Travel Tips

Unique Hostels You’ll Actually Want to Stay In

Locations in this article:  Miami, FL

Hostels have been seen as a lodging option only meant for college kids traveling on the cheap. They may not be five-star hotels, but hostels offer an alternative, sociable experience that won’t break the bank. With some locations offering free amenities, like WiFi, breakfast, walking tours and access to a kitchen, a stay at hostel can often be a better option over a mediocre hotel. We discovered some interesting hostels around the world you might want to consider staying in.

Home Lisbon Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal


Located inside a 200-year-old building, Home Lisbon Hostel is one of the first and oldest hostels in the Portuguese capital. Backpackers around the world come to the hostel for its homey atmosphere and nightly communal home-cooked dinners made by the owner’s mother. You can choose to stay in either private rooms or in shared dorm rooms equipped with secure storage lockers and bunk beds with bed curtains for privacy. Only a short walk away from the city’s famous sights, local tour guides lead daily free walking tours from Home Lisbon Hostel and show travelers some of the city’s most famous sights.The hostel also hosts day trips to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and offers surfing lessons at nearby beaches.

Izhcayluma in Vilcabamba, Ecuador


Nestled in the mountains overlooking the town of Vilcabamba, Izhcayluma welcomes budget travelers with a sign that says, “You are now entering a stress-free zone.” The hostel is almost like a mountain-resort with extensive gardens home to a variety of birds, free yoga classes, and a wellness area where you can get anything from a full-body massage to a rejuvenating Reiki facial. Izhcayluma has also created their own detailed maps of hard-to-find hiking trails in Vilcabamba for guests and organizes horseback riding trips and tours of a coffee plantation.

Triana Backpackers Hostel in Seville, Spain


Tucked away on a quiet, cobblestone street, Triana Backpackers Hostel is a stomping ground for many older travelers along the Via de la Plata. Located in Triana, the neighborhood known as the birthplace of flamenco, Triana Backpackers Hostel occupies a historical Sevillian house surrounded by tapa bars and terrazas filled with locals. You can choose to stay in either a dorm or private room and have access to shared spacious bathrooms. On the rooftop, backpackers can join in on weekly paella dinners, take a nap in a colorful hammock, or relax in a hot tub. The hostel also organizes trips to free flamenco shows and rents bicycles for only five euro a day.

Freehand Miami in Miami Beach, Florida


With shared rooms starting at $25 a night, budget travelers can experience the party lifestyle of South Beach at an affordable price. Inside of a classic 1930s Art Deco building only a block away from the beach, rooms and bungalows at the Freehand are funky with unique art pieces from local artists. Outside, there is a pool surrounded by lounge chairs filled with trendy partygoers and a backyard that hosts backyard barbecues twice a month with visiting chefs from all around Miami. Not only does the hostel organize exciting activities, like morning yoga, salsa lessons, and group trips to the city’s monthly art walk, the Freehand also has an on-site restaurant and popular bar that serves handcrafted cocktails with garden herbs and exotic ingredients.

Con Dao Camping on Con Dao Islands, Vietnam


Don’t be fooled by the name of this hostel, Con Dao Camping is far from your typical camping experience. Here you can stay in triangular-shaped wooden bungalows with views of the ocean or the hostel’s quiet garden. Every room comes with air conditioning, a television, free WiFi, a private bathroom, and either a twin bed or double bed. Con Dao Camping has its own beach where backpackers can sunbathe on their lounge chairs, throw around a frisbee, or start a bonfire. The hostel has been known to rent out bicycles and motorbikes and organize fishing trips and other activities around the island. The Con Dao Islands are only accessible from mainland Vietnam by ferry or plane, so make sure you book a round trip ticket in advance.

St. Briavels Castle in Glouchestershire, England


Inside of a castle that’s over 800 years old, this family-friendly hostel takes travelers back in time. St. Briavels Castle preserves its historical character with medieval tapestries on the wall, a no-TV policy, and weekly banquets where dressing up like knights and princesses is highly encouraged. You can stay in one of the hostel’s six character rooms, including the private Prison rooms with centuries old graffiti on the walls or in a shared dormitory room at the top of one of the castle’s two towers. In the middle of the Forest of Dean, St. Briavels Castle is close to cycle trails, canoe routes, and great places to go rock climbing. If you’re interested in British history you can even visit Offa’s Dkye Path– the ancient border between England and Wales.

HI Point Montara Hostel in Montara, California


On the grounds of a historic lighthouse, you can stay at HI Point Montara Hostel to get away from big cities and explore Northern California’s breathtaking nature. While the decor is pretty simple and basic, the hostel offers gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and access to a private cove where you can find sea stars, hermit crabs, and other ocean animals. Originally a fog signal station, Point Montara is still an operating lighthouse run by the U.S. Coast Guard. You can stay in either private or shared rooms inside former Coast Guard quarters and have access to communal kitchens. Close to Half Moon Bay, you can also spend time outdoors surfing, kayaking, and windsurfing.

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By J. Shadé Quintanilla for