Known for a massive array of traditional Irish pubs and a load of stunning architecture – think Georgian buildings and old markets – Cork also packs a punch when it comes to history. Here’s where you’ll find Blarney Castle, along with the famous Blarney Stone!

Ireland’s second city is liberal and cosmopolitan, probably in part to its student population (it’s a university town), but it’s also fun, friendly and traditional.

But are you in town to see the history, or are you just here to tour every single pub that Cork has to offer? Are there even any hostels in Cork – can you stay there affordably?

No worries. We’ve gone chosen the best hostels in Cork – along with a decent selection of top budget hotels in Cork, too – to make life easier for you when you’re trying to find a place to stay.

Now let’s have a look at where to stay in Cork!

Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Cork

Best Hostels in Cork

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Best Hostels in Cork

Bru Bar & Hostel – Best Party Hostel in Cork

Bru Bar & Hostel best hostels in Cork
Bru Bar & Hostel is our pick for Best Party Hostel in Cork

We all know Cork’s a solid place to have a few drinks – it’s literally overrun with a load of great pubs. And this place has exactly one of those great pubs underneath it. Classic pub atmosphere, featuring live music nights, open mic night (get onstage for a free drink), and all that jazz.

Guests at this hostel get decent drinks deals, which is partly the reason it’s the best party hostel in Cork. Upstairs the hostel itself is pretty simple, but modern and comes with a free breakfast to soak up all that alcohol from the night before.

Sheilas Cork Hostel – Best Cheap Hostel in Cork

Sheilas Cork Hostel best hostels in Cork
Sheilas Cork Hostel is our pick for best cheap hostel in Cork

Cheap and cheerful, Sheilas Cork Hostel is a great place to stay if you just need somewhere to sleep for the night. Yep, it’s pretty unspectacular but it’s the best cheap hostel in Cork: it’s got everything you need and the staff are super friendly, which is a plus.

With loads of pubs, bars, shops, cafes, all that good stuff, right on the doorstep, staying at this place means you get to experience what this city has to offer. Communal kitchen helps when you need to heat up a tin of baked beans and stick a bit of toast to keep costs down.

Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
Aether Backpack

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

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

View on Osprey View on REI

Kinlay House Cork – Best Overall Hostel in Cork

Kinlay House Cork best hostels in Cork
Kinlay House Cork is our pick for best overall hostel in Cork

This top hostel in Cork is nestled literally right under the Shandon Bells, meaning you’re smack bang in the lively Shandon Quarter. How’s that for location? But it’s not just where it is that makes this best overall hostel in Cork.

Nope. It’s also a super friendly place with comfy common rooms (feat. soft sofas) and a decent shared kitchen – plus all facilities are cleaned and well maintained. And that’s all for a pretty dang reasonable price. Not chic, but definitely homely.

Best Budget Hotels In Cork

If a hostel isn’t your thing, then you’re in for a treat: there are a load of budget hotels in Cork that still allow you stay in this fun Irish city and stay in your budget. From guesthouses with shared bathrooms all the way to old mansions with room options from budget to all-out ridiculous, here’s what’s on offer in Cork…

Belvedere Lodge

Belvedere Lodge best hostels in Cork
Belvedere Lodge

Boutique in style, this is one of the coolest budget hotels in Cork. Definitely a bit of a step up from a hostel (that’s putting it lightly), here you get to stay in an old Georgian building – it’s all high ceilings and rose gardens, and we love it.

Do you like breakfast? So do we. And you’ll love this one: it’s huge and extremely delicious. Elsewhere at this budget hotel in Cork, the rooms are spacious, and it’s located just a lil’ bit outta the city centre. But that just means a bit of peace and quiet, right?

Shandon Bells Guesthouse

Shandon Bells Guesthouse best hostels in Cork
Shandon Bells Guesthouse

Want a bit of Irish charm? This budget Cork hotel is a great place to get it. At the reception desk you’ll get a warm welcome, and if you have any problems or requests they’ll be more than happy to sort it all out for you.

This place is on the banks of the River Lee and close to the University College Cork, the city’s a 5 min walk from here, which is decent if you don’t need to be right in the middle of town.

