17 eco-friendly hostels perfect for the sustainable traveller!

When you travel, how much do you think about your impact on the planet? Is sustainable travel something that’s always at the front of your mind? Being kind to the earth is something we should all consider when we’re on the road, whether that’s by choosing trains over flights, saving energy and water or respecting the local culture and customs. But did you know you can take it one step further by staying in an eco-friendly hostels? Yep, if you want to shrink your carbon footprint even more, there are gloriously green options all over the globe to choose from.

To avoid getting green-fished (yep, that’s a thing), there are a few ways you can check that your hostel is truly sustainable. Firstly, do they use renewable, natural, sustainable energy? What about eco-friendly materials in their furniture, sheets and bath products? Their day to day actions are a hugely important factor, such as whether they recycle, compost or avoid single-use plastics. And don’t forget food – locally sourced options are always a winner, with bonus points for being veggie or vegan. Sustainability is a way of life and the best eco-friendly hostels practice what they preach. Look out for fun, healthy activities that don’t harm the environment, such as ecological hiking, bike rides, book exchanges, yoga and guided cultural tours.

If your hostel does these things, then they’re doing their bit and working towards the goal of sustainability – and so should we! If you like the sound of these hostels, then we’ve got great news: there are loads to choose from all over the world! Here are our 17 of our favourite eco-friendly hostels.

 

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Eco-friendly hostels in Europe:

1. Sleep Well Youth Hostel – Brussels, Belgium

After a sustainable hostel that also has a buzzing bar, ping-pong and foosball tables, huge free breakfasts and a city-centre location? Then look no further than Sleep Well. The eco-friendly technology this hostel has invested in in the last few years has allowed a 20% reduction in waste – downright incredible!

eco-friendly hostels - Sleep Well Hostel

🌱 Eco features:

  • Experts in waste management
  • Energy and water-saving: all bathrooms are equipped with medium discharge tanks and the showers are water efficient. Halogen patio lamps in common spaces have been replaced by LED.
  • Use of sustainable supplies. Electricity is 100% green!
  • All used paper is recycled or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified
  • Annual participation in European Waste Reduction Week

Book your stay at Sleep Well Youth Hostel now

 

2. Hostel Trastevere – Rome, Italy

You’ll find this colourful hostel in Trastevere, Rome’s most stylish neighbourhood. You just have to stroll across the river to visit the most iconic parts of the city. It also has a gorgeous garden and terrace, a luxury in the Italian capital – especially at these prices!

eco-friendly hostels- Hostel Trastevere

🌱 Eco features:

  • All electricity is generated by solar panels, so the air conditioning and heating are 100% green
  • Toilet paper and cleaning products are completely biodegradable
  • Separate waste disposable for recycling
  • All windows have double glazing to save energy
  • All walls are fireproof with double plasterboard and have an air chamber inside to keep the temperature constant – which means energy waste is minimal

Book your stay at Hostel Trastevere now

 

3. Reykjavik Dalur HI Hostel – Reykjavik, Iceland

In these Icelandic HI hostels, all equipment is chosen based on durability, as well as water and energy-saving factors. They save resources by never buying unnecessary or single-use items and choosing eco-friendly products whenever possible. With Scandi-stylish interiors, impeccable cleanliness, killer locations and superb prices in this eye-wateringly expensive city, what’s not to like?!

eco-friendly hostels - Reykjavik City HI Hostel

🌱 Eco features:

  • Facilities for recycling including different disposal containers and information available to guests
  • Organic ingredients. They prefer Icelandic and organic foods, which are produced without harmful pesticides and are labelled as fair trade products
  • They minimise food waste and strive to compost organic waste
  • Reuse corner, where guests can leave what they no longer need and take whatever they do

Book your stay at Dalur HI Hostel now

 

4. City Backpackers Hostel – Stockholm, Sweden

This quirky Swedish hostel offers all sorts of freebies, like free pasta, free ice skate rental, free evening sauna and free movie nights – no wonder it’s won the best in Sweden HOSCAR 9 years in a row! They have an ecological approach and a global environmental policy, defining themselves as passionate travellers who love our planet and want to help save it. Do you accept the challenge?

