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1. 12 Best Travel Destinations for Singles
Whether you are a single Millennial looking for the adventure of exotic travel and vibrant nightlife or even just interested in solo travel it’s important to do your research! Some destinations cater to the single life more than others and over the last few years, travel by singles of all ages has increased dramatically. It can be intimidating, but solo travel has its advantages, some of which are allowing you to enjoy a destination on your terms while giving you time to explore your personal areas of interest to discover new and exciting things. A common judgement is that traveling alone will be lonely, but that definitely isn’t the case in this list of destinations! The places we have listed are popular destinations for singles all around the world and solo travelers alike and each has something to offer in terms of adventure, social life and of course, parties.
12. Cancun, Mexico
Nestled in the tropical paradise of the Mayan Riviera, Cancun has long been associated with Spring Break. Resorts of every kind line the pristine white sand beaches where crystal clear blue water invite every water activity imaginable. Spend days snorkeling and scuba diving, or rent a kayak, learn to surf, kiteboard and more. If you have heard of it chances are someone is offering the activity. When you’re not enjoying the water, you can learn a little about the Mayan culture by visiting the nearby ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum. When the sun sets Cancun turns into party central with beach bars, live music and multiple clubs in town that cater to every age bracket. One way to experience the club scene is take a club tour offered by most resorts. Paying one price the tour operator will pick you up at your hotel, drive to several clubs where entrance fees and drinks will be covered, delivering you safe at home late that night.
11. Las Vegas, Nevada
With the motto “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” coined by visitors of this destination, travelers flock from around the globe to experience this glittering city in the desert. Known as the gambling destination of the world, attracting the best entertainers and shows, Las Vegas has also transformed into a place that truly never sleeps. From the roller coasters and other rides on top of the Stratosphere Tower to zip lines flying overhead the pedestrians on Freemont Street there is no way you can be bored in this city. Las Vegas offers world class golfing, dining at restaurants run by celebrity chefs, every type of show and entertainer you can think of, motor sports, hotel pools that resemble beaches and tours to nearby destinations. With all the activities to choose from staying less than a week could be disappointing. When you get tired of all the adventure you can always relax in the casinos and try a little gambling.
10. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Known as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is a popular destination for travelers from around the world. The city is full of hospitable people, great food and wine a vibrant nightlife, museums, trendy cafés and more. Argentines love their steak and there are probably more steakhouses per capita in Buenos Aires than any other city in the world. Take a stroll down the colorful Caminito Street in the neighborhood of La Boca. Head over to the largest barrio of Palermo and visit the Soho district where you will find boutique selling clothes, wines, leather goods and bookstores. Take a seat at one of the many sidewalk cafés and do some people watching or wait until dark and party with the locals, expats and other travelers as the bars erupt with music and dance. Plan on a late night as dinner starts around 9 pm and the bars and clubs really begin around midnight.
9. Austin, Texas
The city does its best to live up to the motto “Keep Austin Weird.” Home to the University of Texas and touted as the Live Music Capitol of the World, Austin nightlife is renowned. During the day you can visit the State Capitol, grab some great BBQ and enjoy the sites around town. Take a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, a spring fed pool where the water temperature stays around 68-70 degrees year round. Austin hosts the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival bringing together technology, film and music venues. On weekend evenings, holidays and of course UT Football game days, a portion of the famed 6th Street is closed off for traffic. You will find live music, bars and clubs along with locals and visitors piling into the street for a huge party. Officially known as the 6th Street Historic District, the area was named to the National register of Historic Places in 1975.
2. The Best Countries for Solo Travelers
There are many travelers who claim that traveling alone is the best way to see the world. You deliberately travel solo, they say, because you want to experience the world without the influence of a friend or partner’s tastes, prejudices, or preferences. When you’re with a companion, it’s easy to focus on that person and forget about meeting other travelers. Traveling alone, you’re more likely to be on a voyage of self-discovery.
Solo travel can be delightfully self-indulgent. You can spend a day doing nothing but café hopping or lingering in a single museum. You can loll on a beach on the South China Sea or hire a guide to visit remote ruins. Indulge your classical music passion in one of Europe’s great concert halls or join a group of like-minded strangers for a Himalayan trek.
It’s your call. Solo travel is the ideal opportunity to try something new, like a surf camp in Central America, a bike trip in Southeast Asia, or a visit to a classic European spa town. Despite the dreaded (and often costly) single supplement, bona fide single accommodations are both affordable and available in many parts of the world.
