I have stayed at some hostels with really good breakfasts. Ates Pension in Kas, Turkey was a family-run hostel with the most amazing breakfast spread every morning. Not only did they serve up tomatoes, several types of pepper and local cheeses, they served up a second plate of all of those ingredients covered in chile oil. And then there were eggs and meats, plus lots of fresh fruit, and local yogurt with local honey, plus tea and coffee… all served on a shady rooftop patio overlooking the sea. At the Hairy Lemon Hostel in Saranda, Albania the manager makes a big pitcher of delicious pancake batter every morning, and when you roll out of bed you’re free to heat up a pan and make some cinnamon-spiked crepes at your convenience. But what to do when you’re not at Ates Pension or the Hairy Lemon Hostel? Easy- fend for yourself!
If you’re going to stay somewhere for more than a day or two it’s worth it to buy some basic breakfast ingredients that you should be able to store in the hostel kitchen. My standard is yogurt, granola and fruit, with some extra seeds if I can find them. In Latvia I found this delicious cherry-pineapple yogurt, and in Estonia they had pear-caramel! Eastern Europe is great for these big squeeze bags of yogurt, which are a much better value than single-serving containers. Put some yogurt in a bowl, top with a sprinkle of granola and then add a sliced banana or peeled, diced kiwi. If you found a mix of seeds, sprinkle on some sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds too, for extra protein.
When you store your food in the hostel fridge, I recommend putting everything inside one plastic bag, clearly labeled with your name and dates of stay. Every hostel will have a thief or two who steals food from the fridge, but I’ve found they’re not very likely to open a labeled bag- they just grab the first thing they see. For a box of granola or cereal, label it with your name and departure date and see if you can put it atop the kitchen cabinets (you might need to stand on a chair).
If you’re only in a city for a day or two, buying granola and yogurt might not be worthwhile. You can look for those single-serving containers of yogurt and add a banana or other fruit, or you can just go out for breakfast. In parts of the world where “going out for breakfast” isn’t too common, look for a coffee shop that might have pastries along with their coffee, or look for local bakeries where you can grab a sweet or savoury treat. If you can find a place serving borek-style pastries, breakfast is a great time to get in some leafy greens with a spinach and feta pastry. Hotel restaurants also often serve breakfast, at a price.
And don’t forget, you’re on holidays! If you didn’t buy food for breakfast and you know that you can’t find any nearby, just to back to bed for a few hours and have a big lunch when you wake up!