eco-friendly hostels - City Backpackers Hostel

🌱 Eco features:

  • Bicycle rental
  • Waste recycling
  • Electricity from renewable sources
  • Use of ceramic dishes (no single-use anything!)
  • Use of energy-saving light bulbs

Book your stay at City Backpackers Hostel now

 

5. St Christopher’s Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain 

St Christopher’s Barcelona are true innovators when it comes to sustainability. Based in the city centre, but aware of the impact mass tourism has on their city, they’re constantly looking at new ways to make guests’ stays more sustainable. From reducing plastic waste, to a grey water system that recycles used shower water to flush toilets!

eco-friendly hostels - St Christophers Barcelona

🌱 Eco features:

  • Solar panels for water heating
  • Grey water system reusing shower water in toilets, saving water and energy
  • Energy efficient LED light bulbs
  • Biodegradable or recyclable packaging in the bar
  • Pre-payments for breakfast to cut down on food waste
  • Recycling bins throughout

Book your stay at St Christopher's Barcelona

 

7. Ecomama – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ecomama stands for green and conscious hospitality, concepts that are reflected in the different ways in which the hostel is built and operates. It shows in all the details, down to the quirky indoor tipi, eco-friendly reminders dotted around and the cosy community vibes!

 

eco-friendly hostels - Ecomama hostel teepee

 

🌱 Eco features:

  • They use cradle-to-cradle (C2C) furniture. a production system that minimises waste
  • Use of fair-trade materials
  • Natural stone heater
  • Ecological water system
  • Commitment to recycling waste
  • They inform and invite their guests to join their mission to participate in a green and conscious way of life
  • 1 euro is donated each night for every guest that stays with them to Niños de Guatemala, an organisation based in Guatemala that provides quality education to disadvantaged children

Book your stay at Ecomama

 

8. Twentytu Hi-Tech Hostel – Barcelona, Spain

This eco-friendly hostel is the first traveller’s accommodation building in the city that has obtained the highest rating in energy efficiency. It’s been awarded several prizes for responsible and sustainable tourism, including Best Green Hostel 2014 from Hostelworld! With a sunny roof terrace that hosts yoga, dance classes, parties and communal dinners, fun-loving eco-warriors better start planning their trip to BCN pronto!

eco-friendly hostels - Twentytu Hi-Tech Hostel

🌱 Eco features:

  • Lighting on each floor has presence and timing detectors to save energy
  • A water recovery system is in place to treat and reuse water from showers and toilets
  • All taps have timer mechanisms, saving between 40% and 60% more water
  • System that activates all room facilities at check-in and deactivates them at the time of check-out
  • They were awarded a Sustainable Tourism in Catalunya prize!

Book your stay at Twentitu Hi Tech Hostel

 

Eco-friendly hostels in Asia:

9. The Yard Hostel – Bangkok, Thailand

At The Yard Hostel, you can munch on homemade yoghurt and jam to save on plastic and wash it down with locally sourced milk to support Thai farmers. They also serve coffee from organic farms in northern Thailand, but the best part is that you can drink it in their huge, leafy green space (not the norm in chaotic Bangkok), which is also home to birds, squirrels and other animals! It’s also in Bangkok’s current coolest neighbourhood, Ari, that you can discover before most of the tourists.

eco-friendly hostels - The Yard Hostel Bangkok

🌱 Eco features:

  • Use of recycled materials to build the rooms – they’re actually old containers!
  • Rooms are insulated with recycled paper to reduce the energy consumption of air conditioning. These materials help to naturally cool rooms so that guests can sleep comfortably
  • Toilets have a water-saving system which can reduce consumption by 35%
  • They use air conditioning inverter technology, which can reduce energy consumption by 40%
  • Motion sensors and timers control the lighting
  • Guests offered reusable bottles to borrow during their stay, reducing the use of plastic by 1000 bottles per month
  • They offer a breakfast pack with the aim of reducing food waste (more can be ordered if you’re hungry)

Book your stay at The Yard Hostel Bangkok

 

