Gone are the days of the deer in the headlights backpackers finding their way in pastures by trial, error and pure accident… the word on the traveling street is that Hipster Holidays are the new norm as fresh-faced travelers shun central city hotels for the districts and their lure of creativity, socializing and good food.
From Dalston to District VII…here are some places worth staying at:
1. The Old Ship Inn, Dalston, London
The Old Ship Inn, located right next door to Dalston in Hackney, is a breath of fresh air from the skyscrapers of central London. The guesthouse has 10 en-suite guest rooms, located above a pub to provide guests with a cosy and relaxed home away from home. The rooms are small but colorful, boasting chic interior design, a flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee. The pub is a popular haunt among locals, featuring craft beers, burgers and rotisserie chicken. Nearby attractions include independent artwork cinema Hackney Picturehouse, the London Fields Brewery and an eclectic mix of food and drink options in Dalston.
Rooms start from £90
2. Grand Hostel Berlin, Kreuzberg, Berlin
Located in the heart of Berlin’s trendy and sprawling Kreuzberg district, the unique Grand Hostel Berlin is housed within a beautifully restored 19th century Bishop’s Palace. This is not your average hostel, with no bunk beds in sight. Instead, single, twin and dorm rooms with proper beds are offered, complete with complimentary tea or coffee at check-in. Guests come for the Library Bar, a relaxing haven of floor-to-ceiling books during the day and a lively bar with plentiful drinks and live music at night. Nearby hotspots include the wildly popular fast food outlets Mustafa’s Kebap and Curry36, while the clubs of Friedrichshain (including the elusive Berghain) are a short walk over the river.
Rooms start from £40
3. Soho Boutique, District VII, Budapest
Located in Budapest’s District VII is the Soho Boutique, a brand new 4-star hotel with a focus on sensuality, inviting guests to “give in to temptation.” The 68 guest rooms are small but stylish, with bold prints and unique artwork. The bar is a masterpiece of sleek surfaces and mood lighting. District VII, or Erzebetvaros (Elizabeth Town), has been gentrified in recent years in a similar style, now showcasing new constructions and design shops. Despite this, cheap drinks and eats can still be found in the romkocsma (“ruin pubs”). This phenomenon involves taking a derelict building and adding some beer taps and second-hand furniture, with optional film nights, art exhibitions and live music.
Rooms start from £38
4. Skanstulls, Sodermalm, Stockholm
Skanstulls is a hostel located on the island of Sodermalm in southern Stockholm. Like the surrounding area, Skanstulls is undeniably cool, with a unique interior design featuring pieces collected from around the world. A range of room options are available, with the double rooms looking more suited to a boutique hotel than a hostel. The fully equipped kitchen offers free pasta, spices and tea and coffee, creating an inviting space for guests to congregate. Sodermalm incorporates the unofficial neighbourhood of “Sofo”, which is Stockholm’s answer to Soho. A huge number of small independent shops selling alternative, vintage or second-hand fashion are concentrated here.
Dorms start from £58
5. Generator, Norrebro, Copenhagen
Another hostel, which looks more like a trendy bar and café than a place to stay the night. Generator Copenhagen is located a short distance from the multicultural Norrebro district. This six-story building provides ample space for lounging in the impressive social space and café. The highlight, however, is the Petanque bar and terrace, with a selection of drinks and snacks alongside a boules court. Norrebro itself is a large district consisting of an eclectic mix of parks, coffee shops, designer shops, Michelin-starred restaurants, antique stores, dive bars and cheap Shawarma joints – thanks to the Middle Eastern influence.
Rooms start from £59
6. Casa Gracia, Gracia, Barcelona
Casa Gracia, aptly placed in the stylish Gracia district, describes the neighbourhood as “a meeting point for grumpy grandpas and wealthy hipsters.” The hostel provides abundant space to make this happen, with a maze of dining rooms, lounges and libraries, complete with a bar and an outdoor terrace. Single rooms, dorms, suites and a deluxe apartment are available, all with complimentary tea, coffee and Wi-Fi. Gracia is a lively district, with an annual festival which covers the streets in flowers and other colourful decorations. Year-round, the district is renowned for its authentic vibe, with older residents living alongside young artists.
Rooms available from £29
7. U Hostels, Malasana, Madrid
Located one street outside the compact but highly-concentrated Malasana district, U Hostels is another modern hostel complete with contemporary furnishings and the latest technology. It is hard to believe the hostel was once a 19th century palace, as it has been artfully restored to incorporate both double rooms and dorms, a roof terrace, cosy cinema and fully-equipped kitchen. Malasana itself is one of the most popular areas of the city for nightlife, with bars to suit every taste in music, from Latino to heavy metal. During the day visitors can enjoy the street art (walking tours are available) and the diverse range of shops and markets.
Rooms start from £35
Amsterdam Noord is the new, undiscovered district of this popular city, once an industrial hub and now an up-and-coming neighborhood for artists and creatives, driven here by the low rent prices. ClinkNoord is a design-led hostel housed in a beautifully renovated 1920’s building and the perfect base from which to explore. Inside, guests will find a social space with sofas, pool tables, table football and bookcases, alongside a café, self-catering kitchen and bar, with an airy atrium in the building’s centre. On the doorstep is a film museum, the world’s first 3D printed house, offices in house boats, restaurants in shipping containers and a market selling everything from fresh food to clothing and accessories.
Rooms start from £32
9. Neiburgs, Miera iela, Riga
Miera iela, or Peace Street in English, is a street in Riga home to a community of artists and entrepreneurs. Appropriately decorated with colourful street art and consisting of a network of inspired galleries, shops and cafes, it is well worth a visit to experience the bohemian side of Riga. Highlights include a chocolate museum, a microbrewery and shops selling vintage furniture, items made from recycled glasses and every tea variety under the sun. Neiburgs, a contemporary hotel housed in a listed Art Nouveau building, is a short walk away. Apartment-style accommodation is available, alongside a tranquil spa and a restaurant headed by a young, ambitious chef specializing in traditional Latvian flavours and seasonal ingredients.
Rooms available from £101
10. St Petersbourg, Kalamaja, Tallinn
Like many of these districts, Kalamaja was formerly an industrial neighbourhood now popular among students and artists. Countless activities are available here, from admiring the traditional wooden buildings, to a Russian flea market in a train station and an art museum in an old power plant, not to mention the numerous craft beer pubs and places to eat. Hotel St Petersbourg, located in the Old Town and originally purchase by a wealthy Russian merchant in the 19th century, is a short walk away. Prices are so cheap in Tallinn that this five-star hotel becomes affordable, complete with elegant furnishings and the latest technology.
Rooms start from £96
Edited by Demi Vitkute