Let me start by saying the hostels have taken a great hit in Bucharest because of the pandemic. Most of them closed and never reopened. Which is very sad to see some very cool places just disappeared, but it’s quite understandable.
So in case you opened up Booking and Hostel World to search for a hostel in Bucharest and you got all confused and quite puzzled… you are not alone!
Even tho I see travelers are slowly starting to come, it’s still too early for hostels to open. So… after hours of online research and asking around I realized that, as I am writing this article, in February 2022, Bucharest doesn’t offer many options to backpackers. Most of the few hostels left have awful reviews when it comes to how they look and cleaners. Luckily I managed to find 3 hostel options (plus a bonus) to share with you. The most important criteria is them being clean, safe, cute and as central as possible.
Popcorn Hostel – Location: North Railway Station
Being located next to the train station is a big advantage because it’s where the train from the airport connects to. Also, it’s the main station to go to other cities in Romania, so that can come in handy for many people. There is a self-check-in system, so that’s even great for those late nights arrivals. To get to Bucharest city center you can use the close by subway (20-25 min in total) or a few buses.
It’s has a cute little yard nice for the summer, a cozy common area and a kitchen good to cook a meal. And I read in a few comments they give free popcorn 🍿 haha! Rooms have 4 or 6 beds, some have a balcony. I did a price check for a random night in April 2022 and a bunked bed costs between 11 to 13 euro. They even have a private room with a small balcony and a shared bathroom, for around 24 euro a night, for 1 person. Check prices for your dates on Booking.
Admittedly, the neighborhood although safe (as all central Bucharest is) is not very pretty or anything to see around. You have close by supermarket and pastries shop, but that’s about it. This is a good place if you have a long layover, a late flight, or need the train station close. But Popcorn Hostel is the only decent option you have in this area, don’t even think about the others you see around the train station! 😅 haha
First Hostel – central area, 15 min away from Olt TownBooking.com
Here you have a modern-looking hostel, maybe the best in Bucharest at the moment. It’s close to the city center, the old town area, only 15 min away by walking. So location if good and in a quiet area. They have a self check-in system, so you don’t need to worry about the time of your arrival.
You will find mixed dorm rooms of 4, 6, or 8 bunk beds and a 10 beds female room. Prices (with no Genius discount applied) are between 11 and 13 euro a bed (if you have Genius account that can mean only 7-8 euro a night). In case you feel like a private room with a shared bathroom, I found that between 25 to 30 euro. Check the price for your dates on Booking.
The whole place looks very nice and usually, guests say it’s well kept and clean (daily cleaning), do expect tiny places. Like the kitchen and bathrooms are quite narrow. The common area is small too, so in case you are a digital nomad and need to get some work done you might need to find a cafe to do so in. Which is easy in this area anyway. The private rooms have a desk fyi.
T5 Social – central area, 15 min away from Olt Town
T5 Social is a very fun and friendly hostel. And it might just be one of the oldest in the city. It might not be the best looking when it comes to the quality of the decor and utilities. But many travelers enjoy it for the atmosphere. You will find it only on Hostelworld. Rooms have 6 or 8 beds, mixed or female dorm.
The hostel describes itself as a community hub, running social events for travelers, locals and expats. Every night they host little gatherings and workshops, which give you a great opportunity to actually connect with people, not just make acquaintance. It can be a trivia or boardgames night, an open stage, meditation or creative works. In the summer you will find an outdoor terrace for chilling or yoga classes.
Bonus hostel: Sleep Inn Hostel
Located just across the street from the Old Town. It looks very basic, but travelers found it clean and good for the money spent. You get access to a kitchen and all the basic comfort you might need. So you can check it out on Booking and decide for yourself.
All of the other available hostels I read about I couldn’t recommend you, honestly. But you can always check for yourself and see what best fits you.
Hostels with private rooms
If neither of the above hostels calls out to you, there is another option: a private room with a shared bathroom or a private one. Prices are very good for a central area. Here are a few options, with a shared common area and kitchen. I know it might not be the vibe a solo traveler is looking for but surely works for a tight budget.
⭐⭐ Bread & Breakfast Hostel – Unirii Area
Bread & Breakfast… yes, you read that right! Offers private rooms with shared bathroom and access to a small kitchen and a just as small common chill area. It’s located in the center of the city, only 15 min walking to the old town (like most of the hostels it seams). It has very good reviews as it’s very good located, clean and quiet at night.
This hostel is actually a very good option to stay in central area, even for a solo traveler. Because even if you have a private room you still get to meet people in the common area. And prices are around 20-25 euro a night, but check the price for your dates on Booking.
⭐⭐⭐ Smart Rooms Bucharest – Cismigiu Park area
This is a guest house which offers rooms with private bathroom, but with a shared common area and a kitchen, plus a tiny terrace (good spot for the smokers). It is located next to the beautiful Cismigiu Park (the oldest park in Bucharest), only 20 minutes walk to the old town, in a quiet area. It has overall good reviews for cleaners and spacious rooms. Depending on the season and your type of account the price can be around 20-24 euro a night, but check the price for your dates on Booking.
Not a Hostel, but a co-living & co-working place: VINE 21
If you are a digital nomad, VINE 21 might be very interesting for you. You can rent a room with a minimum stay of 7 nights and you can stay up to a few months. You get a private room with a desk, all of the other facilities and areas are shared. Rent for a month is very affordable, around 450 euro. And the location is very close to the Old Town.
You get to meet like-minded people, make new friends (maybe even collaborations), and participate to workshops are parties. Seems like a cozy place to live in Bucharest while you get some work done.
*all images used in this article are the property of either Booking.com or the website of the hotel they represent. I only put them in a collage together to best illustrate the hotel’s looks and facilities.
What to do in Bucharest?
After you have your accommodation all sorted out you might want to start checking out what is there to do and see in Bucharest. You will be surprised with now many options you got in this case, in high contrast with the hostel situation. 😅
Bucharest welcomes a very urban culture, a mix of old communist vibe with hipster and ever fancy places. The fun part is that it’s a very affordable city, even in the old town area. It’s for sure one of the upcoming backpacker European cities, as it mixes culture with fun times.
Check out my overall guide on What to do and see in Bucharest, which includes places to try out Romanian cuisine. In case you are visiting Bucharest on very cold or very hot days (yes, we have 4 seasons in Romania, which means temperatures from -5 to +40) you can check out the indoor activities guide.
Also, don’t forget to check out some cool experiences on Viator or memorable walking tours from GetYour Guide. Not only you will have a great time, learn a lot about this east european country but also meet a local person and sustain their freelance activity. Enjoy!