10. U.R.D.Ki Hostel, Goa – India

U.R.D.Ki Hostel is all about reusing and recycling and giving back to their community. Using waste they already had lying around, they turn trash to treasure. From turning old mattresses into comfy couches, to transforming cigarette butts into cushions! They know their community best, join one of their tours guided by local artists and entrepreneurs to explore their vast culture and biodiversity.

eco-friendly hostels - U.R.D.Ki Hostel Goa

 

🌱 Eco features:

  • Compost waste and recycle bins
  • Community kitchen is stocked with utensils and separate bins for dry and wet waste
  • Water dispensers and reusable water bottles for guests
  • Sofas and cushions made from waste materials

Book your stay at U.R.D.Ki Hostel

 

Eco-friendly hostels in Latin America

11. Palamar Beach Lodge – Panama

Sitting on the edge of the Isla Bastimentos rainforest, Palmar Beach Lodge is a hostel with sustainability at its core. A stones throw from Red Frog Beach, they look after surrounding nature with a biweekly beach clean-up. Joining in is a win-win for travellers, who get a free beer if they help out! Who could resist? Empty beer bottles are also re-used, serving as lights to the hostel rooms.

eco-friendly hostels - Palamar Beach Lodge

🌱 Eco features:

  • The hostel runs entirely on solar powered electricity
  • They reuse their rainwater
  • Only biodegradable and zero waste toiletries and cleaning products are used
  • All food and ingredients they use are locally-sourced from village and indigenous communities

Book your stay at Palamar Beach Lodge

 

12. Muendo Nuevo Minca – Minca, Colombia

In this rural farm hostel, guests and workers can enjoy nature while learning about environmental sustainability, organic agriculture and indigenous culture. The founders of Mundo Nuevo plan for it to become a museum of sustainability, a place where people from all over the world can learn, debate and contribute to this cause that concerns us all. The breathtaking panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range don’t hurt either!

eco-friendly hostels - Muendo Nuevo Minca hostel

🌱 Eco features:

  • All furniture and structures are made of fallen trees from around the property
  • They produce their own food
  • Eco-friendly soap for guests and staff to use
  • Septic composting tanks
  • They aim to become fully self-sustainable in terms of food, water supply and energy
  • They also act as an educational centre, aiming to raise awareness about the importance of a more sustainable life
  • They work to protect the unique environment of the Sierra Nevada from further deforestation and to preserve and recover their natural ecosystems

Book your stay at Mundo Nuevo Minca

 

13. Rio Hostel Buritaca – Santa Marta, Colombia

In addition to being super green, El Río Hostel also gives back to the local community. They’ve supplied recycling points to two schools in the area, they put work into sustainable waste collection, they’re leaders of an animal welfare program and they support reforestation days in the area. On top of all this, it’s an insane party hostel in the middle of the jungle where you can go tubing and paddle boarding?! Time to add this one to the bucket list!

eco-friendly hostels - El Rio Hostel (known as Rio Hostel Buritaca)

🌱 Eco features:

  • Multiple recycling points
  • Composting system
  • They work with a recycling collection company in Santa Marta that employs workers who were previously homeless
  • No chemicals are used to treat water. Instead, they use a reverse osmosis and filtration system
  • Ingredients from the garden are used for cooking
  • Zero disposable plastic
  • 80% of its bulbs and lighting are low consumption

Book your stay at Rio Hostel Buritaca

 

Eco-friendly hostels in Oceania

14. Apollo Bay Eco YHA – Apollo Bay, Australia

The Apollo Bay Eco YHA is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and being a responsible face on the Aussie backpacking scene through their conservation and sustainability efforts. If you stay here, you’ll get to enjoy some of the Great Ocean Road’s most incredible natural surroundings. We’re talking pristine, deserted beaches, vast national parks, rainforest and waterfalls. You might even spot a wild koala!

eco-friendly hostels - Apollo Bay Eco YHA

🌱 Eco features:

