Hostel Environment - Europe's most unique hostels
If you’re on an epic backpacking trip around Europe, your hostel is probably more a secure holding spot for your luggage than a place you’ll spend much time in. So, you won’t really care about the amenities or lack thereof because, hey, you’re only going to sleep there for a few hours. Or so they say.
On my 9-week rail trip around Europe, I slept on a mattress in a crash pad (Berlin), in a 17th century Renaissance villa (Florence) and at the cleanest hostel I’ve ever seen (Copenhagen).
A few nights of drunken snoring in 12-bed mixed dorms, amorous hook-ups and a thin mattress in a hostel in the dodgy area of town will make you yearn for a little tranquillity, space and a clean, comfy bed. Trust me, it’s worth throwing a bit more coin at your budget accommodation to ensure some decent shut-eye so you can get on with what you came to do – travel.
And, you don’t need to be a flashpacker to expect hotel-style amenities. Free wi-fi, flexible check-out times, lockers, 24-hour access, complimentary brekky and decent showers are all basic features of a good hostel, so check out the website and reviews before you hand over your dosh. Atmosphere is another big plus - who wants the fun police watching your every move?
With that in mind, we reckon your hostel should be somewhere you’d want to hang out and meet like-minded travellers. So, we’ve sourced some of Europe’s most unique hostels so your stay is just as amazing as the sights. Here’s our top 6.
Villa Camerata Hostel – Florence, Italy
This hostel within a 17th century Renaissance villa in Florence will have you pinching yourself when you rock up the sweeping driveway. The yellow stucco exterior, grand alfresco areas and manicured gardens give way to marble interiors, wrought iron window frames and opulent communal areas for your Tuscan dream holiday on a shoestring. Thankfully, the beds and bathrooms are not from the 17th century!
Eastern Comfort Hostel Boat – Berlin, Germany
This hostel had us at Eastern Comfort. That it’s also on a boat is just an added bonus. Eastern Comfort (and its boat sibling Western Comfort) is moored on the Spree between 2 Berlin hotspots – Fredrichshain and Kreuzberg. Walk the plank to your floating cabin and peer out your porthole at the river, which ripples soothingly at night. You can also choose 1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class cabins or pitch a tent on the deck during summer.
Jumbo Stay Hostel – Stockholm, Sweden
Here’s a plane you can actually catch some ZZZs in. One of several quirky sleeps in Stockholm, local design is clearly not restricted to flat-pack furniture. Jumbo Stay Hostel is a disused Boeing 747-212B parked at Stockholm Arlanda Airport with 76 beds, including the Cockpit Suite with 360-degree views of the tarmac! The ultra-modern fitout is sleek and stylish with plenty of luxe amenities. It’s not cheap, but worth it for the quirk factor alone.
Hostel Celica – Llubljana, Slovenia
Smack-bang in the heart of Llubljana, this former military prison-turned-artsy hotel is now home to inmates from around the world. Each prison cell retains its detention centre charm with original cell bars on the doors and windows, but with each interior given a graphic and design update courtesy of over 80 local creatives. There’s also 5 café/restaurant/bar spots to hang out and soak up the jailbird cool atmosphere.
Kadir’s Tree Houses – Olympos, Turkey
Like something out of the Dark Crystal (Google it, Millennials), the gnarled and twisted wooden treehouses and bungalows at Kadir’s Tree Houses hostel make for a fantasy stay. Located on the Mediterranean coast in southern Turkey, the hostel site has a rustic, DIY feel. Think upcycled doors, repurposed wagon wheels integrated into the eco-friendly buildings and mismatched furniture – long before that was even a thing!
Das Park Hotel - Ottensheim, Austria
Proving that one man’s concrete tube is another’s hipster hostel, dasparkhotel (alloneword, fyi) ottensheim takes industrial living to the lower level, literally. Situated in Ottensheim near Linz and on the Danube River, you’ll be living it up in repurposed 9.5-tonne sewerage pipes with a double bed, lights and power and painted inside by a local artist. All other amenities (including bathrooms) are provided in the surrounding public space.