Hostel Vienna Woods

Hostel Vienna Woods best hostels in Cork
Hostel Vienna Woods

Hang on, weren’t we in Cork? Well, this place is actually located a little far outta the centre of the city, but it’s definitely not Vienna. It’s quite an upmarket option, with room options from basic twin all the way up to a lavish villa. Seriously.

But the staff at this budget hotel in Cork know how to do comfort – nothing’s too much trouble for ’em. And they all work hard to make what is essentially an 18th-century mansion feel welcoming. Not exactly a budget hostel in Cork, but still pretty cool.

Great National Commons Hotel

Great National Commons Hotel best hostels in Cork
Great National Commons Hotel

This place is definitely central, and it’s surprisingly affordable for a budget hotel in Cork. The rooms are BIG and all calm colours and that. Not wild but a more ‘traditional’ sorta hotel feel.

It’s a nice place, what can we say? The staff are very friendly – and for extra convenience, there’s a bus stop right outside so you can literally jump on the bus and ride anywhere you like. Some room options feature free breakfast also. Tasty.

Killarney Guest House

Killarney Guest House best hostels in Cork
Killarney Guest House

This is a family run guest house and the owner greets you with something pretty amazing: freshly baked biscuits. I mean, WHAT? Amazing. There are a loada different sized rooms here, single, double, twin, all that, so you can find something that fits your budget the best.

Close to the city centre and with a bus stop nearby, getting around from this budget hotel in Cork is pretty easy. It looks like a classic guesthouse, chintzy and kitsch, big old building, but there’s also a hostel-style shared lounge. Oh, and did we mention the biscuits?

Acton Lodge Guesthouse

Acton Lodge Guesthouse best hostels in Cork
Acton Lodge Guesthouse

This is a B&B, which means one thing mainly (or two things) – a bed and some tasty breakfast. The rooms themselves are pretty comfy and spacious and there’s a shared kitchen, which at least gives this place the touch of a Cork backpackers hostel about it.

With friendly and welcoming owners, you’ll get suggestions and recommendations on where to eat and where to see live music around the area – especially good if you’re into that sorta thing. It is a lil’ pricey, however.

Creedons Traditional B&B Cork

Creedons Traditional Irish Welcome Inn BandB best hostels in Cork
Creedons Traditional Irish Welcome Inn BandB

This is a nice, traditional, hearty place set right in the historical centre of Cork. If you like charm, you’ll love it here. The owner greets guests with a warm Irish welcome and tells you all the tasty places you can eat (and drink) within walking distance of his place.

Plus point: there’s a pub downstairs. That means plenty of decent atmosphere in the evening, and you don’t have to go wandering around the streets looking for a place to drink. And if you were missing hostels at all, this budget hotel in Cork has shared bathrooms and a communal lounge.

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!

What to Pack for your Cork 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 Cork

So there you have it – the best hostels in Cork!

Whilst there aren’t that many top hostels in Cork to choose from, the ones on offer are definitely solid budget options.

We included a wide range of budget hotels in Cork, to help you stay somewhere affordable when you fancy exploring this friendly and historic city.

From basic guesthouses, traditional B&Bs, all the way to out of town mansions where you can splurge a bit of cash (if you fancy it), one thing is always the same: Irish hospitality.

You’ll be charmed from the moment you arrive!

But if you can’t make a decision about where to stay in Cork don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

Just go for our choice for the best overall hostel in Cork, Kinlay House Cork.

Kinlay House Cork best hostels in Cork

Don’t forget to kiss the stone!

FAQ about Hostels in Cork

Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Cork.

How much does a hostel cost in Cork?

Depending on the location and type of room, on average, the price starts at $20 – $37+ per night.

What are the best hostels in Cork for couples?

Located near the old town, Destiny Student – Broga House Cork is an ideal hostel for couples in Cork. Its private rooms are clean and cozy.

What are the best hostels in Cork near the airport?

The airport is quite far from the city center, so it is better to find the best place in a great location. I recommend Destiny Student – Broga House Cork, close to the city center and just a 17-minute drive from the airport.

Travel Safety Tips for Cork

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 Ireland and Europe

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

Planning an epic trip all across Ireland 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 Cork 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 Cork and Ireland?