Scotland remains one of the wildest places in Europe and it’s no surprise that the plucky little nation has been named the most beautiful country in the world. Although the chic cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow offer plentiful art, culture, and great night life, it’s outside of the cities where Scotland truly dazzles. Crystal clear lochs, the tallest mountains in the UK, and endless places to get lost, Scotland really is the ideal place for an adventure.
There’s just one issue with Scotland. Thankfully though there’s a way around that so the budding backpacker need not miss out this incredible country. Hostels in Scotland can help you save money and make friends along the way!
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the best hostels in Scotland. We’ve cast our net across the country, taking in different locations, travel styles, and most importantly – budgets!
Our carefully created list has been researched by expert travel writers. There’s no better guide to the best hostels in Scotland than this extensive list! So, let’s jump in and check it out!
Quick Answer: What are the Best Hostels in Scotland?
- The Best Hostels in Edinburgh
- The Best Hostels in Glasgow
- The Best Hostels in Stirling
- The Best Hostels in Isle of Skye
- The Best Hostels in Fort William
- The Best Hostels in Loch Ness
- The Best Hostels in Oban
The Top Hostels in Scotland
Ok lets down to the details of your stay in Scotland. In our first section, we’ll take a look at the absolute best hostels in Scotland. You won’t find anywhere better than these places – in fact, they’re worth making the trip to Scotland for alone! They’re good value, yes, but these all offer something that you wouldn’t get in a normal hostel. So, let’s check them out!
The Overall Best Hostel in Scotland – Skyewalker Hostel – Skye
- Chill out glass domes
- Surrounded by natural beauty
- Jedi Huts
Let’s kick off our list of the best hostels in Scotland with one of the most unique hostels not only in the UK, but the entire world. Skye has “dark skies status“, meaning astronomers and stargazers will be delighted with this island on the west coast of Scotland. The hostels highlight is the chill-out glass dorm, where you can meet and chat with other travellers while staring up at the constellations above! The only downside is that it can be quite tricky to get to and it’s best to have a car.
But it’ll be worth an arduous journey to stay at this award-winning Scottish hostel!
Best Cheap Hostel in Scotland – Castle Rock Hostel – Edinburgh
- Incredible location
- Choice of lounges
- Pool Table
- Loads of awards!
Backpackers in Scotland are likely to have Edinburgh as their first port of call. If that’s the case, then look no further than Edinburgh Castle Rock Hostel! The capital can be an expensive place to stay, but with dorms starting from as little as £10, you’ll have all the more money to spend on haggis and whisky! You won’t find a better location than this in town either – Grassmarket, Edinburgh Castle, and the Royal Mile are all within five minutes on foot. Not that you’ll be desperate to explore though – the hostel itself is a great place to be. There are multiple lounges to relax in and a pool table where you can challenge your new pals!
Best Party Hostel in Scotland – Kick Ass Grassmarket – Edinburgh
- Pub Crawl
- Daily Events
- Weekly movie night
For a top Scottish party hostel, it’ll mean another night in Edinburgh. Kick Ass Grassmarket is located in Grassmarket, one of the best nightlife destinations in Scotland! You won’t even need to leave the hostel to get drink though – there’s a bar on-site with daily events – perfect for solo travellers hoping to make new friends to explore the city with. The bar also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner – so you’ll be able to get a tasty meal to soak up that hangover!
Our first stop in Scotland is the capital city of Edinburgh. There is a lot to see and do in Edinburgh. Known for its castle, the Fringe Comedy Festival, and its charming Old Town, it’s the most popular destination in Scotland. It’s a great place to stay for first time Scotland visitors as it offers a gateway to the rest of the country. Edinburgh has a popular hostel scene, so there are plenty of places to choose from depending on your budget and travel style. But rest assured you’ll never be far from a pint!
The best location in Edinburgh
- On Scotland’s most famous street!
- Cosy lounge with fire
- Free Thursday pub crawl
- Award winner
If you are backpacking in Edinburgh then do consider this one. The Royal Mile is the most popular street in Edinburgh, so it makes kinda sense for virgins to stay nearby. And of course it means you won’t have to get taxis back from all the pubs and bars right on your doorstep! However, in case you’re tired from site seeing and would prefer a night-in, then this award-winning hostel offers a cosy lounge with a fire.
