Hostels in Croatia are getting popular. Not so long ago, we only had here hostels run by Ferijalni Savez Hrvatske (Croatian Youth Association), a member of Hosteling International. There were only a few hostels, located exclusively in bigger towns, like Zagreb, Zadar, Split, and Pula. Things changed, and now you can find hostels almost anywhere in Croatia.
Below you'll find a detailed guide to hostels in Croatia.
Hostels in Croatia: Legal requirements
All hostels in Croatia, just like any other type of accommodation, need to meet the minimum requirements imposed by the law and need to be legally inspected in order to operate as hostels.
This is a good thing, as you are guaranteed minimum standards in all hostels. These requirements include for example size of the room, the number of beds per room, bed linen, the height of ceilings, basic equipment like lockers, size of the bed, lighting, etc…
However, design, decoration, general look, and feel are mostly left to the owner to create. Many hostels are really cool, and design-centered places, particularly in Zagreb.
What to expect in hostels in Croatia
Hostels are places with a good vibe and energy, and travelers staying at the hostels are generally younger (or young at heart), and with less attitude. You'll find simple, but clean and comfortable accommodation. Some hostels also provide a superb-design, and feel more like boutique hostels, than classic hostels.
You'll usually find 4-, 6-, and 8-bed single-sex or mixed dorm rooms. If you are ready to pay a little extra, many hostels, besides dorm rooms, offer also private rooms with/ out en-suite bathrooms.
WiFi, air-conditioning, 24 h reception, lockers, bars, and shared living space are now standard everywhere.
Type of hostels in Croatia
Basically, there are two types of hostels in Croatia: hostels run by the Croatia Youth Association (a member of the Hosteling International), and private hostels.
Croatian Youth Association Hostels
Croatian Youth Association, a member of Hosteling International, runs a chain of hostels throughout Croatia. You'll find these hostels in all major destinations in Croatia like Zagreb, Rijeka, Pula, Zadar, and Dubrovnik. Check here a full list of destinations.
If you decide to stay in their hostels, you'll need to present a valid HI Card. However, if you don't have a HI Card, you can purchase one in any of the HI hostels. The card costs 60 Kn and it's valid for one year.
You can also decide to pay 10 Kn per person per day and receive a welcome stamp for every night spent in a hostel. Once when you collect 6 stamps, you'll get a valid HI Card.
Advantages of staying at HI member hostels: if you plan to travel around Croatia and stay at the hostels, Croatian Youth Association hostels offer a 10% discount for every consecutive stay at their hostels.
Private hostels don't belong to any association. They are basically private properties registered as hostels. It means that they offer dorm rooms, along with private rooms, shared kitchen area, and shared bathrooms rather than private bathrooms.
Many privately owned hostels have superb-design, and a cool boutique hotel feels, particularly hostels in Zagreb, like Swanky Mint, Main Square Hostel, Shappy Hostel, Funk Lounge, and alike.
Cost of staying in hostels in Croatia
Prices in hostels are calculated per bed. You can expect to pay anywhere from 13€ to 35€ per night, depending on the season, and the type of room you choose.
All hostels in Croatia provide linen and fresh towels free of charge. Breakfast is usually not included in the room price. Check at the time of booking.
When you should consider staying in hostels in Croatia
- If you are a solo traveler and like to meet other travelers
- If you just look for a cheap and clean accommodation
- If you aren't easily intimidated when sharing a room with strangers
- If you don't like/ have money to eat out all the time. Most hostels offer a small kitchen where you can prepare yourself a meal.
Tips for staying in hostels in Croatia
- Book ahead. The most popular booking sites for hostels in Croatia are Booking.com, HostelWorld, and Hosteling International (member hostels only)
- Check your options; if you don't fancy sharing a room with strangers, explore private room option at each hostel
- If you are a larger party, hostels might not be your cheapest accommodation option. Consider staying at vacation rentals instead.
- Read reviews
- Double-check the location
- Some hostels offer mixed rooms. Make sure to choose the right hostel with the right room for you to feel comfortable.
- Protect your valuables.
What to pack for a hostel in Croatia
Suggested hostels in Croatia
Hostels in Zagreb
Swanky Mint Hostel
Swanky Mint Hostel is located in the center of Zagreb. Hostel offers dormitory rooms with shared bathroom and private rooms with en-suite bathroom. All the rooms are air-conditioned.
There is free WiFi, lockers, cafe, and shared kitchen.
Hostel Shappy is located in the very center of Zagreb, next to Flower Square. It offers a free WiFi, a lounge area with flat-screen TV, PlayStation3, Nintendo Wii, and a pool table.
The hostel has really nice and cool bar with a good choice of local brandy. Hostel has six rooms, some are dormitory rooms and others are private rooms.
Main Square hostel has a superb-location, right behind Zagreb's central Jelacic Square. The hostel is modern, and offers an accommodation in dorm rooms, and en suite private rooms. All rooms are air-conditioned. Rooms feature a seating area, and free WiFi.
