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Just because you don’t have someone to tag along with you doesn’t mean you should forgo travel. In fact, traveling alone can even be more enjoyable. You’ll get to choose what to do and what to see, wherever and whenever you want, on your own schedule, and with no arguments – other than with yourself.
It’s also a great opportunity to meet other people. When traveling with a partner, your focus is usually all on them so you aren’t as approachable, traveling alone often provides the chance to make a friend or two for life. Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveler or new to the experience, these destinations offer some of the best opportunities for traveling solo.
Lisbon is filled with history, culture, beautiful sights, friendly people and delicious food and wine. The hardest thing about traveling to Lisbon is leaving, as many people quickly fall in love with this wonderful city. Here, you’ll find that people are proud of the nation in which they live, and are almost always more than willing to give advice about how to experience it best. Though English is not the native language, most locals are able to speak it, which can make communication much easier too. Though it’s a big city, it’s quite walkable, with a small-town feel that makes it easy to get around. Don’t miss shopping the Feira da Ladra flea market, kicking back and enjoying soulful fado music, visiting the Jeronimos Monastery, and exploring the old town of Alfama.
Dubrovnik is not only breathtakingly beautiful, the “Pearl of the Adriatic” is especially solo travel-friendly. Venturing here in the spring or fall months is particularly ideal with warm temperatures, affordable accommodation and few crowds. Enjoy magnificent white sand beaches and crystal blue waters along with a vibrant city life and Baroque palaces. You might even take a day trip to one of the sparsely populated islands of Kolocep, Lopud or Sipan where you’ll discover an array of unspoiled beaches. Or, if you’d like something more active, consider joining a hiking tour and meet up with others who have similar interests. By staying in digs near the city center, you’ll also find plenty of communal lounges for socializing, like Jinx & Jinxy or Stari Grad.
Amsterdam is famed for its picturesque canals, colorful houses, coffee shops and rich culture and is a solo traveler’s dream. You can easily walk and bike anywhere in the city, in fact, most locals get around by cycling. It’s also exceptionally safe and a good bargain when it comes to accommodations, particularly B & Bs and hostels, which can allow you to easily meet up with other travelers. Enjoy exploring the museums and markets, or go to the beach. A stretch of sand located on the artificial island of IJburg offers swimming, sunbathing and lots of beach parties where you’re likely to be asked to join in.
The Swedish capital, spread out over 14 islands overlooking the Baltic Sea to the east, is one of the best European cities for solo travel. Stockholm is a culturally vibrant and historically rich city that is safe, clean and easy to navigate. You’ll also find a multitude of attractions that don’t require a companion to be enjoyed. Indulge in some of the freshest, best-tasting fish on earth at Nystekt Strömmingvagnen and you may never view food carts the same way again. Head up to City Hall Tower and take in the sweeping panoramic views of the beautiful city and explore medieval history in the old town, Gamla Stan. After dark, enjoy the hopping nightlife in bohemian Södermalm.
Reykjavik is a breathtakingly stunning country that is frequently on the top of the best solo travel destination lists as one of the friendliest places in the world. You’re likely to find it easy to meet up with other travelers or even a local or two by hanging out at The Laundromat Café in the capital city where you’ll find all types of people drinking coffee, reading books, sharing travel tips, casually dining and washing laundry. It’s also a perfect place to eat if you dread dining alone. If you arrive for a late lunch, the odds are, you’ll meet up with a few others and stay through dinner or even join together for travels throughout the rest of the nation. While you’re there, be sure to soak in the Blue Lagoon with its warm waters rich in minerals.
The Aran Islands, Ireland
The entire Emerald Isle is ideal for solo travel. If this is your first time, it’s a great place to go as some of the friendliest people on earth live here, and are usually ready and willing to help should you run into any trouble. You can also stay in B&Bs, with your own cozy room with a comfy bed and bathroom for a quiet night’s sleep along with amazing home-cooked breakfasts and hospitable hosts who are likely to treat you like an old friend or family member, making you feel right at home. In the Aran Islands, just off the west coast of Ireland, you’ll find an ideal retreat for a peaceful getaway. If you’d like to enjoy more lively nightlife, head to the largest island, Inishmore where you’ll find a number of pubs and frequent live music. On Inisheer, the smallest island with a population of roughly 250, you’ll have the chance to get to know locals, walk the entire two-square-mile island and discover Mediterranean-like beaches along with lots of ancient historic sites, and enjoy the ultimate in tranquil solitude.