For those visiting Edinburgh on a budget
- Pool Table
- Free Hot Drinks
- Bike Hire available
- 24 hour reception
Now Edinburgh may be an expensive place to travel, but this hostel is a great way to keep your costs down. Rest assured though that you won’t be compromising on quality and things to do for that low price! There are plenty of freebies at the High Street Hostel including hot drinks, Wi-Fi, city maps, and more. It’s also got the obligatory pub crawls and social events that you’ll find in most sociable Edinburgh hostels. This one also has a jobs board, which is great for those planning to relocate to the Scottish capital (which may become more complicated in Post Brexit Britain)!
A legendary party hostel in Scotland
- Bar Crawls
- Free Walking Tours
- Incredible location
- Reliable chain
This famous chain has a reputation for great quality and being lively, and backpackers in Scotland will be delighted to have two choices of St Christopher’s Inns in Edinburgh. They are both top Edinburgh hostels We’ve gone for the one in the Old Town as it’s near to Belushi’s Bar, a great place to enjoy a few drinks with new friends. It’s also where hostel events take place. You’re right opposite Waverley Station, which is great for day trips out of the capital or onward journeys to other destinations on our list.
The most populated city in Scotland and one of the largest in the UK, Glasgow has a long-running rivalry with the capital Edinburgh. Music lovers should definitely make sure Glasgow is on their Scotland itinerary as the scene here is incredible. It’s also famous for the architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the famous Celtic Rangers football rivalry! The hostel scene is surprisingly quiet for a city famed for its legendary nightlife!
A very well-rounded and easy hostel in Glasgow
- Television Room
- Luggage storage
- Pool Table
- Park Views
The reviews make this one of the best hostels in Glasgow so this Victorian townhouse is a great base to explore Scotland’s second city from! It suits all kinds of travellers and budgets – for solo travellers on a budget you can stay in a dorm, while those who are in need of some peace can enjoy the comforts of a private room. To meet other travellers, head to the television room, or make friends over a game of pool. If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, nearby Kelvingrove Park is perfect for a stroll!
Very peaceful and a great price
- Chillout area
- Outdoor seating
- Free parking
- In a peaceful neighbourhood
Looking for things to do in Glasgow? Looking for a cheap hostel in Scotland? Well come on in Glasgow’s Alba Hostel offers one of the best bed prices around. It’s not a wild party hostel, this is more the sort of place if you fancy a peaceful stay. You’ll still be able to meet other travellers though – there’s a large lounge and chill-out area, and if the weather’s really good, you can take advantage of outdoor seating. Those who are travelling by their own car will be pleased to know that there’s free parking here too!
In the middle of the action
- Central Location
- Meals and drinks promos
- Foosball table
- Quiet Rooms
Euro Hostel Glasgow ticks all the boxes of a top place to stay while being kind to your wallet. Want to keep your costs down? The location means you won’t have to pay for taxis to and from the city’s legendary music scene as most venues are in a walking distance (but bring a rain jacket). However, you don’t even need to travel that far to get some vibes as the bar downstairs is lively and boasts a foosball table. Rooms are on the upper floors so you won’t hear lots of noise you’ll still get a good night’s sleep.
Midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, the small and charming historic city of Scotland is well worth a visit. It’s well-known to history buffs, as this is where William Wallace defeated the English. Freedom! The city skyline is dominated by a hilltop castle similar to Edinburgh’s but with less visitors. With lots of natural beauty on the doorstep, it’s a great place for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts to base themselves. In this section, we’ve included two central hostels and one in the nearby village of Callander.
Farther away but worth the drive
- Well stocked kitchen
- Spacious Lounge
- Views of Ben Ledi
Callander is 45 minutes from Stirling by public transport or half an hour by car. And while that may seem inconvenient at first, you’ll see why we picked this place when you arrive! With easy access to the Trossachs, this Scottish hostel is perfect for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts. You don’t even need to leave the hostel to appreciate the natural beauty – the views of Ben Ledi from the lounge are jaw-dropping!
