I’ve been coming to Wales for as long as I remember. So it was a natural progression for me to make sure I saw every corner of this magical country with my backpack in tow.

I’ve been lucky to stay in hostels across the Welsh country. And although they’re not like hostels you’ll see in most places, Welsh hostels (like most Welsh things) have their own particular charm.

This old country has endured – against the odds – to maintain an adoring culture. The Land of Song, a nod to its rhythmic ancient language, proves that there is so much more to the UK than initially meets the llygad (eye).

As you travel from Cardiff to Llandudno in the north, you’ll discover 1,680 miles of rugged coast that cage the wilds of Snowdonia. They’re also home to alluring, immersive, lovely coastal towns. Head inwards to see ancient castles and a life that’s deeply connected to the centuries passed.

Throughout, like a trusted friend, the best hostels in Wales can be found. But you won’t find big, bustling assortments of dorms and beer-soaked lounges; things are different here.

Like the towns themselves, the Welsh hostels set the peaceful scene to recuperate for another day of wondrous adventure.

Man stood facing away under an umbrella in the rain at the top of a medieval castle turret
Prepare for all weathers!
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

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Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in Wales

Best Hostels in Wales

As you’ll see, hostels in the UK are few and far between. But the most memorable Wales hostels are much like the country itself: friendly, scenic, and irrevocably charming. Here are my picks for your Welsh adventure.

Basecamp Wales – Best Overall Hostel in Wales

Basecamp Wales

In the foothills of Snowdonia National Park, Basecamp Wales combines epic scenery with immaculate vibes. Like a cosy backcountry cabin, this hostel welcomes you back after a day of exploration. The colourful communal spaces are just the spot to rest your weary legs. Travellers bounce between the couches, tables, beanbags, and pool table, making it easy to meet other backpackers.

But even after time spent on the Pyg Track or Llanberis Path, there’s still something alluring about the views streaming through the hostel’s lengthy windows. The dramatic vistas are replaced by the clucking of Basecamp’s free-range chickens, woolly sheep, and Snowdonia alpacas.

Green fields rush towards the hills and the balcony is the spot to take it in with an icy North Welsh breeze. You can also step into the gardens and surrounding lush acres to find picnic tables for a shared meal with your fellow hostellers.

With no curfew, there’s no bounds to enjoying the star-lit sky. However, the family-owned and run Wales hostel promotes the vibe of shared enjoyment and burgeoning friendship over a strictly party vibe. Wherever the night leads, it ends under the banner of Snowdonia in your private room. Nearby adventures or relaxing mornings on the misty farmland will have you eager for a good shut-eye sesh but also an early rise.

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • All private rooms
  • Laundry service
  • 24-hr facilities

A big part of the reason I loved staying at Basecamp, was the all-private rooms. These come with a mix of options from single beds to multiple bunks. As folks will come and go in their own groups, you won’t have to worry about disturbing others or being disturbed during your hard-earned rest.

Meeting fellow travellers in the dorms can lead to unexpected, hilarious conversions and last-minute itinerary changes. However, often this led to more social energy and community spirit when everyone gathered in the kitchen and lounge spaces.

Basecamp encapsulates the fun of travelling through the UK, especially its famed Snowdonia National Park. Encased in bright green farmland and a singular trickling stream, the hostel’s resident animals feel right at home. Thought, yes, they do become an alarm clock.

However, with the Basecamp facilities open 24/7 you won’t need to sneak around if you have somewhere to be and a 5 am wake up. In the airy communal areas, the morning sun bounces over the mountains into your living space.

Here, you can gorge on your own culinary creations after a visit to the full-kitchen home to multiple ovens, stoves, and microwaves. You’ll find everything you need for each meal or to make your lunch before your day’s adventure. After a day of trekking through that classic Welsh landscape, gather up the dirty clothes and make use of Basecamp’s laundry service.

YHA Conwy – Most Affordable Hostel in Wales

YHA Conwy wales

Just outside the ancient fortress walls of Conwy Town, YHA Conwy is one of the most affordable hostels in Wales for budget travellers. Its value becomes even more pronounced once you uncover the hostel’s views and the town’s history that lies at your fingertips.

With the impeccable mountains of Snowdonia covering the horizon, there’s already an air of elegance to this hostel stay. But when you stand at the windows and peer out to Conwy’s 13th-century castle, you might start to wonder how a hostel got one of the best spots in town.

