Solo Travel Europe Summer: Everything You Need to Know

solo travel in Amsterdam is safe

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Visiting Europe alone is practically a rite of passage for travel aficionados. As for me, there’s still nothing quite as romantic as boarding a train with a backpack strapped to my shoulders.

Even Valentine’s Day doesn’t compare to an impeccably planned travel journey across the Atlantic Ocean (sorry).  

A solo trip to France or Italy or Scotland never fails to bring a smile to my face, even in the hot and crowded summer months, which I’m excited to discuss more here. 

However, first things first. Why travel alone at all? Isn’t it scary? For me, no. Not at all.

top of saint mark's looking gorgeous

As a solo traveler, the universe’s possibilities feel endless, as you zip across countries to explore world-famous cities, like Paris and Berlin and Amsterdam, and admire at some of the prettiest nature known to humankind, like Plitvice National Park or the Scottish Highlands. 

Not to mention, I think backpacking in Europe is wonderful at any age. Which means adventure isn’t just limited to fresh-faced twenty year-olds who need a break from college.

On the contrary! You’ll encounter all sorts of people on the road, and your interactions with them will create lifelong memories that you will fondly revisit time and time again.

I’ve backpacked Europe in my twenties and thirties, and while different, both experiences are memorable. Truly. 

Copenhagen Solo Travel Tip: Don't Skip the Harbor!

Solo Travel Europe Summer: My Experiences

I’m going to stay something a littttttle controversial in the travel content creating space. Ready?

So, obviously, solo travel in Europe in summer is wonderful, in part, because everyone else is traveling, too.

Sure, if you seriously hate crowds, summer might not be ideal for you and booking in shoulder season might offer more of what you’re looking for, but I love chatting with other people who are also staying in full and lively hostels. I’m an extrovert at heart. 

solo travel europe summer exploring castles

In my experience, another major positive for traveling Europe in summer is that all attractions are open, and some of the more popular attractions even have extended hours. Longer hours makes it possible for you to see everything, which is important for anyone with limited time. 

On all my summer Europe trips, I’ve talked with locals and other travelers, and even have made some lifelong friends on the road. I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything. 

Is summer travel expensive? Sure. Is it hot? Also sure. However, I don’t mind the trade-offs.

taking a walk in st. andrews
10 Days in Scotland isn’t Enough.

5 Top Tips for Traveling Alone in Europe in Summer

Ugh, I have endless suggestions for summer travel in Europe, but to be honest, these five tips are the most important out of the bunch.

Don’t forget them! Write them in a notebook or on your forehead (not really) to avoid hiccups on your amazing summer vacation in Europe. 

solo travel in venice and seeing the canals

Accept Tourist Crowds and High Prices

As a teacher, I’m limited to travel in summer. And you know what? Summer is a great time to travel. People love summer travel for a reason. 

Seriously, if your heart is set on warm weather, then ignore all the naysayers in the travel content creator space that insist on avoiding summer at all costs and travel in the off season instead to save money. This is the trip of your dreams. Go whenever you want. Not to mention, students and teachers, you have to travel when you’re able to and that’s in summer. Don’t feel guilty about it.

However, you need to mentally prepare yourself for higher costs and bigger crowds. Complaining that summer travel is more expensive won’t change the reality. Carefully budget what you need for your trip ahead of time. I find that booking early can help ease the costs.

stay in hostels when you're alone in switzerland

Book Accommodation Far in Advance 

Booking accommodation on a whim is fun, at times, but in Europe in summer, you need to reserve well in advance to enjoy a stay at the best hostels and hotels. 

Do your research ahead of time, too. Don’t just settle on good reviews, but actually take the time to sit and read them. You’ll be able to tell after awhile if the writers are Primadonnas or have legitimate complaints. 

Furthermore, keep in mind that just because an accommodation has excellent reviews doesn’t always mean the place is excellent for you. One size fits all isn’t applicable to hotels and hostels.

For example, do you value your sleep and privacy? Then perhaps don’t book a dorm room in a highly acclaimed hostel. While mattress might be comfortable and the decor cool, the hostel doesn’t necessarily control whether or not you’ll have snorers as roommates. 

In short, book ahead for the best places and read reviews until your eyeballs water. 

solo travel europe summer means swimming

Buy Travel Insurance 

Solo travel in Europe is pretty safe. Regardless, flight cancellations and sickness happen even to the best of us. You don’t want to lose thousands of dollars (I mean, who does?). 

