you down drinks with your newest friends.
The hostel(s): The unparalleled BPH and MadHouse friendship goes way way back to the beginnings of both. Throughout the past decade we’ve always made sure to visit each other as much as possible. Although in full disclosure, those visits tend to end up with at least one staff member on their infamous weekly ‘Lightweights’ list for shenanigans it’s probably best we don’t go into them here. They have grown to have a myriad of hostels, which lets you choose your perfect craziness to comfort ratio. To sum up: we love these guys to the very bottom of our hearts and can’t recommend them enough.
5 Terre Backpackers City (Cinque Terre, Italy)
The city: For those who don’t speak Italian, Cinque Terre means ‘Five Lands’ which refers to the five seaside villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. They make up the UNESCO Cinque Terre National Park which you can explore by walking along the coast from one end all the way to the other. For those who would rather spend their days in Italy wandering into shops, gorging themselves on pasta, and sipping house wine, the villages are also easily navigated by local trains.
The hostel: Full disclosure: so far we’ve only stayed at the 5 Terre Backpackers in the tiny village of Corvara, but our experience there was so wonderful that we stand behind any project Francesco is involved with. The beauty of them having two hostels is that they have something for everyone: if you want to unwind and relax with incredible views, stay in the 5 Terre Backpackers in Corvara, or if you want the convenience of staying in a city, go with their City hostel. Trust us, with this team, you can’t go wrong.
Reveller’s (Belgrade, Serbia)
The city: Belgrade was described to us by the owners of Reveller’s as “like Prague, but 10 years ago”. For those of you who didn’t experience Prague a decade ago, before the real tourist boom hit there was way less English spoken which gave it a cool, underground feel while still being a beautiful European capital. And yeah, a little grungy, but isn’t that what makes it great!?
The hostel: Reveller’s is still pretty new on the scene, but founded by the loveliest people who have put their soul – and years of working in the hostel industry – into the place, and it shows. Be it day activities, communal meals or group outings to explore the local nightlife, you won’t leave this place without new travel buddies.
Castle Rock (Edinburgh, Scotland)
The city: Edinburgh is magical, and we don’t mean that because of the Harry Potter connections. We dare you to go and not get caught up in the atmosphere of the winding streets, views and of course the aforementioned castle. And come on, after hearing about haggis all your life, aren’t you interested in trying it at least once!?
The hostel: The Castle Rock – MadHouse connection is a little strange seeing as Scotland isn’t on the well-paved central European travel route, but through some twist of fate we ended up trading staff members back and forth for some time. We always knew we were sending our crew off to good hands when they went up to Castle Rock, and the ones coming to us always raved about their time there. It’s a stunning hostel in a stunning city and have some of the best hosts we’ve come across.
Mosquito (Krakow, Poland)
The city: Krakow is one of our most visited cities. You don’t need much more to convince us than 1 euro vodka shots and late night Zapikankas. But throw in the prettiest Market Square we’ve seen, the bars in the Jewish Quarter, a direct RyanAir route and you’ve got us faster than you can say ‘Soplica’.
The hostel: Mosquito is an OG in the Krakow hostel scene. Free brekkie and dinner? Check! Super helpful staff? Check! Hostel events? Check! Location? How does right beside a 24-hour pierogi shop sound? Yep, that’s what we call checking all the boxes.
Soul Kitchen (St. Petersburg, Russia)
The city: St. Petersburg is just awesome. It’s beautiful and has a very European feel to it with its canal system. It’s also chock a block full of history and culture with no shortage of museums and galleries. There is also a cool, hip vibe when it comes to the bar and cafe scene. Hot tip: rumour has it that if you can enter St Petersburg visa-free for 72 hours if you come by boat.
The hostel: Soul Kitchen takes hostelling to another level. It’s design and comfort will make you feel like you’re staying in a 5* hotel. While definitely not a party hostel, their super sweet staff bring everyone together over cooking classes and are always around to give insider tips on their city.
Spicy Hostel (Budapest, Hungary)
The city: Seeing as this is our second Budapest entry, here’s some things you should probably do while you’re there: 1) Have a shot of homemade palinka. Suss out a local, they’ll be able to help you out. 2) Go to the thermal baths. Nothing else will cure your palinka hangover. 3) Climb to the top of the Citadel at sunset. You’ll be huffing and puffing, but the views are worth it, promise. 4) Go caving. Unless you’re claustrophobic, in which case skip it and go straight to 5) Eat a sandwich at Bors. This is mildly controversial because some swear by this tiny hole in the wall and some roll their eyes at it….but it’s our list so it stays!!
The hostel: Spicy is a chill, cosy, family-style hostel with balconies that look over the recently renovated Rákóczi tér Market Hall. They run events, do great cook ups and the owners are that perfect mixture of arty and party. It is run by the well established team behind Suite Hostel so you know that you’ll be in good hands. Although, they had the unfortunate luck of borders closing a mere week into their new project, so you can bet that they are chomping at the bit to re-open and finally get the chance to host guests.
Mi Casa es Tu Casa, (Shokdra, Albania)
The city: With WizzAir now flying directly to Albania from a slew of major European cities including Prague, you really have no excuse not to go check out this small, vibrant country. While you’ll probably fly into Tirana, there are many other cities and villages worth a visit, Shkodra included. The city centre is beautiful and quaint, and there is a nearby lake accessible by bike. Many people also use it as a base to do the famous Theth – Valbona hike.
The hostel: This is the ultimate backpacker hostel. It has those friendly, international, backpacker-y vibes down to a tee. It’s the kind of place where the staff treat you as friends instead of guests. It’s in an old heritage building with a super cool outdoor space where you’ll meet all sorts of people from all walks of life. Oh, and their fresh breakfast is to die for!
We are truly grateful to everyone who has bought gift cards and made donations to us so far. Our Mad Family has really not let us down and has shown us that we’re really all in this together. If you haven’t already, and are in a position where you’re able to help, click on the Gift Cards tab.
Stay safe and healthy and keep thinking to future travelling!