The 7 Best Hostels in Edinburgh

Posted: 6/10/2024 | June 10th, 2024

Edinburgh is a historic city full of centuries-old architecture, cozy pubs, and world-class whisky. I’ve been there a bunch and always have a blast. It’s one of my favorite destinations in Europe. I’ve been going since I turned 30 (which was a very, very long time ago).

While Edinburgh is gorgeous, accommodation can be fairly expensive. As the second-most visited city in the UK, it can easily break the bank (those pints add up!). An,d while there are a lot of hostels that can help keep your costs low, I’ve learned the hard way that not all of them are good.

To help you pick a hostel from among all the overwhelming options, here is my list of the best hostels in Edinburgh!

If you don’t want to read the longer list, the following are the best in each category:

Best Hostel for Budget Travelers:
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers:
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads:
Best Hostel for Partying:
Best Overall Hostel:

Want the specifics? Here’s my breakdown of the best hostels in Edinburgh and why I love them:

Price legend:

$ – Under 20 GBP per night
$$ – 20-30 GBP per night
$$$ – Over 30 GBP per night

1. Castle Rock

Located near the castle, this hostel is simply gorgeous. and my favorite hostel in the city. It’s an old, beautiful house with lovely wood interiors, stone staircases, and a very historic, royal feel, like you’re staying in an ancestral family mansion. There’s a huge kitchen, and the common areas feature pool tables, a TV, newspapers, and free Wi-Fi. There’s also a patio for when the weather is nice as well as a fireplace and movie room for when it’s chilly. The staff also organize events to keep things social. It’s in a great location too (right near the Royal Mile).

While the mattresses aren’t super thick and there are no curtains on the beds, there are plenty of outlets to charge your devices and bedside lockers too. It’s also one of the cheapest hostels in town and perfect for budget travelers. Just note that there’s a 10 GBP cash deposit (or ID) required for your room key.

Castle Rock at a glance:

$
Amazing location
Huge kitchen
Lots of common areas make it easy to meet people

Beds from 18 GBP, private rooms from 60 GBP.

Book here!
 

2. St Christopher’s Edinburgh Old Town

St Christopher’s hostels are a staple around Europe, and this one does not disappoint. The hostel is within walking distance of all the main sights, and it’s always lively, making it easy to meet people. There’s a cool bar on-site with cheap happy hour drinks (a big plus in pricey Edinburgh), and the staff also organize regular pub crawls if you want to enjoy the nightlife. They also organize free walking tours, which are a great way to explore on a budget while meeting fellow travelers.

The dorms are airy and bright, and while the mattresses aren’t super thick, the beds have curtains, USB outlets, and small lockers. (Just note that most dorms have three-tier bunk beds.) Although there’s no guest kitchen, there’s a filling breakfast each morning for just 5 GBP. While there aren’t a ton of restrooms (so sometimes you’ll have to wait), the location really can’t be beat.

St Christopher’s at a glance:

$$
Cool bar with cheap happy hour drinks
Lively, social atmosphere makes it easy to meet people
Free walking tours

Beds from 25 GBP, private rooms from 299 GBP.

Book here!
 

3. Haystack Hostel

This is a small, cozy, and quiet hostel that feels like you’re staying at a friend’s house. The décor has a very DIY feel, featuring lots of handmade furniture, bright colors, and cool art. The larger dorm has pod-style beds, while the smaller dorm has regular bunk beds. There are no curtains on the beds, but there are lockers to secure your things, and each bed has its own outlet and reading light. There’s a small breakfast available each morning too.

What makes this place unique though is that both of its dorms are female only (there are also private rooms, open to all genders). It’s a quiet, calm, and clean choice, perfect for travelers not looking to party. The staff are also very welcoming and always eager to help you find things to do in town and beyond. If you want a quiet stay as a solo female traveler, stay here.

Haystack Hostel at a glance:

$$
Female-only dorms
Quiet atmosphere
Cozy common rooms

Beds from 30 GBP, private rooms from 103 GBP.

Book here!
 

