HiHostels Blog

Win a free Christmas Market Trip with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass!

What do you get when Eurail and Interrail, who offer rail passes that allow you to travel throughout Europe, join forces with Hostelling International, one of the world’s largest youth accommodation providers?

Christmas Market Trip

The opportunity to travel up to 30 countries at an affordable price!

To make your Christmas season unforgettable, Hostelling International with Eurail and Interrail give you the opportunity to win a free Christmas Market Trip to the best spots in Europe.

Discover your perfect Christmas destination and participate in our contest for the chance to win a free Christmas Market Trip!


The draw will take place on Tuesday 31st  October 2017. Winners will be notified within 14 days of the draw. For full terms and conditions, please click HERE.

BELGIUM – Zwarte Piet, the mischievous assistant of Santa Claus


In Belgium, you can meet Santa Claus during festive parades all over the country.

He is always accompanied by Zwarte Piet, a prankster and a humorous character whose role is to amuse children, distribute sweets and climb down chimneys to fill children’s shoes with presents during the St Nicholas Day on 5th of December.

Travel around Belgium with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

Discover Belgium by staying in two of our unique Winter hostels, each one with its own Belgian character and atmosphere! 

Our Liege Youth Hostel is located in a young and vibrant part of the town, a short walking distance from the centre. The city is considered to be the world capital of student folklore, the centre of Belgian football and an activity hub of youth. No matter what time you arrive, you will be busy all day in Liege 

In Auberge de Jeunesse de Tournaia truly inspiring hostel based in a former music academy,  you are five minutes away from The Grand Place or main square, as well as the Belfry and the Cathedral, both UNESCO listed buildings. There are also lots of shops and other places to have fun! 

Despite its small size, Belgium is strategically located and well-known for its excellent domestic and international rail connections. You can start your day with a breakfast in Liege, and in less than 3 hours you will be walking on the streets of Tournai at the opposite side of the country! Interrail or Eurail Passes make this possible by offering the ultimate borderless travel in Europe and Pass holders can simply arrive in the heart of the destination.

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

FINLAND - the home of Santa Claus


Santa Claus is the most famous symbol of Christmas recognisable all over the world. With his white beard and red coat, he brings joy and presents to all the well-behaved children from around the world.

You can try to sneak up on him on Christmas Eve, or just visit him in the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland. It’s open every day of the year and there’s no entrance fee!

Travel around Finland with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

Explore Helsinki and stay in one of the greenest hostels in Finland! Eurohostel Helsinki is one of the friendliest accommodation providers in the region, open 24/7 so that guests are welcome to spend the day sightseeing, and come back at any time they like.

Enjoy rail travel to Finland with Interrail or Eurail Passes. It will bring you directly to the Santa Claus Village from Helsinki by taking the Santa Claus Express. See the beauty of Finland from the comfortable compartments and wake up above the Arctic Circle the next morning.

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

FRANCE - the best stop for Christmas shopping


The French are known for their sophisticated taste and passion for shopping. Their Christmas decorations are to die for, but there is one especially worth mentioning.

Creches de Novel, the traditional nativity cribs in France, are taken to a totally new level. They don´t only include traditional biblical characters, such as Mary and Joseph, but also typical village characters, such as poachers, fisherman, bakers, vegetable sellers, worshippers, etc. These hand-painted, terracotta figures are called ´santons´, which means ´little saints´.

Be warned: a traditional Christmas crib may cost a small fortune, so think twice before purchasing it as your travel souvenir.

Travel around France with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

In France, we would like to invite you to Auberge de Jeunesse Hi Lille Stephane Hessel, a futuristically designed hostel in the middle of Lille, the capital of the Flanders region. By optimising energy consumption and managing water usage, this eco-friendly youth hostel is all about respecting future generations. If you want to meet other travellers like you, visit the communal space located on a hostel’s terrace and immersive yourself in the view and unique atmosphere.

Lille is a city with convenient rail connections including domestic and international destinations. Find the best Interrail and Eurail Pass for your trip and travel freely on your chosen route.  

Get your Interrail or Eurail Passes now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

GERMANY - where the Christmas Tree tradition started

Christmas Tree

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas Tree tradition, as they were probably the first nation to bring the decorated trees into their homes.

Nowadays, the traditional Tannenbaum, as Germans called the Christmas Tree, is decorated with tinsel, ornaments, glass baubles and lights.

All over Germany you’ll find lavishly-decorated Christmas shops with a lovely array of festive decoration, including nutcrackers, soldiers, Schwibbogen (candle-holders), incense smokers and pyramids.

Travel around Germany with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

Learn to decorate the Christmas Tree the traditional German way when you stay at our hostel and visit the Stuttgart Christmas Markets for inspirations!

Located in the middle of the city’s Event Zone, the DJH Jugendherberge Stuttgart Neckarpark hostel has a very modern, trendy design and high comfort standards. Purchase tickets for local attractions directly from the reception – visit the oldest car in the world in the Mercedes Benz Museum, relax in mineral baths, or go to a concert at the famous Cannstatter Wasen festival area. 

