One of Italy’s greatest gems, Bologna is a historical and cultural magnet for backpackers from all over the world. Although the city doesn’t get the same attention as Milan or Florence, it’s perfectly set almost exactly halfway between the two ancient city-states, making it a natural stop along an Italian tour for any visitor. Backpackers traveling by bus or train will almost certainly have a stop in Bologna, and simply skipping over this medieval marvel is nothing short of a sin. There’s also an airport for those beginning or ending their treks through the region.

Filled with centuries of culture, Bologna overflows with art, architecture, and nightlife. Visitors can see the Fountain of Neptune, wander the historic streets of the old city, and then enjoy some of Italy’s most exciting bars and clubs in the university district. Gorgeous churches and cathedrals from ages past feature some of the very best craftsmanship of the Renaissance. All this goes without mentioning the views. Climb up any tower or gaze down at the city from a nearby hill and you’ll wonder if you’ve traveled back in time. The city itself is a piece of art. 

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No overview of Bologna would be complete without mentioning what a wonderful destination it is for foodies and wine lovers. Not only does the city have more than enough to keep any cuisine-fan busy, but it’s within day-trip distance of several other towns and cities infamous for their food. This love of literal good taste is celebrated throughout the region, and a surprising number of hostels participate by offering their guests free breakfast!

Ostello We Bologna

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from $30/ 4-dorm 4.4/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Located a stone’s throw from Bologna’s central train station, this hostel aims to make travelers’ stays as comfortable as possible. Guests are welcomed by a 24-hour reception desk with free luggage check-in. All the little things that make a stay easier – like towels and hairdryers – are included. Booking a room gives you more than just a bunk. In the morning, before they walk to the Piazza Maggiore, guests enjoy a free breakfast in the hostel’s cozy common room or beautiful outdoor terrace.

The outdoor garden space hosts lots of events in the summer, including concerts and DJ mixers, but even when the party is a little further away, the hosts at the reception can tell you where to have the most fun. The hostel is set far enough away from the city center to cut down on traffic noise, so some adventures may require a bus ride. Fortunately, there’s one right around the corner.

Traveler Reviews:

  • “Helpful staff, and very convenient for people traveling by car.”
  • “Great breakfast and close to the train station!”
  • “A wonderful place to kick back and relax with a chill vibe.”

Hostel Highlights:

  • Free Breakfast
  • Towels Included
  • Free WiFi
  • Coffee Bar
  • Outdoor Terrace
  • Laundry Facilities, Self-Catering Facilities, 
  • Common Room
  • Parking

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Dopa Hostel

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from $36/ 8-dorm 4.5/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Dopa Hostel is a harbor for the weary traveler who doesn’t want to give up on their adventure time just to take a nap. The hostel occupies an old building in the heart of the University district, right in the heart of the action! Almost all the future is handmade to fit the hostel’s offbeat theme, and the owners have worked hard to make each guest’s stay a highlight of their time in the city. The extra-large bunk beds each feature privacy curtains to give visitors more than just a place to sleep, but also a place to call their own during their stay. 

Guests only have a ten-minute walk to some of Bologna’s biggest attractions, like Maggiore Square, Fava Palace, and the Contemporary Arts Museum. Train and bus stations are nearby, too. Thanks to its ideal location, the hostel is just down the street from some of the best clubs, bars, and other nightlife venues in the city. Helpful assistants at reception help point guests toward not only regular attractions but also concerts, festivals, and other events they may enjoy.

Traveler Reviews:

  • “Free breakfast was DELICIOUS!”
  • “Common rooms have a great set-up. Easy to interact with other guests!”
  • “Quirky and inviting.”

Hostel Highlights:

  • Free Breakfast
  • Café
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Parking 
  • Common Room
  • Safe Deposit Box

Il Nosadillo

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from $37/ 8-dorm 4.1/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

This classic, dorm-style hostel offers the three typical room options: all-male, all-female, and mixed. Each bed comes with its own locker, and guests have personal reading lights so they can plan the next day’s adventure in bed. They won’t have to go far to find that next thrill because Nosadillo is close to all the action. It’s just four minutes away by foot to Via del Pratello and an eight-minute walk to Piazza Maggiore. 

Although it caters to backpackers’ desire to meet and interact with new people, this hostel does not take a very hands-on approach to its guests. Even check-in and check out are performed via automated systems. This can be a great relief for night owls and early birds, of course, and management is always available to answer questions or address concerns via an app. There is also a free breakfast and a very comfortable dorms. Despite its technologically advanced check-in routine, there is still plenty of opportunities to socialize in this hostel!

Traveler Reviews:

  • “Perfect location! Just minutes from the city center.”
  • “Tasty breakfast and fun vibe.”
  • “Comfortable rooms.”

