Top Ten Historic Hostels in Europe | Are you tired of the same standard of hostel accommodation? Looking for a bit of history from your hostel? From palaces to converted castles, we explore some of Europe’s most historic lodgings for some unique and unusual ideas on where to stay.
1. Clink Hostel, England
(Image source: panoramio.com)
Fancy spending a night in the clink? This Kings Cross converted courthouse is 200 years old and offers old police cells as sleeping areas for guests. A unique and lively hostel aimed at the under-35s, Clink is a great base for exploring all the history that London has to offer. Why not check out the capital’s other historic prisons, including The Tower of London and London Dungeon or take in a London show in the West End?
2. Maverick Hostel, Budapest
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In the heart of Hungary’s historic capital, this renovated royal mansion is the epitome of elegance. With spiral staircases and vaulted ceilings, this regal residence was built by the Habsburg dynasty and you can get a taste of the opulent aristocratic lifestyle for the price of a standard hostel. Forget bunk beds, these deluxe dorms are resplendent, with stylish touches including mosaic windows, plush pouffes and cosy couches.
3. Castle of Laufen, Daschen
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Perched on a rocky outcrop just below the raging Rhine Falls, this thousand-year-old Swiss castle opened as a youth hostel in 1946. Bedrooms are located in a restored building close to the main house, and there are lots of attractions close at hand, including the Fortress of Munot and the Allerheiligen Museum. The Rheinfall Railway also passes through a tunnel underneath the castle, which means that local rail travel is just a stone’s throw away.
4. Castle Rock, Edinburgh, Scotland
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One minute from the vibrant Royal Mile amid the cobbled streets of the Gothic Old Town, this magnificent hostel offers panoramic views of the castle and the capital. Built in 1846, this historic hostelry offers stately public lounges, complete with roaring fireplaces and grand pianos. Despite the grandeur, Castle Rock retains a lively backpacker vibe, making it the perfect base for exploring this extraordinary city.
5. Agora Hostel, Catania
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Catania is a Sicilian city steeped in history, and Agora is situated at its very centre, next to the famous fish market, just steps from Il Duomo Cathedral and the ruins of the Roman Baths. Built from the region’s black volcanic rock, the l’Amenano river flows beneath the hostel in a lavic cave created by eruptions from Mount Etna, which has been cunningly converted into a cavernous wine bar. In the summer months you can sit on the piazza and sip local wine while admiring the incredible Baroque architecture.
6. Antwerp Abhostel
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With its Renaissance-style guildhalls, Gothic cathedral and palatial town hall, Antwerp is a must-see city for history lovers. Outside of the centre within the Moroccan district, this small and independent hostel is converted from a 120-year-old chocolate factory. With a warm, welcoming atmosphere and unique touches that include a chalkboard wall for guests to leave parting messages, and a beer vending machine, this hostel is a true favourite among backpackers.
7. Rua Reidh Lighthouse, Scotland
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If you’re looking to get away from it all, you can’t get further than the North West Scottish Highlands. Situated on a remote peninsula 12 miles from the quaint village of Gairloch, this converted lightkeeper’s house was built in 1910 by a relative of Robert Louis Stevenson. Offering breathtaking views of the wild seascapes out over the Minch to Skye, this 4-star hostel is a great base for exploring the surrounding wilderness, and guided walking tours are available to book.
8. Traveller’s Cave Pension, Cappadocia
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In the beautiful village of Goreme, this rock-cave hostel is surrounded by stunning scenery, since it overlooks the strange stone formations known as the ‘fairy chimneys’. Formed 10 million years ago by volcanic activity and erosion, this red-and-gold setting has many hidden cave-churches to explore, with Hittite and Bronze Age artefacts on display at the local Open Air Museum. The Traveller’s Cave is a stone-built pension whose arched rooms offer traditional decor and magnificent views of the natural surroundings, plus local cuisine is available at the terrace restaurant.
9. Kirkby Stephen Hostel
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Situated in a market town close to Kendal, with easy access to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park, this hostel is a Methodist church converted by the YHA. The old chapel retains plenty of original features, including arches, alcoves, oak panelling and stained-glass windows. The town itself is rich in history, with cobbled streets, winding passageways and quaint, quirky shops. Close by is Croglam Castle, a pre-historic earthworks, and Pendragon Castle, famed for its Arthurian connections.
10. Doorus House Hostel, Kinvara
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Located on a peninsula between the bays of Galway and Kinvara, this historic house was built by the Count DeBasterot in 1866 and marks the site where WB Yeats, Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn met to start the Irish National Theatre. This highly-rated hostel is beset on all sides by stunning sights, including the Burren Mountains, Ailwee Caves, the Cliffs of Moher towering 215m above the sea, and Dunguaire Castle, the most photographed castle in Ireland.
These unique historical ideas were brought to you by Show and Stay the UK’s hotel and London shows specialists.