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Top ten hostels in Europe
Staying in a hostel in Europe is a rite of passage for budget-conscious travelers making their way around the continent. This is particularly the case for budget-conscious younger travelers. Here are ten hostels across Europe that either receive particularly high user-review grades or are notorious enough in one or another way to be noteworthy.
St. Christopher's at the Winston, Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Winston presents itself as "an interactive museum of modern art." However it refers to itself, it is without question one of the most dynamic budget hotels in Europe, with a few hostel-style dormitory rooms on offer. It's got a restaurant on the premises and a nearby nightclub, and is aesthetically far more exciting that your average hostel.
Långholmen, Stockholm, Sweden. Ever wanted to spend the night in a prison? OK, a former prison? Långholmen is a rehabbed prison located just a stone's throw from Stockholm's supercool Södermalm nabe. Fantastic, and not as austere as you might expect.
Good Bye Lenin, Krakow, Poland. Tucked away in a corner of Krakow's history-rich Kazimierz neighborhood, Good Bye Lenin replays the aesthetics of Polish socialism in a cheery, friendly space. Very atmospheric and fun.
Balmers, Interlaken, Switzerland. In operation for over a century now, family-run Balmers is Switzerland's oldest hostel. Balmers offers dormitory rooms, private rooms, and tent accommodations. And lots of fresh air, obviously.
Meininger, London, United Kingdom. The Meininger chain of hostels can be found mostly in big cities across Germany and Austria. The London outpost, though not particularly British in spirit, is a welcome, well-scrubbed addition to London's dreary hostel scene.
Hostel Archi Rossi, Florence, Italy. One of the best loved hostels in Florence, Hostel Archi Rossi offers free wi-fi, free breakfast, and complimentary walking tours of Florence. Archi Rossi is very close to the Santa Maria Novella train station, too.
Kadir's Tree Houses, Olympos, Turkey. Near Antalya on Turkey's Mediterranean coast, Kadir's Tree Houses is a sprawling complex of bungalows, cabins, dormitory rooms, and campground. Kadir's provides a great range of services (laundry and a travel agency, to name but two) and also includes both breakfast and dinner in its nightly rate.
The Pink Palace, Corfu, Greece. One of Europe's most notorious party hostels, the Pink Palace is a garish temple of hedonism, just possibly the best place in the world to play spin the bottle in five languages. Woohoo!
Hotel 4 Youth, Berlin, Germany. There are two Hotels 4 Youth in Berlin. The branch on Schönhauser Allee gets especially high marks. 133 beds, conical pillows, and a few nice extras (seminar rooms, a pool room) make this a top Berlin hostel. Location in hip, bohemian Prenzlauer Berg is also a big plus.
(Image: foilman / Flickr)