I personally love World Nomads. I’ve used this company as a backpacker in Europe, and feel like their rates are reasonable. You can also “upgrade” to adventure travel insurance if you’re going to go paragliding in Slovenia or hike Mount Blanc. 

Just don’t skimp on your insurance. If you’re from the United States, you might immediately think that “free healthcare” in Europe applies to everyone, but, uh, you’d be quite mistaken. Get travel insurance. Trust me. 

solo travel europe in summer on a hot day in venice

Prepare for Heat (and Limited Air Conditioning) 

Ugh, now here is where I’ll shine most as a stereotypical American. I have a hard time dealing with no air conditioning on a brutally hot summer day in Europe.

I’ll never, ever forget visiting Berlin during a heat wave, with temperatures that soared over 100 F/38 C for days, and no relief was found anywhere. Frankly, as our climate continues to change, I think zero access to air conditioning is dangerous, particularly for vulnerable populations.

rialto bridge is one of the prettiest bridges in venice

So, if you’re concerned with the heat, then I suggest visiting northern Europe in the summer. A hot day or two might pop up in the forecast, sure but you’re still less likely to have issues than if you travel to Sicily or southern Spain. 

In addition, do your best to find accommodation that has air conditioning available. I visited Italy in late June, and while it was still hot, just knowing that I had an air conditioned room at night made a tremendous difference. 

Lastly, sightsee early in the morning and later at night. Italy was great after sunset. 

wineries are everywhere in lake geneva

Take Advantage of Discounts 

I know I already talked about the expense of summer travel, but if you’re a student, senior, or educator, then Europe has a lot of discounts available to lower the cost of your trip. 

For example, all people under the age of 27 qualify for a discount on the Eurail Pass, which is fantastic if your itinerary takes you to many different countries. You’ll save a lot on train costs while spending two weeks backpacking Europe, for instance, and using those discounts for a good meal or unique souvenir is totally the way to go! 

Cultural sites, such as museums, also offer discounted tickets. Check in advance. 

solo travel europe summer tip: go into the churches to cool off

Solo Travel Europe Summer Packing List

Your packing list for summertime solo travel in Europe will depend on the destination and activities. For example, a hiking trip in Switzerland will look different than a beach vacation in Italy. 

However, you should always bring these essentials with you to make your solo trip a little bit better! You don’t want to hunt down any travel items when you could be sightseeing or eating instead, right? Right! 

solo travel in switzerland and hiking

Comfortable Walking Shoes

Don’t bring multiple pairs of high heels to Europe. Looking cute is great, but you need to take extra care of your feet on your travels. For exploring cities, bring a pair of walking scandals where your feet will feel great and stay cool at the same time. 

Of course, you’ll want to take additional care if you’re planning on longer hikes in Europe’s gorgeous natural wonders, such as the Swiss Alps. In that case, you will also need to pack a pair of well-worn hiking shoes that you should wear through the airport to save space in your luggage. 

things to do in hoorn netherlands includes the canal

EU-Compliant Plug

American and Canadian travelers ought to remember that Europe has different plugs. A lot of hostels have USB outlets, but this is still far from universal. You’ll want to pack compliant plugs. 

If you’re going to the United Kingdom or Ireland, then you need to pack a three prong plug adapter for your electronics, whereas you’ll want a two prong adapter for the rest of the European continent. 

solo travel in prague

Lonely Planet Europe Guidebook

Okay, so I adore travel blogs and other online travel content, but traditional guidebooks still have my soul. You’ll want to bring a good guidebook for your solo summer travels in Europe, especially if you’re traveling independently (aka not on a guided tour of some kind).

Lonely Planet writes my favorite guidebooks of all time. They have a huge Europe guidebook published that will help you plan the perfect summer escape!  

Lonely Planet also sells .pdf versions of their guidebooks, which is great! You don’t necessarily need to carry a huge book with you. 

neuschwanstein is one of the most sites in all of germany

Secure Day Pack

Okay, so I’m lucky enough to have never been pickpocketed in Europe (knock on wood). As long as your aware of your surroundings, most bags are perfectly find for sightseeing in cities all over Europe. 

However, I also understand if you want to have a bit of extra protection. No one wants to trek to the Embassy to replace their passport, right?

Invest in a Pacsafe backpack or a crossbody bag to eliminate any concerns about pickpockets. 

solo travel europe summer tip: don't skip the mountains
Falling in Love with the Alps in Switzerland.

Solo Travel Suggestions for Europe in Summer

So … you’re probably thinking where exactly would I recommend traveling in Europe in summer? If you’ve noticed my love of air conditioning, then you already know that I prefer to travel north of the Alps in the summer months. 

