The 10 best hostels for the social traveller

Friendly, fun, and cheap – the best hostels are where it’s at for care-free and funky fresh holidays. Mingling becomes a piece of cake with the parties, excursions, and games organized by the staff at our favourite party hostels. Upbeat attitude required, aspirin recommended!

Big Yellow House – Novalja, Croatia

Relaxing with buddies at Big Yellow House

If happiness were a colour, it’d be the Big Yellow House. Besides the waterfront views of the Croatian coast and the multi-coloured sunsets, Big Yellow House shows its love with welcome drinks, a bar open 24/7, and live music to keep your dancing feet moving.

Get fed with your newfound pals every Tuesday and Saturday at the backyard barbecue and hang around for chill jams from great bands happening most nights. For adrenaline-cravers, bikes, quads, and boats are rentable, while party lovers can enjoy all the commotion the nearby Zrce Beach has to offer – coming up is the Sonus festival 2016 from 21-25 August 2016 (or check out our selection of Croatian festivals). An hour’s drive from Zadar, the hostel’s location is also a good starting point for exploring Croatia’s national parks and day trips to the islands of Northern Dalmatia.

Find a room: Big Yellow House (rates start at HRK 200 [£20] per person, per night)

Nomads Queenstown – Queenstown, New Zealand

This guy dared to go paragliding over Lake Wakatipu

In the heart of Queenstown, New Zealand hides nature and adrenaline lovers’ home away from home. Popular in the winter months, once you’ve skied to your hearts delight, curl up by the fireplace or get toasty in the sauna. Or in the summer months, dare yourself to bungee jumping, zip lining, or skydiving over the alpine South Island landscape and Lake Wakatipu.

All year round, Nomads Queenstown is the place to bond over a board game, a match of foosball or pool, or in the home cinema.

Find a room: Nomads Queenstown (rates start at NZD 27 [£13] per person, per night)

Slumber Party Hostel – Krabi, Thailand

Start your holiday with a stroll along Ao Nang's beaches

The name is misleading – no one will be slumbering at this slumber party. With waterfalls, jungles, and islands to explore, Ao Nang, situated along the Andaman Sea coast, offers more activities than hours in a day. Cheap long-tail boats will take you to the Phi Phi Islands and their paradisiacal beaches, famously known for having caressed Leo DiCaprio’s body, or you can take the Island Tour for cave diving, secret swim spot exploring, snorkelling, games, and sunset watching.

For more mingling, Slumber Party organizes a pub crawl concluded by an endless night of clubbing. We’ll expect to be seeing you lounging around the sun decks or in a hammock the next day.

Find a room: Slumber Party Hostel (rates start at THB 350 [£7] per person, per night)

X Hostel Varna – Varna, Bulgaria

X Hostel friends at a foam party

If you dare experiencing X Hostel’s parties, you might just wake up with an X tattooed on your foot (like over 200 of your party animal predecessors)! It seems the themed nights, cheap drinks, social meals, foam parties, and pub crawls get the backpackers hooked on the X Hostel style.

Laze around the hostel’s patio and garden or waste the day away head bopping to the constant party on the Golden Sands resort town beaches only seven kilometres from the hostel. Discover Varna city on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast by boat or horseback, stopping by the Port of Varna and Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral.

Find a room: X Hostel Varna (rates start at €12 [£10] per person, per night)

The Yak – Playa del Carmen, México

The Yak's cocktail workshop

Where else can you take a Mojito mixing lesson with a table full of new friends? We’re talking about The Yak in Mexico. Gorgeous beaches, fascinating cenotes (natural sinkhole pools) like Jardin del Eden, and deliciously spicy Mexican foods – these are just a few things you can expect to fall in love with in Playa del Carmen. As for The Yak, weekly beer games, barbecues, holiday themed parties, and Mexican slang classes will have you hooked.

If you muster the courage to abandon your hammock on the rooftop terrace, you’ll probably make yourself some friends at the hostel’s bar or during the excursions the hostel organises to the Mayan ruin sights of Tulum or Cobá nearby.

