Best party hostels in Amsterdam – A guide to the city’s wildest beds

by Roger

by Roger | December 18th, 2008  



As beautiful and historic as this city is, this is also one of the most notorious party cities on the planet. Amsterdam is known for its prostitution, which doesn’t have much to do with a real party, and it’s also known for its cannabis coffee shops where patrons can buy and smoke weed while sipping the drink of their choice. These twin draws help make the city sound like a mad utopia where anything and everything goes.

There is some truth to that, but it’s not as wild as some people think. This is a huge destination for stag and hen parties for Europeans about to get married, and there are plenty of sports bars where punters can watch their home team on satellite and scream their heads off, but it’s not like the entire city is one big party. The alcohol can actually be quite expensive unless you find the places with cheap drinks and happy hours.

Party hostels vs. non-party hostels

This city is loaded with cheap beds. There are more hostels in Amsterdam than in most European cities that are much larger. Some of these hostels are notorious for allowing nearly anything, but you may be surprised to learn that the majority of hostels in this city go out of their way to keep the inside of the hostel itself very quiet and mellow.

There are plenty of bars (minimum drinking age of 18) that are open well into the night, and every neighborhood also has a “night bar” or two, and those are open to 4am or 5am, so there are plenty of places to get trashed and have a good time. Most coffee shops close by 1am, but there are a few open a bit later, and most true potheads are asleep by then anyway.

Interestingly, Amsterdam’s best party hostels are also some of its most famous hostels overall. This is probably not a coincidence, and it’s quite helpful that some of the biggest and best Amsterdam hostels are also the best places to keep the party going after you are done traveling around during the day.

If you are traveling around Europe you’ll be interested in knowing that London’s best party hostels and Paris’ best party hostels are also very well-defined groups, so you don’t want to book into the wrong kind of place.

Map of Amsterdam party hostels

See the main Amsterdam map for more complete information about neighborhoods and attractions. Note that the Flying Pig Uptown is way in the bottom left of this map.

The best party hostels in Amsterdam

Flying Pig Downtown

One of the most famous hostels in the world, this institution can feel like a party around the clock, from the moment you first walk in the door. It’s located very close to Centraal Station, but on a pedestrian-only shopping street that is packed all day and empty all night. Inside you’ll find a fun bar that has great drink specials and cheap drinks all the way until it closes at 4am. They also have a smoking lounge, so potheads need not have to leave the hostel in order to get and stay stoned. Don’t expect the cleanest and nicest beds, but you can sleep when you are dead, right? And if you are stoned, you can sleep through anything.

Aside from its own fun bar, this isn’t actually a good drinking neighborhood. There are several brown café’s and traditional bars not far away, but the better action is across the main street in the Red Light District. There are, however, a few pretty good coffee shops close by, including the Blues Brothers coffeeshop about a 10-second walk out the front door.
>>Book the Flying Pig Downtown Hostel

Flying Pig Uptown

Also part of this famous chain, the Flying Pig Uptown is quite different on the outside, but on the inside it has a very similar atmosphere to the Downtown version. There is a great bar usually filled with fellow guests drinking drink specials and affordable tipple until late, and also a smoking area where weed is tolerated and common. The location is a bit controversial though. Their ads say they are “right in the middle of Amsterdam,” and while that may technically be true, it is because the “historic city center” is in one area, and the suburbs go on and on from there, so this hostel’s location just inside the suburbs does put it in the middle.

The truth is that the Flying Pig Uptown is located in a once-nice mansion overlooking the lovely Vondelpark, which is Amsterdam’s equivalent of a central park, but it’s on the distant edge of the city center. It’s a 30-minute walk to Centraal Station or the Red Light District. But on the other hand, it’s about a 10-minute walk to the fantastic Leidseplein entertainment district, and as long as you aren’t interested in sex shows, this area has everything you need, including great bars, nightclubs, and coffee shops.
>>Book the Flying Pig Uptown Hostel

St. Christopher’s at the Winston

St. Christopher’s at the Winston is our favorite hostel in the city, but it’s not really for everyone. It’s part of the excellent St. Christopher’s chain that has locations all over Europe, and just like all the others, the entire bottom floor and lobby are really a bar called Belushi’s. There is no common kitchen here, and the dorm beds part of this hostel-hotel combo are less than half of the whole place. The rest is an artsy hotel with rooms ranging from tiny to huge.

The great thing about this place is the bar is really fun, and is actually popular with locals as well as hostel guests. There are great drink specials lasting until 11pm nightly, and reasonable prices after that. They have several large TVs showing satellite sports, so this place draws crowds of many team supporters when their games are on, even in the morning hours. This place also has a large patio just outside the bar area, and you can bring your drinks out there, and also smoke either cigarettes or weed, as long as you aren’t offending other guests by doing so. The party in the patio lasts until around 4am every morning, which should be taken into account when you are reserving or choosing a room, because light sleepers might have problems in rooms facing over the patio.

It’s located on Warmoesstraat, which is the pedestrian-only street loaded with hotels, bars, night clubs, and coffeeshops in the non-prostitute section of the Red Light District. Prostitutes can be found only one block away though, so this place isn’t ideal for puritans and prudes.
>>Book at St. Christopher’s at the Winston Hotel and Hostel

The Bulldog

The Bulldog is partly famous for being the first-ever coffeeshop in Amsterdam, way back in the 1970s. Since then it’s become a chain of places, including several coffeeshops, bars, and this hostel. It’s also somehow gotten the reputation for being super-touristy, but that’s a bit unfair. Most Amsterdam regulars will advise you to buy your weed and such in other coffeeshops, and that’s probably decent advice, but this newly-renovated hostel is one of the best and most fun in the city.

It’s located in the heart of the Red Light District, which means it’s close to dozens of bars, sex shows, and other coffee shops, as well as window prostitutes. But inside they have a really nice and chilled bar, as well as a smoking lounge. This has the reputation as being one of the most cannabis-friendly places in the city, so if you are a pothead this is a good choice.
>>Book the Bulldog hotel and hostel

Durty Nelly’s Inn

Durty Nelly’s is another famous place that’s been around for a long time, and in some ways it doesn’t deserve its reputation as being a party hostel. In spite of its name, this is actually one of the cleaner hostels in the area. There is no common room in the hostel part, but, similar to St. Christopher’s at the Winston (which is next door), it’s built over and around a really fun bar that is open late.

In this case it’s an Irish pub, which also draws quite a few locals, so you aren’t always drinking with the guy in the bunk just above you. There isn’t a smoking area here, but it’s still a fun place, and it’s on probably the best coffeeshop street in the city, which is also loaded with good bars and pubs. If you want to smoke and drink in your bunk, this isn’t the place, but if you want a fun and perfectly-located hostel with everything good close by, this is one to consider.
>>Book at Durty Nelly’s Hostel


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