Like most YHA hostels, you can expect modern amenities that lead to great shared spaces for backpackers. With so much to do within minutes of YHA Conwy, the evening meal or the game of billiards quickly takes second place to the spread of travelling wisdom and conversation. This ranges from stories of hikers taking their first steps to the thrill of the world’s fastest zipline in the neighbouring, beautiful village of Betws-y-Coed to the picnic in Bodnant Gardens.

With the day’s exploits merely the icebreaker, attention soon turns to the hostel’s smorgasbord of games, as the sunsets and the first stars appear above the castle’s bastions. You can forego another night of instant noodles with a visit to the hostel’s onsite restaurant. With its own bar, you won’t have to go far to toast to the day. But if you do, the Old Town of Conwy is a brief 10-minute walk away.

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Expert staff
  • Close to everything

Hostels in Wales don’t always fall at the cheap end of the scale, especially in their more beloved regions. For a single bed in an all-male or female dorm, you get great access to the best of Conwy and beyond without reaching deep into your pockets.

The bunks are certainly basic and you won’t have your own curtain to create the “pod” experience. You will though, find a reading light and outlets. Plus the amount of bunks is limited so it won’t feel like you’re trying to sleep on a subway at rush hour. Private rooms (some with en-suites) and outside bell tents (I know right? How fancy!) mean this YHA isn’t just for shoe-string travellers.

Come the morning, the kitchen is well-equipped. But you can switch it up with an unlimited buffet breakfast that’s really worth what you pay. The option for both comes in handy.

Conwy may feel historic and often rainy. However, the days are certainly busy. To help you plan, I found the local staff great for seeing more than just the classics.

You’ll quickly discover that Conwy for all its 13th-century elegance can be a place of 21st-century dirtbag fun. When you’re ready to move on, Conwy Train Station is a hop, skip, and jump away.

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YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass – Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Wales

YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass

From afar, you can easily mistake the YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass hostel for a mountain cottage – one that attracts adventurous solo travellers to the UK. Switch the cottage for a happening hostel and you’d be spot on.

As you approach the entrance, the assortment of monstrous boulders rises in the background. They head up into the mountains where Wales’s tallest mountain stands.

The likes of George Mallory have made this former encampment, Gorphwysfa Hotel, a base for their epic Snowdonia adventures. It’s a tradition undaunted backpackers continue to this day. The communal areas are filled with sound waves of nervous excitement, celebration, and relief for escaping the region’s prickly weather.

For solo travellers, it’s the perfect spot to interact with like-minded souls. An appreciation for the mountains is the only thing you need on your CV to chat with folks from around the globe.

Just like the classic mountaineer’s inn of old, the revamped interior maintains the alpine vibes. Fireplaces, couches, and hearty breakfasts keep you warm, relaxed, and fed.

From your doorstep, you can plan your hike to the Welsh summit but also to the northwest to find Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr. The friendly staff will help pick out the perfect adventure for you.

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Mix of private and shared rooms
  • Amazing views
  • Onsite bar & restaurant

There is something inherently exciting about stepping into Pen-Y-Pass that makes it one of the best hostels in Wales. The whimsical conversation has an air of musicality. The views are spectacular and the lingering thoughts of what’s to come are enough to make your hair stand straight.

That’s all by the time you get to the reception desk. Once you’ve gotten to your dorm, you’ll soon uncover this hostel’s other side: it’s a remote alcove, a home, and a sense of structure removed from the whims and power of Snowdonia. As much as I love the sense of community spirit here, the bed was the place to switch off and take a breather.

Outside the dorm (which is essentially the same as other YHA’s in Wales) you’ll see the history of the building splashed across the walls. That’s enough to inspire you with the staff waiting with advice, a map, and a left-field suggestion.

Beyond the shared kitchen, there is also a restaurant and a full bar. The former provides a hearty mountaineer’s breakfast and dinners for guests.

The Riverhouse – Great Dorm for Couples in Wales

The Riverhouse

Part hostel, part bed and breakfast, The Riverhouse in Cardiff is the perfect Wales hostel for couples. This quaint, family-run hostel will help change things up. To me, hostels should always have a unique aspect from the YHA chains to the everyday backpacker spot. A brother and sister duo head up The Riverhouse creating a place that instantly feels like home.

