Open since 2012, City Circus Hostel in Athens is a boutique hostel with 19 rooms spread over 3 floors, including dorm and private rooms, plus a terrace and a large restaurant. The hostel is housed in a fully refurbished 20th-century mansion on a quiet street in the buzzing neighbourhood of Psirri. I stayed at the City Circus Hostel for three nights in February 2017 and here are all my thoughts on this stay. I’ve mixed some of the hostel’s pictures with my own video above and images below so you can get a real feel for the hostel.
The City Circus Hostel is located in Psirri, which is very central. I caught a train directly from the airport (which costs €10 one way, €18 return) to Monastiraki metro station, which was an easy 7-minute walk to the hostel. The area reminded me of the El Raval district in Barcelona or the Brick Lane/Whitechapel part of London. Very vibrant and interesting with lots of little bars and restaurants to discover; a few streets that could feel a little dodgy but overall a good vibe.
The area is a great place to base yourself for the stay as you can easily walk south to Acropolis or north to Exarcheia. The area is busy and alive at night, so I always felt safe walking around here at night even on my own.
I stayed in an all-female 4-bed dorm on the second floor, which looked out over the street. The room had a high ceiling and large window that provided ample natural light and air to the room. We kept the window open a crack each night to allow for some airflow and I was never disturbed by any outside noise (I was wearing earplugs though). The shutters block out nearly all the light in the room, allowing it to stay dark during the day, which is great if you like to sleep in.
My room had ample space for the four of us to share, with a small desk and four lockers that correspond to your bed number. The beds were very comfortable with decent bed linen and plump mattresses. Each bed had a shelf with a reading lamp and European plug, plus there were a couple of other power points around the room.
My dorm room at the City Circus Hostel was always very clean and there were two mirrors in the room, which really helped when everyone was trying to get ready each morning. Overall, I thought the rooms were excellent: simple, clean and comfortable.
I would also recommend considering the private rooms if you are travelling with a partner or friends – they are really lovely and private bathrooms with your towels included. Plus, you still get all the other benefits of staying at a hostel, including the great social spaces and restaurant.
The bathroom in my room was very nice: a sparkling clean tiled space with detachable showerhead and a pretty mirror (this hostel has good mirror game I noticed from the other rooms I saw). It was just right for a room with four women sharing it and was always spotlessly clean each day.
My only gripe was that the bathmat was incredibly grubby and tired, which looked very out of place with the rest of the bathroom. It was quite surprising, but really was the only thing I could fault the hostel on. Towels are available for hire from reception (for €1 I think) and these were perfectly fine.
Breakfast at the City Circus Hostel costs €5 and is available from 8-11 am every morning, which I thought was great for late risers. One of the things that normally turns me off hotel/hostels breakfasts is the early time it is served. The menu was the same every morning: muesli, Greek yoghurt, fruit salad, bread, spreads, scrambled eggs, mini sausages, juice, tea and coffee. Nothing spectacularly exciting but very good value for money.
Brunch isn’t really a thing yet in Athens, aside from a few places on Sundays, so I would recommend eating breakfast at your accommodation if possible. The big plus point about breakfast is that it’s served in the gorgeous restaurant every morning. This is such a fabulous space and a really lovely way to start the day!
On the same level as the reception, there is a large lounge/hang out area and kitchen. This high-ceilinged space is lovely with lots of natural light and plenty of couches and a huge shared table. It was very easy to sit down and chat with people here and the area was very clean and tidy.
One thing I have found with some stylish hostels is that they were obviously really great when they originally opened, but after a few years have become quite shabby and tired-looking. Not the case here: everything at the City Circus Hostel looked great. Same goes for the kitchen area, which had enough basic facilities to throw a meal together.
If you’re looking for somewhere you can cook all your meals for a number of nights, this probably isn’t the hostel for you as there wasn’t a full stove etc. Otherwise, it is perfect. On Monday nights, there is a free movie night in the lounge.
This level leads to the mezzanine level for the attached restaurant, which provides an additional seating area for guests to hang out in. Obviously, when the restaurant is busy this area would be full of patrons, but it was empty most of the time which is great for when you want to sit in the lounge but it’s too busy.
The stairs lead down from here into the restaurant, which was the biggest selling point of the City Circus Hostel for me. This is such a glam and gorgeous space, totally not what you would expect from a hostel. Breakfast is served here every morning plus guests can also have a free glass of wine here every evening, which was a really lovely benefit. It was also a great time to get chatting with other guests and make some friends.
Another great space to hang out is the terrace on Level 3. There’s plenty of space for 15 or so people to sit up here and enjoy the sunshine and the view of the Acropolis.
Free WiFi is available throughout the hostel and whilst it was a little patchy in my room it was still very usable and very strong in the shared spaces downstairs. There is also a 24-hour reception and the staff were always very friendly and helpful.
The bottom line
I know this is a big claim but I think City Circus Athens may be the best hostel I have ever stayed in! As you can see in my video review above, despite my hangover when filming I very passionate about how great this hostel is.
It gets pretty much everything right: great location, great building, lovely rooms, good breakfast, fantastic restaurant, helpful staff, good freebies and social events. I spent my whole stay here talking with other guests about just how great the hostel is!
I would love to stay here again – I want to come back with my partner and show them how fantastic Athens is and stay in one of their gorgeous private rooms! So yes, this place is amazing and you shouldn’t hesitate in booking your stay here.
Disclaimer: This hostel kindly offered me three nights stay for free in exchange for writing a review and featuring it on my social media accounts. The owners made no editorial demands on me and this is a completely honest account of how I felt about my stay. As a general rule, I don’t write negative reviews: if I don’t like a hotel or hostel, I won’t feature it. So I obviously really liked this one.