I adore wandering the world. I spend too money much on plane tickets, watch too many travel orientated television shows, and stare at too many glossy pictures on Instagram. Naturally, I don’t let a lack of a travel partner stop me from pursuing my dreams to the fullest. Taking risks has transformed me into a much stronger, more independent person. I fully believe all women should travel alone to experience this empowering personal change.
I’ve talked a lot about solo female travel on this blog, even writing a beginners guide on the subject, but sometimes it’s overwhelming to actually pick a destination. I’m indecisive myself so I know how tough creating an itinerary can be – especially if you have to do all the prep work alone.
These are my twelve favorite destinations for solo female travel. Keep in mind I’m speaking from my own experiences, and I welcome you to share your favorite destinations in the comments. I’m always dreaming about new and exciting trips!
1. Vienna, Austria
There are so many reasons why I love Vienna. The museums, palaces, coffees and cakes, opera performances. Plus the Austrian capital is smack in the middle of Central Europe – which makes it a great base for taking day trips. The tourism infrastructure is top notch in its quality, and if you’re an English speaker, you won’t have any issues finding your way around the city.
Vienna has also been voted the World’s Most Livable City several times in a row. When I visited in 2015, I felt incredibly safe exploring all the tourist sites. I even felt at ease when a new friend (also female) and I returned to our hostel at four in the morning.
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland is known as one of the safest countries in the world. If you’re fearful about solo travel, then Iceland and its capital city definitely need to come at the top of your travel bucket list. It’s a great place to “ease into” solo travel.
Reykjavik, the capital, offers a wide variety of enjoyable sites and accommodation, but it’s truly an excellent place to base yourself for a longer stay. Many, many, many adventure tours depart from Reykjavik, so you can easily enjoy Iceland’s wild and amazing natural beauty without the stress of driving and planning all the logistics yourself. Most tour guides will even pick you up right at your hotel!
Iceland is also a great place for a longer layover if you’re planning a bigger trip in Europe.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
I’m sure this inclusion will come as a surprise to no one. After all, I’ve already advocated Portugal as my number one destination for solo travelers. Lisbon’s hostel scene is second to none. If you come here alone, I promise you will leave with a bunch of awesome new friends. I loved exploring Lisbon’s different neighborhoods, especially Belem and Alfama, and felt that I could walk anywhere without being hassled. Lisbon’s proximity to the beach offers visitors “the best of both worlds:” urban sophistication and fun in the sun.
And if you’re tight on cash? You’re in luck. Lisbon is very gentle on your bank account. You can enjoy a delicious dinner (and wine!) for a reasonable price. And don’t forget the pastries. Mmm, the pastries.
4. New York City, USA
I have a soft spot for New York City. Big time. While it’s an overwhelming place, New York is still an incredible destination for solo female travelers, especially those who love action-packed cities. In spite of its size, it’s still not too difficult getting around using the subway and cabs, and Manhattan itself is very walkable.
New York has many world famous attractions including Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and so much more! I still get excited when I hop on the train to New Jersey and have an unfiltered view of the Statue of Liberty, haha.
And if you love to shop? You will be in retail heaven. I’m not even kidding.
5. Scottish Highlands, Scotland
Ahhh, Scotland. I can’t go five minutes without gushing about Scotland. Edinburgh is great, but the Scottish Highlands will slay any solo female traveler’s heart. Pristine lochs, castles, lush greenery, friendly people, quaint hostels and B&Bs. What else could you possibly ask for? Just make sure you pack for all four seasons! The weather can be tricky.
If you’re young (or young at heart) and not opposed to guided tours, then I highly recommend a trip with Haggis Adventures. You’ll meet a LOT of solo travelers, and your guide will tell you spell-binding Scottish legends. So worth it.
6. Banff National Park, Canada
If you’re “outdoorsy” and go gaga for crystal clear lakes and mountains, then the Canadian Rockies are totally for you! Banff’s hikes offer some of the prettiest nature that I have ever seen in my life. It doesn’t even matter if the lakes are cold. The water looks freakin’ photoshopped and it’s delightful. Plus the park has plenty of fun activities for adventure-minded travelers. I personally had a great time white water rafting.
Banff works for any solo female traveler’s budget. You can pitch a tent or enjoy a classy lodge. The possibilities are endless! And plus, it’s Canada. You’ll meet a lot of friendly people.
7. Paris, France
Ahhh, the City of Looooove. Who doesn’t adore Paris? I spent an entire week here and alas, it wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy me. Stroll the streets, and you’ll feel as if you’re on a movie set. Maybe you’ll even find love, haha! While Paris has a lot of famous attractions, like the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, I personally liked taking a walk with no set destination in mind. I’d constantly stumble on cool boutiques and cafes.
Keep in mind Paris is one of the most visited destinations in the entire world, so you’re bound to come across other solo women if you’re looking to make new friends. Don’t forget a pleasant day trip to Versailles either!
8. Napa Valley, USA
I’m a sucker for fine food and wine. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a sweeter food and wine destination than Napa. Each winery has its own distinct character and history, so even if you’re not a wine expert, you’ll still get a lot out of your visits.
Ultimately Napa Valley is ideal if you want a relaxing vacation instead of a jam-packed adventure trip. Not to mention, San Francisco is nearby and who doesn’t love San Francisco?
9. Stockholm, Sweden
Like Vienna, Stockholm is another very livable city. Gender equality is important in Sweden, so you won’t have any issues as a woman traveling alone. If price isn’t a deterrent (because let’s face it, Scandinavia isn’t kind on the wallet), then keep Stockholm in mind for your upcoming solo trip. Visit in the summer months to take advantage of the long days.
And even though Stockholm is pricey, you can do a lot for free or low cost. For example, visit a supermarket and have a picnic near the water, and take in the architecture of the Old Town.
10. Montreal, Canada
Montreal is a super fun and unique city for any solo female traveler looking to speak some French and soak up some world class nightlife. Normal safety precautions are all that are needed here, meaning you can explore day and night. Some of my favorite spots include the Old Port, McGill University, and Mount Royal. Montreal is a fabulous destination for foodies, too. Take a food tour, eat poutine and bagels, and connect with other travelers.
Oh, and if you’re a hockey fan, then visiting Montreal is a total no brainer. Go to a game. You won’t regret it for a second.
11. Lake Bled and Julian Alps, Slovenia
Want to experience a “not so hidden” European gem? Then Lake Bled is for you, my friend. I promise you’ll fall in love here. The setting makes you feel like you’re in a fairy tale. And if endless lounging near Lake Bled isn’t your cup of tea, book yourself on a fun activity like paragliding or white water rafting.
I arrived in Bled halfway through an epic 7 week trip around Europe and was totally relaxed by the time I left. If only I could stay forever! For more information, check out my beginners guide to Bled.
12. Austin, USA
Solo female travelers will absolutely enjoy the “weirdness” of Austin, the capital city of Texas. You’ll enjoy live music, food trucks, cool museums, a cosmopolitan university, and beautiful weather on your stay. And don’t let any preconceived notions about Texas stop you. This city is wonderful.
What did I love most about Austin? The locals. Seriously, the people in Austin are super duper friendly. I lost track of how many times a kind stranger gave me directions, food recommendations, and more! These warm welcomes will make you feel as though you can take on the entire world.
What are some of your favorite destinations for solo female travelers? Share away! And if you need more ideas, here are some great destinations for 2017.
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