UNESCO-designated Lyon is a city that excels. Capital of gastronomy, birthplace of cinema, epicentre of silk production, European capital of smart tourism — its list of accomplishments is tireless. Then there’s the shimmering Notre Dame de Fourvière, world-class opera house, dizzying calendar of festivals and a burgeoning beer scene. It’s no wonder that France’s second city is one of its most popular.
To this mix, add an impressive array of next-generation hybrid hostels designed for a new breed of backpacker, and combined Lyon makes the perfect budget break. From reimagined 18th-century palaces to purpose-built complexes, this is the city that has style and substance in droves. For those looking for a stylish but affordable hostel in Lyon, here are five of our top five recommendations.
Away Hostel & Coffee Shop
This mid-19th century building has been smartly reimagined by the Lyonnais designer Charlotte Bollard to create a sleek, Scandi-inspired space that’s hard to leave. Spacious 4,6 and 8 bed-dorm rooms are fitted with customized futuristic pod-style bunk beds featuring built-in lamps, power banks and a privacy wall. Guests can also opt for a stylish private double or a premium with king-size beds, crisp linen and original fireplaces. The onsite cafe offers top-notch coffee and cakes all day, surrounded by exposed wooden panelling and cascading plants. And then there’s Grom, the hostel’s 1920s inspired speakeasy, offering cocktails, live music and dancing through the night. Beds from €25, private doubles from €69 per night
Located in Lyon’s hip, cosmopolitan quartier La Guillotière or ‘Guill’, Ho36 fuses boutique hotel with upscale hostel. Light-filled dorms sleep two to eight guests in sleek slimline bunks, while the private hotel rooms sleep up to six. All bathrooms feature a walk-in shower with complimentary organic toiletries and fluffy towels. The on-site restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there’s not a hamburger in sight; menus are seasonal, inspired by fresh local produce to produce dishes like burratina topped with radish-top pesto. Guests looking for some downtime can head to the stone-vaulted Chilling Room, which offers a basic kitchen, comfy sofas and plenty of books to borrow. Rooms from €22, private doubles from €69 per night
SLO Living Hostel
At SLO Living Hostel guests are encouraged to do exactly that — travel slow. The space is designed to encourage socialising, with communal spaces that pair the amenities and design of a boutique hotel with the easy-going atmosphere of a hostel. There’s a large lounge area and a small, well-equipped communal kitchen for preparing meals, and in the evenings guests can retreat to the oft-Instagrammed sunlit terrace to enjoy a glass of wine in company. Take a look at the calendar of events, which is bountiful, and make sure you tag along for one of the three-hour free walking tours, run every day. Guests can choose from a range of 2,4,6 and 8-bed dorms, or private doubles. Beds from €20, private double from €75 per night
Alter’Hostel is an intimate, independent youth hostel with a commitment to the local community. It’s further from the centre than other hostels, in a laid-back residential area with views of the Saone river — perfect for those who prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are a range of 6, 8, 10 and 16-bed dorms to choose from, each with a privacy curtain, lamp, bed table and complimentary earplugs. The hostel is taking green steps too, with its eco-dry toilets, rainwater collection facility and communal compost heap. Visitors are also encouraged to get involved with its community initiatives, which include food distribution to the local homeless. Beds from €19.50 per night
Meininger Lyon Centre Berthelot
What Meininger Lyon lacks in architectural splendour, it makes up for in location. A stone’s throw from the Rhone River, Meininger is within spitting distance of the city’s most famous sites. The seven-story hotel offers 190 rooms, from 4 and 8-bed dormitories — some of them female only — to private single, double and family rooms, all with soundproofed windows. Every room has its own bathroom, including complimentary toiletries. The communal spaces are particularly impressive; the kitchen is well-equipped, there’s a ‘gamezone’ with a pool table and board games, and the inky-blue bar and buffet room are buzzing all day with happy travellers. Beds from €23, private doubles €55 per night