Sofia in Bulgaria was next on my hit list and I needed a hostel for a couple of nights. It was the name that shot out at me “10 coins hostel” I thought? Must be a story in that! One e-mail later and I’m messaging Nick the owner while I backpacked through Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv. I knew when I got to Sofia the Bulgarian capital city that I would have a great place to stay. The website of the 10 Coins Hostel is pretty good, but when you get there it’s even better, a memory that will stay with me, and you for a long time.
This is the way all family run hostels should be. The hostel is all about travel. Please, please, stay here if you are in Sofia – if you’re a fellow traveller and backpacker you will love the 10 coins hostel! Here are 10 pure fire reasons why I loved the 10 Coins Hostel.
1. The Owners, Nick and Julia
As a long term traveller I love the people I meet on my journeys. The owners of 10 Coins Hostel have more stories of travel than your average passer by. Nick and Julia have travelled to many corners of the world including Iceland, Georgia and Bhutan.
As soon as I arrived we just got chatting about travel and we buzzed off each other’s enthusiasm for travel and they also now follow my own journeys. A really great couple, so honoured to have met them, to have stayed in their hostel and to have them as friends.
2. The Rooms, Themed
Each room in the 10 Coins Hostel is themed. I stayed in the “Geography Room” which had maps all over the walls. It totally made me feel like a traveller! Just as cool as my night in the Hemingway Inn in San Jose Costa Rica.
Upstairs there is also a Music Room and each room has a different vibe to it. The rooms are dorms and long stayers are also welcome.
3. Free in-room Wi-Fi
Again I seemed to hit the target on my adventure through eastern Europe and the Balkans as the 10 Coins Hostel also had great Wi-Fi in my room!
4. Welcome Drink and Snack
The biggest surprise for me was the welcome drink and snack. After a bus from Plovdiv and a metro plus a short walk to the hostel, I was definitely hungry and thirsty.
Nick and Julia produced not just a plate of a feast for me, but it was in the colours of the Bulgarian flag and a travel memory I will never ever forget for the hospitality. Given I was there in close season, I’m not sure every tourist in summer would get the same treatment but their hospitality is second to none. Something which is admittedly hard to come by in Bulgaria.
The self catering option comes into play here again as you can make full use of the kitchen. There’s a small kitchen downstairs and a bigger one upstairs for you to use.
6. Travel Vibe Throughout
The entire hostel has a travel vibe. From the bed side tables made of suitcases to the coins and banknotes on reception, this is a couple who love to travel and want to make their hostel a cosy home for real travellers. I’m serious – you should not consider staying anywhere else in Sofia – not even a four star. 10 coins wins.
7. Travel Information
The night before I wanted to head to Macedonia, I simply asked Nick and he knew the exact webpage with the bus times to Skopje on it! He basically did my work for me, so I would have a smooth and easy journey out of Sofia and onwards into dreamy Skopje, Macedonia.
But there’s more – Nick and Julia know the ins and outs of Bulgaria and can tell you about all those off the wall spots that most travellers don’t normally go. Just ask them for something amazing without other tourists and you’ll be surprised how much there is to see in Bulgaria.
8. The Traveller’s Wall
You can sign the traveller’s wall and add to the arty nature of the 10 Coins Hostel. They’ve had guests from all over the world and hopefully by the time you guys head here, the wall will be covered with colourful greetings from a load of countries.
9. Quiet Neighbourhood
Forget staying in downtown Sofia which can be drab, dark and uninspiring at night. Here at the 10 Coins Hostel you are in a nice quiet neighbourhood just a few minutes walk from Han Kubrat metro station.
From Han Kubrat, you’re only 2 stops from the Central Rail and Bus Station and about 5 stops from the city centre for sightseeing the Mosques, Churches, Parliament etc.
10. Ten Coins Hostel – by name and by nature!
So you’ve been wondering about the name of the hostel and I was too. I will let Nick and Julia explain the name for the hostel, which came about on one of their own backpacking jaunts…
“We are a couple Nick and Julia, the owners of the 10 Coins hostel. We love travelling a lot. On our trip to Nepal, after visiting Pokhara we returned to Kathmandu and that was our last day in that wonderful country. When we got to our favorite district of Thamel we tried to withdraw some money from an ATM, but our Visa card, for unknown reasons, was blocked. We called to the bank, but that did not solve the problem because of the time difference. Searching our pockets we found a few Nepalese rupees and 10 Euro coins. We always collect them. Those 10 Euro coins were enough to pay for a night at the hostel. After many years we remember this story with a smile and that is why we decided to call our hostel 10 Coins. Our main idea is that every traveller can stay at our hostel having only a few coins (ten!) in their pockets. Also we don’t require credit cards while booking and you can pay when it is comfortable for you! Let’s make this world simpler…”
So with that inspiring story and the fact that this is a real life feel good hostel, don’t skip Sofia on your Bulgarian adventure and make sure you stay in the 10 Coins Hostel. I also met up with two friends in Sofia for beers which was a great time.
Here are some videos from my time at the wonderful 10 Coins Hostel in Sofia, Bulgaria: