Warsaw has a great selection of hostels for the independent traveller, but not all hostels are created equal. Whether you want to party like a rock star or sleep like a baby, we run down the best places the city has to offer.
Despite the proliferation of hostels in Warsaw, beds in the most popular places get booked up fast at the weekends. In September every year the city heaves under an invasion of excitable Erasmus students starting their foreign studies – and this mass of humanity monopolise the city’s hostels until they find longer-term accommodation. Big international football matches can also make finding a decent bed tricky.
Depending on your comfort level, the motivation for your trip and your tolerance of late-night drunkenness, the best hostels in Warsaw are as follows:
Best Hostel for: MEETING PEOPLE
Oki Doki hostel is legendary in Warsaw, and for good reason. It’s the kind of place that you turn up to not knowing a soul, and find yourself in a dimly lit kebab shop at 4am with sixteen new best friends. Oki Doki skillfully avoids falling into the ‘Party Hostel’ cliche and instead masterfully walks the fine line between comfort and chaos.
The on-site bar is a great place to start the night, has some of the cheapest beer in the city and is the perfect environment for meeting your fellow travellers. There are organised events most days; from the raucous (and free!) pub crawl to chilled sunny afternoons attending the public Chopin concerts in Łazienki Park.
Add decent wifi, a laundry, a great central location and staff that are the soul of the hostel and you have an irresistible mix. Book early to avoid disappointment.
Best Hostel for: SIGHTSEEING
New World Street Hostel
Hidden just off the main street of Novy Świat and up some steep stairs lies the hidden gem of New World Street Hostel. This relaxed friendly hostel offers the perfect escape from the relentless human traffic of the street below.
The whole place looks like it was finished yesterday, and the gleaming paintwork and comfy beds are complemented by spotless showers and a fully equiped kitchen.
The deluxe all-you-can-eat breakfast is well worth the extra 5 złoty – waffles anyone? – and sets you up for a day of exploring the city. Once you’ve seen everything on your list, relax in the cosy lounge and help yourself to the free tea and coffee. Still up for more? You have the city’s nightlife right on your doorstep – the infamous Pawilony is just across the street.
Best Hostel for: A DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW
Located in the dark heart of Praga District – Warsaw’s seedy and edgy neighbour across the river – Hostel Fabryka is a walk on the wild side. The hostel occupies an old factory (factory = fabryka) dating back well beyond the second world war. The building is an intriguing mix of original design elements and modern touches, and the guests reflect that, being made up of curious backpackers and long-termers.
The hostel is part of a concentration of development in this area – 11 Listopad – that also includes clubs, bars and the kind of courtyard that wouldn’t look out of place in Berlin, Brooklyn or East London. This is where those in the know in Warsaw come to hang out, and you can have a slice of the action too when you stay at Fabryka.
Best for: THINKING OF EVERYTHING
If you wrote down a list of everything that makes a good hostel, chances are the guys at Patchwork are already doing it all. There is a kitchen…on every floor. WIth attached dining room. There are big fridges, with supplied labels (and pens!) for you to tag your food. There are even recipes on the walls in case you can’t think of what to cook!
The receptionists can help you print your flight tickets, they can tell you where that secret club you heard about is, and they’ll even give you washing powder if you want to do your laundry. If you sneeze, don’t be surprised if one of them runs up to you with a tissue.
The beds are comfy, the water hot, the bathrooms clean….
Now this all might sound a bit too civilised, more like the kind of place you stayed on a school trip than a great place to stay while you explore Warsaw. But venture down the dark stairs into the basement and you find the crowning glory of this place…the Patch Bar! Legend has it that it closes when the last person crawls up the stairs in the morning, and that once they managed to fit twenty people into the tiny smoking room for a lung-busting sing-a-long of ‘Wonderwall’. All we know is that what happens in Patch Bar stays in Patch Bar.
Overall the standard of hostel accommodation in Warsaw is high. Many hostels will arrange daily activities, offer advice on how to make the best of your trip and often include a basic breakfast. Some hostels will ask for a minimum stay of two nights over weekends and major holidays, but generally you can always find room somewhere in the city any time of year.
Of course, hostels can change – good places turn bad, staff have an attitude transplant and standards slip. Please share your experiences of the best hostels in Warsaw in the comments.