  • Solar design with thermal storage throughout the hostel
  • Solar heated water system
  • Low energy lighting inside the hostel and activated lighting sensors in common areas
  • Double flow toilets and urinals without water
  • Low-cost electric heating
  • Recycling stations for paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminium and steel cans, batteries, clothing and printer cartridges in kitchens, common areas and office areas
  • All organic waste from the kitchen is collected and composted
  • Ecological cleaning products.
  • Tank to collect rainwater, which is used to water the gardens
  • They promote the use of public transport

Book your stay at Apollo Bay Eco YHA

 

15. YHA Wellington – Wellington, New Zealand

All YHA chain hostels, like this one in Wellington City, participate in local community projects. In the Green Footprint Project, guests are given the opportunity to buy a native bush or tree to help offset the impact of your trip on the environment. That’s just one of the reasons that our guests love this place so much – others are the social vibe, central location and on-site espresso bar!

eco-friendly hostels - YHA Wellington

🌱 Eco features:

  • Use of solar panels
  • Well-marked recycling facilities. They also recycle fluorescent tubes, batteries, collect used clothing, reuse messenger bags and all cards are made with recycled PVC
  • Energy-saving light bulbs
  • Insulated hot water cylinders, roof and wall insulation
  • Motion sensor lighting
  • Low energy heat pumps
  • Double glazing of windows and replacement of appliances with more efficient models
  • Clever Flush water saving devices in low flow toilets and showers

Book your stay at YHA Wellington

 

16. Eco Lodge Pakowhai – Hastings, New Zealand

Eco Lodge Pakowhai is a family run eco-hostel that grows fruit and veg on-site to feed its guests, as well as housing a shelter for bees and birds. Guests can choose between a traditional dorm or private, or choose to stay in a cabin or caravan for ultimate hippy vibes. You can BYOB for a garden barbecue, or just hang out in a hammock under the shade of the trees. Bliss!

eco-friendly hostels - Eco Lodge Pakowhai

🌱 Eco features:

  • They collect and recycle all glass, plastic and metal waste
  • Rainwater is collected and stored in tanks, then used for toilets and watering the garden
  • Electricity is obtained through a solar panel and stored
  • Renewable heating sources, including the wood they grow on their plot and replant for the future
  • Buildings are insulated with double glazing, minimising energy waste
  • Composting of kitchen waste, paper, cardboard and garden waste allows the hostel to produce organic compost for their garden crops
  • Bicycle, helmet and lock rental

Book your stay at Eco Lodge Pakowhai

 

Eco-friendly hostels in Africa

17. Distant Relatives Ecolodge – Kilifi, Kenya

We don’t want to say we’ve left the best til last, but wait to hear about this one! Distant Relatives started as an experiment for sustainable living, to learn how to minimise our carbon footprint and live in harmony with nature. The hostel has since created a community of sustainable stans, with Kilifi now known as the Green Heart of Kenya. The hostel itself is made using a local mud-based technique, and the roof is constructed from coconut leaf panels. Everything is repurposed here, with custom-made compost toilets and greywater filtration systems. The pool is filled with natural salt-water, and there’s fruit and medicinal trees all around, with one growing directly through a dorm room! 

The hostel offers permaculture design courses and sponsors members of the local community through them. Distant Relatives also runs Beneath the Baobabs festival, Africa’s first carbon-neutral festival! 

eco-friendly hostels - Distant Relatives Ecolodge

🌱 Eco features:

  • Building made from natural resources
  • Water is reused through their greywater filtration system
  • Glass bottles are upcycled into lampshades and to build walls, to reduce cement usage and increase light 
  • Compost toilets
  • Salt-water swimming pool
  • Guests can learn how to live environmentally-consciously through their regular events and education

Book your stay at Distant Relatives Ecolodge

 

Hands up who’s gonna stay in one of these eco-friendly hostels on their next trip? If you visit one of them, don’t forget to tell us what you think! We’d love to hear about any other eco-friendly hostels you’ve discovered on your travels too. The first step towards sustainability is getting the word out, so please share your eco experiences. Every little gesture counts!

 

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About The Author

Michaella Fenton

Michaella is a freelance Content and Social Media Consultant specialising in helping travel, lifestyle and sustainability brands build communities through quality content. When she's not backpacking to new places, she's living the beach life Cornwall, hiking around the UK and skiing in the alps.

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