I love solo travel: the complete freedom to see what you want, eat where you want, and shop as long as you like! Itinerary planning is a passion of mine, and it’s even more fun when only one person’s preferences need consideration. Solo travel affords you more opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture, make international friends, and learn the basics of a new language. You are far more likely to put yourself out there, because you have to! I’ve curated some of my favorite cities to visit as a solo traveler based on ease of transportation, safety, travel culture, and local friendliness. I suggest you start comparing flight prices now.
1) Paris, France
This one’s probably pretty obvious. Paris has been calling to travelers for centuries, and she hasn’t lost her charm. In fact, the metro system, abundance of good cuisine, and flourishing expat culture make Paris my favorite place for solo travel. Dress as the locals do, and you’ll have no problems with safety either. And be sure to check out my post on the most Instagrammable spots in Paris!
2) Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is home to colorful houses, picturesque canals, one of the most famous restaurants in the world, and the world’s happiest people. Experience “hygge” first-hand, bike everywhere you go, and pay a visit to the Little Mermaid statue.
3) Bangkok, Thailand
Thailand is a hotspot for solo travelers. You’ll meet like-minded female adventure-seekers and hospitable, friendly locals. Sample the local cuisine at open-air markets, experience the street culture along Banglamphu, and get a massage at the striking Wat Pho temple. With beaches, temples, and good food at your fingertips, you may never want to leave Thailand.
4) Montreal, Canada
O, Canada! While it may be a bit frigid outside, Montreal’s young, multicultural atmosphere and world-class cuisine will warm you right up. Canadians are notoriously friendly, though a cheery “Bonjour!” will put you in even better standing. Chow down on some foie gras poutine at Au Pied de Cochon and wash it down with a local microbrew from Dieu du Ciel.
5) Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand is so beautiful it doesn’t make sense. If you like hiking, biking, kayaking, or just being outdoors, Queenstown is perfect for you. As the unchallenged adventure capital of the world, Queenstown has a little bit of everything. From waterfalls, to beaches, to mountains, to hobbit holes, there’s no shortage of breathtaking adventures.
6) Cinque Terre, Italy
Literally “five lands,” Cinque Terre is made up of five islands on the western coast of Italy that boast dramatic cliffs and colorful houses. With far more visitors than inhabitants, Cinque Terre can get crowded, so I recommend walking the hiking path that connects the islands for a more scenic visit. Go during one of the many annual food festivals for a real treat.
7) Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s architecture is a breathtaking mix of old and new world, with a personality all its own. Cross the centuries-old Charles Bridge or climb to the hilltop Prague Castle for a panoramic view of the city’s riches. Then reward yourself with some of the best beer in the world in the same cafes that watered Kafka, Mucha, and Mozart. Visiting Prague can be stunningly cheap compared to most of Europe, so it’s a great option for students or the newly-graduated.
8) London, United Kingdom
London is a city steeped in history, yet constantly innovating and looking forward. From fish and chips to world-class museums, manicured parks to High Street shopping, there’s always something new to explore in London, and plenty of fellow travelers to explore with. Convenient public transportation like the London Underground (or ‘the tube’) and double-decker buses help you do it all, Londoner-style. Tea, anyone?
9) Reykjavik, Iceland
For the adventurous woman, Reykjavik has it all. The northernmost capital city, Reykjavik is small enough to be explored on foot or bike, but its artistic culture and Viking history give it plenty of impact. Visit the nearby Blue Lagoon for a natural spa experience, hike the Laugavegur Trail, or witness the otherworldly Northern Lights in the winter months.
10) Lisbon, Portugal
CN Traveler calls Lisbon “Europe’s coolest city right now,” and it’s not hard to see why. A lively nightlife scene, unique architecture, and a laid-back people make Lisbon easy to fall in love with. Lisbon is not yet used to this spotlight, so it retains all its local charm and individual creativity. Go and see it thrive in the midst of art and inspiration and success. Go before the crowds and the hotel chains take away some of its magic.
Traveling alone is daunting and freeing, frightening and rewarding. Whenever you travel, take precautions like leaving your itinerary and copies of travel documents with a good friend or family member, buying temporary travel insurance, and making sure your phone plan will give you enough data abroad. It’s always a good idea to dress as the locals do, and if you ever feel unsafe, leave the area or find an older couple to talk to – they are usually very helpful.
One of my New Year’s goals this year, and most years, is to visit a country I’ve never been to before. Where do you want to travel this year?