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The Welsh capital is a must-visit city on any UK itinerary, especially if you love rugby, beer or Doctor Who. It’s home to Europe’s smallest castle, but one of Europe’s biggest rugby stadiums. You might recognise key parts of the city from starring in BBC productions including Sherlock, Doctor Who and Gavin and Stacey.
Having spent three years in Cardiff I got to know the city well but it’s only since moving away that I’ve got to know the hostels in Cardiff which I utilise whenever I visit.
There aren’t a huge number to hostels to choose from but picking the one that best suits your travel style is important to make sure you have a great stay. That’s why I’ve picked out the best hostels in Cardiff for backpackers, ranging from those who like to party vs those who prefer a modern style.
- Best OVERALL Hostel: Mrs Potts
- Best PARTY Hostel: Nos Da
- Best for SOLO TRAVELLERS: Bunkhouse
- Best FACILITIES: YHA Cardiff
- Best BUDGET Hostel: The Riverhouse
Best OVERALL Hostel: Mrs Potts
Dorm rooms from £18
- Pod style beds with privacy curtains
- Cosy eating area and common spaces
- Great location near Cardiff Castle
I have to award the overall best hostel in Cardiff for backpackers to Mrs Potts which offers an all-round great experience. The hostel can be found in a very central area, near to Cardiff Castle which is a really convenient location.
The hostel has a quirky, homely feel where the staff can’t do enough to help, sometimes they even have baked treats to offer on arrival. The rooms are well designed including pod style beds, each with a privacy curtain, light and charging point. Under the beds are large lockers which will hold your entire backpack.
The breakfast is basic (toast and cereal) but this is available all day – perfect for those who love a lie in. There’s a cosy eating area and common spaces with a TV and Macs. You’ll also find a 24 hour kitchen where you can cook your own food at any time of day.
Best PARTY Hostel: Nos Da
Dorm rooms from £13
- Lively hostel with regular gigs in the bar downstairs
- Good location, not far from the main train station
- Reasonable price
When it comes to the best party hostel in Cardiff, there was never any other consideration than Nos Da. The lively bar downstairs attracts both locals and those staying in hostel with bands playing on weekends and an open mic night during the week.
The hostel is well located near to the Stadium and is within walking distance of the main train station. The rooms are basic but have everything you need, and the staff are generally friendly.
Best for SOLO TRAVELLERS: Bunkhouse
Dorm rooms from £11
- Easy to meet other backpackers in the dorm or bar
- Friendly staff always looking to meet your needs
Located in the heart of the city with the nightlife on your doorstep, Bunkhouse is a great hostel for solo travellers in Cardiff.
The hostel is in an old Victorian building with vintage decor and clean facilities including powerful showers. However the kitchen offering is quite limited. The staff will go out of their way to help you and you’ll find both a bar and TV room to hangout.
Some of the larger dorm rooms do seem to be jam packed but this has the benefit of making it easier to meet fellow travellers. Some of the beds are triple bunks so hope you’re not afraid of heights.
Best FACILITIES: YHA Cardiff
- Good modern facilities that you expect from YHA
- Excellent value for money
- Suitable for families
YHA Cardiff is based in a former hotel and therefore offers excellent modern facilities that you can usually expect from YHA. This includes spacious rooms, safe lockers, a well equipped kitchen, fast Wi-Fi and a nice café and bar area downstairs.
Because of its nature, the hostel attracts a wide range of people from families to backpackers but if you’re looking to meet other people, there isn’t a huge social scene at this hostel. The location requires a short 15 minute walk into the city centre.
Best BUDGET Hostel: The Riverhouse
- Friendly family run hostel
- Well equipped home kitchen with a nice breakfast selection
- Backpacker bar at Nos Da is nearby
The family run Riverhouse hostel is a great choice for anyone visiting Cardiff on a low budget. It’s a basic hostel but with all the amenities you need including a well equipped kitchen.
The vibe is very much like staying in someone’s house, there’s a TV room with a sofa, an outdoor patio and occasionally a cat strolling around. You won’t find much of a social atmosphere here due to it being so small, but it’s right next to the aforementioned Nos Da hostel where you can freely visit the bar for entertainment.
Top Travel Tips for Visiting Cardiff
There is no metro system in Cardiff but the trains and buses are perfectly fine. Buses are the cheapest option, you can buy a three day bus pass for £10.40 but the days don’t have to be used consecutively and you have up to a year to use them.
Cardiff also has great cycling routes and a handy bike hire service. You can pick up a bike from one of the 50 docking stations across the city using the NextBike app and drop it off at another station. The prices are reasonable at £1 per 30 minutes up to a maximum of £10 per day.
If you’re on a backpackers budget then many of the best hostels I’ve mentioned above have bars with reasonable priced food. If you’re looking to eat out then here are my top suggestions:
- Pieminister – You won’t find any better pies in Cardiff, located in the city centre.
- Street Food Circus – This pop up street food court in Roath has flavours from all over the world. Located in Roath, the Street Food Circus is only open on certain weekends so check their website for details.
- Zero Degrees – This micro brewery situated near the Principality Stadium also serves food including tasty pizzas that go perfectly with their freshly brewed beer.
- 10 Feet Tall – If you’re on a budget then I recommend you check out 10 Feet Tall not far from the city centre, expect an all encompassing menu and good atmosphere.
Exploring the Surroundings
Whilst the city has some epic attarctions, you can make the most of Cardiff’s convenient location to base yourself whilst visiting the surrounding areas. Key places to visit are:
- Brecon Beacons – Hike up Pen-Y-Fan or visit the many Waterfalls in an area known as waterfall country.
- Bristol – Hop across the border to one of England’s hippest cities
- Swansea and The Mumbles – Head for a trip to South Wales’ other premier city or take a day to visit The Mumbles, a beautiful area of coastline along the Gower Peninsula.
Kieren is the avid traveller behind the blog. His adventures have included Interrailing through Europe, road tripping the US and backpacking SE Asia.