For solo travelers who prefer city life, Dublin is a great option, where just about anyone can make friends over a pint of Guinness with a multitude of friendly pubs to choose from. Locals are especially welcoming to tourists and more than willing to offer up advice. Be sure to explore some of the best museums in the world, like the National Museum, home to the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch and the famous bog bodies. Since you’re on your own, you can take as much or as little time as you’d like. You’ll also find plenty of walking tours to join if you’d like to meet up with other travelers, including everything from a haunted history tour to exploring the literary greats like Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.
Tokyo has it all, with the opportunity to indulge in amazing cuisine like sushi, tempura and ramen along with world-class museums, markets, theater, music, festivals and endless shopping. It’s also a very safe city for solo travelers with an outstanding and efficient public transit system. If you want to meet up with English speakers, visit the Pink Cow bar in Roppongi, where you’ll find plenty of expats sipping cocktails. Join up with young travelers and others at the Hub, a chain of pubs where it tends to be easy to connect with others. Try to learn at least a few Japanese phrases before you arrive – if you’re able to communicate, you can talk to the locals who will often tip you off to places to go outside of obvious tourist traps.
Bali is considered a staple for solo travelers of all types. Here, it’s easy to drift into a life rich with gorgeous scenery and plenty of food that is delicious and cheap, along with lots of great options for affordable accommodations. Enjoy a wide array of organic eateries and markets, spas, massage, spirituality and breathtaking beaches. The small village of Ubud makes for an especially peaceful, magical retreat. Best known from the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and the subsequent movie starring Julia Roberts, it truly is a place that can heal the soul. If you get lonely, unlikely to happen with such welcoming locals, take a stroll through Monkey Forest, where hundreds of monkeys will greet you.
Bangkok is a lot more than a “party city,” as it’s often referred to. While there are plenty of nightclubs and go-go bars, there are also many Buddhist temples and monasteries that offer an unsurpassed experience for solo travelers, as well as some of the best food in Southeast Asia. Bangkok is an ideal place for unwinding and indulging in relaxation, with practically an endless number of affordable spas and resorts. While you’re there, be sure to spend time exploring the many temples and appreciating the culture.
San Juan Islands, Washington
If you don’t want to travel overseas, the San Juan Islands in Washington State offer an ideal destination for those who want to enjoy the opportunity for peace and tranquility along with the chance for adventure and an abundance of wildlife. In fact, the islands have been named one of the best travel destinations in the world by National Geographic. Just off San Juan Island, the largest in the archipelago, you’ll find one of the best places for whale watching, with majestic orca whales frequently spotted near Lime Kiln Point. If you’re the active type, consider a kayak tour where you can get a little closer to all types of marine life. In addition to whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and many other creatures are often seen. You don’t need a partner, and it’s a great way to meet other active people too.
Tapei, located on the Tamsui River on the northern tip of Taiwan, offers the chance to explore an incredible array of night markets. Hundreds of street-food carts and pop-up stores line a 10-block stretch where locals and visitors can enjoy food, fashion and culture at a great price. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you can even find a number of scenic hiking destinations right in Taipei. The city is also known for being especially friendly and helpful to all types of travelers.
While many people consider the city of Paris to be an ideal destination for couples seeking romance, it actually has a lot to offer the single traveler too. In fact, Paris has a centuries-old tradition of solo exploration, personified by the stroller. Walking and observing is one of the best ways to truly get to know it. With a practically endless number of restaurants, cafes and art galleries, it’s perfect for those who love long walks, good books, fine food and wine. If you don’t like dining solo, eat at the markets or sit in an outdoor café and let the time pass by.
Nara is an ideal destination for solo travelers to Japan. This ancient Japanese city in the Kansai region is especially welcoming to visitors, although it’s often overlooked on a busy itinerary. You’ll find a wealth of treasured experiences to be had, with the best of city-life, culture and the wonders of nature. Staying in a guesthouse, or Ryokan, will allow you to see Nara through the eyes of those who were born and raised here, providing a true glimpse as to what the city has to offer. If you like wildlife, you’ll love Nara, with Sika deer roaming the streets and even wandering into shops and restaurants. While Nara Park is their home, the park also houses a museum with Buddhist paintings, statues, ceremonial objects, ancient treasures, and archaeological artifacts.
