We’ve all heard of London, Paris, Rome, Munich, and Prague. All energetic cities that offer a wide variety of great sites, activities, restaurants, and accommodation. It’s no surprise that these destinations appear again and again on many solo travelers’ itineraries. Read r/travel or the Lonely Planet forums, and you’ll see what I mean.
What about small towns, though? What can they offer solo travelers to Europe? I promise I’m not knocking anyone, but only visiting large cities on any trip, to any continent, will limit your perspective on the place. You need to branch out. Europe has so many unique hidden places that you’ll have a blast planning your trip.
Don’t get me wrong. I love cities. For example, I live in a small city here in New Jersey and purposely relocated closer to New York so I could enjoy easy access to all its culture. However, many of my greatest memories as a solo traveler happened in rural areas or small towns.
Here are a couple terrific small towns that I’d recommend specifically for solo travelers. I’m only speaking from my personal experience so I’m aware that this list isn’t all inclusive. I need to visit more small towns myself! I’d love to read more of your suggestions in the comments section.
Bled is a gem of a town located in Slovenia. Surrounded by the Julian Alps, Bled offers visitors a ton of outdoor activities and it’s especially popular in the summer. Lake Bled itself is stunning, with its famous Church of the Island a boat ride away. My beginners guide covers what you can see and do on your stay. And don’t forget to enjoy a slice of Bled cake. It’s delicious! You can diet when you go home.
Bruges is located roughly an hour outside of Brussels. This town, filled with red and brown lego-style buildings, is one of my all time favorites. It’s not off the beaten path, though, and is very popular with other travelers, but of course, this makes it easier for you to meet people. A few of my favorite attractions including climbing the Belfrey, seeing the windmills, visiting De Halve Maan Bewrey, and visiting the Basilica of the Holy Blood. For more information on Bruges, check out this 24 hour guide.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Honestly, I can’t think of a more “fairy tale” like town than Cesky Krumlov. To enjoy the full “CK” experience, you need to spend the night and wander around after the day trippers leave. This town is so quaint. Cobblestone streets, colorful medieval buildings, bridges. I would return in three seconds. Cesky Krumlov also boasts many hiking trails for nature lovers. And you definitely want to raft on Vltavy River, too! Check out my beginners guide for more details.
Grünau im Almtal, Austria
Grünau im Almtal is located in the Austrian countryside. A perfect place to commune with nature and catch your breath – especially if you’re traveling for a long time. Seriously, you relax here. Time stands still so don’t bother keeping to a schedule. My personal favorite activity is renting a bike and visiting Lake Almsee. Crystal mountain waters everywhere. Perfect for a sunny afternoon. Check out what I did on my stay here.
Obidos is a simple day trip from Lisbon. This town attracts a lot of day trippers, but it’s so easy to see why. Obidos is a walled medieval town that’s beautifully preserved against the Portuguese countryside. Simply get lost in the village or walk along the castle walls. And enjoy the tiles. Seriously, there are so many things to do in Obidos. So. Many. Things.
I wish I had spent more time in Zakopane! I visited in the summer, but I think this would be a fabulous winter destination for skiing. Anyway. Zakopane is a resort town in southern Poland that perfectly situated in the Tatra Mountains. The main streets are packed with shops and restaurants, giving a solo traveler plenty to do. You can also take the cable car and enjoy some majestic views.
Are you a solo traveler who can’t wait to go abroad? These posts have more information for all your travel needs!
What are your favorite small European towns? What small towns are currently on your bucket list? Are you excited to discover Europe? Share in the comments.
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