The 10 strangest places for tourists to stay in Germany

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 19 Oct, 2017 Updated Thu 19 Oct 2017 15:00 CEST
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From lighthouses to igloos, beach baskets to treehouses, here are the wackiest places for an overnight stay in Germany. They definitely aren't your everyday bed and breakfasts.


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1. A hostel boat (Berlin)

The only downside is if Nickleback are playing at O2 World. Photo: DPA.

The Eastern Comfort may sound like a massage parlour, but it's actually an unusual hostel experience on the Spree river. That doesn't mean you're simply next to Berlin's river - you're literally floating on it in this hostel boat.

Be prepared for the luxury of being woken up by the calming quacking of ducks in the morning. The Eastern Comfort has 25 cabins, WiFi, and a breakfast buffet. And with beds starting at €16 in a shared cabin, the prices shouldn't leave you feeling groggy, even if the location does.

The boat is also well located. Step onto dry land and you're already at the East Side Gallery - the longest remaing stretch of the Berlin Wall - with the fashionable areas of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain just a short walk away.

If the Eastern Comfort is fully booked then they also have a sister ship, the imaginatively named Western Comfort, right next door.

2. A lighthouse (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)

The best way to get mobile reception. Photo: DPA.

We've all dreamed of being a lighthouse keeper for a day - now you have the chance. Strap on your yellow parka coat and head on down to Lotsenturm Usedom, a nearly 70-year-old lighthouse on Germany's Baltic coast.

When you're not imagining yourself looking out for stormy weather approaching, or sending warnings to ships sailing into the treacherous Baltic Sea, then you can sit back and relax in your own personal jacuzzi. Or simply admire the lighthouse's modern but cosy interior.

The ceilings are up to eight metres high, so there's no chance of bumping your head on the way up the spiral staircase. The walls are also half a metre thick, meaning no neighbours will be knocking on your door, complaining about the noise.

Your own personal lighthouse is only a stone's throw away from the Polish border, if you fancy a Polish day trip too.

3. Beach sleeping baskets (Schleswig-Holstein)

Before the tide came in... Photo: DPA.

On beaches in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, you don't have to worry about trudging home at sunset , carrying your sandy, damp belongings. Just hop into these cosy "baskets", pull the cover over, and you are set for the night.

The baskets, ranging from €29 to €95 a night, can be found on several beaches in Schleswig-Holstein, which borders Denmark.

If you need something to entertain the kids, one of them even has a TV for an extra €5.60.

This pioneering accommodation idea recently won "best touristic innovation" at the 2016 German Tourism Awards. All the baskets were handmade by workers with disabilities in the nearby city of Meldorf, so your holiday money is going to a good cause.

4. Treehouse hotels (Saxony)

Just the one sugar, please. Photo: DPA.

These treehouse hotels in Saxony's Kulturinsel, or “Culture Island”, are the perfect place to take restless kids. Okay, so this isn't actually an island, but it is a haven to escape the stresses of city living.

Located near the German border with Poland, this adventure theme park has been providing 20 years worth of excitement for young and old explorers alike.

For those who are exhausted after a day of trekking secret paths and crawling through labyrinths, you can crash in one of Culture Island's nine treehouse hotels.

You'll have a great view of your beautiful forest surroundings, as all the treehouses are perched eight to ten metres above the ground. Not for vertigo sufferers.

5. A communist East German hostel (Berlin)

A selection of 'Ostalgic' objects at the hostel. Photo: DPA.

The German word for East is Ost, so you can see what this Berlin hostel called Ostel did there.

For fans of cult German film Good Bye, Lenin!, Ostel is a shrine to Ostalgie, or nostalgia for Cold War East German life. This living museum aims to recreate GDR life from the 70s and 80s in the interior décor of its rooms.

But don't worry, that's not the Stasi knocking at your door ready to interrogate you about all that Western TV you've been watching - it's just the cleaners.

If you fancy stepping out of the last century at any point during your stay, the hostel is conveniently located in Berlin's ultra-hip Friedrichshain area, right next to Ostbahnhof station.

6. An igloo (Bavaria)

Just make sure you haven't left the radiator on. Photo: DPA.

If you're not fussed about warm weather, then this igloo village at the top of Germany's highest mountain Zugspitze might be for you.

Zugspitze stands almost 3,000 metres above sea level, so there should be no qualms about the stunning view. From this alpine retreat, you can see four different countries, while enjoying your fondue.

There's a variety of accommodation to choose from, starting with your Standard-Igloo all the way up to the Love-Nest, which includes a breakfast-in-sleeping-bag service. You have the option of building your own ice igloo (which costs extra) or staying in one they've already built.

These icey chambers range from €119 per person for a night all the way up to €287.

When temperatures drop to -40C, then why not channel your inner penguin and waddle over to the hot tub?

7. A car-themed hotel (Stuttgart)

One of the rooms on offer: 'the gas station'. Photo: Robert Basic / Wikimedia Commons

For any petrol heads out there, the V8 hotel in Stuttgart comes with a variety of themed rooms dedicated to all things automobile, whether that's the gas station, car wash, drive-in cinema, or route 66 room.

However, speed demons will be disappointed to hear that they cannot drive their Mercedes-shaped beds down to the breakfast table.

This gas-guzzling hotel is located in the heart of Stuttgart's Motorworld, a haven for car enthusiasts built on the city's former airport, which offers exhibitions galore, an American steakhouse and even a microbrewery.

8. A hotel in a 140-year-old water tower (Cologne)

Photo: HOWI / Wikimedia Commons

Hotel im Wasserturm, literally meaning hotel in the water tower, is a behemoth standing in the heart of Cologne's historic old town, only a ten-minute walk from the river Rhine.

What was at one point Europe's largest water tower is now a redeveloped five-star luxury hotel.

The 140-year-old listed building made it through the Second World War mostly in one piece, and was rebuilt in the 1990s. After redevelopment in the noughties, it now boasts a bar, two restaurants and a roof terrace with views of Cologne's world famous cathedral.

9. A former prison (Rhineland-Palatinate)

The hotel bar. Photo: DPA.

No, you're not in San Francisco Bay's famed prison island - you're in Kaiserslautern, a small city in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. But at the Alcatraz Hotel, you are indeed staying in a former prison.

The hotel is located behind the 100-year-old sandstone walls of a former jail. Why not treat your partner to a romantic Valentine's Day weekend locked away in comfort? “Cell rooms all have a toilet and a sink just like a jail," according to the website. These rooms also offer the indulgence of gender-separated community showers at the end of each floor.

You'll be living in the lap of luxury compared to the previous inmates. The cells are fitted with flat-screen TVs and you can enjoy a continental breakfast after a penitent sleep. What better way to celebrate a silver wedding anniversary?

Just make sure lights are out after dark.

10. A floating apartment (Berlin)


A photo posted by Welcome Beyond (@welcomebeyond) on Nov 1, 2016 at 2:06am PDT

This is another of the capital's floating accommodation offerings. Who needs to stay on dry land when you're in Berlin?

Costing €240-320 a night, Modern Boat is considerably more expensive than the Eastern Comfort. But privacy and luxury comes at a price - in this floating apartment you have the vessel and its contemporary interior all to yourself.

Located on the calm Lake Rummelsburg in central Berlin, this accommodation offers stunning views of sunset over the inner city.

For all you Millenials, don't worry, this floating apartment has WiFi too.

By Charley-Kai John



The Local 2017/10/19 15:00

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