If you’re still craving solo travel despite a year-plus of quarantining and social distancing, we have the destinations for you! The best places to travel alone open your eyes to the world in a new way, enable you to make friends from different cultures and inspire a greater sense of independence and worldliness you might not have even known you had. Whether you’re exploring big cities like Stockholm or Austin as a solo traveler or backpacking through Southeast Asia as a solo female traveler, there are so many memorable experiences awaiting you. Solo travelers are so often welcomed with open arms to cultural festivals, into friendly local homes or into a small group of like-minded travelers. The world is yours to discover – solo. Here are some of the best places to travel alone, including some of the best for the solo female traveler.
If you’re seeking solo time on the beach, Costa Rica tops the list. Set your sights on Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Puerto Viejo, La Fortuna and Nosara. Hostels in these destinations welcome solo travelers and you’ll quickly find yourself making friends with other beach lovers, yogis and surfers. If you’re eco-minded and crave the outdoors, this is one of the best places to travel alone. There’s mountain biking, kayaking, jungle ziplining, farm stays and incredibly fresh food.
Want the vibe of a big city when you’re traveling solo? Head to Stockholm, a delightful Swedish city spread out on 14 islands, all connected by bridges. Wander through the Gamla Stan old town, have a picnic in the park, take a GPS-guided Vespa tour. Stockholm is a particularly safe destination for the solo female traveler, thanks to its safety and cleanliness. Visit the ABBA Museum Hall of Fame or the Moderna Museet on the central island of Skeppsholmen. And be sure to get out on the water on a boat tour to Vaxholm.
Canada wins the award for best solo travel destination for adventure-seekers. But, don’t fret – there is plenty of culture to go around, as well. Explore Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ontario for plenty of shopping, dining, museums and history. Get the adrenaline pumping in the Northwest Territories, along the coast of Nova Scotia or in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. Vancouver is a fantastic home base for both culture and adventure, with its incredible cuisine (don’t miss the food market at Granville Island) and proximity to small British Columbia mountain towns and fabulous year-round outdoor adventure resorts like Whistler.
New York City
Solo travelers can feel swept up in the rhythm of New York City, doing just about anything they please, whenever they please. You may be traveling alone, but you’re certainly never without company. Take as many hours as you like wandering the halls of the Metropolitan Museum, take a nap in the shade in Central Park, nab a great seat on Broadway, browse the boutiques of Williamsburg. It’s all on your own time. It’s easy to zip around on public transportation, as you plan your next fantastic meal – whether you’re up for Michelin-starred solo dining or a pretzel and a hot dog from a street vendor.
Back to the pristine beaches – this time, of Dominica in the Caribbean. Nature lovers can slip away for weeks at a time to this gorgeous, welcoming island. There are white-sand stretches to lounge on, mangrove swamps to kayak and raft, bubbling geothermal lakes to which to trek and a surprising array of accommodations. Choose from quirky cottages to swanky eco-lodges, depending on your personal solo style.
Revered, with the rest of Southeast Asia, as a backpacking mecca, Thailand is a haven for solo travelers seeking new experiences. Take a cooking class, get a massage, rise for dawn yoga, learn to scuba dive – it’s all possible. Particularly safe for the solo female traveler, Thailand offers everything from serene Chiang Mai to frenetic Bangkok. If it’s the beach you crave, head south to Ko Phang Nguan or Ko Tao.
In a city as friendly as Austin, it only makes sense that solo travelers are warmly welcomed. Smiles are all around, whether you’re on the dance floor at yet another live-music joint or tucking into the fabulous fare of one of the city’s many food trucks. As long as you’re indulging yourself, go ahead and stay in one of the city’s hip boutique hotels, of which there are many. Pick up snacks and shop for vintage clothing along South Congress Street, join the other local joggers at dawn around Ladybird Lake, then cool off with new friends at the Barton Springs natural pool.
Move over, Bali. Solo travelers, particularly the solo female traveler, are loving the quieter vibe of Lombok. The beaches are just as beautiful and the tourists fewer in number. It’s generally easier to get a feel for authentic life in Lombok than it is in over-touristed Bali, and you can more easily meet new local friends.
Consistently ranked as one of the – if not the – safest countries in the world, Iceland adores its solo travelers. There is so much to see here in this just-big-enough, far northern country, with its staggering volcanic landscapes and friendly capital of Reykjavik. Chase the northern lights and drive the famous Ring Road. Go snorkeling in Silfra Fissure, take a day trip to the Blue Lagoon or go glacier hiking and snowmobiling. Try caving or horseback riding. Go whale watching in Faxafloi Bay. And don’t miss the chance to explore Thingvelllir National Park. The great thing about Iceland is that it’s expansive enough to satisfy your introversion yet welcoming enough that when you crave company, it’s easily found.
For those solo travelers who love to walk, Barcelona is a top destination. Get lost – in the best possible way – as you window shop along Las Ramblas, wander along the waterfront contemplating which alfresco restaurant to try next or wind your way through the fantastical, Gaudi-designed Park Guell.
