If you want a holiday in Germany, but can’t quite stretch to a luxury hotel, there are plenty of clean, comfortable, affordable accommodations available all over the country. And, we are not just talking about places for young travellers only!
Germany is actually the home of the hostel – the first hostel in the world opened in the Altenia Castle in 1912 after a German schoolteacher complained there was no adequate or suitable lodging for young people travelling on their own. In Germany a Youth Hostel is a Jugendherberge. There are normally signs in most towns and cities that direct you to them.
For the first 60 or so years, hostels were fairly primitive. They really were an adventure for the young and the brave. Facilities were Spartan. But times have changed. Today, right now in fact, a wide range of travellers choose and prefer hostels for their stay regardless of age or family status – this includes families on a budget to couples on a romantic city break and even older travellers as well. In truth, virtually anyone who wants more mileage from their travels in terms of meeting real people and getting a genuine feel for their destination opt for hostels.
Although one of the perks of a hostel is that you can often just turn up and get a room, it’s best to check out your options online before you travel. Especially if you travel in peak season when your desired hostel may already be booked up!
By booking hostels in Germany online, you can check availability and the hostel facilities, look at photos of the room, and get cheaper room rates – making the whole experience far less stressful if it’s your first time in a hostel.
Also remember, during Oktoberfest it is crucial that you book Munich hostels well in advance. As one of the biggest beer festivals in the world, budget accommodation fills up fast in this city.
The original type of hostel, the Youth Hostel, is aimed at younger travellers and large school groups, and many often have an age limit – you have to be under-25 to stay in one.
Most Youth Hostels offer basic, shared accommodation, with large dorms, shared bathrooms and lockers to keep your belongings in.
Some, such as the Yes! Youth Education and Sport Hostel in Hamburg offers a range of accommodations and activities for large school groups.
Similar to Youth Hostels but with a more diverse clientele, there are backpacker hostels all over Germany, especially in student and party cities like Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin. These normally offer a wide range of rooms, from huge dorms to private rooms and ensuite bathrooms.
They also have extensive facilities to cater for travellers on the road, with full-size lockers and security, kitchens, eating areas, cafés and bars, and social space such as lounges with TVs.
Many backpacker or ‘party’ hostels are “extra social” and geared towards a wild city break – with no curfews, an extensive events calendar, and mixers so you can meet like-minded travellers.
Cautionary note: If you’d prefer a quiet holiday, you may wish to think twice or else be prepared for loud, enthusiastic revellers returning late at night!
Today, hostels attract a huge range of travellers because of course, everyone likes a bargain. The MEININGER Hotel Frankfurt/Main Messe for example is a Frankfurt hostel that offers private en suite rooms as well as family rooms with cots. Rooms are modern and although there is a bar, it is not a party hostel
On the more upscale end of the spectrum, ‘Boutique’ or ‘Flashpacking’ hostels are popping up in the major cities. These are aimed at travellers with a bit more cash than your average backpacker, or for those looking for budget accommodation that doesn’t skimp on style or facilities.
Many of these hostels have their own stylish bars, and some may even have a Jacuzzi! The Pfefferbett Hostel in Berlin has facilities that would rival a hotel. Located in the trendiest part of Berlin, this ultra-cool converted brewery has its own beer garden and private rooms.
Guesthouses, & Pension-Garni
For a more at-home touch, there are a great many guesthouses and lodges in Germany, especially in the more rural locations. These are usually converted family homes, so you get an authentic taste of German life and can take advantage of home comforts such as sitting rooms and gardens. Often the owners will treat you like one of their family complete with home-cooked meals.
Bed and Breakfasts as known in the US and the UK are very rare. However Pension Garni are ubiquitous. They are usually small, family run hotels that offer a room for the night and a morning meal, and are great if you want a home-like place to stay with a little more privacy, as well as a delicious, full-scale traditional breakfast!
If you prefer your independence, have no interest in meeting other travellers or require specific business facilities, stick to a hotel. Larger cities make it easier to pick and choose your style of accommodation so if you need apartments, hostels, guesthouses or cheap hotels Berlin can cater for all travellers.