The hostel scene in Canada is still in it’s youngest stages. They are spread out few and far between. However, despite lacking a decent hostel in every city, there are a good handful that I would personally recommend as the best hostels in Canada. Bare in mind, these are based on my own personal thoughts, opinions, and experiences.
Shuswap Lake Hostel – Shuswap Lake, BC
Shuswap Lake Hostel is located in a prime location, halfway between Banff & Vancouver. The stop is definitely worth it, as there is quite a bit to do in the area. What’s unique about this hostel is that the dorms are actually inside some old restored train cars. The dorms themselves are a bit squishy, and can get pretty toasty in the summer, but it’s a unique stay, and is in surprisingly good condition, despite being so open to the elements. best hostels canada
The Shuswap Lake hostel also has some great views. With Squilax Mountain to one side, and Shuswap Lake to the other, you’re bound to work-out your neck during the first few minutes of arriving. The hostels right on the water, and has a free canoe to book or borrow. The owners were very informative about the area, and the hostel had a really cool dog which loved to follow people around the yard.
- Each train car has it’s own kitchen and bathroom
- There’s a cool beaver lodge right around the corner from the hostel that’s worth checking out,
- The hostel is right off the Trans-Canada highway – the Greyhound bus stops right in front of the hostel
- The hostel owners are very eco-friendly, they are proud compost owners, and love all things natural
More info on the Shuswap Hostel here
Banff Alpine Centre Hostel – Banff, Alberta
A fantastic hostel right in Banff, with all the luxuries of a hotel. They have several 4 and 6 person dorms, as well as some private rooms with doubles & queen beds. They recently added a few log cabins too, which can sleep up to 5 guests. The cabins looked really cool, they have washrooms, TV, telephone, seating area, and a fireplace. If you don’t have the cash to cough up for a private room, the dorms are just as good. They were in great condition. The hostel itself has plenty to do. They’ve got a couple lounges, and a great lookout deck with some great scenic views of the mountains.
This hostel also offers free wifi, so if you’ve packed your laptop you should have no problem connecting to the internet. They also have several internet kiosk stations for those without. One of my favourite reasons for nominating this hostel as one of the best hostels in Canada is that it’s home to a great backpacker pub called “The Storm Cellar”. There are so few of these in Canada, and this one is definitely one of omy faves. The Storm Cellar has karaoke nights, open mic night, live bands, free pool and darts. If you’re an Aussie or Brit you’re sure to find someone from your corner of the globe.
More info on Banff Alpine Centre Hostel here
Located right on the rivers edge, Dawson City Hostel is quirky to say the least. Despite it’s clashing colours, and the fact that it doesn’t look a thing like any other hostel, this one’s actually not that bad. It truly does give off that rustic feeling you should expect with heading to the Yukon. Plenty of room, great people, great views. The owners are more than happy to tell you about their city, what to do, where to go, how to get there. There are 40 beds in total, several of which in dorm styles. The hostels location is perfecetly situated in the city. Nearby pretty much everything from museums, attractions, nightlife, shopping, hiking, and the river. There is also free parking, which for vehicle owners, rocks. Oh, and did I mention this hostel has a sauna?
The hostel helps plan your own true authentic “Klondike” experience, which is what most people come here to do. Pan for gold, check out a well preserved part of Canadian History, and experience the truest form of North America.
More info on Dawson City Hostel here
Feelin like spendin a night in the slammer without all the nasty paperwork and criminal records. Check out Ottawas Jail hostel, easily one of the best hostels in Canada. The jail you’ll be staying in here was in operation for more than 100 years, and has since turned into a thriving hostel. This hostel is centrally located, all dorms are in renovated jail cells, and are more spacious than you would think. Take a tour of their un-renovated 8th floor, and check out what life was like in the pen.
