The European chain of family hostels



Europe, it seems, is ground zero for hostels. There are dozens of hostels everywhere and of every caliber you can think of. Some hostels are party hostels, some are cheap and super budget, one in Amsterdam is even the “worst hotel in the world”, some are boutique and some are family friendly. A&O Hostel is an extensive network of family hostels across Europe.

You will be surprised how many ways hostels can be transformed into unique and memorable accommodations in Europe. There’s a jumbo-jet-like hostel in Stockholm, a boutique hostel in Vienna, a 36-bed basement hostel (without windows) in Prague, and a luxury hostel/museum living prison in Ljubljana.

The largest hostel chain in the world

A&O is the largest hostel chain in Europe and according to their website it is the largest hostel chain in the world with over 28,500 beds.

  • The biggest: Chain of hostels around the world
  • Beds: 28,500
  • Where: Through Europe

A&O hostels are always responsibly central – although often not as central as most hostels and party hostels. They were founded in 2000 and are an inexpensive option for backpackers, as well as families and groups traveling on a budget.

A Hotel/Hostel Hybrid

“The innovative combination of hotel and hostel under one roof provides our guests with a wide variety of different room options to suit everyone’s price range.”

A&O Hostels

A&O hostels are normally hostel/hotel hybrids with the best cheaper hotels with some of the opportunities to meet and mingle with other travelers like other hostels. Not only do they attract solo travelers and families, but they also attract associations and school classes.

It is also a forward-looking accommodation chain with sustainability in mind. They plan to become carbon neutral by 2025. Their plan is to be Europe’s first zero-emission chain hotel.

Related: These are Vienna’s best hostel picks for backpackers

Facilities at A&O Hostels

A&O Hostel facilities can vary greatly from location to location. But in general, you can expect a bar on site and sometimes a limited restaurant. There is normally an excellent buffet breakfast – breakfast can be included in the booking or available at an additional cost.

  • Breakfast: Breakfast buffet
  • Laundry: A self-service laundry service
  • Bar: Usually have a bar on site with a limited restaurant

Some A&O hostels have TV rooms, relaxation rooms, working rooms (digital nomads) and even children’s rooms with toys for the whole family to relax and unwind.

A&O hostels offer a selection of accommodation options, including private rooms with private bathrooms, dorms for single travelers, dorms for groups, and family-friendly accommodations.

Prices vary greatly from season to season and city to city, but they strive to keep their accommodation affordable for everyone. Using the A&O Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland, here are some of their prices on

  • Dormitories: From around $25.00 (10 bed dorm)
  • Standard Twin Room With Private Suite: From $125.00
  • Standard 6 bed en-suite: From $225.00

Related: 10 tips for staying in hostels that will help you survive your trip

A&O Locations in Europe

They focus on providing affordable housing in central locations in major European centres. They can be found in many of Europe’s top destinations, with a particular focus on Germany and Austria.

Their locations include Aachen, Amsterdam, Berlin, Bremen, Budapest, Dortmund, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Graz, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremberg, Prague, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Stuttgart, Venice, Warsaw , Weimar and Edinburgh.

  • Countries: Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Hungary, Denmark, Czech Republic, Italy, Scotland
  • Greater concentration: Germany

Who Should Stay at A&O Hostels

All in all, A&O hostels are a great accommodation option for backpackers looking for affordable accommodation and wanting some peace and quiet away from the sometimes overwhelming pace of hostels.

They are good for those who don’t feel the need to meet and mingle with other travelers all the time. If you are looking for a hostel with an electric hostel vibe, look for a top notch party or hostel.

Suitable for:

  • Families on a Budget
  • Budget backpackers wanting respite from hostels
  • Groups (School Groups Etc.)

If one is on a budget, it can be rewarding to compare different hostels. A bunch of hostels in Krakow, Poland include free breakfast, a (superb) dinner, beer and sometimes even a drink or two in their bookings!

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