Still, there are two concerns for many solo travelers. The first is safety: the simple fact is that there are countries that are statistically safer than others for travelers.
The second concern is a bit less tangible but just as critical: is the country you’ve chosen a happy place? Is it a country where you’ll be made to feel welcome, a nation where you can easily interact with the locals, where conversation flows easily even if you’re struggling with a new language? For truly rewarding solo travel, it’s crucial that you can connect with the culture and not feel like an outsider.
To find the answer to these two questions, we crunched the numbers from the Global Peace Index, which ranks 162 nations for their peacefulness, and the Happy Planet Index, which looks at environmental impact and human well-being in 151 countries to measure where people live long and happy lives.
The resulting 20 best destinations for solo travelers present an amazing mash-up of geography along with radically different cultures, languages, and customs. (Canada represents North America here, as the U.S. didn’t rank highly enough to make the cut.) Safety and happiness prevail in all of them, making any of them ideal for your next solo adventure.
No. 1 New Zealand
Safety Ranking: 4
Happiness Ranking: 24
In New Zealand, the lush setting of the Lord of the Rings films, travelers can look forward to adventures on glaciers, in rainforests, and on the peaks of the Southern Alps, not to mention bungee jumping, jet boating, and hiking on the legendary Milford Track. All while meeting some of the friendliest and most open-minded people in the world—a major plus for those going solo.
No. 2 Norway
Safety Ranking: 10
Happiness Ranking: 22
The best way for solo travelers to experience an expensive country that’s 1,000 miles long: aboard one of the Hurtigruten coastal steamers that sail up the coast of Norway, into the city of Bergen, and through some of the country’s most beautiful fjords, stopping at dozens of ports along the way. Or sign up with a local outfitter for a multiday trek along the fjords, with accommodations ranging from comfortable hotels to mountain huts. The northern lights are gratis.
No. 3 Switzerland
Safety Ranking: 5
Happiness Ranking: 30
Switzerland, a place known for people who mind their own business, is a natural choice for solo travelers. Equip yourself with good hiking boots and a Swiss Rail Pass—good for every train, tram, and lake steamer. You might start with a couple of days in stately, pedestrian-friendly Zurich and then head south to the shores of Lake Geneva for the bistros, nightlife, and museums of Montreux and Lausanne before carrying on to the Italian-speaking Ticino region.
No. 4 Costa Rica
Safety Ranking: 42
Happiness Ranking: 1
You could argue that the concept of adventure travel was born here in Costa Rica, a.k.a. the world’s happiest country. This Central American destination has been drawing Americans for decades to surf on the Pacific coast or join a rafting company for a day on the white water of the Reventazón or Pacuare rivers. If comfort is a priority, book one of the country’s storied adventure lodges and head out for day trips in the cloud forest.
No. 5 Austria
Safety Ranking: 3
Happiness Ranking: 42
Small and compact, Vienna is one of the easiest European cities to navigate as a solo traveler. Start with an abundance of concert halls, dozens of museums, and cafés where you are expected to linger, a tried-and-true Viennese tradition. Salzburg is even smaller but equally welcoming to singles. A superb rail network means that getting anywhere else in the country, from Innsbruck to Kitzbühel to Graz, is easy.
3. 7 BEST DESTINATIONS FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS OVER 50
We enjoy spending longer in a place, while discovering its history and culture. We put more emphasis on comfort, more emphasis on a temperate climate, good food, decent infrastructure, and a variety of activities where there is little risk of breaking a bone.
Since we’re travelling alone, an affordable and safe destination is a must. And meeting people close to our age is a bonus. With that in mind, and with over 25 years’ experience adventuring solo, here are my top destinations for solo travellers over 50. (It’s worth mentioning that there are so many great destinations out there, but these are my favourite ones!)
As the birthplace of western civilisation and democracy, Greece’s history goes back thousands of years and is best discovered through the archaeological sites and museums dotted around the country. The climate is warm and sunny from April to October, which lets you enjoy the beaches on dozens of islands. Crete is my favourite for hiking and spring flowers.
Despite the lure of the islands, be sure to dedicate a few days to Athens (guide here). While the city appeared busy and chaotic during my first visit in 1993, I quite enjoyed strolling around and, more recently, using the expanded metro. Healthy and delicious food, friendly locals, as well as an older population (one person in five is over 65) round off the highlights.
