Hostels in Europe - How They Have Changed


Hostels all over Europe have changed greatly in the past years. Years ago hostels were mostly used by hikers and walkers in the countryside, but today youth hostel organizations have found out that hostels in big cities attract people who don’t want to stay at a hotel.


Most travelers spend nights at hostels because of the low rates. Group rooms with 4 beds and a shared bath for the whole floor can be as low as 15€ a night. A single room with a private bath can cost up to 50€. Some modern hostels even offer penthouses. It may sound strange, but the economic recession that started in 2008 has meant more business for hostels. Many travelers cannot afford expensive hotels any more.

The managers of hostels say that the kind of guests they get has also changed. Student backpackers mix with young urban professionals, families with children on holidays, business travelers and even older tourists.

In the past youth hostels had were famous for their big rooms that looked like dormitories. Young people didn’t care about sleeping with others in the same room, as long as it was cheap. Today, travelers are looking for single and double rooms.


Hostel room in London

Hostel room in Budapest - Aboriginal Hostel Budapest -


In big cities modern hostels are stylish with sliding doors and brightly colored sofas in reception halls. Even though most rooms only offer only beds and a bath, hostels today have bars, Internet cafes, live music and kitchens in which you can prepare your own meals.

More and more travelers want to stay at a hostel because of the atmosphere. It is easier to meet people, make friends and do things together. Hostels often help you get organized in a big city. They help guests rent bikes, organize city tours or arrange cheap theater tickets.

The first hostels were founded about a hundred years ago. People wanted to leave the cities and travel to the countryside for rest and fresh air. In the early 1900s a German teacher opened up the first hostel in the Rhine valley. It still exists today. In 1932 the International Youth Hostel Federation was founded. Since then hostelling has become a popular form of travel, especially in Europe, the continent that has the highest hostel density.

More and more Americans who come to Europe also stay at hostels, partly because the value of the American dollar has gone down compared to the Euro. A decade ago a stronger dollar made vacationing in Europe cheaper than today.


Fashionable Cafe in a Hostel

Atrium at Munich hostel -
Wombats Hostels -


Related Topics



  • afford = do not have enough money
  • arrange = help you get
  • attract =pull towards you
  • backpacker = someone who does not have a lot of money to travel and usually walks and uses public transport; they mostly carry a backpack
  • business = here: more travelers
  • decade = ten years
  • dormitory = a large room where many people can sleep
  • especially = above all
  • found – founded = here: build, create
  • greatly = a lot
  • hiker = someone who walks long distances in the mountains as a hobby
  • hostel = a place where you can stay, sleep and eat rather cheaply
  • hostel density = here: the number of hostels that a country has
  • offer =give you
  • partly = somewhat, but not completely
  • penthouse = a very expensive apartment on the top floor of a building
  • rate = price
  • recession = a difficult time for the economy; a time in which people do not buy very much and many of them have no jobs
  • shared = common; something more people can use
  • sliding = to move sideways
  • stylish = trendy, chic, modern
  • urban professional = young middle class person who lives and works in a city
  • vacationing = to go on holidays
  • value =what something is worth