Hostels have evolved leaps and bounds from the dingy, rundown backpacker accommodation of the past. Nowadays, with the rise in flashpacking and boutique bunking, the range of novel sleeping options is endless. Everyone is competing to offer the craziest party or the best breakfast, but some hostels have opted for a more unique approach. From houseboats to prisons, castles to concrete tubes, here’s Euroventure’s roundup of Europe’s coolest places to lay your head.
Hostel Celica – Ljubljana, Slovenia
Spend a night behind bars in this ex-Yugoslavian prison turned backpacker hostel in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Centrally located within a converted military compound, Hostel Celica translates into ‘Hostel Cell.’ But don’t expect a barren, grey room. Despite their original barred doors, each cell has been converted into a unique art instalment. The hostel is a safe haven for artists, travellers and spiritualists. Even if you’re not planning on staying, check out the Metelkova compound for it’s amazing sculptures, graffiti and music scene.
Average price per dorm room: £14
Facilities: Linen Included, free parking, free city maps, towels Included, free Wi-Fi, free Internet access, bicycle parking, safe deposit boxes, laundry facilities.
St. Briavels Hostel – Gloucestershire, England
Although it’s not as fun to explore your own backyard, reliving your medieval dreams by staying overnight in an 800-year-old castle could help. The castle boasts original stonewalls and furniture from the Victorian era. Don’t worry however; the beds have been updated since. Bonus: The castle is said to be haunted with guests complaining of hearing a baby crying in the middle of the night.
Average price per dorm room: £20
Facilities: Linen included, free Wi-Fi, parking available, bicycle parking, laundry facilities, huge park, self-catering kitchen, library.
Das Park Hotel – Ottensheim, Austria.
Reinvent sleeping in the streets with this quirky Austrian hostel. Several large drainpipes have been revamped into alternative sleeping spaces. Schedule yourself some alone time, as these ergonomic tubes are perfect for a night in. Power sockets are available inside the sleep pipes but other than the bed, lamp and window, your luxuries are limited. Don’t worry though – toilets, cafes and bars are located within the public space. The best part: Des Park Hotel operates on a “pay as you wish basis.”
Average Price: “We see “pay as you wish” as a system where customers leave a Euro amount that they can afford and with which they wish to support our project.”
Facilities: Linen included, storage space, power adapters, secure entry code.
The Monastery Hostel – Milan, Italy
Shake up your senses and stay in a beautifully renovated old monastery in the heart of Italy’s fashion capital. The building is located in the Franciscan friars Convent and operates on the tenants of monks. With an emphasis on simplicity, guests are provided with simple home and simple food kits for the duration of their stay.
Average price per dorm room: £17
Facilities: Linen included, free Wi-Fi, lockers, self-catering facilities, bicycle parking, free city maps, games room, laundry room.
From prison cells to heavenly hangouts, there’s a huge array of quirky accommodation all throughout Europe. These are only a select few of the quirky hostels out there – why not break the norm and try staying somewhere different next time you travel.
Ecohostel Andromeda, Ghent, Belgium
All aboard this self-sustaining house barge in the cheery channels of Ghent. Relax in spacious, comfortable dorm rooms and indulge in organic, fair-trade breakfasts (Seriously, it’ll be the healthiest meal you’ll get as a backpacker). The owners are avid travellers themselves and gave up their jobs to live full time as low-impact pirates. Complete with a house cat and a cosy lounge room, Hostel Andromeda is a great place to lay anchor while exploring the city.
Average price per dorm room: £20
Facilities: Free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, free lockers, free city maps, linen included, honesty fridge.
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Originally published in Euroventure