The hostel is located near many museums, including the War museum. It’s a short walk to Parliament Hill, and several parks as well. Now despite the fact that you’re staying in a hostel, all the ammemnities you’ve grown so comfort of having are here as well. An open kitchen, a lounge with Satellite TV, internet kiosks and wifi, laundry and dining rooms. If you’re going to be in Ontario be sure to check this one out. They have plenty of dorms and several private cells rooms as well. Keep an eye out during the evenings, apparently this place is haunted.
More info on Ottawa Jail Hostel here
Located on the shores of the Clayoquot Sound is one of western Canada’s hidden gems. Tofino is a small little hippie town with great surf, great people, and lots to see. Tofino Hostel does this town justice. It’s a great place to kick back after a long day on some of Canadas best surf. The hostel is located in downtown Tofino, and is a short walk to just about everything. An open self serve kitchen, which was always surprisingly clean when I visited, is available. The hostel also boasts a TV room, and games room (with pool table and foos ball) and a wet sauna. The staff are extremely helpful, and will do everything in their power to make your stay in Tofino a memorable one. Book early in summer as this one tends to fill up sooner than most Canadian Hostels.
More info on Tofino Hostel here
Located right in downtown Montreal, this hostel is close to everything you need to experience life in Montreal. The Montreal Youth Hostel is close to some amazing restaurantes, and is right in the heart of Montreal Nightlife. Pick a day and there is something going on in Montreals nightlife, whether its some indie band playing a small show, a theatre production in the park, or a festival right nearby, there’s something for just about everyone. The hostel is in great condition, especially considering the mansion the hostel is in is over 135 years old.
The hostel has a great little bistro right in the hostel, which serves coffee, tea, breakfast, and lunch. It’s also got this beautiful terrace which overlooks the city. It’s a great way to wake up in one of Canada’s most cultural cities. The hostel has free wifi for everyone, so feel free to get your nerd on. Montreal Youth Hostel also has several female only dorms, along with male & mixed dorms. All in fantastic condition with plenty of room to get comfortable.Definitely worth checking out.
More info on Montreal Youth Hostel here
This is another one of those “and you can sleep in it?” moments you might have. This Castle was built over 18 years by Jean and his father. The castle is entirely constructed of wood. It looks like something you would see in a fairy tale, or an MGMT video. The castle has 23 rooms, some even in the towers of the spires. Chateau Bahia has the best views of the Baie-des-Chaleurs and offers plenty to do in the area. The hostel owners offer a pancake and maple syrup breakfast every morning in the massive hall, followed by a candle lit dinner serving some true Quebecois dishes.
The area has many great hiking trails, along with some superb mountain biking trails. Take a stop at the many nearby beaches for a dip or just bask in the sun. Grab a fishing rod and try your luck at wild salmon fishing, or grab a kayak or canoe and paddle your way through the Matapedia River. There is lots to do around here, and with a very intriguing place to come back to, this is definitely one of Canadas Best Hostels.
More info on Chateau Bahia here
Auberge Festive / Sea Shack Hostel – Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Quebec
Another Quebec hostel, this one just as awesome as the last. The hostel is proud to admit they are a bit of a party hostel. They’ve got a great little bar overlooking the ocean, and live music playing several times a week. The hostel itself is pretty cool too, you can stay in a tipi, a cabin, or camp on the beach.The hostel is located right on the beach, and has terrific views of the area.
Spend the day hiking, kayaking, fishing, or just hanging out at the bar getting your drink on. The Sea Shack also offers tours in the nearby Gaspesie National Park. The hostel owners are more than happy to help you arrange any activities in the nearby area. Keep an eye out on the water views as the whales tend to feed around here as well. I highly recommend this hostel for the young and the young at heart.
More info on Sea Shack hostel here
If you know of any other worthy contenders for the Best Hostels in Canada please feel free to comment. There are new hostels being started each year, and unfortunately I haven’t even come close to seeing them all. I’m sure there are a good couple handfuls of other hidden gems I haven’t even heard of.