Karosta Prison bed. Warden optional (Karosta Prison Hostel)
Blog Words : Weird@Wanderlust | 24 July

5 places to spend the night in jail – and love it

Fancy spending the night behind bars? These former penitentiaries have been turned into hostels and hotels

Fremantle YHA (Fremantle YHA)

1. Fremantle YHA, Western Australia

Built by convicts in the 1850s, this World Heritage-listed prison was operational right up until 1991. The hostel offers both private and shared 'cells' as well as perfectly-preserved Victorian-style cottages for those who see themselves more as prison guards. More information

Hostel Celica (Hostel Celica)

2. Celica Hostel, Ljubljana, Slovenia

While many hostel prisons revel in the dark, dank conditions of their former life, this former military jail has chosen to brighten things up by letting local artists and architects loose on its decor. The original prison bars remain, but the colour scheme is not what the Austro-Hungarian army had in mind when the prison was built back in 1882. More information

Karosta Prison bed (Karosta Prison Hostel)

3. Karosta Prison, Liepaja, Latvia

This was a bolthole for people who'd fallen foul of first the Tsarist Navy and then the KGB – and it has hardly changed since it stopped housing prisoners. In fact, the managers gleefully promote the hostel as somewhere you can sleep in a prison bunk or an iron bed and have a prison meal. 

For a little extra you can endure an 'extreme' night where you spend the night as a prisoner. It was initially devised to help put children off a life of crime and you have to sign a release form before they'll let you do it! More information

Ottawa Jail Hostel (Hostel International)

4. Ottawa Jail Hostel, Canada

Once home to some of Canada's most hardened criminals, the former Carleton County Gaol has been taken over by Hostelling International. Where 150 prisoners once squeezed into the tiny 1m x 3m cells, backpackers now sleep in slightly improved conditions. Hostelling International wanted to keep the experience as authentic as possible, it seems. More information

Langholmen Hotel (Langhomen Hotel)

5. Langholmen Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden

Considering how bleak Scandi-noir is, this former prison on Longholmen island in Stockholm is decidedly swish. Thankfully the walls are adorned with information about the prison and an on-site museum to remind you of the building's less chi-chi past. More information