5 Popular Youth Hostels in Europe
One of the most popular ways for budget travelers to experience Europe is by staying in youth hostels. Europe is pricey, and because of that, hosteling is an attractive alternative to staying in hotels and guesthouses. Besides being cheap, youth hostels in Europe are also a sociable environment where it's easy to meet other travelers.
Several European youth hostels are legendary for parties, location, or even architecture; here is a list of the of top five.
Located in an idyllic Swiss setting, Balmer's is infamous for never turning anyone down. In the high season, mattresses are laid out on the floor to accommodate the many guests who come to enjoy Interlaken's adventure opportunities. River rafting, canyoning, cycling, hiking, and rock climbing are some of the many activities on offer. After you've had an adventure, return to Balmers' bar for some partying with your new friends.
The Pink Palace
You'll never find a European youth hostel like this one. Situated on Corfu, Greece's beach, the Pink Palace has tiered accommodation with ocean views. New arrivals are treated to shots of pink ouzo (a Greek liquor that tastes like black licorice), and themed parties are held often. The pink palace has a great restaurant, plus a bar and nightclub. A swimming pool and hot tub round out the offerings. Most folks stay longer than planned.
Located right in the heart of of Dublin, Ireland, the 200-year-old building once housed poets and playwrights. Today it's the home of budget travelers, and one of the more popular hostels in Europe. Your stay comes with a full Irish breakfast, which you'll be wanting if you had a night out on nearby Connell Street.
This hostel gets top marks for being a real-life castle! Built over 100 years ago in the Scottish Highlands for a duchess, the castle overlooks the Kyle river and is surrounded by green land perfect for walking or mountain biking. An even bigger claim to fame: it's where the singer Madonna got married.
Located in Ljubljana, Slovenia, this hostel was once a military prison. Today, hostelers can sleep in one of 20 cells, which have been individually decorated by artists and designers. A truly unique experience, staying in one of the cells is nothing like staying in an actual prison - except for the bars on the doors, of course. The outside is sprayed with graffiti, and barbed wire still lingers.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of cool youth hostels in Europe, but part of the fun of traveling is discovering what's out there!
[Photo credit: cranky cat, Flickr]