I started the travel top 5 last week by talking about one of my top destinations, Britanny. The next question I’d like to cover is the top accomodation I’ve had the chance to sleep in during my travels. Out of dozens of hotels, B&Bs and youth hostels, Hostel Mostel in Sofia, Bulgaria, came out on top.
Some would say that Sofia is an unusual destination to visit. We probably wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t been the cheapest way to get home (in France) on our way back from Istanbul.
After an eight hour ride on a night bus and a confusing 15 minute walk from the bus station to the hostel, we arrived at Hostel Mostel. Dawn had not risen yet when we checked in and our room was only going to be available in the late afternoon. We really needed to nap because our sleeping patterns had been heavily disturbed by numerous stops during the night. The friendly receptionist took our bags and let us crash on the sofas in the common area.
As we tried to get some shut-eye, a small but loud group of travelers sat in the kitchen nearby, partying into the early hours of the morning. Needless to say, we didn’t get much rest. When breakfast was served, we got up and started our day. Once again, the receptionist went out of her way to take care of us. She gave us maps and drew out a little circuit of the top things to see in Sofia (Alexander Nevski cathedral, National Art Gallery, Market Hall, Public baths, Vitosha boulevard).
Later that afternoon, we got back to the hostel. Freezing and in dire need of a few hours of sleep, we were happy to finally get our room key. As it turned out, we were lucky enough to get a single room in an annex of the hostel, two blocks away from the main building. The room was in a small apartment that we shared with another couple.
Once we set down our bags, our eyes closed within seconds after we hit the sheets. Three hours later we woke up and went back to the common room, where our free dinner and beer were being served.
How much did this excellent service cost us? Why, only 11$ a night per person! That’s right, for less than the price of a medium pizza, we had a private room in a shared apartment, with two meals and a beer included. From what I saw when researching this piece, the prices have gone up since we stayed their in 2009 (21$ a night in October 2013 for a room similar to ours). I still think it’s a bargain, especially considering the amenities (wireless, sheets and lockers are all free).
The decor is funky and the setup, with a shared kitchen and common room, helps to create links between travelers who are staying at the hostel (though if you prefer to stay in your own corner, it is possible too).
I like hotels and I love couchsurfing too (more on that later) but I have to say that I was really impressed by what we got for so little money at Hostel Mostel.