In the capital of Andalusia, you can enjoy some of the best Spain has to offer, including Moorish architecture, flamenco dancing and bullfighting. It’s easy to navigate Seville on foot, wandering cobbled alleyways past colorful ceramics on restaurant facades, street signs, markets and doorway borders. It offers endless charms for travelers of all types, with the best of food and socializing. In this warm climate, locals often congregate outside tapas bars, the foundation of community spirit, enticing travelers to join them and stay awhile.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur often ranks high on lists of solo travel-friendly cities, with the vast majority of locals genuinely warm and friendly. It offers both cutting-edge sophistication and old-world charm, with towering skyscrapers nestled alongside graceful colonial structures and pre-war ornate shops. With its warm climate, lush greenery and abundance of colorful blooms, it’s been likened to a tropical version of New York City. Here, it’s easy to have fun on your own, with many locals speaking good English. Checking out Bukit Bintang, an insane, world-renowned shopping center and exploring local markets for outstanding arts and crafts is a must.
Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand is a winning destination for travelers of all types, with an abundance of jaw-dropping scenery and friendly people. Adventure lovers seeking a chance to enjoy the great outdoors can join an organized tour to meet up with others with similar interests or hire a car and travel around on their own. Queenstown is the adventure capital of the country and a mecca for travelers that may leave you exhausted trying to fit it all in. Since you’re on your own, you can try to do it all, or take it at an easy pace. Enjoy everything from hiking and bungee jumping to sky diving and horseback riding along with an outstanding restaurant and nightlife scene.
Valparaiso is a colorful seaside village that has lots to offer visitors of all types. As a port city, you’ll also find that it’s been influenced by many cultures over the years. Enjoy exploring the ascensores, famous cable cars that go up and down the city’s steep hillsides, built as an alternative to the tiring stairways that led to higher parts of Valparaiso. You’ll instantly see why the hills are referred to as “Little San Francisco.” Stretched around a horseshoe-shaped bay, the city is especially attractive after dark when the exciting nightlife really starts to kick in.
Copenhagen is a great place for a successful first time, solo travel experience, and it’s one of the most underrated cities in Europe. If you don’t want to be alone when you get there, it’s also one of the easiest on the planet to meet up with friendly locals and other single travelers. Most Danish speak English as their second language, so communication is rarely a problem. Hire a bike by the hour, day or week, and get out into the city. The many parks are an ideal place to mingle with locals and travelers picnicking, playing a game of football or just hanging out. Be sure to view the Danish Crown Jewels, housed in Rosenborg Castle, in use since the mid-17th century.
Tulum is best known as the spectacularly beautiful seaside backdrop of the ancient Mayan city of Tulum, though in recent years, it’s become increasingly popular for meditation and yoga retreats. The many eco-friendly resorts and hotels sit along the azure waters of the Caribbean are basic, but offer a perfect place for solitude and contemplation. Who needs a TV with views like this? Visitors can join in on daily yoga classes, guided meditations or even snorkel and scuba freshwater caves. Spending a few quiet days here on the idyllic white sands, are a perfect way to de-stress and return home feeling refreshed.
Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city, renowned for its magnificent landscape as well as being a world leader in the financial industry. Although it’s probably not for travelers on a tight budget, if you’ve got the cash, you’ll find numerous ways to spend it along with inspiration and beauty on nearly every corner. The city is quite safe, extremely walkable and it also has one of the most well-organized, most efficient public transportation systems in the world. Stay in medieval Old Town and you’ll find just about everything easily accessible. This area also has an abundance of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes. Be sure to take a stroll down Bahnhofstrasse, a street housing the rich and famous as well as underground bank vaults. You also won’t want to miss the breathtaking scenes around Lake Zurich.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s also exceeding clean and relatively safe. This laid-back city is especially enticing in the summer months with a multitude of options for outdoor activities. The transit system is convenient and safe, though it’s also a great place to experience on foot or bicycle with lots of bike-friendly paths and bridges. Take a stroll around Stanley Park, explore museums and sample the many culinary delights including everything from fantastic food trucks to the Granville Island Public Market and the wide variety of restaurants.
Seoul is one of the world’s largest cities, but it offers an unsurpassed experience for all types of travelers. No matter what your budget, you’ll find the perfect option when it comes to accommodations, dining and just about everything else. Sampling the fabulous cuisine, particularly Kimchi and Samgyeopsal (grilled beef) is a must. A stroll through the beautiful Bukchon historic district, a traditional Korean village set between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine, offers the chance to experience a 600-year-old urban environment, and the wide range of markets are sure to please shopping enthusiasts.
The Spanish colonial town of Antigua is a shining solo travel destination. By staying in the higher-end hotels, particularly the former monasteries, and taking an escorted tour with a guide, you’ll enjoy an extra sense of safety and security. Here you can stroll cobble-stoned streets, wander past brightly-colored storefronts, towering cathedrals and tree-lined parks as well as browse outstanding arts and crafts markets. You’ll find that this beautiful town is filled with amazingly warm, beautiful people to connect with as well.