Ready to take the plunge and travel alone – but don’t know where to begin? In this post, 14 experienced travellers share their international travel tips along with their best solo travel destinations.
I know travelling alone for the first time can be scary. Trust me when I say I was scared out of my DAMN mind before I went on my first solo trip. But ever since that first foray into the world of solo travel I’ve craved the freedom, the adventure and even the challenges that come with it. And by the end of this post, I have a strong suspicion you will too!
Best Solo Travel Destinations in Europe
Laura from Laura No Está
As you’d expect from a capital city, Amsterdam is a pretty multicultural place. It’s teeming with close to 180 nationalities who live together in harmony. So, no matter where you’re from, you’ll always feel welcome here. And, most likely, you’ll find someone who speaks your language too!
Like most cities in The Netherlands, it’s extremely safe. You can wander through the city at night and the chances of you getting mugged are really low. In fact, I’ve cycled through the most isolated parks of Amsterdam at 3 a.m and nothing ever happened!
Before you leave the city make sure to –
- Join a free walking tour. Do this first to get a glimpse of the city! Also, chances are you’ll meet someone of the tour to grab a beer with.
- Rent a bike. This is a must if you’re visiting Amsterdam, but it’s probably the least safe activity you can do as a tourist. *Local tip*: always stay on the right side and signal your moves.
- Visit the Rijkmuseum. Even if you’re not into art, this museum is a must-visit stop on your trip to Amsterdam. Not only because it’s home to amazing pieces, but also it’s worth a look for the stunning architecture alone.
- Picnic in the Vondelpark. The best way to enjoy a solo sunny day in Amsterdam is by kicking back in the most popular park in the city.
Rebecca from KwaFare
There’s just something about Copenhagen that makes a solo female traveller feel at home! Whether you’re strolling the streets or grabbing a bite, you’ll fit right in with Copenhagen culture. Even if you’re travelling alone.
The city is great for those solo travelling Europe on a budget as all the key sights are walkable. I’d recommend staying near the central train station to make getting around even easier. Particularly if you’re arriving from elsewhere in Europe or flying in. It’s super convenient as the train goes directly from the airport right into central Copenhagen. Then from this area, you can easily walk to many Copenhagen attractions.
There’s no need to worry about solo travel safety. You’ll generally feel incredibly secure walking solo in the city no matter the time of day. But failing that, Copenhagen has an extensive public transportation system.
While in Copenhagen you should –
- Stroll up and down Nyhavn. This iconic street makes the perfect stop for a drink or a bite as you take in the scenery.
- Visit Ariel. Since Copenhagen is where the Little Mermaid hails from, the unassuming statue of her is another must-see. The walk there is super picturesque through the city and along the sea. Note – you’ll also pass Kastellet along the way. Another interesting site for tourists and locals alike.
- See the famous Tivoli Gardens. The gardens are close to the Copenhagen Central Station, which again, makes it the perfect spot to base yourself. This is the second-oldest amusement park in the world. But it’s so much more than rides. The park features all kinds of gardens, shops and Danish amusement park food, making it a great place to explore even if you don’t want to do the rides solo (they are fun though!)
There are more exquisite palaces, castles and gardens than you can count in and around Copenhagen that are PERFECT to tour alone.
Davida from Wonders of Wanders
Zadar, Croatia was a great choice for solo travel in Europe last year. Why? At just £36 for a round trip ticket from London, it was both affordable to get to and friendly on the pocket once there! I landed in a city lit with history and character against the shimmering blues of the Adriatic sea.
First time taking a solo trip to Croatia?
- Base yourself in the Old Town. This location is within walking distance to most of Zadar’s heritage heavyweights, from the 3rd century Roman Forum to Baroque architecture and Venetian grandeur.
- Enjoy contemporary charm. Down by the seafront promenade, people are drawn to the haunting sounds of the Sea Organ as they are to the Greeting to the Sun installation.
- Visit Plitvice Lakes, National Park. The World Heritage-listed wonder is an enchanting splendour of turquoise lakes and gushing waterfalls against a backdrop of limestone cliffs. If you ever want a moment to marvel at nature while in Croatia, this is one.
