- Today Hostelworld.com has hostels listed in destinations in over 170 countries around the world. But when we started we only had a fraction of that. Take a look at the first ten cities that got us started.
1. Dublin, Ireland
The Irish capital is a young and friendly city with welcoming people and a laid back culture. From its charming Georgian squares, to its enthralling (and free) museums, it is also an extremely multi-cultural city, with people from many nationalities living here. Divided in two by the River Liffey, it’s also famed for its nightlife and you won’t forget a night out in what is one of Europe’s most charming cities.
Bar: Keogh’s, 9 South Anne Street, City Centre – A traditional pub off the tourist trail
Restaurant: Green 19, 19 Camden Street, City Centre – A relative newbie but fantastic value and great food
Neighbourhood: Ranelagh – this suburb just south of the city centre has all the makings of a great night out
2. London, England
Capital of England and located on the River Thames, London is one of the most iconic cities in the world where you will find landmarks such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge. It is the gateway to Europe for many travellers, and here you can take a spin on the world’s best-known big wheel, go to a show in the city’s famous West End, and sample some of Europe’s best nightlife all in the one day.
Bar: The Big Chill Bar, Dray Walk (off Brick Lane), East London – Located in London’s extremely trendy East End, this is one of the city’s coolest bars.
Restaurant: The Golden Hind, 73 Marylebone Ln, Marylebone – Worth visiting for two reasons – the quality of their fish and chips and the fact that’s it’s ‘BYO’ (bring your own alcohol)
Neighbourhood: Camden – Is it a cliché to say this is your favourite suburb in London? We don’t care if it is – it’s alternative, it’s cool, and you’ll never get bored there.
3. Belfast, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland’s capital is emerging from years of political strife to create a new, positive image for itself and to become a favourite with visitors from around the globe. Situated on the River Lagan, it’s here that the Titanic ship was built. Today, Belfast boasts numerous attractions as diverse as the stunning cathedral and the popular black taxi tours. Just as much diversity is evident in the city’s nightlife, which encompasses everything from traditional pubs to gleaming clubs.
Bar: White’s Tavern, 2-4 Winecellar Entry, City Centre – A pub and club mixing the traditional and contemporary
Restaurant: Giraffe, 54 Stranmillis Road, Queen’s Quarter – A modern restaurant with a handy BYOB policy
Neighbourhood: Lisburn Road – This cosmopolitan area is brimming with stores, wine bars and coffee shops.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands
When people think of the Dutch capital so many things come to mind. But these days it isn’t coffee shops with smoke billowing out from them, or red-lit windows with scantily clad women doing their utmost to coax men into their booths...it’s of charming, tree-lined canals, fascinating museums and some of Europe’s most beautiful buildings. And with charming neighbourhoods to explore such as De Pijp and Jordaan, Amsterdam is perfect for a few days break no matter what you fancy.
Bar: Chocolate,1e van der Helststraat 62a, De Pijp – Find this bar to get away from the tourists and socilalise where the locals do.
Restaurant: Restaurant ‘t Zwaantje, 12 Berenstraat, 9 Streets – A charming and affordable restaurant that simply oozes charm.
Neighbourhood: 9 Streets – Seen as the ‘Soho of Amsterdam’ by locals, this small area that incorporates nine streets is full of unique cafes, bars and shops.
5. Interlaken, Switzerland
Nestled neatly between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun (hence the name), Interlaken boasts an extremely spectacular setting. It also boasts two distinct personalities – there’s Interlaken in the winter which is a quieter than it is in the summer months but a great place to engage in outdoor winter activities. Then there’s Interlaken in the summer which is livelier and the choice of sports to do is even bigger. But if adrenalin-pumping sports aren’t your thing, it’s still worth visiting this Swiss city for the scenery alone.
Bar: Metro Bar, Hauptstrasee 23 – Interlaken’s number one bar with backpackers is also popular with locals so there’s something happening every night.
Restaurant: Pizpaz, Centralstrasse – One of the city’s Italian restaurants, it’s affordable and the pizza and pasta is more than pleasing.
