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Hostels vs hotels

My wife(60 yrs old, daughter(40), and I(67) are visiting Germany June 27-July 16 and need low cost($100 or less)accommodations for :
Rhine Valley(3 nights)
Black Forest(3 nights)
near Zugspitze(3nights)
Leipzig(3 nights),
Berlin(2 nights)

We plan to rent a car when we arrive in Frankfurt on the 27th of June. A

Posted by
6803 posts

Are you looking to get two rooms? One for you and your wife and another one for your daughter? Or just one room? If two rooms, are you looking for $100 a night for each room? Or both?

If two rooms, I would suggest going the hostel route (and unless you go dormitory style, 2 private rooms will still probably be over $100). You might try looking at Ferienwohnungs, which are holiday apartments rented by locals. I stayed in one outside Münster that was a 3 bedroom apartment for €55 a night. They are especially nice because they come equipped with kitchens, washers, parking and so on. The easiest way to find them is to go to the individual town's website. For example, if you are looking for a place in Gengenbach in the Black Forest, go to then click on the Tourism section, and there should be a link to local places.

Posted by
5033 posts

I agree with Mardee that, given your budget, the Ferienwohnungen may be a much better fit for your family. But at that price, even hostels may be over your budget in the larger cities.

And you didn't ask, but I'd recommend dropping off your car when leaving the Zugspitze area ( Garmisch-Partenkirchen?) and doing the rest of your travel by train. You REALLY dont want to be saddled with a car when staying in cities. Have a look at the Dbahn website for train schedules and prices.

Posted by
6735 posts

Since you already have a working itinerary with dates, I assume you have searched the usual booking engines and found no hotels within your budget in any of these areas. So this is a question about whether hostels are a decent choice, right?

You should have no problem finding a family room with ensuite bath in an official youth hostel (DJH association.) DJH markets heavily to families. We've found the facilities to be satisfactory in most ways for us. But they also market heavily to school groups, whose pre-teen clients tend to "take over" the hostel environment and turn it into their own private playground (IME that is.) So a hostel stay during school break periods will normally be preferrable to a stay during instruction periods (when these week-long school outings take place.)

We stayed at this hostel in Diez, near the Middle Rhine Valley, during a winter break period for 2 nights and thought it was great. Over the years, I/we have also housed ourselves at the hostels in St. Goar, Bingen, Bacharach, Bernkastel, Mainz, Cochem, Trier, and Saarburg, all in the "Rhineland-Palatinate" (the state where the MRV is located.) Here's a map of Germany with all the states. Click on the map of Rheinland-Pfalz (in the southern half on the western border) to find hostel listings that surround the Rhine or any of the other states to find that state's DJH hostels.

Summer break in the schools of the Rhineland-Palatinate doesn't happen until July 24, so there'll be a fair amount of risk that you'll be booked at a hostel not just with individual travelers and families but also with the noisy school groups I've mentioned.

All that said, your best option is likely to be a Ferienwohnung, which helps you save a little on your FOOD budget as well since you can prepare simple meals and snacks "at home" whenever you choose to. Some that are bookable for 3 persons will have 2 bedrooms, others 1 bedroom + a "Schlafcouch" or Schlafsofa" (sleeper.) There are many ways to find these places commercial sites -,, etc. - and the accommodations pages for specific towns/regions... I'll list a couple of these for the Rhine below.

Rhine Valley

Posted by
6735 posts

Just to bounce of CJean's car comments... I agree about the cities but I'll toss in the Rhine Valley and Black Forest as well as places where for just few days you do not need a car and where the car will be a lot more expensive since nothing is cheaper than FREE - and that's what your train outings will be in the Black Forest (KONUS guest card for free transport is available in many small Black Forest towns) on the Rhine (assuming you book in Boppard, that is, where all guests receive the VRM Guest Ticket for free local transport.)

Posted by
14580 posts

If you do decide on the hostel option, Berlin has lots of private hostels as well as those part of DJH. Both Munich and Berlin have the Wombats hostel. I stayed in the Munich one once, located a few minutes from Munich central station, never that in Berlin but did check it out. The Wombats in Vienna is where I've stayed several times. One advantage of Wombats is that coin laundry facilities are also located there.

Posted by
8201 posts

For the Rhine Valley, we like the city of Bacharach. There's not a single accommodation in that city that's not really nice. Rick Steves was always big on that city too.

I've been thru the Black Forest a couple of times. I would rather spend 3 days in the Austrian Alps (Tirol) just south of the Zugspitze.

We've not been to Munich or Salzburg for a few years. Rooms are very easy to find on I always look at the cheaper end of the housing market in Germany--watching for higher than normal customer ratings.

We were in Berlin a year ago, and we stayed in the Ibis Berlin Hauptbaunhof--across the street from the train station. The underground in the train station gets you to anywhere you need to go fast. And restaurants abound there. My wife was riding a personal electric scooter, and it's a very handy place to be.

Posted by
3057 posts

We've stayed in many hostels. The private rooms are very much like hotels. I'd stay in a hostel without a concern. We are 73 and 70.

Posted by
142 posts

For hostels, I think you are better off looking on than any of the regular booking sites. In Munich I stayed at the 4You Hostel very near the train station, and it was satisfactory. In Berlin I stayed at the One80 Hostel (as 180 degrees) just a block from Alexanderplatz; I thought this hostel was outstanding, and the location is very convenient to transit. I stayed in a dorm bed in each, and I was older than all of you. Your 40 year old probably might well enjoy a dorm room.

Posted by
6735 posts

A few years ago, 3 of us stayed in the village of Steinach in the Black Forest. We had a 2-bedroom Ferienwohnung at the Schöner family farm (Bauernhof Schöner or Schönerhof) for a few nights and did day trips by train (free with the KONUS card) to several nearby Black Forest towns (including Gengenbach, Haslach, Gutach, and Schiltach.) The deck at back was a nice spot to relax after tromping around all day, and we enjoyed the peaceful setting when we were "home." The price was reasonable back then, and it's still reasonable today - just checked July 1-6 for fun - €195 for 2 persons 5 nights in 2023? Just €30 more for the 3rd person? That's pretty much unbeatable these days.

I'm posting some Bavaria Ben's remaining webpages below. For many years, Ben took his annual vacation time in Bavaria and in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald,) diligently logging his experiences in some of Germany's prettiest countryside. In the first link below he writes favorably about his stay at the Schönerhof on his most recent trip to Germany (a tip I had emailed him just prior to his trip.) But his web pages are a treasure trove that will likely inspire you to spend addtional time there. Some of the reports may be dated by now, but based on the Schöner Farm, I have to guess that many of the Ferienwohnungen and Inns he mentions are still operational today.

Ben's Main Page:

Link to Ben's Black Forest accommodations:

Ben's Trip Report Pages:

Posted by
2460 posts

I’d look at the town websites for inns, privat zimmers, etc. My wife and I rarely pay over 60 Euro. Ferienwohnung are also good values.

Hostels are no longer the great value they were when I stayed in them for about $1 per night. Even at that price they had some problems. I wrote an article on my experiences for a bicycle magazine about 1974.

The trip reports on Bavaria Ben’s website were a great inspiration for much of my German travel. I wrote 2 of my trips for his site and had written another which was not published bevause he had stopped the site. I am BIGTYKE on his site.