Shimla’s picturesque setting on a narrow, 12 km-long ridge with steep hills on either side makes it a dream for keen photographers and nature lovers alike. Once known as the summer capital of India, Shimla is an excellent base for treks, rafting, and trout fishing. So, it’s no surprise that travelers from all over are always looking for the best hostels in Shimla, along with other accommodation options.
The hostels in this picturesque town show off the best of the region's natural charm. One can stay in a place hand-built from wood, or in canvas-topped huts for a really rustic experience. Here are some of the best hostels in Shimla that you can choose from, for your next backpacking trip to this picturesque Himachal town.
Thira Hostel is an expansive colonial mansion that has been converted into a hostel. The mansion showcases vintage white-colored walls, wooden rooftops, and attic structures. It boasts large paned windows with intricate wooden frames. On one side, the property overlooks a beautiful coniferous forest, which is simply the best sight to wake up to every morning. Even the interiors of the hostel showcase the famous woodworks of Shimla, and the furniture here reflects the intricate carpentry.
The hostel offers single beds in a mixed dorm and deluxe double rooms. Every corner of the hostel exudes a royal charm even with the minimalist decor it highlights. The rooms are fully furnished and equipped with all the necessary amenities. The common rooms encapsulate the charm of travel and vintage seamlessly. For bookworms and introverts who might not always feel like exploring the outdoors, the establishment offers a good collection of books for you to unwind and have a relaxing read. You will also find a few indoor games that you can enjoy with your fellow housemates, which is a great way to socialize with each other.
Food Availability: The hostel has an in-house restaurant and offers an elaborate menu with a variety of cuisines and dishes to choose from. And since it is located in the heart of the town, you will also find numerous cafés, restaurants, and eateries nearby.
Accessibility: Chandigarh Airport is 124.9 km while the Chandigarh Railway Station is 109 km away from this hostel. A cab ride from either of the two locations to the hostel will take approximately 3.5 hours. There are several buses running from both Chandigarh airport and railway station, which take about 7.5 to 8 hours to reach. Depending on which bus station you get off at, the Old Shimla Bus Stand or the ISBT stand, it will take 7 to 14 minutes to reach Thira Hostel by cab.
Ideal For: Hikers, backpackers, working professionals, small groups, and solo travelers.
Rate: The rates at Thira Hostel start at INR 1,550 per night.
Location: Block Number 12, Willow Estate, Lakkar Bazar, Shimla 171001.
Also read: The Shimla Travel Guide By Unstumbled
The Hosteller is a chain of backpacker hostels that provides comfortable, budget accommodation along with a plethora of fun activities. They offer spacious and creatively-built rooms that add to your stay experience while you immerse yourself in the global backpacking culture. They further provide you with modern facilities like secure lockers, a well-stocked common kitchen, paid laundry services, equipped libraries, exclusive female dormitories, travel and transport services, a colorful and well-stocked café, well-lit common rooms, and wide open spaces.
Located right beside the verdant Green Valley, The Hosteller, Shimla is a no-brainer when it comes to deciding on a perfect stay accommodation for your Himalayan getaway. This beautiful hostel is just a stone's throw away from all the adventure activities that the picturesque town has to offer. The property has a charmingly charismatic vibe to it, with tasteful wooden decor and modern furniture. It has three common areas - a fine-dining café on the ground floor, a bohemian-style café on the first floor, and a huge, semi-open terrace common area that provides views for days!
Food Availability: The establishment provides breakfast at a fixed time every morning, and also has a café on its premises if you’re looking for quick snacks and small meals. There are several cafés located in the neighborhood, like Hide Out Café, Wake and Bake, Café Simla Times, and Honey Hut Café.
Accessibility: If you’re planning to fly to Shimla, the Chandigarh Airport is the most viable option, and is 125.1 km away. You can hail a cab or bus from the Chandigarh Bus Terminus. The cab ride would take 3.5 hours while the bus journey takes approximately 8 hours to reach the hostel. Or you can travel via train to Chandigarh Railway Station, which is 109.3 km from the property.
Ideal For: Solo travelers, small groups, backpackers, and working professionals.
Rate: The rates at The Hosteller start at INR 750 per night.
Location: Hotel Mehman, The Hosteller, near Daisy Bank Estate, The Mall, Shimla 171001.
Zostel is India’s largest backpackers hostel chain, with 60+ destinations across India and Nepal, covering everything from remote to famous locations. Their accommodations include social backpacker hostels, cultural and private Zostel Homes, and luxurious Zostel Plus stays. The hostels are lively backpacker stays with an exquisite social experience meant for solo travelers and small groups. The common rooms capture the true spirit of the Zostel vibe, where travelers socialize, play games, indulge in activities, and make outdoor travel plans.
