When in Europe, hostels are a tried and true accommodation pick for travelers on a budget. Not only do the dorm-style rooms allow you to cut on costs, they are also generally located in convenient sections of town, have staff who can provide you with insider tips for exploring your locale, and allow you to connect with fellow travelers from around the world.
But not all hostels are created equal. Some are calm, some are rowdy, some are glamorous, some are rundown and some are just downright quirky. We chose to go for the quirky -- after all, quirky translates to fun in any language.
From West to East, we’ve got you covered with 10 unusual hostels in Europe that we can’t get enough of. Warning: many of these hostels are quite popular so we recommend booking online in advance via budget travel sites like HostelBookers, , Hostelz, or .
- Location: London, England
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at 16 pounds / Prison cells starting at 65 pounds
Sleep in a prison cell in the same courthouse that tried The Clash at Clink78. Located in near King’s Cross, a major entry point into the city of London (and the location where Harry Potter boards Platform 9 ¾ for his journey to Hogwarts), is located in the unlikely setting of an old courthouse.
The historic setting is where Charles Dickens worked while writing Oliver Twist and the band The Clash stood trial for the crime of shooting a prize pigeon. Yes, you read that correctly.
Clink is an old British slang term for prison, and guests can sleep in an authentic prison cell, private rooms or shared dorms. But don’t let the formal courthouse setting fool you -- guests can now relax in former courtrooms or party at the night-time venue ClashBAR, aptly named to pay homage to its history.
2. Home Lisbon Hostel
- Location: Lisbon, Portugal
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at $22
In a city that often ranks amongst the best for its backpacker accommodations, one factor pushes above the rest -- dinner with mamma.
That’s right! Six nights a week, Mamma, the actual mother of this hostel’s owner, cooks dinner and serves it to guests family-style at long, wooden tables in the hostel’s dining room. For an extra fee of ten euros, Mamma cooks up a delicious selection of her family’s Portuguese recipes, filling stomachs and assuaging homesickness.
The rooms themselves contain sturdy wooden bunk beds with views of the hip Baixa District.
3. Mare de Due de Montserrat
- Location: Barcelona, Spain
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at $17.70
Located in a century old mansion with breezy outdoor areas and panoramic views, encapsulates all the greatest of Barcelona’s spirit. The fact that it's within walking distance of Gaudí's quirky Park Guell gives it an extra kick.
Top to it all off, this hostel is located in a mansion, which means common areas and rooms have charming features such as title patterned floors, wood awnings, and stained glass windows.
4. Villa Saint Exupery Gardens Hostel
- Location: Nice, France
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at $22
Tucked in the quiet hills of Nice, is a sanctuary of peace on the Côte d'Azur. With pink paint, airy French windows, rooms with sea views, and dense gardens filling the property, the hostel is a French villa fantasy brought to life.
Perhaps the secret behind this hostel’s relaxed atmosphere is the fact it is located in a former Carmelite Monastery. Chapel bar provides a warm space to get to know your fellow hostel-goers and pays homage to the building’s history with stained glass.
Villa Exupery Gardens is in the upscale Cimiez neighborhood, within walking distance to the Musee Matisse and the ancient Romans of Cemenelum.
5. Hostel Ruthensteiner
- Location: Vienna, Austria
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at 13 euros / private rooms starting at 36 euros
resembles a wood carver’s cottage from a fairytale. The sign out front shows a friendly image of a wood cottage next to an evergreen tree. Inside, hand carved oak chairs sit in front of windows hugged by oak frames that give the space a cozy and welcoming feel. This was the intention of the owners, the Ruthensteiners, who carved most these pieces by hand.
In the back of the property, there are two gardens, one which contains an oversized chessboard. Inside, there's no shortage of cozy common areas and nooks for reading, trip planning, or socializing.
The hostel is located a five-minute walk from Westbahnhof train station and is a short tram ride from important city sights like Old Town and Schonbrunn Palace.
6. Eastern Comfort Berlin Hostelboat
- Location: Berlin, Germany
- Cost: Third class dorm cabin starting at 16 euros / first class single bed cabin starting at 68 euros
Who says houseboats are only for the wealthy? The is a hostel boat that floats in the river of Berlin. And what better way to celebrate the quirky, non-conformist spirit of Berlin that to sleep in a non-traditional hostel on a boat?
The hostel boat has 25 below-deck cabins as well as private cabins above deck that offer panoramic views. The top deck is home to a floating lounge that serves coffee and cocktails.
When you stay here, you’re also in stumbling distance to the real party; the boat is docked in between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, two of the best party districts in Berlin. It’s also a short walk from the East Side Gallery, the longest remaining piece of the historic Berlin Wall.
7. Hostel Celica
- Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at 19 euros / shared cells starting at 24 euros
Spend the night behind bars at in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This unique hostel is set in a building built by the Austro-Hungarian army in 1882. It served as a prison for more than 100 years before being abandoned in 1991 when Slovenia declared its independence.
The building has since been opened as a hostel and is described as a “safe haven for travelers, artists, and all high-spirited people. Rooms are far from dreary prison cells that may come to mind. Rooms are bright and airy. Many have been painted by local artists."
The basement of the building contains a museum of solitary confinement. A large concentration of museums, restaurants, and shops are also within walking distance.
8. Jumbo Stay
- Location: Stockholm, Sweden
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at 550 SEK / Cockpit suite starting at 1850 SEK
It’s not often when you can comfortably sleep on a jet. But at in Stockholm, you can -- the hostel is located in a decommissioned Boeing 747 and rests firmly on the ground. It also makes for one of the most unusual hostels in Europe.
It may not seem like there’s space for bunk beds on airplanes, but Jumbo Stay proves that there is. They also have space for a café and bar. You’ll surely never look at an aircraft the same way after staying here!
Though this plane is located on the ground, it is also close to planes that take off to the sky, as the hostel is 10-minutes from the Arlanda airport.
9. Kadir’s Tree Houses
- Location: Olympos, Turkey
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at $14 / private bungalows starting at $40
Whimsical, enchanting, and utterly fantastic, bring a new twist of wonder to accommodation.
In a heavily wooded corner of Turkey, tree houses and bungalows let you feel like you are sleeping close to nature. Real trees run through several of the rooms, and the others are crafted out of fine wood. To further the connection to the outdoors, a campfire brings travelers together nightly, and the property is also well known for its party scene with three bars onsite.
A ten-minute walk to the beach, the tree houses are located in the village of Olympos near the Mediterranean coast, not far from rock climbing, ruins, and pristine nature.
- Location: Santorini, Greece
- Cost: Dorm beds starting at 15 euros
The Greeks have shaped on modern civilization in a myriad of ways, so its safe to say there’s a lot we can learn from their ancient culture. On the island of Santorini, cave houses are traditional dwellings that allow travelers to beat the heat. At the beautiful yet unusual hostel, , you can experience this tradition yourself.
Located in an 18th-century winery, Caveland has eight caves with whitewashed walls that provide beauty and a cool respite from summer heat. There’s also a lounge, gardens, and a large swimming pool as part of the facilities.
Caveland is not located in the heart of tourist activity, but rather in a local island village called Karterados, so its location may not be the most convenient for sightseeing. However, its unique, off-the-beaten-path location means you’ll get to observe the real Greece -- complete with donkeys, fishermen and grandmothers cooking delicious recipes.