Ever think of spending a holiday in prison? Now’s your chance to do just that. Housed in a building that dates back to 1883 and was used as a Slovenian military prison until 1991, Hostel Celica (cell in Slovene) has been transformed from a dark, grim building into an open & colorful youth hostel in the heart of Ljubljana. The hostel is run by a non-profit organization created by students at the University of Ljubljana, it also helps promote and develop youth tourism in Slovenia. It has been named on various travel centric lists including 2007 Rough Guides’ 25 Ultimate Experiences – Places to stay, as well as 2005 Lonely Planet’s Blue List as #1 on their list of the world’s hippest hostels.
The graffiti covered exterior of the Celica may lead you to believe that it may be an unpleasant stay but inside it is truly one of the best hostels in Europe. Hostel Celica offers guests 20 artistically renovated former prison cells, each completely different with its own story, concept and author(s). These hostel cells share a bathroom on each floor and all have one thing in common, the original cell bars on the doors and windows. For those who are looking for more traditional accommodations they also offer 8 comfortable, colorful rooms with bathroom including one that is wheelchair accessible, as well as a 12 bed dormitory with a kitchen, common room and male and female bathrooms. The hostel has become quite the popular tourist attraction in its own right; they even offer guided tours every day at 2 PM.
Hostel Celica is also home to quite a bit of culture, with concerts every Tuesday night followed by a jam session welcoming international musicians. The hostel’s art gallery, Srecisce, regularly hosts a wide variety of international art exhibitions. There are even workshops, poetry readings, debates and much more. The hostel’s restaurant and bar is separated into three themed areas, the Oriental Café, the Cyber Café and in the center Slovenian “Gostilna”. The restaurant serves a buffet breakfast, local and imported drinks, cocktails, hookahs, fresh lunches and snacks, as well as a-la-carte and fast food Celica style. Definitely on the short list of best hostels in Europe, Hostel Celica lets you experience a truly unique adventure in the capital of Slovenia.
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