Find a room: The Yak (rates start at MXN 300 [£11] per person, per night)

Francesco’s Hotel and Hostel – Ios, Greece

Discover Ios and the church of Panagia Gremiotissa

The Cyclades – parties, beaches, and picturesque villages galore. At Francesco’s family run hostel, you’ll be only a 20-minute walk from lazing in the sun on the shores of the Aegean Sea. From the moment you wake up and enjoy a light breakfast on the terrace, to the evening when you grab a cold beer, you can enjoy the gorgeous views across the port and towards other islands from the rooftop terrace.

Stare into the blue of the sky while tanning poolside, or admire the blue domed roof of the Panagia Gremiotissa church in Chora, the island’s main village.

Get your evening started with free welcome shots at the hostel’s Blue Note bar before heading out to the clubs lining Mylopotas Beach or into the old town. You can sleep on your flight home from the nearest airport on neighboring island Santorini!

Find a room: Francesco’s Hotel and Hostel (rates start at €80 [£62] per person, per night)

Balmers Hostel – Interlaken, Switzerland

Try the bubble ball games at Balmers Hostel

In a renovated barn, snag one of the eight hammocks for a unique hostel experience in the Swiss Alps. Balmers Hostel might seem too good to be true – a complete and all-inclusive breakfast of fresh fruits, Swiss yogurts, and fresh baked bread, plus a Jacuzzi, a garden, and fantastic local beers on the side.

When you return from hang-gliding, hiking, or skiing over the mountains, focus all your remaining energy on breaking a sweat on Balmers Club’s dancefloor. And when your tired feet can’t find their way back upstairs, ask your new buddies if you can crash in Balmers’ tent village set up right next door.

Find a room: Balmers Hostel (rates start at CHF 50 [£35] per person, per night)

Villa Saint Exupéry Beach – Nice, France

Grab your friends and explore Nice's old city centre

Imagine high-class living while backpacking – that’s what the Villa Saint Exupéry Beach hostel is all about. The old casino, decked with giant stained-glass windows, only 20 metres from the city’s main square or the beach, lets you thrive in the best Nice has to offer. Yogis might sign up for the daily yoga tours, while adventurers will want to sign up for adventures in scuba diving, sailing, canyoning, or water skiing.

The Côte d’Azur is yours to explore – just rent a car through the hostel’s rental service and cruise through France, Italy, and Monaco in a single day, back in time for the daily happy hour at the hostel’s café Le Guitry.

Find a room: Villa Saint Exupéry Beach (rates start at €38 [£32] per person, per night)

Carnival Court Backpackers – Cape Town, South Africa

Carnival Court's Victorian building could be your home away from home

From one of the balconies of this three-storey Victorian building, let your gaze follow the slopes of Signal Hill to the ocean behind the palm trees on the other side, all while listening to the buzz of the crowd on Long Street.

Make your first friends at the Zanzi-bar downstairs around a game of pool, or join a group of curious visitors going to Greenmarket Square in Cape Town’s centre or to the Table Mountain cable cars for some epic views of the area’s landscape.

Nights at Carnival Court are sometimes jazz, sometimes pop, but always happening – check their Facebook page to know what’s on.

Find a room: Carnival Court (rates start at ZAR 179 [£8] per person, per night)

Naked Tiger Hostel – San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Hang ten with new friends at Playa Maderas

After a two-hour drive from Managua, shed your clothes, and let your inner animal roar at the Naked Tiger Hostel. During the day, you might want to join the fellow tigers sipping on a fresh fruit smoothie and purring around the pool. Come night time, unleash your wild side for dancing and DJ sets all night long. By sunrise you can be stuffing your snout with a breakfast burrito and admiring the day rising over the San Juan del Sur bay and hills.

Grab the free shuttle into town to get to know the area or sign up for surf lessons with the in-house surf company Naked Surf to test the waves of Playa Maderas or Playa Hermosa.

Find a room: Naked Tiger Hostel (rates start at NIO 357 [£8] per person, per night)

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