Hostels are easy on the wallet, but night after night in dingy dorms with potentially bio-hazardous showers and tasteless breakfasts can get even the most enthusiastic traveller down. Here are nine German hostels (in alphabetical order) that don’t think good design, lots of light, and useful amenities are only for five-star hotels.
Augsburg: Übernacht Hostel
Designer wood floors and refreshing, minimalist, white décor set the Übernacht Hostel apart from the usual grungy hostel experience. Fresh flowers are an added thoughtful touch. Beds are available from 19€ per night.
Prenzlauer Berg used to be a rough suburb in Eastern Berlin. Over the last 20 years, the squatters have grown up, had babies, and transformed the place into Berlin’s yummy mummy ground zero. The Circus Hostel has been around since the beginning and is still rocking its vintage interior design and street art vibe. Beds go from 21€.
Voted the most popular hostel in Berlin several times, Grand Hostel Berlin knows how to create a unique atmosphere that reflects its location in Kreuzberg, hipster central. Even the dorms are kitted out in vintage Berlin style and amenities like towels, free Wi-Fi and charging points. Beds from 16€.
New Town is Dresden’s nightlife district, and the zany Lollis Homestay is smack dab in the middle. Bicycles are free, and and one of the staff members organizes night cycling tours of the city. Beds in Trabants or VW buses are available, as well as more usual bunks. Beds available from 14€.
There is plenty of accommodation in Frankfurt, but most lacks the sexy, party vibe that makes a good hostel great. A standout in the sea of corporate sensibleness, The Five Elements is a charming party hostel in the middle of the red light district close to the main station. Excellent cooking facilities and clean rooms are the icing on the cake.
Deepest Bavaria and baroque architecture – the Old Kings Hostel in Füssen‘s Old Town is surrounded by castles, and each room is individually decorated with antiques or 1950s retro style. Beds from 22€.
Generator is a newish hostel chain intent on changing the budget accommodation experience. All the hostels in the chain are in impressive buildings. Hamburg’s is all exposed brick wall and blackened steel beams near enough to the train station to be convenient, but far enough that you don’t hear trains all night. Beds from 18€.
The low rents in Leipzig, long the little sister of Dresden, has in recent years drawn loads of artists and entrepreneurs much the way Berlin did in the early 2000s. Situated in an Art Nouveau building, Ost-Apotheke Hostel is run by a group of 30 musicians, DJs, philosophers, painters, woodworkers, club kids and entrepreneurs. The hostel has a private bar and music space, so there’s always something going on. Beds from 15€.
Lake Constance – Bodensee in German – is a popular (and pricey) holiday spot for Germans and international visitors. Accommodation in high season books up quickly, so it’s worth planning ahead to book at Das Mietwerk in Lindau. The standalone Art Nouveau building is elegantly decorated and offers a free organic breakfast. Beds from 27€.