Get your cultural and historical fix in Croatia, known for its beauty, as well as its low crime rate – making it a “safest place” choice for solo travelers. This medieval city boasts a stunning oceanfront setting, with quaint cobblestone streets, artisan shops, superb local cuisine, a super beach, kayaking, snorkeling and more.
You’ll feel welcomed immediately by the Cuban people, who are friendly and accommodating, whether or not they speak English. Explore the beautiful, colorful town of Trinidad and take a salsa dance class. Take a guided tour of Colombia and you’ll come to love its effortless seaside style, a blend of beauty, culture and cuisine.
If you’re a solo traveler seeking fellow travelers in new places, head to Nicaragua. A popular spot for adventurous backpackers until now, the country is quickly becoming a favorite of solo travelers of all style – eco-conscious, luxury-seeking, adventurous and more. Slow down and savor the fragrant markets, the pristine beaches and the detailed architecture. Swim in a waterfall or raft the Somoto Canyon, eat your way through Leon and Grenada and dance the night away to live reggae music on Little Corn Island.
For a well-rounded European experience for the solo traveler, consider Bulgaria. You can party all night, go skiing, visit sandy beaches (the best is at Zlatni Pyasatsi), wander through old towns like Plovdiv and enjoy wine tastings at family-run vineyards. Venture into the Rhode Mountains for a slice of rural life or hike to the Seven Rila Lakes.
Find yourself on a solo trip on this teardrop isle. Start in the capital of Colombo, then wend your way out into the countryside to find mountain villages like Ella, ancient kingdoms like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the northern capital of Jaffna, tea plantations, pristine beaches, jungles and more. The West Coast beaches of Tangalle, Dikwella and Hiriketiya are exceptionally lovely. If you run into any hiccups during your solo travel, the Sri Lankan people will go above and beyond to help you. You may even be invited to a homemade meal by the friendly locals!
This European jewel is a great choice for a solo vacation, one that is vibrant with beauty, culture and cuisine. Visitors are immediately woven into the fabric of the place, which at once feels modern, yet enchantingly ancient. Explore Lisbon’s street art and hills. Take day trips to Sintra, Porto and the Duoro Valley – also a great way to meet like-minded fellow travelers. Many Portuguese people also speak English and area willing to help you out.
If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to go on safari, but your friends aren’t so keen, visit Tanzania as a solo traveller! In addition to wildlife viewing on the Serengeti plains, you’ll have access to gorgeous beaches, epic scuba diving in the Indian Ocean, history in the UENSCO historic capital of Stone Town and additional adventures in Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar. The time for Africa is now!
Whether it’s North or South Island or both, New Zealand makes for an epic solo trip. Live out your “Lord of the Rings” fantasies, try bungee jumping, tour renowned vineyards, go flightseeing, brave whitewater rafting, tour Auckland or meet new outdoor-minded friends in Queenstown.
Perhaps you find yourself in this visa-free region of China with a few extra days before or after a business trip. Stay! Hong Kong is a fantastic solo trip destination, with incredible spas, decadent dining and a vibrant arts scene. Did we mention the dining? Plan out your meals because you won’t want to miss pan-friend soup dumplings at Cheung Hing Kee Shanghai or the egg tarts at Hoover Cake Shop. Indulge in a two-hour massage (that’s right!).
Passing through? Just always wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge? San Francisco is a wonderful city to travel to alone. Hop on and hop off one of the big bus tours to make the most of your time. Or, reserve a spot on a themed walking tour. Live like a local and have a picnic at Golden Gate Park or Baker Beach. Marvel at the museum offerings of the California Academy of Sciences. From dining to dancing, you’ll find plenty of solo options when you want ‘em and social scenes when need ‘em.
More Ideas for Solo Travel
Solo Road Trip
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Sometimes the perfect place to be alone is in your car, as you hit the open road with no discernible plan other than putting some space between you and your everyday life. Embrace the spontaneity, stopping on a whim and you’ll discover more than you thought was out there in the world. Before you go on a road trip in India or Europe, consider your own state or region. Get your car checked out, or even rent some new wheels. Rely on your GPS or just go where the open road leads you.
Once you’ve tested out the idea on a close-to-home solo road trip, consider any of these tried-and-true destinations:
- The Ring Road, Iceland
- East Coast and Tasmania, Australia
- Backroads Ontario, Canada
- New Mexico
- Italy, Slovenia and Croatia
- American Southwest, Phoenix to Denver
- Alberta, Canada, Border to Border
- New York City to Bar Harbor, Maine
Visiting a National Park Solo
Communing with nature is made for solo travelers. What better way to feel the grandeur of Mother Nature and dreamily star gaze for hours than in your own peaceful company? At a national park, you’ll have a vast outdoor playground in which to go hiking, mountain biking, fishing, camping, rafting or whatever else appeals to you. Plus, if the need for company hits, there are likely to be more popular destinations where you can easily find other people. Seeking total solitude? Ask a national park ranger to point you to the quietest parts of the park. Here are our favorite national parks to visit as a solo traveller:
- Zion National Park, Utah
- Yosemite National Park, California
- Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Badlands, South Dakota
- Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
- Great Basin National Park, Nevada
- Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
- Petrified Forest, Arizona