The franchise has set-ups across five locations in Shimla - Theog, Mashobra, Cheog, Kotkhai, and Kotgarh. While the hostels in Cheog, Theog, and Kotkhai are within the town, the Mashobra and Kothgarh properties are on the outskirts of Shimla. Each of the hostels is a massive cottage situated atop a mountain slope, overlooking the captivating valleys and mountains of Shimla. The cottages are beautiful stone and wood structures, each with family rooms, deluxe rooms, and standard rooms for accommodation options. The rooms are decked with intricate wooden furniture and exude a warm and cozy atmosphere that simply makes you feel right at home. They provide the guests with an enchanting view of the lush pine trees, clear skies, and majestic mountains. The Zostels in Shimla are located slightly away from the hectic city center, but the distance is worth the serene calmness!
Food Availability: The establishment provides the guests with meals both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, at extra charges. Some of the hostels also have an in-house café or restaurant that serves exquisite meals to their guests.
Accessibility: If you’re planning to camp at the Choeg Zostel, then the Chandigarh Airport is 146.9 km away while the Chandigarh Railway Station is 131.1 km from the hostel. You can either travel by bus on reaching Chandigarh or simply hire a cab. The cab ride will take about 4.5 hours from either of the locations (airport or railway station), while the bus journey will take you about 7 hours to reach. From the Shimla bus stand, you can hail a cab to the Zostel.
Ideal For: Unmarried couples, bachelors, working professionals, backpackers, and solo travelers.
Rate: The rates at Zostel Shimla start at INR 2,499 per night.
Location: The Zostel franchise has hostels in five locations in Shimla - Cheog, Theog, Kotkhai, Mashobra, and Kothgarh.
Set in the heart of Shimla, the YMCA Tourist Hostel is a popular choice of accommodation among backpackers, working professionals, and college students alike. The property is super pocket-friendly and its central location makes the major parts of the town easily accessible, whether it is to run errands or go explore the summer capital. This rose-red-colored building sits on a hill slope overlooking the beautiful valleys, tall pine trees, and tiny little houses at the bottom of the hill. It boasts arched entrances and hallways that are dotted with potted plants.
The premises feature shared double rooms and four-bed dorms. The rooms are well furnished and provide the basic amenities required. It offers a shared bathroom and separate washroom facilities. The property provides free accessible WiFi to all its guests. Furthermore, YMCA offers indoor games like billiards and table tennis, at an additional cost. The hostel has numerous terraces overlooking the valley and the town. The glass-covered rooftop has been converted into a dining area of sorts and is absolutely breathtaking with the assortment of different plants. If you love clicking pictures or want some for the Gram, you would want to make the most of the rooftop that offers the backdrop of the misty mountains.
Food Availability: The establishment provides its guests with a basic complimentary breakfast every morning. Guests will find tea and coffee easily available in the hostel. The central location of the property means there are numerous cafés and restaurants within walking distance for you to choose from.
Accessibility: If you’re planning to travel by train, the Chandigarh Railway Station is 108.7 km from the property. You can either avail of a direct cab to the hostel which would take about 3.5 hours, or a bus to the Shimla Bus Stand that takes approximately the same time to reach. Do keep in mind that from the bus stand, you’ll have to take a cab upto to the hostel which will take you about 15 minutes. If you’re traveling by air, the Chandigarh Airport is 124.6 km away and it takes about the same time via car or bus to reach the establishment.
Ideal For: Professionals on a workcation, solo travelers, and backpackers.
Rate: The rates at YMCA Tourist Hostel start at INR 1,500 per night.
Location: YMCA The Ridge, Shimla 171001.
The word Firdaus means Heaven, and Firdaus Boutique Homestay is no less than a paradise. Located in the middle of apple orchards and lush green Kufri hills, the hostel seems to stand above everything else. It is tucked on top of the mountain and towers over almost all of Shimla! The establishment is an all-wood cottage that expands across the apple orchards. The massive cottage is furnished with beautiful, handcrafted furniture and exudes a sophisticated charm. It may lack the pops of vibrant color, but surprisingly, the all-wood and bamboo furnishings like the chairs, shelves, and tables fit well together.
This homestay operates like a hostel with dorm rooms and a bunk bed system and has a huge range of accommodation options to offer. It has everything from double rooms to deluxe rooms, family suites to mixed dorms, each with options between a mountain view and a connected balcony. The rooms are all furnished with beautiful, cozy rugs, big mirrors, and comfy beds. The balcony is decked with lounge chairs and tables and is the best spot on the premises. Strangely, the attic’s missing a part of its floor. But with the safety net decked with huge pillows and rugs and the balcony connected to the attic, this is yet another great spot in the hostel!
Food Availability: The property has an in-house restaurant with a detailed menu of the various dishes and cuisines that are served. There is also a shared kitchen if you’re in the mood to cook for yourself. There are a handful of amazing cafés and restaurants located in the vicinity as well.
Accessibility: The Chandigarh Airport is 140.6 km from the homestay, while the Chandigarh Railway Station is 124.8 km away. From either the railway station or the airport, a cab journey up to the property will take you about 4 hours. A bus journey for the same distance takes around 3.5 hours depending on the traffic conditions. If you’re taking a bus, you will either be dropped off at the Old Shimla Bus Stand or the ISBT Stand from where you’ll have to hail a cab to get to your destination. The property is about 15 minutes away from either of the bus stands.
