Our hostels are a lot like our guests – they’re based in every corner of the world, every one is unique, and each has its own story to share. From bare bones to elaborate setups, from refurbished old castles to modern and purpose-built, our thousands of hostels offer up just about every iteration of accommodation you can think of. To celebrate their diversity and quirkiness, we’ve rounded up a list of our most unique spots to spend a night in. In no particular order, let’s dig in.
1. Lighthouse – Montara, California
25 miles south of San Francisco you’ll find the historic 1875 fog station and lighthouse-turned-hostel, Point Montara Lighthouse. Take in the scenery at the secluded beach cove as you explore the tide pools, unwind by a bonfire with an ocean view, and drift off to sleep to the soothing sounds of crashing waves. It doesn’t get much better than this.
2. Train in OZ – Sydney, Australia
Train enthusiasts and just about everyone else will love spending the night in the refurbished train carriages on the former Platform Zero in Sydney’s Central Station at Railway Square YHA. Take advantage of the well-equipped indoor and outdoor communal spaces complete with games and a deck with chairs-a-plenty for sun bathing, and make new friends over hot beverages at the cafe.
3. 16th Century Castle – Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Straight out of a fairytale, this small Swiss castle, Schaffhausen Youth Hostel, will transport you back in time with its whimsical turrets, storybook red shutters, and dreamy, tree-covered grounds dotted with benches; perfect for reading a book, meeting other travellers, or simply taking in the scenery. And if staying in a castle feels like fulfilling your life’s destiny, keep reading – this is just the first of many.
4. Yurts of Eden – Cornwall, England
While the yurts at YHA Eden Project aren’t the only accommodation option available at this hostel, they’re certainly the most fun. Situated in the lush eco-garden of the Eden Project and close to the beautiful beaches of Cornwall, this hostel is the perfect option for people interested in exploring the Cornish coast and enjoying the incredible attractions of the Eden Project, like the world’s largest captivity rainforest.
5. Behind Bars (for funsies) – Ottawa, Canada
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to spend the night behind bars, wonder no more! Sleep in a 150-year-old former jail, and find out how brave you really are. What does bravery have to do with it, you ask? Not much… other than this refurbished jailhouse is considered one of the most haunted buildings in the world. Creature comforts like free breakfast make surviving through to the morning all the more rewarding.
6. The Cube Houses – Rotterdamn, the Netherlands
The famous Cube Houses in Rotterdam happen to be home to probably the most geometric hostel of them all, Stayokay Rotterdam. Enjoy the bright, natural light that comes flooding into the rooms, thanks to the quirky design, explore the city with one of the hostel’s bike rentals (this is the Netherlands, after all), and top it all off at the end of the day with a cocktail from the bar.
7. Medieval Castle – Nuremberg, Germany
This castle may be 500 years old, but since all rooms come with ensuite showers and toilets, there’s a cozy bistro where you can fuel up on good food and drinks, and there is – of course – free wifi, Nuremberg Youth Hostel has all the amenities needed for a modern stay. The magic continues outside the hostel and in the surrounding areas, as the medieval architecture that makes up the town provides endless photo opportunities.
8. All Aboard the af Chapman – Stockholm, Sweden
Sailors, pirates, treasure hunters, and everyone in between are welcome to climb aboard the STF Vandrarhem af Chapman & Skeppsholmen hostel, an old sailing ship centrally located on the island of Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. Spend the night in comfy ship cabins that have been restored to their original style, or if brick and mortar is more your style, sleep in the attached 19th-century building originally used as firewood storage for the royal castle.
9. Gothic Glamour – Ashbourne, England
If you’ve always had a feeling you were meant for the finer things in life, then listen up. This refurbished 17th-century Victorian mansion sits on 84 acres of country parkland, with communal lounge areas befitting of your inner Lord or Lady, and the added benefit of a bar and restaurant, as well as a games room. The champagne lifestyle (on a beer budget) has never been more within reach.
10. Moat Included — Heemskerk, the Netherlands
If there was a scale that measured how castle-y a castle is, this would rank right at the top. This 13th-century Dutch castle is located only 25 minutes from Amsterdam, is close to the beach, and is home to its own bar, restaurant, and bike rentals. From the moat and the turrets to the complimentary breakfast served in the authentic dining room, Stayokay Heemskerk is the ideal getaway for anyone wanting to feel like nobility.
11. The Wildlife Sanctuary — Magnetic Island, Australia
Cuddle a koala. Hold a crocodile. Befriend a wombat. Located on the beautifully tropical Magnetic Island, just off the coast of Townsville, this hotel is nestled amongst Australian bushland and has a wildlife park onsite. In addition to all of the new furry friends to be made, guests get to lounge in hammocks surrounding the pool, grab a bite from the restaurant or a drink from the bar, and explore the island by bike.