If you’re going to Budapest, and you’re under 30, you’ll be staying in a hostel. Good thing: it’ll be the time of your life, if you’re into that sorta thing.
But there’s a lot of expectation for a place like a hostel in a town like Budapest. The fall of the Curtain and the Wall have paved the way for Hungary’s capital to become Europe’s capital for backpackers. Sometime in the past 25 years, this became the choice destination for millions of Wanderlusting Americans, Canadians, and Australians, and the rest they drag along – like the Brits, the New Zealanders, and the rest.
Budapest is cheap. It’s beautiful. And there’s still room for you.
When I was last there, during a 40-degree heat swell in 2013, we stayed at the Big Fish Hostel: One of the cheaper options in Budapest, a city which surprisingly carries a high per-night price tag, as far as hostels go. (This is probably due to the swells of backpackers the city receives, but won’t worry – Budapest itself is still insanely cheap to eat, drink, and enjoy. As of the early 2010’s, at least.)
NOTE: You should be able to find an excellent (over 90% rated) hostel where prices start anywhere from $10 to $20, somewhere in Budapest. But seasons drive the price up and, depending on the strength of your dollar, you could be looking toward $30 a night for your bed or room. Not that this is expensive – especially compared to a hotel room. But it’s something to keep an eye on.
I’d recommend the Big Fish again. It had everythig you need, and don’t be afraid to spring for a Private room – it’s worth it, with a nice, cozy bed in a beautiful old room above a beautiful old city.
The hostel, like every other one in the city, has plenty of tours and activities, and they’ll be able to direct you and your backpack wherever you want to go.
Most young travellers, however, will make their way to any of the city’s officially slogan’d ‘Party Hostels’ – yes, Budapest has its own network of them, like a club of the cool kids…
Carpe Noctem and Carpe Noctem Vitae are two of the biggest. RetoX and Grandio are the others in the party hostel brotherhood. If you want to drink, meet, and fuck, these are your best bets – not that you need to be a pig about it or anything. But honestly, most people staying here probably have those three things in mind, or else they would have booked somewhere else.
Budapest Bubble, voted the Best Hostel in Hungary by HostelWorld in 2008. It carries a current 96% rating but you’ll have to pay for it – prices will top $33 in summer.
Penthouse Privates: Private rooms in the heart of Budapest, with a 95% rating for $28 in August… Why are you still reading this?
Wombat’s Budapest: It’s rated at 89%, but you can never go wrong with a Wombat’s. This is the Starbucks of Central European hostels, with chain locations in Berlin and Vienna as well. (And I don’t compare it to Starbucks in a negative way, like some Italian would – all I mean is, it’s convenient and it’ll seduce you like a Norah Jones CD you never thought you couldn’t live without.)
Wombat’s knows what you want and they’ve got what you need.