Hostel Highlights:

  • Free Breakfast & Coffee
  • Internet Café
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Towels Included
  • Large Lockers

Il Castello Hostel Boutique

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from $24/ 4-dorm 3.2/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

This super-cute and trendy hostel sits right off the main square of Bologna. Providing both private and dormitory-style rooms, it has accommodations suited to a range of budgets. No matter what you choose, you get your money’s worth. Dorm guests enjoy nicely-designed spaces with fun bunks and spacious lockers. Guests who splurge on a private room even get a free breakfast!

One of this hostel’s biggest selling points is its location. Visitors don’t have to travel far – if at all – to find the historic sights, tasty cuisine, and vibrant culture that draws tourists to Bologna. Although there is limited space for guests to chill and visit with each other in the building itself, the entire city is spread at Il Castello’s doorstep. It’s a great hostel for travelers who prefer to be out and about but want a cozy, safe place to bed down for the night. 

Traveler Reviews:

  • “Close to the train station and even closer to the square!”
  • “Secure and clean.”
  • “A good value with the perfect location!”

Hostel Highlights:

  • Towels Included
  • Parking
  • Luggage Storage
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Microwave

Albergo Pallone

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from $30/ 4-dorm 3.9/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Stay in Bologna’s historic city center and enjoy a free breakfast at Albergo Pallone! This hostel’s culture revolves around traditional backpacker desires for shared, communal spaces with plenty of opportunity for interaction with new faces in a wonderfully strange new place. Private rooms and dorms are both available to rent, and all guests enjoy free towels. The onsite restaurant serves not only breakfast but also lunch, which guests can grab before they go exploring.

A lovely little outdoor space provides limited seating under beautiful trees for guests who want to enjoy the fresh air. It’s a great place to meet new friends or read a book. The hostel also offers meeting rooms where parties can gather to laugh, plan, and chill. Everything is bright, clean, and welcoming. Albergo Pallone showcases its emphasis on travel and personal connections by staging friendly little corners for people to gather, light-hearted art, and hostel staples like maps visitors can mark with their home countries.

Traveler Reviews:

  • “Absolutely perfect location!”
  • “Breakfast was good and the beds were comfortable.”
  • “Friendly and clean.”
  • “Easy check-in.”

Hostel Highlights:

  • Free Breakfast
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Towels Included
  • Laundry Facility
  • Large Lockers
  • Bar & Restaurant

Bologna Center Town

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from $111/2 bed-private 4.4/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Although not technically a hostel, this B&B offers clean, simple, private rooms very similar to the kinds guests might find at a good hostel. It’s comparably priced, and it’s a great option for couples or backpackers traveling in pairs. If socializing isn’t a big part of the adventures, or a traveler just need a break from the usual hostel hub-bub, this is a good option. Don’t forget the food! Although breakfast is not included with room rental, it’s only three Euro per person, and previous guests consistently leave rave reviews. 

Bologna Center Town is set on the 7th floor of the historic Palazzo Lancia, so guests begin their Bologna adventures in a unique element of the city’s architecture. It also has an ideal location for guests looking to explore Bologna’s Medieval area while also being walking distance from the train station. Comfortable, perfectly situated, and a part of Bologna’s history itself, this is a marvelous place to stay for anyone looking for accommodations that will work for both a day out and a night in. 

Traveler Reviews:

  • “Nice, clean, and friendly! Would stay again.”
  • “Very amiable host!”
  • “Best breakfast I ever ate!”

Hostel Highlights:

  • Free WiFi
  • Towels Included
  • Luggage Storage

If you like to walk through your history and experience it through things like touch and taste, then Bologna is a must-visit destination for your bucket list. Perfectly situated between major food production zones, it reaps the best of all harvests and local delicacies. It truly is a food paradise, and its rich flavors come from hundreds of years of perfection and tradition. It’s one of the only places in the world where guests can wander streets largely unchanged for centuries while sipping regional wines older than the drinker.

Modena is an easy day trip destination, and dedicated cheese fans could probably use Bologna as a base to visit Parma. Ferrara and Ravenna are nearby, and of course, Bologna makes an excellent foodie break for travelers going between ancient rivals Milan and Florence. Visitors should also keep in mind that Bologna is situated near several major national parks, especially Parco Storico Di Monte Sole. Although this verdant patch of low mountains along the Reno River was marked by tragedy during WWII, it is now a beautiful sanctuary for the region’s unique flora and fauna. It’s well worth a trip, and it makes for a charming escape from the busy city center. 

Bologna is more than just a quick stop-over. The wise traveler sets aside at least a few days to enjoy this fantastic blend of food, art, and history. Guests can marvel at the work of Renaissance artists, pop into the Contemporary Art Museum, and put together an award-winning picnic basket for a day in the park with ease. It isn’t as busy as some of Italy’s other cities, but it still has the metropolitan pace visitors want in a cultural hub. New and old, beautiful and tasty, Bologna is a surprising combination of all the best things in life. 

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Hostels in Bologna