Fresh towels and sheets are provided. Lounge area comes with two flat-screen TVs, and a Playstation. Hostel doesn't have its own bar or restaurant, but there are plenty of them in the vicinity. Laundry facilities are available with extra charge.
Hostels in Zadar
Boutique Hostel Forum is located in Zadar old town. Hostel Forum offers dormitory rooms, private rooms and one suite. All the rooms are air-conditioned. Shared rooms offer enough privacy as beds are separated one from the other with a curtain. Free WiFi is available.
Hostels in Split
Downtown Hostel is located in the heart of the old town, amidst city's main sights. Ferry port, bus and train stations are just a couple of minutes walk from the hostel. The owners and all staff are very friendly and helpful. For your safety, there is a 24 h reception.
Downtown hostel features 4- and 8-bed mixed dorm rooms, one studio apartment for two, a shared living room, a balcony, and a kitchenette.
Located in Split's popular neighborhood of Matejuska, just few minutes walk from the Palace of Diocletian, hostel Matejuska must be the smallest hostel in Croatia. It features only two rooms: a 4- and 6-bed dorm room.
The hostel offers free wifi, and free coffee and tea from the vending machine.
Located just few minutes walk from the old town, hostel Dvor is lovely little place. It features 3-, 4- and 6-bed dorm rooms, but also double rooms with private or shared bathroom.
Each bunk bed in dorm rooms comes with electric outlet, a reading light, a shelf, and huge locker. WiFi, linen, towels, as well as tea, coffee, fruit and cookies, are provided free of charge.
Hostels in Sibenik
Located within walking distance from the old town, and Sibenik main sights, hostel Splendid is a family-run hostel. The service is extremely friendly, and owners, are always at your disposal.
The common facilities include private parking, garden terrace with a BBQ, a bar, and a shared kitchen.
Hostel features 4-, and 8-bed mixed rooms, as well as private double rooms. WiFi is available and free of charge. Hostel provides 24 h reception.
Hostels in Hvar
Like many hostels in Hvar, hostel Shaka is located in the residential area, a 10-minute walk from the old town. The hostel features 6-, and 8-bed mixed dorms, as well as private rooms. All rooms have en-suite bathroom, and a balcony.
Other facilities include shared terrace, a kitchen, lockers. All rooms are air-conditioned. Free WiFi is available throughout the hostel. The atmosphere is very convivial, and if you like to hang out with fellow guests, Shaka staff organizes greet & meet evening parties.
Rooms are very clean, and comfortable. Hostel provide free linen and towels.
The White Rabbit Hostel
Benefiting from the superb downtown location, The White Rabbit Hostel offers 4-, 6-, and 8-bed mixed dorms, but also private double rooms. All rooms come with free WiFi, linen, towels, lockers, and air-conditioner.
Other facilities include 24 h reception, a fully-equipped shared kitchen, a lively bar, and BBQ facilities.
Hostels in Istria
Hostel Villa Borgo is located in Motovun, Istria. Hostel offers 12 rooms, shared terrace, lounge area and a small bar. Views from the terrace are great. Majority of the rooms are private with an en-suite bathroom.
Located in Lovran, the hostel Link is the only hostel along the Opatija Riviera.
Hostel Link features 114 double, triple and quad rooms. All rooms come with en-suite bathroom, WiFi, flat-screen TV, and an air-conditioner. Some rooms have double, or single beds, or bunk-beds. Some rooms also come with a sea view.
Hostel Link features a coin-operated laundry, a shared kitchenette, a bar with a nice outdoor terrace, and a common area.
Located at the heart of Pula, right next to the Gate of Sergeii, hostel Joyce offers exclusively double rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Rooms are air-conditioned, feature flat-screen TV, WiFi, and double or twin beds. Breakfast is included in room price. Prices are a bit high as there aren't any dorm rooms available.
Hotel is located in a historical building, and doesn't have an elevator. This can be a problem if your room is located on higher floors.
At 18 euro a night in August, this is definitely the cheapest bed you'll find in Rovinj at this time of the year. Hostel Roundabout is a brand new hostel, located at the entrance of Rovinj, well, at the second roundabout.
The hostel offers 4-, and 8-bed mixed dorm rooms. Rooms are air-conditioned. Linen and towels are provided. Each bed comes with a reading lamp, and a locker. Common areas include a shared kitchen, 24 h reception, and a bar.
Hostels in Dubrovnik
City Walls Hostel (ex. Fresh Sheets Hostel)
With a great location within the old town, friendly staff and owners, awesome vibe, it comes as no surprise that Fresh Sheets Hostel has been voted the Third Best Seasonal Hostel worldwide by Hostelworld.
Fresh Sheets Hostel offers 4- and 6-bed mixed dorms, one small double bedroom, free WiFi throughout the hostel, shared kitchen, lockers, and a breakfast/lounge area. Book early as this is the most popular hostel in Dubrovnik, and it sells fast.
Have you stayed in hostels in Croatia? Do you have anything to recommend to fellow backpackers? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credit: main photo Main Square Hostel; other hostel photos: from hostel's website