Great location in an old church
- Great location
- Well-equipped kitchen
- Two large lounges
- Meeting rooms
Now, if you’re just planning on visiting Stirling and not the surrounding area (why not?!) you’ll want somewhere in the centre. So, check out the city’s youth hostel. This budget hostel is in the grounds of a pretty impressive church. The large lounges are a cool place to hang out and make friends, while you can keep your costs down by preparing a meal in the well-equipped kitchen. Business traveller? This place offers meeting rooms too!
One of the most beloved hostels in Scotland
- Large sitting room
- Free tea and coffee
- In the city centre
- Friendly staff
With a reputation as one of the best hostels in Scotland, Willy Wallace is a haven for backpackers in Stirling! Named after the city’s most famous son, it boasts a city-centre location that makes it easy to reach both the Castle and the Train Station. After a long day of exploring, come back to free tea and coffee that you can enjoy in the big and comfy sitting room. For something more substantial, whip up a tasty meal in the fully equipped kitchen!
You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
The picturesque Isle of Skye is one of the most popular destinations in Scotland. Especially during summer! Medieval castles dot the rugged landscapes, with mythical places like the Fairy Pools and the Cuillins hidden among all that. It’s an incredible location for outdoor enthusiasts – whether that’s walkers, bikers, climbers, or kayakers and it’s where you’ll find some of the most stunning lodges in Scotland. Hostels are scattered across the island and it’s best to have a car to explore the island by yourself. Just make sure you book your Skye hostel with plenty of notice as they can get booked up pretty quickly!
Where to begin your outdoor adventures
- Sociable kitchen and lounge
- Pool table
- Mountaineering advice
- Stunning bay view
The Isle of Skye is home to some of the best hostels in Scotland – we already mentioned the unique Skyewalker Hostel. Skye Basecamp is in Broadford which one of the first villages you’ll come to after crossing the Skye Bridge. It’s a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to base themselves as the hostel is run by Skye Guides – a mountain guiding company. They’ll be able to give you helpful advice on how to enjoy the best island activities safely!
- Wood Burning Stove
- Book Exchange
- Bay Views
Possibly the most luxurious youth hostel in Scotland on our list, The Cowshed is worth splashing out a little extra for (although it must be said the prices are the norm for Skye). Right up in the northeast of the island, it’s worth travelling that extra bit for the gorgeous views of Uig Bay! Rooms are cosy and beautifully designed, and one of the best ways to spend an evening is to curl up with something from the book exchange in front of the wood-burning stove!
For those who want to unplug
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Mountain views
- Near Fairy Pools
- Board Games
Most people come to Skye to disconnect and get away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. You can well and truly do that here as there’s no Wi-Fi or mobile signal at one of Skye’s great hostels.
To some of you Digital Nomads and Insta addicts, that may sound like a nightmare, but it means you can get to know new people without any distractions in the living room over a board game – the way old fashioned travelers did! Some of the top attractions on the island are within a stone’s throw too, including the Fairy Pools and Talisker Distillery. The location at the foot of the Cuillin Ridge means it’s great for walking and wildlife spotting!
Fort William is known as The UK’s outdoor capital. It’s the gateway to the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis which stands at over 1,300 metres! If you don’t have a head for heights, there are plenty of other activities, including rafting, kayaking, walking, and mountain biking. There’s even. bit of skiing in Winter. Because the area around Fort William is so beautiful and appealing, we’ve got a mix of properties in the city and the country!
Amazing views right outside
- Ideal base for walkers
- Beautiful views
- Not accessible by car
Is this the most remote youth hostel in Scotland? We’re not sure, but we can safely say it offers one of the best views! The Loch Ossian Youth Hostel is the perfect wild escape. There’s no road here, and you can only access it by walking or getting the train. All of this may seem terribly inconvenient, but when you arrive and are able to switch off from the world, it’ll all make sense. Use this eco-friendly hostel as a base to explore the stunning Rannoch Moor, but make sure you take a map!
