Cologne is an amazing combination of a 2,000-year-old skyline and an indomitable young spirit. It’s no wonder that it attracts a huge number of young travelers from all over the world who arrive to soak up Cologne’s rich culture and architecture, as well as experience its pulsating atmosphere. As backpackers are almost always on a budget, innumerable hostels have sprung up all over the city, and the best hostels in Cologne deliver a comfortable, enjoyable stay without burning holes in the pocket.
Cologne Downtown Hostel enjoys a perfect location right in the heart of the city, an easy 10-minute walk from the main railway station and steps away from the most famous attractions in Cologne, including the magnificent Cologne Cathedral. There is a supermarket on the ground floor of the same building, and lots of shops, cafés and restaurants in the immediate vicinity. Guests consistently praise the friendliness of the staff, cleanliness of the rooms (private and dorms) and the very international vibe of the hostel.
Pathpoint Cologne Backpacker Hostel is another conveniently central property, located a mere five minutes away from the main railway station. Within half a mile from the hotel you will find not only many of the famous landmarks but also the river promenade and shopping streets, as well as endless gastronomic choices. Before you hit the town, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the great breakfast buffet priced at a very affordable €4.50 (around US$5). An interesting aspect of the hostel is that it occupies a former church that is a protected heritage building, but a point to note is that the nearest parking lot is almost three kilometers (two miles) away from the hostel.
Station Hostel for Backpackers is the most centrally-located hostel in Cologne. It is practically next door to the main railway station and a two-minute walk away from Cologne Cathedral. Busy shopping streets and the most lively part of town is just round the corner. The well-stocked bar and the beer garden are perfect places to start conversations with fellow travelers. The hostel offers breakfast and evening meals for a fee. If you are one of the many people who can never be comfortable in bunk beds, you will be happy to know that Station Hostel has none of those (a rare feature for a hostel dorm), but comfortable beds with complimentary linen.
The Penny Pincher Inn is among the more popular hostels in Cologne due to its competitive prices compared to other similar properties. The dorms at The Penny Pincher Inn are basic with no frills, but impeccably clean and comfortable. Guests appreciate the light and power outlet fitted to each bed. As for the location, the hostel doesn’t give any reason to complain, as it’s only a few hundred meters from the railway station. You can enjoy complimentary tea and coffee at the well-equipped kitchen along with a self-made breakfast.
A&O is a trusted name in the hostel world, and like all other A&O properties, the Cologne branch offers sleek, modern, comfortably-furnished private rooms and dorms, making it a popular choice among families, solo travelers, couples and backpackers. There is good scope for bonding with fellow travelers at the spacious lobby and lounge, with the accompaniment of snacks and drinks. At €7 (around US$8), the breakfast is also great value for money. The hostel is located in a quiet, popular neighborhood of Cologne, with easy access to the rest of the city. Private parking is available at the hostel for a surcharge.
Guests love Youth-Hostel Cologne-Riehl – City Hostel for several reasons. It is located in a pristine, green neighborhood by the river, close to extensive parklands that are great for sports or simply lazing around. Despite its solitary location, the city center can be reached by tram in eight minutes. In addition to its modern rooms, it boasts a lively bar with music and a big screen, barbecue facilities, an outdoor terrace, a coffee bar and conference rooms, making it a top choice not just for backpackers, but also families and business travelers. Best of all, breakfast and parking are included in the room price.