Often-overlooked, Portugal will delight you. Travelling around this compact country is quick and easy. For example, you can go between Lisbon and Porto by train in less than three hours. Besides cities, Portugal’s draw cards include charming villages (check out Óbidos), castles and cathedrals, nearly 1,800 kilometres of coastline, and the picturesque Douro valley, famous for its wine. Be sure to catch a fado performance (traditional folk music) at À Capella in Coimbra, my favourite Portuguese town.
Large food portions at restaurants help make the country surprisingly affordable (food guide). Always ask for a ‘meia dose’ (half serving) unless you’re starving. Sample the best ‘pastel de nata’ (egg tart) at Pastéis de Belém, in its namesake suburb of Lisbon. Portugal also has an older population, compounded by the expat retirees who winter in the Algarve, when the average temperature is a mild 15°C.
Just like Greece, Italy is rich in history and culture, and features one of the best cuisines in the world. By all means, visit the astounding art treasures in Rome and Florence and the canals in Venice, but also visit less well-trodden regions such as Puglia, Basilicata, Umbria, or Le Marche, to see a more authentic glimpse of the country. Italian trains are very affordable, although not always punctual.
If you like day hikes, stay in Cinque Terre for a few days and walk the easy coastal path between its five colourful villages (guide here). It may surprise you to learn that Italy has the second oldest population in the world, with 22.4% of people 65 or older. Thank that Mediterranean diet, and the relaxed attitude of its citizens.
Argentina is huge. I spent 12 weeks there and still haven’t seen everything. You can hike around lakes and up mountains, ride a boat to a glacier, see penguins, taste wines, admire some of the biggest waterfalls in the world, visit museums and churches, and shop until you drop. If you’re fascinated by the tango, spend time in sophisticated Buenos Aires. Catch a free performance on the street, buy a ticket to a show, or even take a lesson. Some schools like DNI Tango match you with different solo partners if you come on your own.
Avoid expensive flights by taking night buses, which are affordable, safe, and comfortable. Or choose to spend your time in one region. Go to Patagonia, the Lake District, and Iguazú Falls for superlative landscapes. Or escape the crowds in the pretty colonial cities of Córdoba and Salta. December to March is summer in Argentina, making it a great winter destination for North Americans.
4. The 14 Best European Cities for Solo Travelers
Europe is one of the best places to go for a solo trip — the flight isn’t too long, there’s great tourist infrastructure, and the people are friendly. Here, 14 cities that are easily navigated alone.
When I was a teenager, my family went on one of those bus tours of Europe, where we saw everything — we took 15-minute photo stops in front of landmarks from the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the Amsterdam Central Train Station. But now looking back, I realize we really saw nothing.
While monuments should dictate your itinerary in Europe, it’s really how you take in the sights that will make your trip. And with the sheer amount of things to see and do, traveling in Europe, especially with a big group, can get overwhelming. That’s why it’s one of the best continents to visit alone, where you can really see everything at your own pace.
I’ve spent alone time in big metropolises like London and Paris; good-sized cities like Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Vienna; and as smaller towns like Bergen. In each case, letting myself wander and getting lost led to some of the most memorable moments on the trip, like when I swapped cameras with other single travelers on the towering outdoor spire of Copenhagen’s Vor Frelsers Kirke, or when I relaxed in the pools of Stockholm’s historic Centralbadet bath house alongside locals of all ages. For more tips on how to meet people while traveling, click here.
When choosing your ideal destination, think about whether you’d prefer a large city with a simple public transportation system to help you cover more ground, or a smaller town that’s easy to explore on foot. Also consider whether you’re looking for an activity-filled city or one where you can kick back and relax. Watching your own back is always necessary, even in the most crime-free locations, but many European cities have safe reputations, so that you can focus more on where you go than how you go.
Taking in all those considerations, here’s a list of cities that are most welcoming to solo travelers — and where you can build your own ultimate Eurotrip.
Copenhagen’s two-line metro system may look sparse, but it gets you exactly where you need to go (including from the airport to town) and makes it incredibly easy to jet around the Danish city. For the spots in between, grab a City Bike (which come equipped with built-in GPS) and pedal right into the 242 miles of designated lanes. No wonder Copenhagen’s been named the best bike city in the world. For where to stay, eat, and drink, check out our guide to the city and our list of the best cocktail bars around.
