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

Overall Best Hostel in Cologne – Die Wohngemeinschaft

Die Wohngemeinschaft best hostels in Cologne
Great location and even better vibes make Die Wohngemeinschaft my top pick for best overall hostel in Cologne!
  • $$
  • Common Room
  • Tour Desk
  • 24-Hour Security

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.

Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Cologne – Black Sheep Hostel

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.
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bicycle Hire
  • Common Room

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.

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

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.
  • $
  • Towels Included
  • Bar
  • Self Catering Facilities

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.

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

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.
  • $
  • 24-Hour Reception
  • Common Room
  • BBQ

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.

Best Cheap Hostel in Cologne #3 – Weltempfänger Backpacker Hostel

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…
  • $
  • Bar & Cafe
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Location

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.

Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Cologne – Cologne Downtown Hostel

Cologne Downtown Hostel best hostels in Cologne
A super comfortable working space makes Cologne Downtown Hostel the best hostel for digital nomads in Cologne.
  • $$
  • 24-Hour Reception
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Parking

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.

Best Hostel with a Private Room in Cologne – 404 Hostel

404 Hostel best hostels in Cologne
Cheap, cozy rooms make 404 the best hostel with a private room in Cologne.
  • $
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Free Breakfast
  • Common Room

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.

Things DO go missing sometimes…

lock iconPsst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!

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.
  • $
  • Bar
  • Outdoor Terrace
  • 24-Hour Reception

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!
  • $$$
  • 24-Hour Reception
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar

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…
  • $$$
  • Bar
  • 24-Hour Reception
  • Common Room

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.

The BEST Travel Backpack?!
aer travel pack 2 backpack

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite travel backpack is the Aer Travel Pack 2.

View on AER

What to Pack for your Cologne Hostel

Here’s some gear our editors take hostelling.

best toiletry bag for one bag travel

1. Active Roots Toiletry Bag: The Active Roots Toiletry bag keeps all of your bathroom essential items organized instead of flowing around your backpack. Having everything handy and accessible in one water-resistant bag is a bathroom lifesaver. This toiletry bag also helps from being that embarrassed person walking back to the dorm room, in a towel, to grab forgotten shampoo.

AR Towel

2. Active Roots Microfiber Towel: Having your own towel is a must when traveling since most hostels don’t provide them. Plus as a backpacker, use of a towel will extend further than just showers, it’s a minimalist yoga towel and a great beach blanket/towel combo! The Active Roots Microfiber Towel is really the best solution for backpacking.

Travel Pocket Soaps

3. Sea to Summit Travel Soap: The Sea to Summit multipurpose soap leaves are the perfect hygiene travel companion. The individual, Leave-no-Trace-certified strips are great for keeping your hands clean before you eat in that dodgy but delicious restaurant. There are also little strip packs for laundry, shampoo and shaving.

Headphone Spltter

4. Headphone Splitter: Don’t be those awkward people sharing one earbud on the bus, as you show off your in-depth music knowledge to your new friend. A headphone splitter is a great item to bring traveling, it works fantastic on those long bus rides or easy dorm Netflix nights when you want to relax and connect with someone.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds

5. Noise-Cancelling Earbuds: Noise in hostels… is a thing. Your bunkmate coming in late, motorbike traffic just below your window, construction on the property or the round-the-clock rooster that seems to follow you to every f*cking hostel. Having a way to escape the noise while you sleep makes for a well-rested morning. Noise canceling ear-buds are a great solution, just put on your favorite artist or load a quick Netflix episode to fall asleep too.

Travel Pillow

6. TRTL Travel Pillow: Long flights and bus rides are quite uncomfortable (most obvious statement of the day). Most travel pillows… Well, you know how they are. TRTL travel pillow is different. I mean, look at it! It’ll cuddle you to sleep every ride and it does a pretty damn good job of supporting your neck so you don’t get that stiffness or legendary popping when you stir.

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.

Travel Safety Tips for Cologne

And don’t forget Travel Insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

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!

“Find out how YOU can support the site. We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web, for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers [that’s you!]. Please visit the link to find out how you can help keep the site going 🙂

For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support.