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April 13, 2010
The traditional holiday is changing, with a growing number of travellers seeking out ways to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and develop their skills at the same time. Hostels all around the world are increasingly giving their guests the chance to really enhance their travelling experience and offer a range of activities where you can learn a new skill, from building your own Tamburello in Italy to learning the ancient art of Chinese brush painting.
Below are our pick of the best hostels, where you're guaranteed to get much more than just a good night's sleep...!
A Casa di Amici, Sicily, Italy - Make a musical instrument
A Casa di Amici is a musical oasis that will take you on an artistic journey before you have even stepped outside to explore beautiful Palermo. The hostel offers daily and weekly music workshops, so whether you're musically minded or tone deaf, you will still have the chance to learn everything from how to build your own Tamburello to studying a drum stick technique. The fantastic range of seminars available depends on the duration of your stay. The hostel is located on the first floor of two nineteenth century buildings in the heart of Palermo. All rooms have been renovated and carefully furnished with culturally styled pieces to maximise the uniqueness of this hostel.
Accommodation from €20.00 per person/per night
Hostel Suites Florida, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Learn to Tango
If you're passionate about Tango then there is no better place to learn than the country where the dance originated. Hostel Suites Florida offers lessons for beginners and fantastic shows from experienced dancers. It's the ideal opportunity to meet new people and put a spring in your step. The hostel is located near the famous Corrientes Avenue, heart of the "Porteños" culture. The weekly itinerary is also packed full of activities offered to you, including events such as Trivia and International nights so you can broaden your general and cultural knowledge all from the comfort of the hostel itself.
Accommodation from €10.00 per person/per night
Buenos Aires V&S Hostel Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Learn Spanish
Buenos Aires V&S Hostel is a cosy, friendly place to stay which is situated in the centre of the city. As well as being just five hundred meters from Corrientes Avenue which boasts the most selective theatres, the hostel offers the opportunity to learn Spanish. From the comfort of the beautifully remade French style house, the lessons are taught by experienced teachers, and this all comes at no extra cost! The hostel also organizes excursions around the city such as bike tours, which will allow you to take in the local culture at your leisure. The hostel is perfectly located in the centre of Buenos Aires so visitors can fully absorb the vibrant city and its culture, which is renowned for its theatres.
Accommodation from €9.00 per person per night
Yangshuo Culture House, Yangshuo, China - Learn to speak Chinese
Yangshou Culture House is the ideal place if you want to really immerse yourself in local Chinese culture and discover the real China! This family run hostel is a hidden gem, allowing you the chance to have a genuine homestay experience and to learn about local Chinese customs offered by the owner Wei and his wife. As well as sampling the local cuisine, you can try your hand at traditional Chinese cooking, plus learn the art of Chinese Tai-chi or have lessons in the local language. If you really want to embrace local tradition, then Wei and his family will also take time to teach you the ancient art of Chinese Brush painting and Chinese Calligraphy. Located in a traditional neighbourhood at the foot of limestone peaks and within easy walking distance to the city, this is the perfect home from home hostel experience.
Accommodation from €8.00 per person/per night
Knockree Hostel, Co Wicklow, Ireland - Lessons in outdoor pursuits
Previously a converted farmhouse, this five star hostel is situated on a 55 acre site in a glaciated valley overlooking the idyllic Glencree Mountains set at the bottom of Knockree. The Wicklow Way also passes through the hostel grounds making it an ideal spot for hillwalkers, hikers and those who love to escape to the great outdoors. The Knockree Hostel endeavour to make the most of their stunning setting by offering lessons in a huge range of activities from pony trekking to mountain biking & trail riding, orienteering, archery, target shooting, survival training, hill walking, night hikes and team tasks. Their wide range of programmes even includes Ecology field study days and Geography river study courses for those who are interested in learning more about the amazing location.
Accommodation from €22.00 per person per night
Surfing and Water Sports
The TurfnSurf House, Bundoran, Ireland - Surfing lessons teamed with yoga
For those that prefer exercising the body and mind, TurfnSurf Lodge and Surf School run surf and yoga weekend retreats all set on the beautiful coast of Ireland at a world class surf spot called 'The Peak'. If you want to surf on top of your own peaks, this back to basics retreat is available to all different age groups and levels of expertise. They will even offer basic tips on nutrition when training. Yoga sessions are at sunrise to put you in the right frame of mind for the day and limbered up for the days' surfing activities as well in the evening whilst watching the sun set.
Accommodation from €13.00 per person/per night
St Christopher's Newquay, Newquay, UK - Surfing Lessons
If surfing is your thing and you would like to stay closer to home, then St Christopher's Newquay is the place for you. Set in a hot spot for sun worshippers with 11 beaches stretching over seven miles of sand, St Christopher's sits beautifully on a cliff overlooking Towan beach where you can hear the sound of the waves lapping the shores of a golden beach from your bed. St Christopher's offers surfing lessons to all ages and abilities. They even teach kite surfing if you fancy something a bit more adventurous!
Accommodation from €19.00 per person, per night
Guincho Surf Beach Hostel, Cascais, Portugal - Learn Water Sports Skills
Often referred to as one of the best water sports beaches in Europe, Guincho Surf Beach Hostel is the place to go if you want to learn how to really work those waves. The hostel is located in a traditional Portuguese village and offers surf, windsurf and kitesurf lessons with top instructors who are trained to teach no matter what level you are. This hostel is within walking distance of the stunning beaches and perfectly located to all the local restaurants, bars and shops. Guincho Beach Surf Hostel offers you the comfort of a beach house with a great garden and terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with impressive sunsets.
Accommodation from €17.00 per person/per night
Divers Inn in Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand - Learn Water Sports Skills with guaranteed great weather.
Visit the fabulous location of Karon Beach, one of Phuket's most beautiful beaches and this tropical paradise is ideal for most water sports. Divers Inn offers you the opportunity to learn how to windsurf, kayak, sail and of course you'll be given the chance to be taught to dive. Swim through the crystal clear waters and explore the magical reef below, the colours will take your breath away. Adventurous outings such as elephant trekking and white water rafting can also be booked through the hostel. Complete a perfect day by relaxing on the sandy beaches watching the stunning sunsets.
Accommodation from €6.00 per person, per night
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