On their website, Pal’s Hostel makes the bold claim that they are, “Not your average hostel.” After staying here myself, I can honestly say that this statement couldn’t be more accurate.
They say it’s because the hostel is actually a chain of dorms and apartments near St. Stephen’s Square… but I think their unique setup and prime location are just two of several defining characteristics that make Pal’s stand out from the rest.
If you’re travelling to Budapest (especially on a time limit), this is the best (and most budget friendly) place you could stay.
Voted 10th best large hostel worldwide in the 2018 Hoscar Awards, Pal’s is hands down the most conveniently located hostel I have ever stayed at… and I have crashed at my fair share hostels.
It is located so close to St. Stephen’s Basilica that you can literally see it from some of their properties. This is not an exaggeration.
This location puts the hostel a short walk away from Deák Ferenc tér - the metro station where Budapest’s three main lines intersect.
Staying in such a central location made it easy for us to make the most of our short time in Budapest and to see as much as we could.
In addition to its great location, Pal’s has a wide variety of room options ranging from mixed dorms and private rooms to ensuites and apartments. Thanks to their wide range of options, the hostel attracts a wide range of travellers. We saw families, older couples, backpackers, solo travellers and groups checking in and out.
Andrew and I opted for a private room in a shared apartment located in a building just across the street from the main reception building. Even though we were in the middle of the city (during the Christmas markets), our room was quiet and we had so much privacy.
It wasn’t just a place to sleep - I had a place to set up my classroom to teach online each morning, a kitchen to make our own meals, and, after a day of exploring, we could come back to chill and recharge, just the two of us.
There were a couple flights of stairs to get to the apartment - which isn’t exactly ideal for older, less mobile individuals (or for carrying our one shared suitcase - filled with lots of (my) winter clothes. Shout out to Andrew for carrying that sucker up).
The apartment had a living room, full kitchen, one other bedroom, and a shared bathroom. There were a couple of times that I had to pee or wanted to shower and had to wait because someone was in the bathroom… but this wasn’t a big issue.
It was a major upgrade from some hostel situations where the bathroom is either gross because it’s shared by too many people and not cleaned often enough, or you have to wait for ages. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to race for the shower while staying at a hostel. Not ideal. This was much better than that)
Just because Pal’s offers guests more private room options doesn’t mean it isn’t a social hostel.
There are communal spaces located in the main building where you can get some work done or grab a free cup of coffee while mingling with your fellow travellers. They also host daily activities here like trivia nights, family dinners (featuring traditional Hungarian dishes), and even beer pong tournaments.
It definitely isn’t the most social hostel I’ve ever been to, since it’s so spread out… but, in my opinion, it’s nicer to have the option of attending events than to be bombarded by a loud party crowd when you just want some privacy or peace and quiet.
It was just the right amount of social… in that socializing was optional and not unavoidable… (I’m kind of a recluse sometimes… sue me).
Speaking of the social atmosphere, the people at Pal’s are pretty great, too… but I guess when you work at a place called “Pal’s,” you kinda have to be.
The staff was comprised of a fun and friendly group of people from all over the world. Many of them had been in Budapest for awhile, so they were able to give great advice on the best places to see in the neighborhood, around the city, and how to get there.
Since I work on the go, having a good wifi connection is crucial.
Some hostels are hit or miss when it comes to their high-speed internet, but in our apartment at Pal’s I had zero problems connecting and teaching my English classes online.
Clean and colorful
Some people may not care where they lay their head or what it looks like, but when I’m deciding on a hostel or hotel, I almost always make sure it meets these two bonus criteria.
Call me crazy, (extra, bougie, high-maintenance… whatever)… but there’s something special about staying in a place that’s visually appealing.
Pal’s is filled with colorful artwork and murals in its shared spaces… and when I say filled I mean these masterpieces literally cover the majority of the walls.
In my opinion, they could have done a little more with the interior decoration in the apartments… but they were clean, and that’s what matters most.
As with anywhere, prices at Pal’s vary greatly depending on when you go, what type of room you choose, and how long you stay.
We visited at the start of December for the Christmas markets and found the costs to be significantly lower than comparable accommodations in the neighborhood.
Check current rates or book your room using the search box below.
Don’t forget to add your name to the wall!
What is the best hostel you’ve ever stayed at? Let me know in the comments below!
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