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Hostel Review: City Backpacker-Hotel Biber, Zürich, Switzerland


A review of my stay at the City Backpacker-Hotel Biber in Zürich, Switzerland, with notes on location, cost, amenities, staff, and more.

City Backpackers Hotel Biber View from RoofI just recently completed a central European journey which took me through Zürich, Switzerland, along with Warsaw, Poland, and several places in Germany. My time in Zürich was short, but I made up for it by obtaining a room at the centrally-located City Backpacker-Hotel Biber hostel during my stay. Walking less than 10 minutes south along the banks of the Limmat River, I arrived at the hostel without any problems.

The reception is located up on the second floor, and I was given a room on the top floor (4th), which was surprisingly burdensome to climb, though I was schlepping two moderately-heavy bags with me.

The Room

After given the key (a nifty little magnet on a key chain) to my 6-bunk room and obtaining my first of several strenuous workouts climbing the stairs, I reached my room at the end of the 4th floor. As I was checking in during the evening, nobody else was around, and my friend, Helena, who had come to meet me from where she studies in nearby Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, and I got situated and affixed the sheets and pillowcases we were given to our respective bunks before heading out.

The room was comfortable, and the decor called to mind what I imagine the quintessential Swiss Alps outing should feel like; the blankets were dark green, army surplus-style throws with the Swiss cross logo, and the bunks were solid wood. In one corner were six decent-sized lockers stacked; there was also a dresser against a wall for anyone needing more space to spread out. A sink and mirror was located near the door, perfect for brushing teeth and taking out contact lenses before retiring. My favorite part of the room, however, were the windows that swung outward uninhibitedly, with no screen or gate for protection.

Common Area & More

The common area is located on the second floor of the building, and the reception desk is also there in an adjoining room. One downfall of the place is that internet only works in this common area, and the resulting mass of travelers checking their various devices seem to overload the network’s resources at times. The common area is small, with a couch on one wall, two little tables with several chairs around each, and a wall with a coffee machine, computer terminal, and another small table with touristic pamphlets and brochures.

For a bathroom, there is one on each floor, with two co-ed toilets and two showers in it, along with one sink and mirror. Though 24-30 people might share each floor, there never seemed to be a problem obtaining a toilet or shower when needed. The shower space is small, but is partitioned into a wet side and dry side by a shower curtain; hooks inside provide adequate space to hang clothes.

A little kitchen-slash-dining room is also located on each floor, adjacent to each bathroom; inside, all the necessary appliances can be found, handy for storing and preparing store-bought food and surviving the exorbitant prices that this part of town can inflict.

The neatest part of the place is the rooftop patio that can be found one level above the floor on which I stayed. Going up the stairs and through a low-ceiling attic space, the roof offers a nice view of the public, cobblestoned square below (that’s the photo at the top of the first page).

Other Notes

The room and outside areas are relatively clean, despite other reviews that may be found online saying otherwise. One thing that I found memorably disconcerting was the lack of energy that characterized my stay. This is not something that the hostel necessarily has anything to do with, or should be faulted for, but the quiet guests and early sleepers that were my fellow hostel mates were a significant departure from my vibrant and energetic stay previously at the Generator Hostel in Copenhagen.


Situated along the Niederdorfstrasse within walking distance of bars, dining, and only a block away from the Limmat River near its convergence with Lake Zürich, the City Backpacker-Hotel Biber hostel is perfect as far as location is involved. I both came in to Zürich and left by the Zürich Hauptbahnhof, the central rail terminal in Switzerland’s largest city, and I walked each way; it was about an easy 9-10 minute walk, and impossible to get lost on. The city’s trams are nearby, should you require one, and the hostel is located right in the midst of the Old Town, on the eastern side of the Limmat, only a few minutes’ walk north of where the water widens into the Lake. Shops and restaurants are all easily accessible, and the Zürich Opera House and Sechseläutenplatz is quite close.


The City Backpacker hostel was pleasant to stay in, and the location was ideal. Lack of wireless internet in the rooms might have turned me off had I required a longer stay, and the hushed silence felt a bit unnatural (though this may be a plus for those wanting regular sleep), but nonetheless the hostel provides a nice respite in the heart of the city. Also, the price, though higher than hostels in most other destinations is relatively cheap – outside is an expensive city in the heart of an expensive country. For a budget traveler such as myself, a city with prices like Zürich can make one feel out of place; nevertheless, City Backpacker-Hotel Biber made me feel cozy, comfortable, and at home, and I’d definitely stay again when I decide to return.

City Backpacker-Hotel Biber | Niederdorfstrasse 5 CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland | Phone: +41 44 251 90 15 | Email: sleep@city-backpacker.ch | Website: www.city-backpacker.ch | Reception hours: 8:00 – 12:00 & 15:00 – 22:00 | Visa & MC accepted

*Disclaimer: This stay was comped by the hostel in return for a written review on this site; however, I tried my best to remain unbiased and honest in my summation of this stay. 

Updated: 2017-06-11
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL (www.dauntlessjaunter.com) to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

Christian Eilers
Written by
Christian Eilers
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