If you’re looking to add a dash of escapism to your itinerary catch the ferry to Ugljan, the closest island to Zadar, where your day can be all about beaches, bays and watersports.
All in, Zadar’s location on the Dalmatian coast makes it a convenient gateway to some of Croatia’s top attractions. It’s the perfect destination for solo female travellers looking for a luxurious getaway.
Angela from Reading Inspiration
Berlin is a lively city to visit with a variety of sights to take in and explore. Whether you appreciate learning about history and seeing art or want to party until sunrise. There’s certainly no shortage of activities for a solo female traveller to enjoy.
Looking to learn more about Berlin’s harrowing history?
- Visit one of over 170 museums and galleries in Berlin. They cover many interests from gaming at the Computerspiele Museum to checking out contemporary art at the Hamburger Bahnhof. Learn about Germany’s past at the GDR Museum, the Jewish Museum and other museums and sites. In particular, the Holocaust Memorial is an incredible creation and a profoundly moving place.
- Peruse an outdoor gallery. You can get a sense of the division between East and West Berlin at the East Side Gallery. Artists have covered the remains of the Berlin Wall in paintings which reflect on the past and the future.
- Go up high. The Berlin TV Tower is a historic site and a landmark of the city’s skyline. It also has a publicly accessible viewing platform where you can enjoy spectacular views of the city.
As well as sometimes sombre and reflective sites Berlin has fun activities. These include markets, festivals, cool bars, local eateries and spas. Berlin is a fairly safe city where women move about freely alone as part of everyday life and that’s what makes it the perfect solo travel destination for 2020.
As with many cities, crime can be a risk. You should be aware that some areas may be less safe at night. And of course, it’s best not to carry a lot of cash. Be aware that pickpockets can be around, particularly in crowded spaces and on the U-Bahn (public transport).
Kathleen from My Lonesome Roads
I’ve travelled to nearly 30 countries alone, and Greece is the one that stole my heart. Athens has a less-than-stellar reputation – it’s often seen as just a one-day stop on the way to the beautiful Greek islands. But honestly? Its a wonderful solo female travel destination in its own right.
Why? The people are very friendly (you can thank the ancient Greek tradition of philoxenia, the love of strangers). It’s one of the safest cities in Europe – don’t let the extensive graffiti frighten you. The public transit is good, and walking is easy. And the food? It’s incredible – try the gyros, the spanakopita (and tyropita, the cheese version), and saganaki. Don’t sleep on the delicious and cheap wines or the strong excellent coffee, either.
Athens has something to offer to suit the tastes of every solo female traveller:
- Cafes where lingering is encouraged. Be sure to order a Freddo espresso and sit for hours, sipping and people-watching. I love the upper-class Kolonaki or artsy Kypseli neighbourhoods for this.
- Many huge historical sites. The Acropolis and the National Archeological Museum are a must for anyone interested in history. Don’t miss the little jewels of museums like the Benaki and the Cycladic Museum either – and they all have great cafes.
- Outdoorsy activities. Like climbing Lycabettus Hill to watch the sunset over the city and swimming in the warm placid sea on Glyfada or Voula beaches just outside the city.
- Shopping. Venture to little boutiques in the Plaka or bigger shops on Patission street – Athenians are very stylish and the clothes are pretty affordable.
And my favourite way to close out a visit to this beautiful city? A glass of wine on a rooftop at Couleur Locale or the Grande Bretagne Hotel. Toast the city’s namesake, the goddess Athena, while feeling like one yourself.
Laura of Travelers Universe
Seville is the capital of Andalusia and the fourth largest city in Spain. It’s an emblematic city situated in the lower course of the Guadalquivir river, 70 km from the Mediterranean.
During its long history, Seville has been under Roman, Arab, and Jewish influence and its river port played an important role in the trade with the West Indies. Inevitably, this has shaped Seville’s artistic and architectural heritage.
What makes it an exceptional tourist destination for solo travellers?
- Unbeatable landmarks. Even spending as little as 3 days in Seville you must visit the Plaza de España, the cathedral, and the imposing alcazar.