The Riverhouse is the perfect base to stay in Cardiff. From your snug home away from home, you’re just steps from the River Taff and the city’s gorgeous collection of historic homes, museums, Roath Park Lake, and some classic Welsh hospitality. To go beyond, you’re just 5 minutes from buses and trains.

As you walk in, you might feel the soft feline hairs of the resident cat. From check-in to check-out you’ll certainly notice the familial vibe from the owners, who want to make every stay memorable. This starts with the epic breakfast that will fuel you up each morning.

For couples, the quiet setting adds a small layer of romance that would otherwise be impossible at other hostels. On top of that, some of the small 3 to 5-person dorms have double beds. However, it’s the private enclaves that help bring a splash of the hotel life to your dual backpacking adventure.

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Small and personal
  • Hostel – but more like home
  • Great location

As you step outside your room, the beautiful, clean, and modern hostel provides every semblance of home. So all those staying feel like one big happy family for the night.

With all the fun, you’ll always feel comfortable coming back to The Riverhouse. For being one of the best hostels in Cardiff you won’t have to fork out big bucks; nor will you have to share too much of your space with fellow travellers. If you require a break from that type of hostel life, you’ll find a welcome respite here.

Not only will the owners make you feel right at home. But they love their city and will help you see the best of it.

Sometimes, us backpackers just need a day to stay put and rest (this is me as I write this!). So as you try to figure out how to see all the best in Cardiff, kick back on the couch and peruse the hostel’s Netflix, Prime, and Disney+.

James John Hamilton House – Best Hostel for Large Groups in Wales

James John Hamilton House and backpacker hostel

There’s something reverent about the name James John Hamilton House. Like a scene out of Bridgerton, this former schoolhouse is a glimpse at a former era. It’s a sight few hostel aficionados would be used to, but it’s certainly a place you’ll get comfortable with quickly!

In Fishguard, this hostel lies close to one of the most beautiful places in the UK on the coastline of Pembrokeshire. In fact, the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path snakes right in front of the house. It marks the beginning of any adventure through Fishguard and beyond, with the town just a stone’s throw away.

The old-school vibes provide the James John Hamilton House with an air of relaxation. You can hear the sounds of soft conversation and there’s a chance to get to know folks away from the usual rowdy communal areas.

Yep, this certainly isn’t a party hostel. Like The Riverhouse, there’s a sense of home here. This extends to the staff who guide you from Strumble Head to the Rose & Crown.

Those travelling groups, along with friends or families looking to travel together will love this space. The adjacent four-bed house has an assortment of bunks, singles, and doubles so the whole crew can gather as one. In addition, the kitchen and bathrooms essentially create a private compound: a coastal getaway on the West Coast.

Why you’ll love this hostel:

  • Great staff
  • Utterly cosy
  • A different hostel experience

If you haven’t noticed yet, the James John Hamilton House is a hostel with a twist. It’s got everything you need from the self-catering facilities to the sunlit living room. But the soft creaking of the wooden floors and the antique furniture provide the hostel with a different look altogether.

A day exploring the West Coast and the magical town of Fishguard ends on the reclining chair under the soft blanket. The scent from the BBQ floats in from the outside terrace and your eyes drift up to spot the exposed beams, the eclectic throw pillows, and the warm light that bounces off the walls. So you wonder, whether in some other realm, you were in fact an 18th-century lord.

The hearty BBQ dinner goes down a treat as you straddle the glass of wine. You forget the chaos you caused on the streets of Cardiff just days prior. Soon the attention turns to the board games, the TV, and the surprising strength of the Wi-Fi (when you know good hostels for digital nomads, you know!).

In the morning, have a chat with the staff to see just what adventure you can get up to. Kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, and surfing are just some of the fun they can help arrange.

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Other Hostels in Wales

I must admit, picking just 5 hostels in Wales was tricky. So don’t rule out these other great options for hostels in Wales – they’re still some of my absolute favourites.

Cwtsh Hostel

Cwtsh Hostel

This trend-setting hostel in Swansea epitomizes modern hostel life. Forget the dinky metal bunk beds – you know the kind, the beds that groan through the night and squeak like alarms when you get out of them? The pod-like layout of Cwtsh Hostel dorms gives you a sense of privacy and personal space.