Ideal For: Hikers, adventurers, working professionals, and solo travelers.
Rate: The rates at Firdaus Boutique Homestay start at INR 2,000 per night.
Location: Gallu Kalan, Near Sterling Resorts, Kufri 171209.
Abuzz OxfordCaps is India’s largest student hostel chain that offers quick and easy accommodations in close proximity to major universities and colleges. Though the hostel primarily focuses on accommodating college students, they also provide rooms to working professionals. Abuzz is a national and international community of hostels that aims at providing comfort, care, and aid in the overall well-being of their guests. With healthy meals, filtered water, laundry services, housekeeping services, high-speed WiFi, a gym, and a play zone, it’s a well-rounded accommodation for students and professionals.
The property features compact bed stations with night lights and curtains. Each cubicle has a small locker and shelf fitted within. The rooms offer a captivating view of the rolling mountains and luscious trees. They are quite basic and minimal but are furnished and equipped with all the necessary amenities. The hostel is a great choice for those needing something budget-friendly and centrally located. It is within walking distance of the Kalka Shimla Railway Station. And being so close to the city center and the vibrant markets, Abuzz is a great choice for professionals looking to explore the town.
Food Availability: The guests are provided with healthy, delicious meals throughout the day. There is also a fully equipped kitchen and you can easily cook simple and quick meals for yourself. There are several cafés, restaurants, and eateries located nearby like Café Wake and Bake, Café Simla Time, Ashiana Restaurant, and The Restaurant. Do keep in mind that outside food is not allowed in the dorms.
Accessibility: The closest functioning airport is the Chandigarh Airport which is 121.4 km from Abuzz, while the nearest major railway junction is the Chandigarh Railway Station which is 105.6 km away. A cab ride from either the airport or the railway station should take you about 3.5 hours to reach the hostel. You can also opt for buses from the Chandigarh Bus Terminus up to Shimla. And depending on where you get off, the Old Shimla Stand or the ISBT Stand, it will take you 5 to 20 minutes to reach the property via cab.
Ideal For: Students, working professionals, hikers, and solo travelers.
Rate: The rates at Abuzz OxfordCaps start at INR 500 per night.
Location: Tutikandi Rd, Tutikandi, Shimla 171004.
Also read: Traveling To Shimla During Covid
The majestic mountains and lavish hill slopes of Shimla call out to every adventurous soul across the country and the world. This alluring hub is on top of every traveler's bucket list, and backpacking hostels are the best way to go about your stay in Shimla! Pocket-friendly and super comfy, the best hostels in Shimla have so much more to offer. From guided tours and treks to yummy home-cooked meals, these hostels have everything you’d need during your stay in the summer capital!
Why Is Shimla Famous?
Shimla is famous for its picturesque mountains and valleys, surrounded by pine and oak trees. This capital city of Himachal Pradesh is famous for The Mall, The Ridge, and the colonial-style buildings that add to the charm of this beautiful little town. Shimla is an excellent base for treks in the surrounding hills or beyond, river rafting, and trout fishing.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Shimla?
The months from March to June are the best time to explore Shimla. This is a popular tourist season in Shimla as the weather is quite pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities. The temperature is comfortable and usually varies between 15°C and 30°C. If you are into adventure sports, then this is the ideal time to try paragliding, trekking, camping, and rafting.
How Many Days Are Sufficient For Shimla?
Shimla is a little town and does not take much time to cover. You can explore Shimla comfortably within two to three days, covering the famous destinations of the town. If you plan to stay for longer, you can consider exploring Kufri and then continue further to Manali.
What Is The Lowest And Highest Prices Of Hostels In Shimla?
Hostels in Shimla vary from basic bunk bed dorms to expansive and sophisticated cottages and mansions. The prices vary in a similar fashion. Hostels in Shimla start from prices as low as INR 500 and could go as high up to INR 2,500 per night.
In Which Month Does Shimla Have Snowfall?
Snowfall season in Shimla begins in late December and lasts through February, making it a perfect destination for snow lovers and winter sports enthusiasts from across the world. The winter season in Shimla usually begins in November and the average maximum temperature stands at the low-twenties, while the minimum drops below 15 degrees.
Which Airport Is Closest To Shimla?
The nearest airport from Shimla is Chandigarh Airport situated at a distance of about 120 km from the hill station. You can either travel by bus, which takes 8 to 9 hours, or a private cab that would only take 3 to 4 hours.
What Should I Pack For Shimla?
Make sure to pack heavy sweaters, thermal innerwear, and woolen socks, especially if you’re traveling to Shimla during the winter months. Apart from that, remember to carry your ID proof, appropriate shoes for trekking or hiking, camera and batteries, specific and basic medications, power banks, and sunscreen and moisturizer.
What Is The Famous Food In Shimla?
Dishes like chha gosht, mash daal, chicken anardana, thukpa, madra, and babru are some of the most famous delicacies of Shimla and carry with them a peculiar flavor profile found only in the Himachal cities.