- Charming streets. Seville has a wealth of other popular attractions and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Contrary to other big cities, safety in Seville is quite high and locals are incredibly friendly. Walking the streets feels safe no matter the hour and flamenco street performers give their all until late at night.
On top of that, Barrio de Santa Cruz with its lively terraces and tapas bars stays busy until the wee small hours of the morning. That holds especially true during the summer months when locals love to take a stroll late in the evening after a whole day hiding from the heat.
Of course, use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings. And when staying out late try to avoid using the ATM machines located on narrow alleys.
Best Solo Travel Destinations in Asia
Marinella from My Open Passport
I spent 2 weeks in Cambodia travelling solo and absolutely loved it! Every hostel is full of vibrant individuals from all over the world so although you might be travelling solo, you’ll never be alone.
Must-visit stops while in Cambodia include –
- Angkor Wat. This huge complex of old temples is exquisitely made and the architectural pieces definitely provoke a sense of wonder.
- Phnom Penh. These memorials hold the history from the latter half of the 20th century with its controlling regime named Khmer Rouge. Many Cambodians were murdered in these fields dubbed “Killing Fields.” These memorials provoke thought and mediation over the horrors that occurred not long after the Holocaust.
- Siem Reap. Cambodia isn’t just thought-provoking, there are some fun times to be had! I celebrated my birthday while in Siem Reap with a woman I had just met a few days prior in the hostel. She definitely made it memorable and a celebration! In fact, the whole hostel sang me a song and gave me free drinks.
If you’re looking to do your first trip abroad alone, Cambodia is the place because the sights to see are very well highlighted. There will always be someone heading off to the Killing Fields or wanting to take the sunrise tour of Angkor Wat.
There are even some who will want to go to lesser-known places such as Battambang or to the beachfront. You might enter Cambodia solo and you might leave solo, but you’ll also be leaving with memories and new friends added to your contacts for future travel opportunities!
Neethu from Our Backpack Tales
Bhutan is a beautiful Himalayan country, hidden among the mountains and the fog. It’s a great destination for solo women travellers in terms of safety. In fact, Bhutan has a great tourism policy that makes it compulsory for foreign visitors to book their trip through a travel agent.
Tourists are required to pay a daily charge of $200 or $250 during peak seasons (charges may vary for tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives). This covers everything from travel agency cost, accommodation, transportation and guide. The Bhutanese people are very humble and welcoming which makes travelling in this country worthwhile.
What makes Bhutan a wonderful destination for those seeking adventure and spiritual experiences?
- The Dzongs. Here you can explore the traditional Bhutanese architecture and witness some beautiful art.
- Hiking. This another popular activity in Bhutan. Hiking through the enormous paddy fields of Punakha to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and through a traditional village to reach the Chimi Lhakhang temple are some of the best things to do in Bhutan . The hike to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro is a more intense and satisfying experience.
- River rafting. Cruise along the waters of the Mo and Pho Chuu rivers at Punakha. This is a great way to explore the countryside and the Punakha Dzong, which is one of the largest and oldest Dzongs in Bhutan.
- Nightlife. Thimphu is the best place to enjoy the nightlife in Bhutan. Mojo Park is the place to be if you enjoy music since the local bands give frequent live performances here. Space 34 and Club Ace are popular party hubs if you’re in the mood to party!
It’s worth noting that since Bhutan is a conservative Buddhist country, all visitors are expected to dress appropriately and respect the local culture.
Queenie from Ms Travel Solo
Taipei is one of my favourite places to travel alone. The capital city of Taiwan is safe and welcoming. Plus, the locals are friendly and helpful. What’s more, it doesn’t matter if you don’t speak Mandarin; they’re always willing to help.
From city life to being in nature, there are many things you can do as a solo traveller in Taipei –
- Learn about the local culture. Visit some of Taipei’s oldest landmarks like Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and Longshan Temple. Then visit the city’s tallest skyscraper, Taipei 101.
- Soak up art and culture. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, and Huashan 1914 Creative Park.
- Visit local night markets. You must try all the typical Taiwanese food. Some of my favourites include Raohe Night Market and Shilin Night Market.