Rather than trying to fit into a niche, Cwtsh is a home for all kinds of travellers. The quiet, the social, and the remote worker with their hands clamped on their Macbook Air.

Socialise, or don’t. Enjoy great Wi-Fi to catch up on the world, complete a deadline, or scroll through the best things to do in Swansea.

When it comes time to explore, you’ll find yourself close to the Swansea Castle Gardens, the happening waterfront, and the Maritime Quarter. Depart on foot, or save the steps for later as you venture around Swansea on an electric bike. As you continue to fall in love with Wales hostels, you can take your relationship to the next level with some bendigedig (fabulous) Welsh classes.

YHA Brecon Beacons

YHA Brecon Beacons

The farmhouse that houses this homely hostel matches the character of its surroundings. The architecture tells the stories of a 19th-century way of life, while its charm is the equal of nearby country towns like Abergavenny and Crickhowell.

South Wales’s answer to Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacons is one of the best national parks in the UK. This mountainous enclave is marked by great hiking, cycling, kayaking, and eye-catching woodlands. A fantastic way to access this swath of epic Welsh landscape is to check in to YHA Brecon Beacons.

The sense of country community is infused in the hostel. Guests can enjoy home-cooked meals from the staff and share tales over a pint of ale from the nearby Brecon Brewery.

The shared kitchen is there if you’re in a rush. And those with nowhere to be can kick back in the gardens with the summer Welsh sun warming those weary travelling bones. You’ll find male and female dorms alongside private bunk rooms, perfect for those travelling in groups of 3 to 6.

Llandudno Hostel

Llandudno Hostel

I must admit, I have a soft spot for Llandudno. This popular British seaside destination has been well on trend, and the fact that Llandudno Hostel is the best hostel in Llandudno makes it a fan favourite. As far as Wales hostels go, you still find that sense of home, Welsh hospitality, elegant decor, and colourful facades are what make Llandudno Hostel another memorable stay.

You’ll find all they need for an easy stay here. Breakfast can be packed to go for an early morning trek. There are private rooms, dorms, and spacious communal areas.

The rooms are simple with throwback wooden bunks, while you’ll find your grandma’s old leather couches in the living area. But it’s down to earth, comfortable, and in a stellar location.

Just a block from Llandudno’s main street, this hostel places you right in the heart of the north coast town. Here, you’ll have a mix of early-morning bakeries and cafes.

You have to take some time to hang out on Llandudno pier. Then there are parks and hikes for the afternoon and the likes of Conwy and Snowdon are just beyond.

What To Pack For Your Wales 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 my definitive hostel packing list for even more top hostel packing tips!

FAQs Section

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I receive about hostels in Wales. If you have any questions of your own, drop them in the comments below.

How much do hostels in Wales cost?

The Wales hostels range from $15 USD for a dorm bed to $80 USD per night for private rooms. Unlike other places in Europe, you’re not flooded with hostel options. So what you will find can sometimes be a little pricey. It pays to plan ahead when you can!

What are the best hostels in Wales for couples?

The Riverhouse is the perfect holiday for couples who would like to stay in a quiet comfortable space. It feels more like a home than a hostel and the private rooms are so cosy.

What is the best hostel in Wales near the airport?

The nearest hostel to Cardiff Airport is The Riverhouse which is roughly around 13km. Though international flights may be more convenient from Manchester Airport. In that case,

Travel Safety Tips for Wales

There’s nothing like being prepared. So when you’re getting ready for your trip, make sure you have good travel insurance for hostels.

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.

Over to You

Knowing that hostels in Wales are ready to catch me – whatever the weather – is one of the most comforting feelings in the world. Bouncing around from hostel to hostel as I explore Wales is an enormous part of my experience in the Land of Song.

Wales hostels are different than what I’ve found elsewhere. They’re simple places that help you realise and draw you away from the stressful complexities of life. They are immersed in the towns, the countryside, and the landscapes placing you right where you need to be.

Places like Basecamp Wales and The Riverhouse allow you to see what Snowdonia and Cardiff are all about. But it’s the hospitality from the staff that you’ll arguably remember most. The hostels here don’t feel like big institutions but a place of a shared passion for travel, culture, and history.

man taking a photo on Llandudno pier at dusk
Llandudno Pier – don’t miss it out.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde
Looking for more info on travelling to Wales and Europe?

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