All Central Hostel
Next to Deák Ferenc Square in the heart of the action is the aptly named All Central Hostel, a self-described “convivial hostel” - so sociability is obviously high on the agenda here. Boasting beds for 180 happy-go-lucky travellers, it is one of the largest in the city so there is an inevitability about meeting people. The common area is perfect for chilling out while being a melting-pot of different people from different cultures and this hostel also has a lively little bar, Wreck Pub, right next door which enhances the social factor as it is popular with both travellers and locals alike who flock for lovely cheap beer and pizza. It's a no-nonsense, no-frills, old-school-vibed hostel in a big, aging building, is delightfully inexpensive, in an ideal location and, overall, great value for money. A good choice if meeting other travellers is high on your travel list.
Wombats City Hostel Budapest
Wombats is world renowned as a quality hostel chain, and rightly so. I fondly remember hearing one of the founders of Wombats Hostels, sitting on a Q&A panel a few years ago, address an entire conference-hall full of hostel-industry peers with a sentence along the lines of “I hear you all asking about pricing strategy and bed allocation and other things as ways to get ahead but why is nobody talking about making better hostels?!” It was a question with a bit of spike, an almost-affront to the bottom-line, capitalist sensibilities which have become ingrained in what was once a much more romanticised concept of creating a hostel space. The logic is sound however - better hostels should mean better business, more customers, happier customers and well-balanced commercial activity. This was symptomatic of an authentic passion for achieving great hostels which Wombats strive for, and their Budapest hostel is no exception. Having previously lived life as a hotel, it became Wombats in 2012, with ensuite rooms, spacious common areas, regular quiz nights, movie nights & in-house events and an unbeatable breakfast. It's a very sociable environment with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The womBAR, where you get a free welcome drink (nice!), is a delightful communal space where meeting other humans is celebrated and having genuine fun is a natural occurrence. All of these positives are outdone only by the very friendly staff who are approachable, attentive and all-round nice folk.
The Hive Party Hostel
Ok, so the name of this place instantly allows me to use laboured terms like “hive of activity” and “great buzz”, which is fine because those are absolutely accurate descriptions of the Hive Party Hostel. The noun “party” in the name is obviously key here too and with 300+ beds you can be sure that partying is a given. The hostel essentially surrounds a buzzing (yes, I know...I promise I won't use 'buzz' in this article again) central courtyard which contains the bar space, the main focal point of social relations here. There is also a number of eateries in-house and an exclusive rooftop terrace so opportunities to meet other travellers are many.
Opened in May last year (2015), the facilities are as-new and the style is somewhat reminiscent of the kind of clinical environs of a Hollywood sci-fi space-shuttle, softened nicely by a comforting, homely warmth & glow. The pod-like bunk-beds are ultra-comfortable too. A good choice if meeting others is higher in your priorities than getting an early night.
Maverick City Lodge
The newest of two Maverick Hostels in Budapest, Maverick City Lodge is located in the Jewish quarter of Budapest city centre and is a truly stylish property. Complete with large common areas, well-equipped kitchen facilities & free tea and coffee, meeting other travelers here is easy and natural but Maverick City Lodge takes a further step towards nurturing social interaction in-house with daily events for guests, free of charge, with free drinks. And although a very sociable place, each comfy bed has its own curtain, lamp, power outlet and shelf so when you want to be a bit of a hermit and relax with a book before sleepy time, you can. A really good quality hostel with the ideal hostel vibe.
This is a fairly new hostel housed in an old, characteristic building which used to be Budapest's largest toy-shop over a century ago and, as happy & excited travellers pass through the door today, perhaps the bricks are still witnessing the kind of unencumbered joy expressed by wide-eyed children entering an imaginative wonderland. With reception, communal dining area and kitchen all located in the comfortable, colourful, fun & funky open-plan area, there is a nice social atmosphere and friendly vibe about the place. The staff are ever-present in the space and this adds to the sociability as they are very approachable, well-informed and very happy to share their local hints & tips and recommendations for an authentic Budapest experience.
Astoria City Hostel
This is a relatively small hostel and an ideal base in the centre to explore Budapest with your new dorm-mates, just one metro stop from the free walking tour and the backpacker pub crawl. Astoria city Hostel has a natural sociable atmosphere, not overly busy and not too quiet or boring. It seems to be geared more towards chilling out with a few other peeps, perhaps after an active day of sight-seeing or before heading out for the evening, rather than being the main hub of action – here, you meet your fellow travellers in a fairly relaxed & homely environment at a nice casual pace. It has a large-apartment-feel and the dorms are just 3 and 4 beds so it's a naturally familial vibe. There's a self-catering kitchen and the staff are excellent, very friendly, happy and helpful.
Adagio Hostel 1.0
Adagio Hostel 1.0 Oktogon (as opposed to it's second hostel, Adagio hostel 2.0) is a small, homely hostel in a good central location. It uses the space well to offer hang-out areas, including a comfortable and intimately sized common area, with beanbags, sofas, LCD TV, big movie library and Xbox, and this is actually a mezzanine above the very nice communal kitchen and dining area. The staff are very sociable too, happy to chat and give recommendations and the rooms are of a high standard, clean and comfy with high ceilings and lots of natural light.
This is quite a cool hostel; cleverly designed and friendly with multiple common areas as well as good sized communal kitchens which makes meeting other travellers very easy indeed. It has a really positive vibe and the great staff add a happy, good-spirited atmosphere to the environment. The low prices include a frankly suburb hostel breakfast which actually goes some distance to creating a social atmosphere in its own right – because the free breakfast is far better than the typical hostel breakfast (Avenue offers eggs, fruit, veg and much more on top of the standard breads & cereal) the guests actually make the effort to get out of bed and assemble for it – so you start your day in a very naturally social way over breakfast with fellow-travellers before heading out and about. Comfy, clever beds include a curtain and individual light so you have your own personal space too.
So, that completes our recommendations for some Budapest hostels to check out and check into if you like to easily interact with other travellers. Let us know in the comments if you have stayed in any of these already or indeed, if there's some others you had great social experiences in we'd love to hear about them. Check back soon for our list of Design Hostels in Budapest to inspire you too. Happy travels!