- Hiking. Spend the afternoon hiking Elephant Mountain and see a panoramic view of the city
- Take a day trip. Grab a local train to Shifen to see the Shifen Waterfall and to release a lantern into the sky.
Taipei has many excellent budget accommodations, delicious cheap food and many free activities. The most challenging part of your trip will be choosing where to start.
Tanja from Ryokou Girl
There are many reasons why Tokyo is one of the best solo travel destinations for females, but one of the most notable is the fact that it is one of the safest cities in the world. Although you should still exercise caution (as with any large city) crime rates in Japan are incredibly low so there’s no need to be concerned about safety if you’re travelling alone.
Tokyo is also a great option for female solo travellers because it’s an incredibly single-friendly city. A high percentage of Tokyoites live alone so single apartments are affordable, and many restaurants and cafes are designed to cater to single people.
It’s very common to see people dining by themselves on the way home from work, and eating and drinking out in Japan is very affordable due to low tax rates.
Top tips for types of restaurants for solo female travellers to try include –
- Enjoy individual dining. Pull up a counter seat at a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi restaurant, or dive into a steaming hot bowl of ramen noodles in individual booths at Ichiran Ramen.
- Download OodyMate. This Tokyo-based mobile app allows travellers to meet for dinner with locals who can introduce you to authentic dining establishments. Solo female travellers also have the option to request to meet with other females only if they choose to, thereby blocking responses from male users.
It’s not just dining that’s designed to cater to single people, from budget-friendly capsule hotels to solo karaoke booths, it’s easy to experience all the excitement of Tokyo by yourself. If you decide you’d like some company, there’s a huge Meet Up community with events taking place every night of the week all over the city.
Best Solo Travel Destinations in South America
Steph from Worldly Adventurer
Few destinations in South America are quite so suited to solo female travellers as Chile. It’s an extremely safe country and feels, in many of its most urban parts, like you’re travelling alone in Europe.
What to expect when travelling solo in Chile –
- Well organised public transport. This makes getting around a breeze.
- A lively, but safe atmosphere. While the rural areas are calm, quiet and breathtakingly picturesque in the cities you can expect more crowds.
- Plenty of other travellers around. Meaning you’re never short of a new friend to spend the day with or head out for dinner, with cities such as Santiago and Valparaíso offering a slew of museums, expansive parks, hiking trails and vineyards to keep you busy.
I spent three years living and travelling throughout Chile and I never once felt unsafe. Sure, you need to keep an eye on your things in the metro in Santiago – but there are few countries in the world where that isn’t that the case.
What’s more, Chilean Patagonia in the far south is probably the safest part of the entire continent. There are (quite possibly!) more sheep than people and while it is remote and isolated, this feels liberating, rather than something to fear.
One of the most famous parts of Chile, Patagonia is a spectacular place that’s ripe for an adventure. Your itinerary for a trip to Patagonia could include everything from trekking across glaciers, hiking between mountains and untouched forests to photographing penguin colonies.
I’ve spent months exploring this part of Chile and can honestly say that it’s one of my favourite destinations to visit as a solo female adventurer.
Best Solo Travel Destinations in North America
Melissa from Navigation Junkie
Puerto Rico has it all. A little bit of paradise, a lot of culture, great cuisine, history, and adventure. It’s a great destination for the female solo traveller looking to relax. Whether that’s on the beach, exploring some great culture/architecture, trying some new foods or enjoying an adventure.
You’ll be glad to know Puerto Rico is considered a generally safe destination (with the exception of some small, local neighbourhoods). From my experience the locals are also very friendly and willing to help out travellers, so you’re never really on your own.
While in Puerto Rico there are plenty of great activities to choose from –
- Relaxing on one of the many beaches. Including Isla Verde Beach, the world-famous Flamenco Beach, the Seven Seas beach, and La Chiva (what woman doesn’t love a good beach day-especially with white sand and crystal clear water?).
- Enjoying the water. For travellers looking to get out on the water, many watersports are available including snorkelling, diving, and kayaking.
- Taking in the history. Solo travellers should spend some time exploring the historic Old San Juan and take in the colourful buildings, quaint shops, and many local restaurants with memorable dishes.