With Interrail or Eurail Passes, you are not only able to travel flexibly, but you can also get additional Pass benefits like discounted accommodation, free access on public transportation in major German cities, sightseeing tours, museums, and also shopping outlets!

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

LUXEMBOURG - the most generous gift givers


Perhaps you didn’t know this, but Luxembourgers are considered to be the most generous gift givers in the world.

Citizens of this small European country prepare all year for this special celebration. Not only do members of a family exchange gifts, it´s also not uncommon to see people giving presents to colleagues, postmen or even garbage collectors!

Travel around Luxembourg with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

Esch-sur-Alzette is one of the newest hostels in HI network! Located close to the train station in Luxembourg’s second-largest city, the hostel is ideally situated for guests wishing to explore the entire region. The in-house restaurant also offers a variety of Luxembourg specialities, including vegetarian options. 

The Interrail or Eurail Benelux Pass goes beyond Luxembourg, allowing you to explore its neighbouring countries, like Belgium and The Netherlands! With the price of one country, you can explore three countries instead!

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

THE NETHERLANDS - a country where Rudolf doesn´t exist


In the Netherlands, Santa Claus, who is called Sinterklass, is a serious public figure. He is tall and slender and wears a bishop´s attire, including a long ceremonial shepherd’s staff.

He doesn’t travel on slides, but arrives from Spain by a steamboat. Yes, you read it right — there are no reindeers included. Instead, he is welcomed by a crowd and rides his white horse through the streets.

Travel around the Netherlands with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

The Netherlands is famous for its great music scene, night life and multiculturalism. If you’re tired after a long day and/or night of activities, Stayokay Maastricht is a perfect place for you. The hostel is situated on the banks of the Maas River with a terrace that provides a wonderful view of the river, and a relaxing atmosphere! You can chill out, have a drink, play pool and Nintendo, read a book or just take a walk in a park nearby.  

As Interrail or Eurail Pass holders, you can pick the best route that fits your needs, as well as take advantage of special benefits, like discounts on shopping outlets and free access to 1st class lounges in major cities in the Netherlands.

If you have more time, have a look at the Interrail or Eurail Benelux Pass that allows you to travel to neighbourhood countries in the region!

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

NORWAY - witches and evil spirits


Christmas Eve in Norway has a lot in common with Halloween. It´s believed that throughout the night, evil spirits taunt the living and witches fly on brooms into the cold night to cause havoc!

In order to prevent this from happening, Norwegians hide their brooms and mops so witches won´t be able to steal or use them.

Travel around Norway with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

Norway is definitely a must-visit country during the Christmas season, even the chilly temperatures are worth the Winter experience. We will welcome you to the Oslo Haraldsheim hostel, with good transport links to the centre of the Norwegian capital.  

There are multiple reasons why travelling by train around Norway is one of the best choices you can make during your trip. The views are breath-taking, nature is close at hand, and because of that Norway is known for offering the greatest rail journeys on Earth. Purchase your Interrail or Eurail Passes to visit the wooden wharf houses of Bergen and wander under the dazzling Northern lights! 

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

SWEDEN – Saint Lucy, a celebration of light


‘Sankta Lucia’ is believed to be a brave 3rd-century martyr who was secretly bringing food to the persecuted Christians hiding in Roman catacombs. To bring more with her and still find her way in the darkness, Lucy would wear a candle-lit wreath on top of her head. Her name means ‘light’ and Swedish people associate her celebration with Winder Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the old Julian calendar.

Each year Swedish people pick their own national Lucia who to this day wears a crown of real candles on her head! You will meet her on processions all over the country!

Travel around Sweden with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

Ahoj, sailers! Have you ever spent Christmas on the sea?

We would like to invite you on board! Visit STF Vandrarhem af Chapman & Skeppsholmen hostel, an old sailing ship centrally located on the Skeppsholmen island in Stockholm. If you suffer from seasickness you can always stay on the dry land! The second part of our hostel is located in a 19th-century building originally used as a firewood storage for the royal caste.

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass today and visit the capital city, or go farther by travelling to the cultural town of Gothenburg or experience the nightlife of Malmo.

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

SWITZERLAND - Schmutzli, the Santa´s alter ego


Santa Claus is said to give gifts only to well-behaved kids all over the world. What about the misbehavers then?

In Switzerland, they should fear the Schmutzli, also known as ´The Whipping Father´, the Santa´s companion who punishes naughty children with a broom made out of twigs.

Travel around Switzerland with HI and Interrail or Eurail Pass

The Zurich Youth Hostel is open all year round with a staff available 24/7 ready to provide you with the best local tips! Our goal is to help you truly enjoy Zurich, the little city on a global scale. The hostel has modern facilities where you can try delicious Swiss cuisine and comfortable rooms in a quiet city location close to the lake. 

With the Interrail and Eurail Passes you will be able to see the best spots in Switzerland at an affordable price. No more wasting time in queues waiting for train tickets or trying to remember the few words in German, French or Italian that you may know.

Get your Interrail or Eurail Pass now 

and don´t forget to 

BOOK your accommodation with HI! 

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