If you are on a backpacking adventure through Germany, you will likely pass through Cologne, Germany. Good decision!

Set on the gorgeous Rhine River in Western Germany, Cologne is a 2,000-year-old city with some of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the whole country. Cologne is the regions cultural hub and a fantastic place for backpackers to spend a couple of days (or more!)

Down to the important brass: which hostels are the best hostels in Cologne, Germany?

Like most big cities in Europe, Cologne can be a bit expensive for backpackers on a budget.

At the same time, Cologne does not have nearly the number of hostel options as say Munich or Berlin. Finding a nice cheap hostel in Cologne isn’t always easy as the popular ones tend to book out, especially in the summer.

That is exactly why I wrote this insider guide to the best hostels in Cologne!

This list of 10 best hostels in Cologne will help YOU find the perfect budget hostel for yourself in this magical German city.

Deciding where to sleep is an important part of any backpacking adventure. The quality (or lack thereof) of any given hostel can really make or break a backpacking trip.

It is my belief that every traveler deserves to know the very best hostel options available to them. Point being, I want you to find the best hostel in Cologne, Germany that fits your personal style perfectly…

This guide is your key to sleeping cheap and saving your cash for more important matters like trying delicious German beer and schnitzel.

Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in Cologne

Best Hostels in Cologne
Welcome to the ultimate guide to the best hostels in Cologne!

The 10 Best Hostels in Cologne

Die Wohngemeinschaft – Overall Best Hostel in Cologne

Die Wohngemeinschaft best hostels in Cologne
Great location and even better vibes make Die Wohngemeinschaft my top pick for best overall hostel in Cologne!

The name might look scary, but it just means ‘The Housemates’, which is actually really friendly. We like that. And we also like that the best hostel in Cologne is in Cologne’s ‘Belgian Quarter’, and that’s probably the hippest neighbourhood in town. Die Wohngemeinschaft also features a bar and, wildly enough, a theatre. Seriously. All of the private rooms are themed, from a cabin-in-the-woods style affair to 60s mod pad, which makes for a unique anything-but-basic stay. You could even say this place is lavish, really, and with literally so much to do and see on the doorstep – and at a decent price – it’s just about the best hostel in Cologne.

Pathpoint Cologne Backpacker Hostel – Best Cheap Hostel in Cologne #2

Pathpoint Cologne Backpacker Hostel best hostels in Cologne
Conveniently located close to the Cental Station, Pathpoint is another one of the best cheap hostels in Cologne.

Situated in a former church building that’s just a five-minute walk from the Central Station – wait, sound good so far? It sure does. This is Pathpoint Cologne Backpacker Hostel, and the location alone makes it easily a top hostel in Cologne. The famous cathedral is an easy 800-metre meander from here, as are other prime sights. The staff at Pathpoint are friendly, the dorms and bathrooms are squeaky-clean, and there are plenty of common areas to chill out in after a day’s pavement pounding – including a courtyard in the middle of it all which is just peachy when the weather’s good.

Weltempfänger Backpacker Hostel – Best Cheap Hostel in Cologne #3

Weltempfänger Backpacker Hostel best hostels in Cologne
Located on the edge of the city center, Weltempfänger Backpacker Hostel is my last pick for the best cheap hostels in Cologne list…

The Weltempfänger Backpacker Hostel is in an area of Cologne that is just on the edge of the city center. This is not so great if you want to be at all the sights in an instant. But it is great if you like an interesting neighbourhood, stylish old-fashioned bars, cheap restaurants, and loads of other things to do. It’s a recommended hostel in Cologne for its atmosphere, staff, the cool bar/cafe downstairs. But mainly if you want to be in an interesting place that lets you explore a different side of the historic city, this is possibly the coolest hostel in Cologne. If you were wondering, Weltempfänger means ‘world receiver’, whatever that means.

Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
Aether Backpack

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Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

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404 Hostel – Best Hostel with a Private Room in Cologne

404 Hostel best hostels in Cologne
Cheap, cozy rooms make 404 the best hostel with a private room in Cologne.

A very cute youth hostel in Cologne, the strangely named 404 Hostel is a great choice if you like your hostels small and cosy and with a splash of character. This Cologne backpackers hostel is set in a traditional German house, and as a result, it feels more homely than other hostels in the city. And although it’s not really in the centre of town at all, some travellers may really love this quiet part of Cologne – but don’t worry: the more touristed, hotspot-strewn central area is easily reachable thanks to public transport. The hostel is super clean, to boot, as well as easy on the wallet.

You can score a private room here for far cheaper than other spots in town too.

Black Sheep Hostel – Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Cologne

Black Sheep Hostel best hostels in Cologne
Black Sheep Hostel is the best hostel for solo travelers in Cologne: enjoy a cold beer on the fine outdoor terrace with your new mates.

This is a top hostel in Cologne, it’s one of the most hostel-y hostels in town actually – which is maybe why it’s called Black Sheep, since it sticks out. We don’t know. What we do know is Black Sheep has a kitchen that’s stocked with food and ingredients that you can use free of charge (get in), dorm beds with multiple plug sockets and lamps, and common areas including an outdoor terrace that makes for a good place to sip beer and meet some fellow travellers. It’s not the coolest hostel in Cologne, but it is cosy and colourful – if not a teensy bit on the pricey side.

Black Sheep Hostel is one of our favourites in Cologne but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

SMARTY Cologne City Center – Best Cheap Hostel in Cologne #1

SMARTY Cologne City Center best hostels in Cologne
SMARTY Cologne City is the best cheap hostel in Cologne…Cheap, straight forward dorms ina fun area of the city.