- Join an adventure. El Yunque Rainforest is another must-see location for the solo female traveller. Participate in an adventure tour, such as horseback riding or ATV/UTV adventures. These are guided tours and you have the option of having a driver for UTV tours, so even if you’re travelling solo you’ll still have someone with you for safety, making this a great attraction for the solo female traveller.
- Get a birds-eye view. Head to Cuevo del Indio. After a short hike, you’ll come upon stunning ocean views and ancient Taino Indian carvings.
Puerto Rico is home to many unique adventures and with the same basic safety measures you would take at any destination, it can be the perfect destination for your next solo trip.
Erin from Pina Travels
I was nervous when I headed to Costa Rica to backpack alone for 25 days. I’d gotten a fantastic flight deal, and without really thinking about it, had booked the flight on a whim. As it turned out there was absolutely no need to feel nervous.
Not only did I have an incredible trip, but I also discovered why Costa Rica is such a great destination to travel alone.
Here’s why –
- Costa Rica’s tourism is well developed. This Central American country has reliable transport options and a large variety of organized tours which makes travel there quite stress-free. And, there are plenty of accommodation choices that suit different styles of travel.
- The hostels are super social. As a solo female traveller, I opted to stay in hostels for my entire trip because they are an economical choice if you’re travelling alone. My fear of travelling Costa Rica melted away within the first day because soon after I arrived, I met and connected with other solo travellers. The friends that I made all throughout Costa Rica made my trip what it was. I had companions from all over the world to explore the untouched beaches of Montezuma with, to trek in the forests of Monteverde with, and to climb volcanoes with!
- There’s a tonne of adventure. If you’re heading to Costa Rica to travel as a solo woman, I recommend visiting Manuel Antonio National Park and venturing by boat to Tortuga Island (accessible from Montezuma). If you’re a thrill-seeker, make sure not to miss out on ziplining in the jungle!
Barbara from Crazy About Havana
What makes Havana one of the best solo travel destinations? The fact it’s safe and full of friendly locals
Someone who isn’t familiar with how different Caribbean countries are from one another may come to the conclusion that Cuba is dangerous. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Although the government doesn’t publish crime stats, international agencies guess the rate to be the same as in the US. And in truth, Cuba feels much safer than its northern neighbour, with random violence being rare.
This is particularly true in Havana, whose buzzing streets are policed by people’s eyes almost around the clock. Now, these same eyes may linger on you a little longer than appropriate, sometimes leading to a compliment that may be a bit too ardent for your taste, but that’s as far as it gets in terms of sexual harassment.
So, what should you do on a solo trip to this beautiful city?
- Find accommodation in a casa particular (preferably in Old Havana). This is the name for a family-run B&B. They’re the best way to ease into the local culture as a solo traveller, since hosts are happy to share stories, tips, and sometimes even friends with their guests.
- Get to know the neighbourhood and its heritage. From colonial squares dating back to the 16th century to memorials dedicated to the Cuban revolution. Clearly you should avoid stumbling around blind drunk at 3 am covered inexpensive jewellery, but by and large, the area is walkable even at night.
- Take a break from the charming chaos of the old town. Check out the beach at Santa Maria del Mar, while at night the barrio to explore is Vedado. Just grab dinner at one of Old Havana’s trendy restaurants and catch a cab to Club 1830, El Capri, La Gruta, or whichever is the evening’s hottest venue. Cubans are an outgoing bunch and you’re likely to have made meet up plans for the following day well before the night is over.
Final thoughts on the best solo travel destinations
While it’s hard to narrow it down to one specific continent, or even region, one thing for sure is that there are a TONNE of solo travel-friendly destinations around the world.
When it comes to seeking out the best solo travel destinations ask yourself what kind of trip gets you excited? Do you see yourself hiking to the top of snow brushed mountains? Sipping cocktails under the shade of a leafy palm? One huge benefit of travelling solo is that you get to choose what suits YOU.
Before you head off stock up on the travel essentials and plan where you’re going to stay (at least for the first couple of nights). And remember, wherever you do go, rest assured that you’ll be in for one hell of an adventure.
What about you? What cities make it to your list of best solo travel destinations?
Let me know!
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