Top Ten Prisons to Visit

Leoben Justice Center, Austria
Leoben Justice Center, Austria
Leoben Justice Center's polished-looking exterior (Leoben Justice Center)

6. High-Class Hostage
Hilton? Detestable. Marriot? Grotesque. I'll take Austria's Leoben Justice Center—it's not only one of the world's most beautiful prisons but perhaps one of the world's most beautiful buildings. Designed by architect Josef Hohensinn and perched on a hillside in Leoben, Austria, the prison can accommodate groups of up to 13 who are free to move about their cells and shared spaces. But wait, there's more—each prisoner lives in a highly inviting "cell" with private bathrooms, small kitchenettes, and floor-to-ceiling windows (yes, they are shatter-proof) that open into a balcony.

Each communal section has an outdoor living space for the prisoners to enjoy some fresh air—surrounded by bars of course. And if those become too crowded for the feeble few, there are three courtyards scattered throughout. Inscripted in a concrete wall are words from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, reading "All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person." If you have any sort of criminal bone in your body, may I suggest Austria as your new home turf?

The prison is a complex also housing Austrian courtrooms and offices; therefore a section of it is open to the public. And if you befriend a prisoner, you can check out the room specially designed with sleek red chairs for conjugal visits. Though Leoben is small, it boasts deep historical significance as an iron mining town—still evident in many parts of the city. Located among abundant greenery and rising mountains, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep the free-folk busy. Hiking, biking, and skiing are all within a short driving distance, as well as a myriad of architecturally astounding churches, houses, and buildings to tour within city limits.

Best Hotels in Leoben


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