Exclusive: My top three hostels

By: Paige Thomson

Hostel living is such a wonderful experience. Especially as a solo traveller, you get to meet so many fantastic people. Many hostels provide extra perks such as discounted tours, free or cheap breakfast, excursions, pub crawls and free wi-fi, that many hotels no longer provide.

Well, all the hostel I stayed in where great. The following went above and beyond while I was exploring their cities:

1. Black Swan Hostel, Barcelona, Spain

Black Swan Hostel in Barcelona was such a fun place to stay. I stayed in a room with 12 other girls, all who were solo travellers like myself, and most of the people I talked to at the hostel where travelling solo. This made the atmosphere very welcoming. The staff were very accommodating with guests. They had many activities free or for cheap including walking tours, pub crawl, and my personal favourite, paella making class. For a few Euros, we were provided with lessons on how to make paella in extra large servings. It was delicious and a great time to chat with other travellers while beheading a squid. The location was absolutely wonderful. It was a 30-minute walk to the beach and right near a metro station. If you are looking for a clean, inviting place to stay then Black Swan Hostel is your place to stay!

2. La Banda Rooftop Hostel, Seville, Spain

La Banda Hostel in Seville, Spain, was such a cool hostel. It is located near the heart of the city, in between the cathedral and the bullring. It is the perfect location to go out and experience the city and come back for an afternoon siesta when the city is too hot to explore. The hostel has many great excursion including pub night and walking tours. The best walking tour I did was through La Banda Hostel. I did two tours with the company they use with the wonderful Medie. He was so passionate about what he does and provided so much history on the city. At La Banda, for a small fee (I believe 6 euros), you can participate in a family style dinner at the roof top bar, which over looks the cathedral. The family dinner provides a great bonding experience to meet other travellers and swap stories. If you are looking for a place to stay in Seville then look no farther than La Banda hostel.

3. Dreaming Rome Hostel, Rome, Italy
The Dreaming Rome hostel is a cool, little hostel located in Rome,Italy. This hostel is pretty neat. The owner, Francisco, has multiple floors in an apartment building, and he is a really nice guy and a very good host! And because of the small-size of this hostel, it is easy to meet people. Francisco makes pasta for dinner for a few euros a plate, and he encourages everyone to come to the kitchen for dinner. There were no special excursions, breakfast was included, and the place is very homey. There are also great discounts from popular attractions. The other downside was that there was no air conditioning, and the summer nights are very hot. The location was great, a 10-minute walk to the metro, and about a 30-minute walk to the coliseum. It is a great, clean place with the most incredible host. This hostel is a step away from party hostels and night life that most young travellers looks for, but if you are like myself and not in to hitting up the night life night after night this is definitely the place to stay! If you are looking for a home away from home in Rome, then this is it!

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