Hostels in Zagreb are no longer grim places to park your rucksack for the night, far from it. Whether geared toward party fun-seekers or those looking for a quieter stay, budget lodgings these days are well-furnished, well-facilitated and well-staffed. Many are also set slap in the centre of town.
Opened in 2017, WWH&B just off Ilica is the latest budget lodging to muscle its way into an already busy marketplace, but the ‘Bar’ in its name is no coincidence. With happy hour every evening between 7pm and 9pm, pub crawls, games and activities, this is very much a hangout spot for drinkers and fun-seekers, owned and operated by former backpackers who did a lot of that kind of thing back in the day. Facilities are otherwise pretty standard and yet to be scuffed up by boozed-fuelled wear and tear.
Swanky Mint is not your average hostel, not by a long chalk. Set on Ilica, historically the city’s main street, this superior budget lodging has been converted from a Habsburg-era textile works. There was space a-plenty for dorms of various sizes, a summer-only pool, grounds and a funky bar that operates in its own right, Swanky Monkey Garden. Female travellers can choose a women-only dorm, groups of three can have a bedroom to themselves. The main square is less than 10 minutes’ walk away.
Another hostel that enjoys a prime location right on Zagreb’s main bar strip of Tkalčićeva, Taban could go for the full-on party approach but instead opted for a little extra comfort and quality instead. Room furnishings have a slightly Japanese feel about them, the coffee in the morning is freshly ground and the bar has a life of its own beyond the backpacker crowd. This is the kind of hostel for travellers who need a city-centre location but aren’t looking for the communal, booze-fuelled experience. Pleasant staff, too.
Any hostel that offers discounts to left-handed travellers obviously has something different about it. Such is Mali Mrak. Away from the bars and party lodgings of the city centre – management actively encourages loud, heavy drinking types to stay away – Mali Mrak offers yoga, hiking and bike tours. Entertainment might be a poetry recital or a jazz show, and artists can enquire about residencies. Décor and furnishing have been created with good taste, and all is geared towards the more mature budget traveller.
This popular five-floor hostel pushes the envelope as far as facilities are concerned. It’s not enough that it has a central location, 24-hour reception and fast Wi-Fi. DJs spin in its bar, where happy hours and theme nights are the norm. Check-out is noon – no hungover rush at 10am here. Security is provided by CCTV cameras. All rooms are en suite, so no padding down the corridor in your pyjamas. There are free walking tours, free computers, even free earplugs. Staff are extra nice and can help booking paid-for tours of Plitvice and elsewhere.
As its name suggests, Main Square is not one minute from Jelačić plac, in the very centre of Zagreb. More than that, it’s also located just where the atmosphere, bar-lined thoroughfare of Tkalčićeva starts, meaning that this is very much a party hostel, with 24-hour reception. As well as the usual facilities of communal washing machine and dryer, lockers and free Wi-Fi, there’s also a scanning machine and cycle hire. A couple or two travelling companions would do well to book the twin room, either with or without an en-suite bathroom.