The only thing I had to do to figure out that Portugal has the best hostels in Europe, maybe even in the entire world (besides staying there, of course), was having a look on the website of Hostelworld, more specific: the page of the Hoscars, the awards for the best hostels in the world.
So many gems, so much doubt on where to stay to get the best experience :D.
This county knows what travelers need and want! 2 out of the 3 hostels I stayed at (Gallery Hostel in Porto, that is where I took the lovely picture and Home Lisbon Hostel in Lisbon) were one of the best I have even been to. And I’m not just talking about the accommodation or the location of the hostels, which was also top notch, I’m talking about the social atmosphere that was there and the effort these hostels made to make their guest feel comfortable and to ensure they get the social experience you would expect from staying at a great hostel.
What both did and what made them so wonderful, was the organized dinner in the evenings, next to a free walking tour. You need food after a long day of exploring. You don’t want just any food, no, you want authentic, Portuguese food which is preferably not too expensive and if you are traveling alone (like I was), it would be nice to have some company sometimes. This and much more is what these dinners did.
In Porto, I tasted the most amazing pastry with honey and goats cheese.
In Lisbon, Mamma and her crew made the dinner, for a very good price, including a typical drink. I stayed in both hostels for 3 nights. The people I met at dinner in the lovely Porto became travel and dinner companions during my time there (e.g. we took a cruise together on the Douro River) and I explored a small part of Lisbon’s night life with the dinner companions in Lisbon, which I would not have done on my own.
So why are the hostels of Portugal the BEST of all? Al least the ones I stayed in 😉
It’s easy, they are hostels in the true sense of the word: hospitable, in touch with locals, they remain authentic (and that also means they want people to get to know their country and FOOD) and want to accommodate their guests with everything they need: a comfy bed (I don’t like to sleep on the top bed in bunk beds, but the Home Lisbon Hostel has bunk beds where the top bed has a lot of privacy due to the wooden panel and great mattresses for a good nights sleep), a social atmosphere, a great location ideal for exploring and free walking tours (Thanks again, Sofia!) :).
Enjoy Portugal and it’s hostels!