Forget the romance: the City of Lights is just as magical for a party of one. First, check off the necessary Parisian requirements: strolling down the Champs-Élysées, wandering the winding paths of Montmartre, and exploring the halls of the Louvre. My favorite discovery was the Sainte Chapelle — its stained glass was so dramatic that I was grateful for the opportunity to take it in at my own pace. And for a quirky and free place to stay, become a Tumbleweed at the English bookshop Shakespeare and Company, where you pay for your night’s stay by volunteering at the store for a few hours, reading a book a day, and writing a one-page autobiography.
The Swedish capital truly has it all: a cobblestoned old town with pedestrian-only roads, 57 bridges that stretch over its 14 islands, an amusement park dating back to 1880s, a bath house from 1904, and the most artistic subway stations, each decorated with its own theme. So it was no surprise that the free walking tours in town were dominated by solo travelers finding their own piece of the low-crime city.
As I glided through the canals under stone bridges and past weeping willows in the Flemish town, I felt like I finally understood what all those books about “once upon a time” truly meant. And while I loved perusing the shops and observing the scene in the Market Square, my favorite moment was when I came across a pond filled with the most immaculate swans I had ever seen in my life. What better place to explore on your own than a city that invites you to be the star of your own fairytale adventure?
The jolly Irish spirit isn’t just the stuff of legends — the welcoming nature of the Dubliners will immediately make you feel like the city is your home, too. Leave your stress behind as you explore the centuries-old Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in the capital ranked one of the safest cities in 2015 by a Post Office Travel Insurance Study. Pick up a three-day Leap Card at the airport for less than 20 Euros (which includes your bus ride from the airport) and you’ll be zipping through town in no time.
5. A Solo Traveller’s Guide to Sweden
Sweden is full of wides swaths of forest, nearly 100,000 lakes of varying sizes, and some of the most interesting cities and towns around, but it’s also a huge country, giving the solo traveller so many options it can be difficult to decide what to prioritise. From a practical point of view, the transport system in Sweden is excellent. Trains and buses will take you pretty much anywhere, as will planes – especially important if you’re travelling the long distances from north to south. This guide will help you navigate the vast country and get the best out of your trip.
Any visit to Sweden should include a stop in Stockholm. Often called the Capital of Scandinavia, Stockholm is filled to the brim with things to do.
Eat and Drink
For a classic Swedish eating experience head to Tennstopet, one of the oldest pubs and restaurants in the city. Dedicated to serving traditional Swedish fare, Tennstopet is charm personified. One side of the establishment is fine dining, while the other side is a proper old-school pub. The staff are friendly and professional, the food fantastic, and the drinks areexcellent. Even more charming is the fact that the same man has been taking coats at the door for decades.
Known locally as KB, Konstnärsbaren (which means The Artist Bar) is a Stockholm institution that focuses on Swedish ingredients as well as great art. The murals on the walls have been painted by some of the biggest names in the Swedish art world, and there are regular exhibitions. Reservations are highly recommended because even after more than 80 years, KB is a city favourite.
For something different, try Stockholm’s famed and award-winning Restaurant China, which serves authentic Chinese food in the Södermalm district. With great service and even better food, Stockholmers from around the city flock here. Top tip: Monday nights are duck night: half price on Peking Duck, which is served in a variety of ways through four courses.
In a city filled with great cafés, Ritorno is a standout. Located in the Vasastan neighbourhood, Ritorno is the perfect cosy café in winter, and a great place to park yourself at a sidewalk table when the weather improves. Beat up old chairs and sofas embrace you, the food is great and reasonably priced, and the coffee is among the best in the city. Bonus: the owner, who wears a different hat every day as he works behind the counter, is a local legend.
See and Do
Djurgården is a magical mixture of some of Stockholm’s top museums and beautiful countryside – all in the heart of the city. Here, you can get active by renting a bike or taking a kayaking tour of the city, get cultural by visiting the Abba Museum, the Vasa, or Skansen, or just wander around, taking in the water and fields. A perfect day out that suits any budget.
As Stockholm’s trendiest, hippest district, Södermalm offers exactly what you’d expect: cool bars, louche cafés, and plenty of funky shops. The best spots to check out are Nytorg, Medborgarplatsen, and Hornstull for the full Söder experience.
For a day trip or even a few overnights, hop on a ferry and head out to the archipelago. Take your pick from more than 30,000 islands to explore: Sandhamn is glamorous and full of yachts, while Möja is rustic and more focused on berry-picking and cycling along country lanes. Wherever you go in the archipelago, it’s pretty laid back, so a nice way to take a break from the city.