An affordable way to stay in the Scottish Highlands
- Several common areas
- Open fire
- Hostel guitar!
- Books and games
Fort William is one of the many gateways to the Highlands and it can be expensive. However, this charming youth hostel means that you won’t be breaking the bank by staying in the town so you’ll have more money to spend on awesome outdoor adventures. Find someone to buddy up with and climb, cycle, or kayak with in one of the many hostel common areas. You could even pick up the guitar and start a singing session with everyone!
For those who want to climb the highest mountain in the UK
- Outdoor deck
- Spectacular mountain views
- Log-burning stove
- Like a hotel!
A little closer to Fort William than Loch Ossian, this is the best hostel in Fort William if you want to climb Ben Nevis as it’s right at the foot of the mountain! Start the day with a cooked or continental breakfast (for an additional fee) and it’ll see you right to the top of the mountain! Then, when you’ve conquered the mighty mountain, come back to relax on the deck with a local beer or a glass of wine. The comfy beds and log-burning stove will feel more like a hotel than a hostel!
There’s one reason above all else people visit Loch Ness and that’s to find the mysterious monster. No-one has managed it yet, so if you fancy your chances of being the first to get concrete proof, good luck. You’ll need it.
Second, check out the hostels in the area. They’re pretty traditional Scottish affairs, so you can expect warm hospitality and a wee dram of whisky! Loch Ness also boasts some great walks and some gorgeous castles in the area. We don’t recommend swimming in Loch Ness – it’s actually pretty dangerous!
A converted farmhouse between two quintessential Scottish destinations
- Well-stocked bar
- Guest kitchen
- Wood-burning stove
- 18th century farm
Backpackers in Scotland are sure to have Loch Ness on their itinerary. This cool hostel is in the village of Drumnadrochit – perfectly located for visiting the famous loch and Urquhart Castle too! The farmhouse dates back to the 18th century, but it’s been modernised to ensure that you have a comfortable stay and a good night’s sleep. Dogs are welcome at this friendly hostel, but make sure you let the owners know in advance!
For lake views and the chance to see Nessy
- Loch views
- Table Tennis
- BBQ facilities
- Board games and books
If you’re hoping to spot the Loch Ness monster, there’s nowhere better to try (and fail) than here. You’ve got a constant view of the lake at this Scottish hostel. You can even go one better by taking a canoe out onto the still waters – don’t worry, the monster won’t eat you as it doesn’t actually exist. Just make sure you don’t fall in – it’s mighty cold even in summer!
For those who prefer their outdoor activities on land, this is right by the Great Glen Way, so you’re sure to love the hiking here. After a busy day, come back for board games and books to chill out at the end of the day!
One of the quietest hostels at Loch Ness
- Great for outdoor enthusiasts
- Fully equipped kitchen
- TV lounge
A little further away from Loch Ness, the Great Glen Hostel is 10km south of the famous natural landmark. Might sound like a lot, but it’s worth the distance if you want to take a break from Loch Ness’s crowds – especially in summer! Quiter lochs Lochy and Oich are nearby, where you can enjoy sailing or canoeing, while the Great Glen Way passes by this hostel too. If you’re looking for a really big challenge, take on a munro! There are 59 within 20 miles of this Scottish hostel!
Last but not least on our list is Oban. A popular tourist spot on the west coast of Scotland, its ferry port opens up the opportunity to visit a number of islands. The name might seem familiar from a brand of Scottish whisky and there are plenty of distillery tours on offer here. Oban doesn’t have a wide selection of budget accommodation, but the three we’ve chosen are up there with the best hostels in Scotland. They’ve also got a rating above 9 on Hostelworld which is special indeed.
For those who want to go to the beach with their canine friends
- By the sea
- Incredible views
- Accredited by VisitScotland
Competition to be the best hostel in Oban is fierce, and we honestly can’t decide between the three here. The good news is – they’re all pretty great! Oban Youth Hostel is right on the coast and offers sea views so it’s off to a good start. The hostel offers private rooms for up to five guests so this is a great place for families or groups of friends who don’t want to share their own private space with strangers! What’s that? You have a dog? No problem, you’ll be able to bring your pooch with you!
