Forget nights in ugly dorms and terrifying showers, modern hostels have undergone a serious upgrade in the twenty-first century. Like the smartphones of the ‘flashpackers’ who use them, new hostels are increasingly hipster with a special emphasis on art and design. Many now feel like a boutique hotel, only without the punishing price tag.
Nowhere better captures Europe’s love affair with designer hostels than Portugal. From the imperial back streets of Lisbon to Porto’s Cais da Ribeira quayside, the latest crop of Portuguese hostels are simply gorgeous.
Appealing to hip locals, business travellers as much as the discerning backpacker, you can travel with grace and style in the 2010’s.
1. Almáa Sintra Hostel, Sintra, Portugal
Celebrating Sintra’s Moorish heritage, Almáa Sintra Hostel is a retreat centre and eco-hostel hidden inside a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The soulful hostel has been beautifully furnished and dates back to the twelfth century, providing travellers with a respite from everyday life.
Situated deep inside Sintra’s countryside, the eco-friendly hostel is surrounded by romantic hillside mansions. Less than an hour away from Lisbon, the woodland resort of Sintra is best known for Pena National Palace, a close distance from the hostel.
2. Serenata Hostel, Coimbra, Portugal
After refurbishing a former maternity ward and music conservatory, the Serenate Hostel has evolved into a boutique hostel in the twenty-first century.
Situated in the heartbeat of the UNESCO town of Coimbra, the luxury residence is only a few minutes walk from the city’s main attractions. Superbly designed with a minimalist touch, the Senerata Hostel is a modern refuge in the university town of Coimbra.
3. Nations Hostel, Lisbon, Portugal
The Nations Hostel celebrates Lisbon’s motifs and is only a few minutes from “Marques de Pombal.” With its hand crafted aesthetic and decorative artworks, the Lisbon hostel captures the essence of modern design and is in a superb location to explore Portugal’s imperial capital.
4. Oasis Backpackers’ Mansion, Lisbon, Portugal
Oasis Backpackers’ Mansion is a grand re-imagining of a former Lisbon mansion and overlooks the Tagus river estuary from the city’s Bairro Alto district. Serving freshly cooked Portuguese cuisine from their patio garden restaurant, the Lisbon hostel provides budget accommodation with a stylish touch.
5. Tattva Design Hostel, Porto, Portugal
Restyling two historic buildings, Tattya Design Hostel is now officially the largest hotel in Porto, offering travellers majestic views of the city’s skyline. Only a few minutes’ walk from the Cais da Ribeira quayside, Tattya Design Hostel is a designer haven for image conscious travellers.
6. Pilot Design Hostel & Bar, Porto, Portugal
Super modern with a kitsch aesthetic, the Pilot Design Hostel and Bar is one of the most popular hostels in Portugal. With its contemporary furniture and minimal decorating, the boutique hostel is a discerning choice for travellers wanting to explore the gothic wonders of Porto.