Hostels cost significantly less than hotels, but if you’re still thinking, ‘cheap, cheerful and backpackers’, think again. New generation family-friendly hostels worldwide are more about fresh design than sardine-style dorms. Private rooms, with private bathrooms, are the norm. They’re in the heart of incredible cities, by the beach, in the country, on islands, and across every continent. And, considering Hostelworld have over 35,000 hostels to choose from, and an incredibly easy booking app, it’s hard to imagine you won’t find at least a few hundred to win you over.
Family hostels are small on price, big on flexibility
The free-spirited combo of hostels and independent travel couldn’t work out better for families. Large rooms are more the rule than the exception. You can choose self-catering: pick hostels with restaurants or opt for a mix of both. And if you don’t fit the standard, cookie-cutter, 2 x 2 family shape, that’s fine too: between the friendly, relaxed atmosphere and great value, hostels are perfect for single parents; they work mixed age groups beautifully; appeal as much to tricky teens, as toddlers, and even do multi-gen effortlessly.
Coming round to the idea of family hostels? Take a look at seven Hostelworld favourites from the centre of Barcelona to beachfront in Madeira. With private rooms from less than £50 a night, for a family of four, just think of all the fun you could have with the money you aren’t giving to hotels.
1/7 ToC Seville, Andalusia, Spain
ToC Seville is right in the heart of Andalusia’s capital. It’s one of the newest city hostels, and couldn’t be more family friendly. The design’s ultra-hip, boutique hotel: from very cool bunk-beds to great outdoor spaces. There’s even a mini-cinema with lounge-around sofas, and the motto is ‘make yourself at home’: you know this because it’s just one of many cheerful messages, boldly printed around this bright, airy hostel.
Where: Two minutes walk from Alcázar Palace in Seville’s historic centre.
Hostel: Family-friendly; restaurant; bar; mini-supermarket; laundry; bike hire; self-catering facilities; movie-room; 24-hour reception; steam room; outdoor terraces; common room.
Extras: Free city tours; free walking maps; free WIFI.
Cost: From £84 per night for a private family room, en-suite, sleeps four.
Direct UK flights: to Seville take two hours, 40 minutes.
2/7 LoLhostel Siracusa, Syracuse, Sicily
LoLhostel is ranked as one of the world’s top 10 hostels. Admittedly it gets a bit of a head start, just by being in the centre of historic Syracuse, less than 20 minutes from Sicily’s gorgeous, south coast beaches. But even without that advantage, the fresh, original design could hold its own against most city hotels, plus the warm, friendly atmosphere is pitched just right for families. Restaurants and cafés are minutes away, but there’s a fully equipped kitchen here too, and pretty outdoor terraces are made for Sicilian summer evenings.
Where: 15 minutes walk from Syracuse city centre.
Hostel: Bar; café; fully-equipped kitchen; laundry service; games room; 24-hour reception; steam room; showers; outdoor terraces; airport transfers.
Extras: Free Italian breakfast; free WIFI and internet access; towels included.
Cost: From £62 per night for a private family room, en-suite, sleeps five.
Direct UK flights: to Catania, Sicily take three hours.
3/7 Riad Zineb, Marrakech, Morocco
One glimpse of Riad Zineb could convert you to hostel holidays for life. Centuries old, set in the ancient Medina, and beautifully restored, right down to intricately tiled floors and courtyard pools, it’s fabulous. And it couldn’t be anywhere else but Marrakech: the roof terrace looks across at the High Atlas Mountains, and the atmospheric old town’s bustling souks are some of the nearest neighbours.
Where: Marrakech Medina, 10 minutes walk from Jemaa el-Fna
Hostel: Family-friendly; cots available; heated swimming pool; roof terrace; 24-hour reception; airport transfers; en-suite bathrooms; fully air conditioned.
Extras: Free breakfast; free WIFI and internet access; towels included.
Cost: From £89 per night for a private family room, en-suite, sleeps five.
Direct UK flights: to Marrakech take three hours, 45 minutes.
4/7 Native Motion Hostel, Calheta, Madeira
Native Motion is a good base for getting into the adventurous spirit of Madeira. It sits on the spectacular west coast, minutes from beaches and within easy reach of the famously beautiful interior: which now doubles as one of Europe’s wildest natural playgrounds. Although, kids will probably be happy to stay put occasionally too, since the hostel also has an outdoor pool, complete with sensational Atlantic views.
Where: Madeira’s north west coast, 50 minutes drive from Funchal.
Hostel: Family-friendly; outdoor pool; self-catering; cable TV; sun terrace; BBQ; steam room; bike hire; parking.
Extras: Free WIFI; free internet access; towels included.
Cost: From £40 per night for a private family room, en-suite, sleeps four.
Direct UK flights: to Madeira take four hours.
5/7 Casa Gracia Hostel, Eixample, Barcelona
Casa Gracia isn’t just right in the heart of Eixample, it sits on Passeig Gracia: the same street as Gaudi’s legendary dragon-roofed apartment building, Casa Batiló. Apart from the fantastic city centre location, and famous neighbours, the hostel itself is an easy mix of 19th century elegance, and Barcelona’s idiosyncratic contemporary aesthetic. It’s very child-friendly and relaxed, a great choice for teens, and feels more like a boutique hotel than a hostel: except for the price.
Where: Passeig Gracia, Eixample. Within easy walking distance of Plaça de Catalunya; Barrio Gotico; Ciutadella; Las Ramblas; Sagrada Familia; Barceloneta.
Hostel: Child-friendly; café; large kitchen; sun terrace; steam room; bike hire; private parking; 24-hour security and reception; games room; tour desk.
Extras: Free WIFI; free internet access; towels included; free city maps.
Cost: From £67 per night for a private family room, en-suite, sleeps four.
Direct UK flights: to Barcelona take two hours, 15 minutes.
6/7 Le Regent Montmartre by HipHopHostels, Paris
Any hostel within sight of Sacré-Coeur earns its room rate without even trying. But Le Regent Montmartre is part of the award-winning HipHopHostels Parisian collection, so you can look forward to fabulous design, and stacks of chic to go with the great views. Families are a perfect fit here. The atmosphere is friendly, bi-lingual staff couldn’t be more helpful, and you’re right in the heart of one of the city’s loveliest quarters, just 15 minutes by Métro from the centre of Paris.
Where: Boulevard Rochechouart, Montmartre. 15 minutes by Métro from the city centre.
Hostel: Family-friendly; kitchen and common room; family rooms with private balconies; steam room; 24-hour security and reception; games room; airport transfers; laundry; housekeeping.
Extras: free WIFI; free city maps.
Cost: From £48 per night for a private family room, en-suite, sleeps four.
Direct UK flights: to Paris take one hour, 10 minutes
7/7 Danhostel, Copenhagen City Centre
If you haven’t visited Hans Christian Andersen’s home town with kids yet, you should. Not only is it the world’s best city for cycling, and one of the happiest on earth, it has 24/7 public transport, beaches half-an-hour from the centre, and Tivoli Gardens too. Danhostel is the city’s largest hostel, beautifully designed for families, and within minutes of everything, from quaint Nyhavn to Den Blå Planet Aquarium.
Where: H. C. Andersen’s Boulevard, Copenhagen city centre.
Hostel: Family-friendly; bar; café; kitchen; common room; 24-hour reception and security; laundry; bike hire.
Extras: Free WIFI, and internet access.
Costs: From £86 per night for a private family room, en-suite, sleeps four.
Direct UK flights: to Copenhagen take two hours.