We’re not exactly sure why it’s called SMARTY, but this place is probably the cheapest you’re going to find in town for a dorm room. Maybe that’s why it’s called SMARTY. Weirdly it calls itself a hotel, but with the presence of dorms and a kitchen (plus table football and PlayStation) we’re fine with calling it a hostel. Although it may lack a typically hostel-y ambience, this is the best option for a budget hostel in Cologne. It comes complete with a bar, and is well located: smack bang in the middle of Cologne’s lively student area, the perfect place for nightlife, cheap eats, and the fun side of the city.

SMARTY Cologne City Center is one of our favourites in Cologne but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Cologne Downtown Hostel – Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Cologne

Cologne Downtown Hostel best hostels in Cologne
A super comfortable working space makes Cologne Downtown Hostel the best hostel for digital nomads in Cologne.

Cologne Downtown Hostel in the heart of the city is a pretty sleek operation, and if you’re travelling whilst working staying in hostel after hostel, stumbling upon something like this top hostel in Cologne is a bit of a godsend. The rooms are pretty basic but everything’s spick and span, and they even have tables in them so you can work on your laptop without moving far from your (comfortable) bed. The common areas have plenty of space, and normal-sized tables so you don’t have to hunch over whilst working (important). The kitchen is super modern, and the dining area is also spacious. The relaxed atmosphere makes for a nice working environment, too.

Cologne Downtown Hostel is one of our favourites in Cologne but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

More Best Hostels in Cologne

Some neighborhoods are more fun than others – discover which are the best areas to stay in Cologne and then book the right hostel!

Station Hostel for Backpackers

Station Hostel for Backpackers best hostels in Cologne
Station Hostel is a great hostel choice if you want to be near the Central Station.

Put very simply, the clue is in the name: Station Hostel for Backpackers. So if you want to be near the Cologne Central Station, this is the hostel for you – it can be a little noisy as a result, but if you’re fine with that this is a decent place to stay. It’s pretty good in terms of price, however, and for the location, it can’t get more convenient than this. There’s a bar downstairs, which is decent, and a beer garden, too (which also means outside space). As long as you’re not expecting anything fancy, and you don’t mind unimaginative names, this Cologne backpackers hostel is just great.

Cologne-Deutz Youth Hostel

Cologne-Deutz Youth Hostel best hostels in Cologne
The breakfast is so big here it warranted a spot in this caption. Cologne-Deutz Youth Hostel is one of the best hostels in Cologne to score killer food!

On the right bank of the Rhine, right opposite the Cologne old town (where there are a million things to do), is Cologne-Deutz. This youth hostel in Cologne is a modern one, very big, very bright and airy, very clean – and very expensive. Especially considering there is no real common area (bar the reception), it feels more like a hotel in Cologne and less like a backpackers hostel in Cologne. The only rooms they offer are 4-bed dorms: good if you’re in a group, less good if you’re on your own. For the price, you may be dubious, but the staff are really nice, the atmosphere is young and vibrant, and the breakfast is IMMENSE.

A&O Hostel Köln Neumarkt

A&O Hostel Köln Neumarkt best hostels in Cologne
Fancy. Modern. A bit pricey. Still one of the best hostels in Cologne…

This is a hostel, though it feels more like a hotel. This is actually good though because, you know, sometimes hostels can be basic, to say the least. (Though that does come at a somewhat high price compared to other Cologne backpackers hostels). At Köln Neumarkt, you’ll be in good hands, thankfully, with V accommodating staff, a pristine common area, a decent bar, pool table, and generally a good base for checking out Cologne. It’s not exactly the best hostel in Cologne, but it’s clean and functional. It’s a little far from the centre, too, but sometimes that extra walk just means more exploration.

What to Pack for your Cologne Hostel

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for our top packing tips!

Why you should travel to Cologne

Cheers guys, you made it through my 10 best hostels in Cologne list! Get ready for fine river views, a happening pub and food scene, and the beautiful streets of old town Cologne!

I hope this hostel guide was useful to you and that you are now able to book the perfect hostel for your Cologne backpacking adventure.

Cologne is a super fun city to visit. To get the most out of your time backpacking here, you need to find the perfect spot to lay your head after each busy day is through.

That shouldn’t be too hard now that you’ve seen my guide to best hostels in Cologne!

If you’re like me and get overwhelmed by all of the options, going with our top pick for best overall hostel in Cologne is the easy choice: Die Wohngemeinschaft Hostel. The name gets easier to pronounce after you have had a few beers, I promise.

Catch a movie in their one of a kind movie theater or snag one of the sweet themed private rooms. The choice is up to you. Happy travels!

Die Wohngemeinschaft best hostels in Cologne
Book yourself a night at the best hostel in Cologne.

FAQ about Hostels in Cologne

Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Cologne.

How much does a hostel cost in Cologne?

On average, hostel prices are always changing ESPECIALLY in Europe, but you can generally expect to pay around $32 and $44+ per night.

What are the best hostels in Cologne for couples?

Check out these ideal hostels for couple in Cologne:
404 Hostel
Die Wohngemeinschaft
Cologne-Deutz Youth Hostel
A&O Hostel Köln Neumarkt

What is the best hostel in Cologne near the airport?

Cologne Bonn Airport is quite far from the central area, so it is usually better to find the best place in town. Once you’re in the city, I highly recommend the Cologne-Deutz Youth Hostel, located on the right bank of the Rhine, right opposite the Cologne old town.

Travel Safety Tips for Cologne

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

More Epic Hostels in Germany and Europe

Hopefully by now you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to Cologne.

Planning an epic backpacking trip across Germany or even Europe itself?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

For more cool hostel guides around Europe, check out:

Over to you

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in Cologne has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure!

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Cologne and Germany?

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!