4. Royal Mile Backpackers

This laid-back hostel is your classic backpacker joint, with chill common areas, a small library, regular social events (like pub crawls or Scottish dancing lessons), and free coffee and tea. There’s a tour desk if you’re looking to do some day trips, and also a simple breakfast each morning for just 3 GBP. One nice perk I appreciate is that the place offers free travel adapters during your stay (as someone who has forgotten theirs more than once, I think this is a great idea!).

While I don’t love that the beds are simple wooden bunks, they do have individual reading lights, outlets, and lockers (but no curtains). The bathrooms are a bit cramped, but the showers have good water pressure and everything is kept clean (which is what’s most important). Overall, it’s another comfortable and homey place that makes you feel like you’re staying at a friend’s house.

Royal Mile Backpackers at a glance:

$$
Free coffee/tea
Lots of fun social events
Cheap daily breakfast

Beds from 24 GBP.

Book here!
 

5. Kick Ass Grassmarket

This is a cool, arty hostel in the heart of the Old Town (it’s right under the castle). It’s brightly decorated and feels very welcoming. There are lots of common spaces to hang out in, though I especially love the bar area, as it’s super social and easy to meet people here. There’s also a beer garden for when the weather is nice (and Netflix for when it’s not) and a big kitchen if you want to cook your own meals.

The standard dorms here are all bright and airy, with comfy mattresses and individual lights, outlets, and lockers. Some dorm rooms have en suite bathrooms, and there are female-only dorms too. But the highlight for me is the pod-style beds in the “superior” dorms; they have thick curtains and offer lots of privacy, making it super easy to get a good night’s sleep. Just note that you have to be at least 18 to stay here.

Kick Ass Grassmarket at a glance:

$
Fun events (pub crawls, quiz nights)
Super cozy pod beds
Lively bar makes meeting people a breeze

Beds from 20 GBP, private rooms from 179 GBP.

Book here!
 

6. Edinburgh Backpackers

This centrally located hostel is set in a series of historic buildings right near both the Old Town and the train station. It’s homey and quiet and has a bit of a no-frills look, with dated décor and old wooden floors. It’s not a social place, but everything is clean and comfortable and feels very lived in (as opposed to being overly sterile, like many hostels these days). The only downside is that, because the hostel is in a historic building, there is no elevator.

The rooms here are a bit simple and small, but the beds are comfy and have decent mattresses. There are no curtains for the beds, but there are lockers for your stuff and the bathrooms are always kept clean. There’s a big kitchen and a variety of room types to choose from, including single private rooms, female-only dorms, and even a cozy penthouse suite. Overall, it’s a cheap and quiet place to stay in a great location.

Edinburgh Backpackers at a glance:

$$
Female-only dorms
Great location
Big kitchen

Beds from 26 GBP, private rooms from 65 GBP.

Book here!
 

7. Code Pod – The Court

This boutique hostel is located in a former courthouse and jail (it’s in the Old Town so you can walk everywhere). Some of the old cells have been converted into small private rooms, making for a truly unique stay. There’s an underground bar too (with whisky tastings), which just adds to the charm of the place. A delicious breakfast is offered in the mornings too, featuring waffles, pastries, and oatmeal.

As for the dorms, the pod beds have really nice mattresses, as well as individual lights, shelves, and outlets so you can charge your gear (they have curtains and earplugs and eye masks are provided too, so you can sleep well). The hostel also has female-only dorms.

If you want a unique, more upscale hostel, stay here. It’s a really neat place!

Code Pod at a glance:

$$$
Super comfy pod beds
Cool underground bar
Female-only dorm

Beds from 43 GBP, private rooms from 140 GBP.

Book here!

***

With its stunning architecture and incredible history, I never get tired of exploring Edinburgh. It’s such a beautiful city to get lost in, bouncing from pub to pub, from café to café. There’s so much to see and do (including lots of spooky ghost tours), and while the weather doesn’t always cooperate, that’s just part of Edinburgh’s charm. As long as you stay in one of the hostels above, you’ll have a fun, affordable, and nice place to stay.
 

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Book Your Trip to Edinburgh: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

SafetyWing (best for everyone)
Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Edinburgh?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Edinburgh for even more planning tips!

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