Empty beer cans in the shower, graffiti scrawled on the check-in desk, and an errant pair of panties lying in a hallway - such discoveries are common at Budapest's party hostels, where night seeing is just as important as sightseeing. These party-animal playgrounds are perfect choices if you want to experience the city’s gritty side, including its vibrant nightlife, underground art scene, and rowdy bars – not to mention that these are dirt-cheap spots to crash. Here are our favorite hedonism headquarters, all providing experiences that you’ll never forget... or at least a few hazy memories.
Retox Party Hostel
Retox is a neverland with a bar. (The name is pretty self-explanatory.) That not only means that booze is never more than a few meters away, but there is also an abundance of questionable morals and very sloppy behavior – from staff and guests alike. However, if you tend to live life to the fullest, look no further! Or at least don’t be surprised if you bump into a stripper pole or a Jager train during your stay. The hostel is located in an old courtyard building littered with graffiti from local and international street artists, and is usually populated with backpackers, party animals, night owls, and other strange creatures. Ó Street is just a short walk from Oktogon, so it’s a good starting point for pub crawls or a wild night out. If the result is a hangover, don’t worry: the hostel’s own bar is equipped with all kinds of hair of the dog, and it opens at 11am. The staff is entertaining and friendly, making this hostel a very lively and fun atmosphere.
A party hostel, located on the “Broadway Of Budapest”, just above one of the most famous nightlife spots of the capital – do we need to say more? Okay, fine: they have rooms with two, four, six, and eight beds, and a common area for the guests. There is also a fully equipped kitchen, where you can cook your own meals. From the dining room you enter directly to the sunny balcony, where you can have a nice chat or smoke while overlooking the roofs of Budapest. The staff is super welcoming and chill, guaranteeing that you’ll feel at home, but only if you party at your house like there’s no tomorrow. But if you aren’t night a night owl, this place is probably not what you are after: Instant closes at 6am and until then, the music blasts through the hostel walls. But, that’s a small price to pay for being so close to everything, isn’t it?
Instant Groove! party hostel (closed)
Address: 1065 Budapest, 38 Nagymező Street
In contrast to its elegant historical beginnings, the building at Dob Street 9 is now home to a brand-new hostel bursting with character and life: The Hive. This huge party hostel, buzzing with atmosphere is in the heart of Budapest’s party district, has a huge bar and a rooftop terrace that is exclusively reserved for hostel guests. As they have more than 300 beds, they can accommodate larger groups too. Every room is air-conditioned and designed like a real beehive, guaranteeing a special experience. The Hive also has a fully equipped kitchen where guests can prepare their own meals, and there is free Wi-Fi everywhere in the building... but when there’s live music and party people filling the central courtyard, who wants to check their e-mail?
A party hostel with a jungle courtyard bar, can you ask for more? Well, we guess a bed would be nice. Grandio has a mix of basic dorm rooms – some en suite, some with shared bathrooms – and with varying numbers of beds from four per room to 16. The hostel and the rooms are decorated by local and international street artists. During daytime, you can have a bit of this and that at the bar, or the staff can organize sightseeing tours or fun activities such as beer-bike rides, escape-room sessions, or paintball battles. And when the night comes, the who-gets-drunk-first game begins – regardless if the staff takes you out for an open-mic night, a special party, or just the courtyard bar. Speaking of which, the Grandio bar closes at 3am, but don’t worry: at this hostel, anything can happen, anytime. The whole hostel has been made very secure with a unique electronic wristwatch key that allows hostel guests access late at night and into the hostel from the bar.
The Unity Hostel Budapest is an independently owned and operated youth hostel. It is located directly in the middle of the city at Budapest’s popular Oktogon and Liszt Ferenc Square area, which makes it an ideal location for a budget traveler. You can stay in a private or a dormitory room; both of them have lockers and luggage storage, and there is free Wi-Fi. There is also a rooftop terrace with direct view to the Hungarian Music Academy. Just like tea and coffee, an all-you-can-eat breakfast is included in the price, and it’s not an overstatement to call it a lifesaver after a booze-fueled night. Before booking, you should note that while some of Budapest’s best (and cheapest) bars are just a short walk away from Unity, it operates as quiet hostel, so loud parties are restricted in the facility.
Carpe Noctem Vitae
With two stars for drinking and craziness, and five stars for comfort, Carpe Noctem Vitae is the most chilled-out hostel of the Budapest party-hostel scene. There are several common areas in the hostel where you can relax and recover from a night of partying. The staff and people that you’ll meet feel like a new family, and lots of guests end up extending their stay. People who stay here find sightseeing as important as night seeing, and thanks to the location of the hostel, it’s easy to do both. The kitchen and dining room are well equipped, so you’ll have everything you need to make yourself (and maybe the rest of the guests) a royal meal. The rooms are clean and spacious, and some rooms even have a disco shower to help you to get in the party mood. Start your day with a free cup of coffee, decide which activity you’re going to join, and, as the Ramones, said, hey-ho, let’s go!
Carpe Noctem Hostel
Carpe Noctem is a fun and friendly hostel in Budapest, within walking distance of Oktogon. Housed in a 19th-century listed building, the hostel offers dormitory accommodations and beds equipped with orthopedic mattresses. There are plenty of areas to relax, and Carpe Noctem has air conditioning, free Internet access, a guest kitchen, a smoking area, and laundry services. Lockers and padlocks are included in the price, just like coffee and tea, towels, and linens. Since the hostel is in a residential building, you have to be quiet after 8pm, but don’t worry: the friendly and charming staff will take good care of you and will introduce you to the Budapest nightlife – and there are some bars within easy walking distance. A perfect hangout and base for single travelers and young, sociable people.
LOL Boutique Hostel
LOL Boutique Hostel awaits backpackers with hip, brand-new thematic rooms in a classic listed building. Each room comes with a different vibe: Graffiti, Pink, Cubes, 69, Coke & Wine, Sziget, Style, Retro, and so on. Downstairs guests find the stylish Farm bar and eatery specializing in local specialties, so fine food and booze is never far away. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the whole hostel. There is also a common kitchen and another room where you can hang out and socialize. Since LOL Boutique is located on the same street as Retox, the same distances apply: Oktogon is just a short walk away, and the State Opera House even closer.
Extra Apartman Hostel is located above Extra, one of Budapest’s newest nightclubs, near Blaha Lujza Square. Each apartment has a flat-screen TV with cable channels and free wireless Internet, and there is also a shared kitchen which is fully equipped – but if you don’t want to spend your time cooking, you’ll be happy to know that the venue features a restaurant. Guests can also enjoy the on-site bar. Since it’s close to the Blaha Lujza metro station and Kazinczy Street, you can’t complain about the nightlife, but if you’d like to experience the cultural life, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the State Opera House are both just ten minutes away on foot.