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Reviewed on 22 Aug 2020
Reviewed on 18 Feb 2021
Reviewed on 5 Mar 2020
It's been said that Budapest has more hostels per square metre of urban space than any other city in Europe. True or not, there's certainly an excellent range of low-cost places to pick from on both sides of the wide Danube River here. Of course, they do precisely what budget stays are supposed to – hostels in Budapest will rarely break the bank. On top of that, you can enjoy vivacious and bubbly common rooms where foosball tables mingle with jukeboxes. You can dig into free breakfast spreads to get fuelled up for days of castle-viewing. And you can choose between large dorms with wallet-bolstering rates or consider private double rentals with their own ensuite.
With so many hostels in Budapest, it can seem like each is vying for attention with evermore elaborate settings and design features. Just take the so-called ruin hostels or party hostels of the city. They are the raucous and hedonistic escapes that stag- and hen-do groups seek out. Graffiti-clad bars, rows of welcome shots, ramshackle drinking areas, and – of course – pub crawl parties come evening are the norm in those. Couples and culture-hungry travellers might prefer something a little more refined. That comes courtesy of the city's design hostels, which have sleek kitchens and lobbies, all set in grand Hungarian tenement buildings with touches of vintage flair.
Whichever sort of hostel in Budapest you think suits you, there's a certain range of service to be expected, too. Breakfast is often an optional extra. Simple and filling, it's typically a medley of oats, cheeses, fresh juice and coffee to set you up for a day's strolling along the Danube. Free Wi-Fi in communal spaces is also normal, and so are self-serve laundry facilities. What's more, when it comes to finding things to do, the folk behind reception can usually help with jaunts to the steaming Buda baths or the immersive Communism museums.
The vast majority of hostels in Budapest are located on the Pest side of the capital. That means many accommodation options sit over on the eastern banks of the Danube, in the more modern and gritty area of town. It's a place laden with off-beat ruin bars, which are housed in disused tenements and packed with weird and wonderful installations – a bathtub for a bar seat, anyone? You'll be right next to all that if you opt to stay at the Hive Party Hostel. Its UFO-like dorm spaces and futuristic rooms soon give way to bustling neighbourhoods where Hungarian beer and street food is the name of the game. And the famous Dohany Street Synagogue is just down the road, for anyone interested in seeing the largest synagogue in all of Europe. If you've been drawn to this capital by the prospect of steaming in sulphur baths and high-temperature saunas – a famous Budapest hobby – the Baroque Hostel might be a good pick. It's just on the side of City Park, where the sprawling Szechenyi thermal complex beckons with outdoor pools and steam rooms and more.