17 Must-See Hostels Across the Globe
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17 Must-See Hostels Across the Globe

When you think of hostels, you may think of budget-traveling college students partying late at night, shared dorm rooms or even the horror film by the same name. While hostels may have gotten a bad rap over the years, they’re actually cool. Really cool — we promise. We’re never one to pass up meeting new wanderlust-loving people while staying in, let’s say, a sailboat converted into lodging (what! scroll below to see!), not to mention the price of hostel-ing it up fits perfectly into your backpacking-around-the-world budget. Those fancy luxury hotels will just have to wait, because we found the 17 coolest hostels around the world.

1. U Hostels (Madrid, Spain): Imagine saying that you stayed in a 19th century palace that was converted into a chic, modern hostel. U Hostel can make that a reality. This funky place to rest your head is located in central Madrid and includes a free breakfast, WiFi, laundry and more. Choose from suites, women-only dorms, family rooms or grab a bunk with up to 11 soon-to-be-new friends. (Photo via U Hostels Gallery)

2. YHA Lake Tekapo (Lake Tekapo, New Zealand): New Zealand’s Lake Tekapo is that take-your-breath-away kind of lake. Your gorgeous pics won’t do the glacial waters justice — it’s best to stay right on the lake to soak up the view. (Photo via Booking.com)

3. Wombats City Hostel Budapest (Budapest, Hungary): Free welcome drinks, an all-you-can-eat breakfast AND a central location in Budapest… sign us up! This hostel opened up in 2012 in what used to be an old hotel. Choose from a double private room or an eight-person mixed dorm for your fun-filled stay. (Photo via Hostelworld)

4. Hostel Celica (Ljubljana, Slovenia): Have you ever spent a night behind bars? Well, at Hostel Celica, you can, sans the whole arrest and permanent record thing. Part hostel, part gallery and part former prison, this hostel is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Stay in one of 20 converted cells for the ultimate experience, or try out one of their “normal” rooms. (Photo via Hostel Celica Rooms)

5. USA Hostels San Francisco (San Francisco, California): It’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll love a hostel that has been voted the Best in San Francisco for the third year in a row. Featuring free breakfast, impromptu happy hours, a big lounge to kick it with new friends, a 50-person theater and even a yoga studio, this hostel delivers big on the extras. (Photo via Hostelworld)

6. Happynest Hostel (Chiang Rai, Thailand): This hostel has your name (and happiness) written all over it. This quaint, humble abode features just five dorm rooms and four private rooms. When you’re not in bed, roam about the chill lounge areas that feel just like home. Happynest, you’re our spirit animal.  (Photo via Booking.com)

7. Freehand (Chicago, Illinois): Freehand Hostel started in Miami, but has opened up another location in the Windy City. Head to the vibrant River North neighborhood for this funky spot that includes its own mixology bar (jackpot) and a cafe to curb that traveling hanger. (Photo via Freehand Chicago)

8. JumboStay (Stockholm, Sweden): While sleeping on planes leaves us feeling less than thrilled, sleeping on a jumbo jet that’s been converted into a lounge/hostel is another story. With 29 rooms holding 76 beds, this is how plane travel should truly be. Did we mention you can even sleep in the cockpit? (Photo via JumboStay Gallery)

9. Lucky Lake Hostel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands): Nestled into the Dutch countryside, this unique hostel is located just 30 minutes from Amsterdam’s city center. It’s our belief that bright caravans can make any bad travel day instantly better. (Photo via Lucky Lake)

10. Gallery Hostel (Oporto, Portugal): A true work of art indeed. This hostel features bi-monthly rotating exhibitions and concerts open to the public. Plus, the price of your private or shared room includes free breakfast and two walking tours of the city. (Photo via Gallery Hostel)

11. Kex Hostel (Reykjavik, Iceland): Kex is Icelandic for biscuit, which is appropriate since this hostel is housed in an old biscuit factory. It’s a funky fusion of old meets new that will make you feel right at home. The central location, bar, cafe and heated patio don’t hurt either. (Photo via Kex Hostel Images)

12. The Out Hotel/Hostel (New York, New York): It’s becoming quite common for hotels to open up spots for shared rooms, thanks to the rise of budget travel. Lucky for us, The Out Hotel has jumped on the bandwagon. Stay at this chic, gay-friendly hotel in one of their luxury shared rooms. A cheaper room with access to the rooftop spa? Score one for the thrifty traveler. (Photo via The Out Hotel/Hostel Gallery)

13. Pop Art Hostel (Beograd, Serbia): Pop on over to this artsy hotel that thinks in bold color. Andy Warhol and Jimi Hendrix (just to name a few) will keep you company in the bright lounges and rooms that house 20 people. You’ll definitely feel like you should rock out at any given moment. (Photo via Pop Art Hostel Gallery)

14. Bunk Hostels (Istanbul, Turkey): With two locations in Istanbul to choose from, Bunk Beyoglu is your BFF that’s always there… and ready for a good time. It’s located where all the action is, so you can chill on the rooftop terrace or hit up all the lively bars and cafes. (Photo via Bunk Hostels Gallery)

15. The Terrace Hostel (Antigua, Guatemala): Go for the central location, stay for the breathtaking view. The Terrace Hostel definitely lives up to its name thanks to a gorgeous rooftop bar and restaurant that we would like to live on forever. (Photo via The Terrace Hostel Gallery)

16. STF Hostel Stockholm (Stockholm, Sweden): Feel free to sing “I’m on a boat” over and over and over. Because, well, you’re indeed on a boat. Since 1949, guests have been able to sleep aboard one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Not a boat person? You can stay at the 18th century Chapman House right nearby. (Photo via STF Hostel Stockholm)

17. Isaacs Hostel (Dublin, Ireland): It could be the luck of the Irish finding this gem of a hostel. Regardless, we’re feeling super lucky. It’s located in a 200-year-old wine vault and has a pub crawl hosted by the awesome staff. Need we say more? (Photo via Hostelworld)

Where’s the coolest place you’ve ever hostel-ed up? Tell us in the comments below.