Neighbourhood: Jungfrau – More a region than a suburb, this is where you will find ‘Jungfraujoch’, the home of Europe’s highest train station.
6. Edinburgh, Scotland
The Scottish capital enjoys a trait that many cities don’t...it feels very familiar after a very short space of time. This is thanks to the quaint neighbourhoods like the Old Town, Cowgate and Grassmarket, the welcoming pubs and friendly locals. It’s as if it was made for budget travellers also as many bars do backpacker specials and almost every museum and art gallery is free. While you might cover it all in a couple of days, you’ll definitely be planning your return journey before leaving.
Bar: Whistle Binkies,4-6 South Bridge, Old Town – Our favourite thanks to live music on every night of the week, and regular drinks promotion.
Restaurant: The World’s End, 4 High Street, Old Town – There are many places to try traditional haggis, but here you’ll find award-winning ‘McSween’s’ haggis. Don’t miss it.
Neighbourhood: Old Town – It’s touristy as hell, but nothing beats walking through Edinburgh’s Old Town with its eerie closes and walkways.
7. New York, USA
Located on America’s East Coast, New York City is arguably the most famous city in the world. As you walk down its streets and avenues, you realise it’s just like it is in the movies – steam rises from manholes, its famous yellow taxis can be seen everywhere, and there are hot dog stands on every second corner. And while it’s known for being one of the most hectic cities in the world, it’s full of eccentric neighbourhoods and villages (yes villages!) to explore.
Bar: The Sixth Ward, 191 Orchard St, Lower East Side – A real gem among all the dive bars in the LES, this bar is perfect for catching up over a beer or shooting some pool.
Restaurant: John’s of Bleecker St, 278 Bleecker St, West Village – Don’t come here looking to buy a slice...they don’t do them! Just make sure you’ve enough room to finish their enormous and unforgettable pizzas.
Neighbourhood: Greenwich Village - When strolling around streets like Macdougal Street and Bleecker Street you forget that you're in one of the busiest cities in the world.
8. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Bustling Buenos Aires, one time home to Evita and current capital of Argentina, is a city with a very definite Latin flare for life. Travellers to this captivating destination can spend the day roaming the streets and taking in the numerous notable landmarks, parks and museums. Once the sun sets, be prepared to tango the night away at one if the many lively venues found throughout this South American city.
Bar: Milion on Parana, Recoleta – A chic cocktail bar in a converted mansion
Restaurant: Grants on Ave. Las Heras, Recoleta – A great value all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant
Neighbourhood: La Boca – This neighbourhood is near the city’s old port and sports a distinctly European feel
9. Rome, Italy
It’s a bit of a cliché when it comes to so many places around the world, but there really is nowhere in the world like Rome. It seems there’s something to take a picture of around second corner. And because seeing everything it has to offer in one visit is next to impossible, you’ll soon be planning your return to this city that’s located on the River Tiber.
Bar: Stardust, Via dell’Anima 52, Centro Storico – A cool Italian bar where you’ll find live music, great cocktails and more.
Restaurant: Formula Uno, Via degli Equi 9, San Lorenzo – Located in Rome’s student neighbourhood San Lorenzo, this is arguably the best place to get pizza in Rome
Neighbourhood: Trastevere – Great to walk through during the day thanks to its atmospheric streets, squares and churches, and extremely lively after dark also.
10. Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa’s second largest city, Cape Town can be found on the western side of the cape. The city’s neighbourhoods vary wildly in terms of geography, so visits to any number of them will provide distinctly unique experiences. Activities offered here are just as diverse, ranging from cage diving with great white sharks to diving into an exploration of Cape Town’s top museums. Table Mountain provides a stunning backdrop to this cosmopolitan city.
Bar: Ferryman’s on the V&A Waterfront – A tavern serving cheap local beers in a lively atmosphere
Restaurant: Khaya-Nyama – A comfortable restaurant serving game, seafood and vegetarian dishes
Neighbourhood: Camps Bay – This suburb just ten minutes from the city centre boasts sandy beaches and trendy bars.