One of the best backpacker breakfasts in Scotland
- Free breakfast
- Cool communal areas
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Pool table and foosball
There aren’t many hostels in Scotland that offer free breakfast – that’s more the remit of a hotel. However, Backpackers Plus gives you just that, so you’ve got a little extra in your pocket to enjoy activities in and around Oban! Not only that, but you can enjoy complimentary tea and coffee all day too. When you’re not eating or drinking, there are plenty of fun things to do too. Challenge a new friend to a game on the pool table or foosball. Or, if you’re feeling like some me-time, grab something from the book exchange and put your feet up!
A complete package
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Free tea and coffee
- Hair dryers and straighteners
- One of Scotland’s top hostels
It’s been a long ride and there’s just one more of the best hostels in Scotland to show you! Oban Backpackers Breakfast is available here for the cheap price of £2 – you’ll hardly notice that missing from your pocket! In the evening, relax by the fire or have a game of pool. All the while enjoying as much free tea, coffee, and hot chocolate as you can drink! If you’re planning to dance the night away in Oban, you can make sure you look good before heading out by taking advantage of hairdryers and straighteners that you can use at no extra cost!
Before You Book Your Hostel in Scotland
There are just a few more things that you should know before you book your hostel in Scotland. The most important is that you’ve got the best travel insurance possible! So, check out World Nomads to make sure you’re covered for your trip!
Map of Where to Stay in Scotland
What to Pack for Your Scottish Hostel
Here’s some gear our editors take hostelling.
1. TRTL Travel Pillow: Nothing is worse than a sleep-deprived and grumpy backpacker. Do yourself a favour and get some decent rest with this comfortable TRTL travel pillow. The ergonomic design (fancy!) makes it possible to sleep upright, which can be a real struggle with normal neck pillows. Having this cool pillow makes long bus rides or flights way more enjoyable – and who knows, maybe you’ll even be looking forward to it next time. If so, leave those guys a good review.
2. Noise-Cancelling Earbuds: You’ll have some pretty sorry roommates – it happens from time to time. These noise-canceling earbuds help mitigate the damage. The comfortable and ergonomic design won’t hurt your ears while sleeping no matter how long you keep them in. Increase the quality of your sleep by listening to some relaxing music at night or just enjoy the silence.
3. Padlock: Unless the thief literally spends hours to figure out the code (he won’t), this three-digit padlock is going to keep your stuff safe. It’s great for keeping the zipper of your backpack secured or your locker properly closed. This basic and very flexible padlock saves you from having your essentials stolen. Definitely a must-have for every backpacker!
4. 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.
5. Universal Travel Adapter: This universal travel adapter is the best we’ve found. Covering over 150 countries, you’ll always have the right plug charge your phone. You can also charge up to 5 devices simultaneously with the multiple USB ports.
6. 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.
To know what to bring when staying in hostels, check out our Hostel Packing List!
Why You Should Travel to Scotland
So, that concludes our list of the best hostels in Scotland. This beautiful country offers something for everyone. Go kayaking or climbing at Fort William, hunt for monsters at Loch Ness, or dance the night away on Glasgow’s awesome music scene. All of that and more awaits you in Scotland! Hey, if you’re feeling really brave, you could even try a deep-fried Mars Bar!
Staying in Scottish hostels will make your stay more memorable and you’ll have more money for activities. If you can only stay in one hostel during your stay in Scotland, make it Skye Backpackers. That incredible glass dome is perfect for stargazing! However, whichever hostel you choose on this list you’re in for a real treat.
After reading our extensive list, we really do hope that you feel a bit more relaxed about booking your trip to Scotland. Now that we’ve helped you plan your vacation, we best be off. We hope you have a great trip!
Do you own or run a kick-ass hostel? Want to be featured on this list? Get in touch at [email protected]
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Scotland
Shoutout from Will – The OG Broke Backpacker: Have fun on your backpacking adventure, but please do get insurance – take it from someone who has racked up tens of thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before: you need it.
And don’t forget to sort your travel insurance before heading to Scotland! We’ve put together a roundup of the best 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!
Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.