Given the modern penchant for minimalism, the revamped cells might seem almost as spartan as the oubliettes they once were, so if you would rather something less ascetic you can opt for an apartment (sleeping seven), normal shared rooms or a dormitory bed. A requirement that guests strip their own beds upon departure smacks of a prison regime rather more than is necessary, but the bohemian atmosphere there are regular art exhibitions as well as weekly jam sessions with local musicians softens the overall experience, while a city-center location will prove irresistible to guests planning a breakout.
Things are even grittier at Latvia's Karosta Prison, karostascietums.lv a former jail near the Baltic Sea resort of Liepaya. Originally built as a military hospital in 1900, it began housing prisoners during the early days of the Russian Revolution and continued to do so throughout the Nazi occupation, during the Soviet era and right up until 1997, when Latvian authorities released the last detainees. Today, for less than $10 a night, you can sleep on real prison bunks, eat prison food and be harangued by local drama students dressed as wardens. If you tire of these power games, apply for day release: Karosta organizes walking and driving tours of Liepaya starting at a mere $2 a head. It's a great escape.