Sure, travelers who love the heat and sun will do just fine in southern France or Italy, but I personally find excessive heat very uncomfortable. 

singing the sound of music in salzburg austria

Austria (All of It)

Austria is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. Lakes, mountains, baroque cities, Austria has it all. Furthermore, the country’s central location also makes it easy to visit on a longer trip in Europe. 

You will definitely want to travel solo in Vienna, the country’s capital city, but don’t forget to check out the smaller cities (such as Salzburg) and go hiking in the lush countryside. 

solo travel europe summer tip: don't skip the balitcs

The Baltics 

Solo travel in the Baltics might not immediately spring to mind when you envision a summer vacation in Europe. However, I loved venturing through these small countries. The bus easily links the three major capitals, which are Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn, but I also recommend getting off the beaten path and seeing the smaller towns if your itinerary allows it. 

make pals with marx

Berlin, Germany

Gosh, how do I even begin to talk about beautiful Berlin?

Berlin has plenty to see and do. Not to mention, you’ll probably have decent weather in the summer. Solo travel in Berlin is especially fun, because the city’s thriving entrepreneur and hostel scenes are perfect for meeting like-minded people. Without a doubt, you won’t feel lonely on a solo adventure in Berlin. 

I personally loved all the guided history walks through this fascinating city, as well as taking a full day to immerse myself in Museum Island. There are plenty of easy day trips too such as taking an afternoon from Berlin to Potsdam.  

Copenhagen Solo Travel Tip:: Enjoy a Tea Outside City Hall

Copenhagen, Denmark

Do you want an easy and safe city to travel alone to? Solo travel in Copenhagen is a dream in many ways. Is it expensive? Perhaps, but I highly recommend this city to anyone who feels a little nervous about taking their first solo trip to Europe. 

The public transportation is safe and clean, and you won’t feel too worried about pickpockets unlike some other major European cities. Plus, in summer, the weather in Copenhagen is comfortable and little more forgiving. With Europe’s recent heatwaves, it’s important to consider your own comfort when sightseeing, and Copenhagen is perfect for the solo traveler who doesn’t want to sweat too much. 

traveling alone in dublin and wandering the streets to see colorful doors

Ireland (All of It)

Ireland is super popular with travelers from the United States. Many people can claim Irish ancestry, so a visit to Ireland offers personal transformations and reflections in addition to the normal perks that come with international travel.

Solo travel in Ireland is a true treat, too. You have the best of both worlds, after all, which are fun-loving cosmopolitan cities and spectacular green nature. Plus it’s very easy to make friends in Ireland. Go into any pub, listen to live music, and strike up a conversation with the people around you. 

And don’t skip a solo visit to Northern Ireland either. You’ll learn so much. 

2 days in amsterdam seeing row homes

The Netherlands (All of It)

Sure, when we think of the Netherlands, Amsterdam immediately springs to mind. And don’t get me wrong. I love solo travel in Amsterdam, and think it’s one of Europe’s most iconic cities. Seriously, Amsterdam is not to be missed.

However, you want to venture outside the capital to see even more of what this incredible country has to offer visitors. For example, I found the city of Hoorn absolutely charming and wish I had time to stay over night. 

solo travel europe summer tip: explore at night when it cools down

Northern Italy

Oh my gosh, I love northern Italy so much. Italy is hot in the summer, sure, but truthfully, if summer is the only time you can visit Italy, then do it. 

I personally loved exploring Venice solo, as well as Verona and Padua. I also suggest checking out some smaller village and take a solo trip to the Cinque Terre. Stay overnight to avoid only experiencing these villages when all the day trippers are in town. It’s a whole new experience in the evenings and early mornings. 

beautiful churches in bled backpack

Slovenia 

Slovenia is such a gem. I fell in love with Lake Bled and Triglav National Park. As a solo traveler, you can swim, eat Bled Cake, go paragliding, enjoy whitewater rafting, take leisurely hikes, and so much more! I would return in an absolute heartbeat. 

Please don’t skip over Slovenia, even if you’re fixated on Europe’s big cities. The nature here is simply unmatched. A true feast for your eyes. 

traveling to scotland alone means peace in nature

Scotland (All of It)

Scotland seriously has my heart. It was the first place in Europe that I traveled alone, and so it will always be very special to me. I adore Scotland with every fiber of my being. 

Solo travel in Scotland is magical and life-changing. The country’s lochs, ruined castles, epic mountains will transport you into another realm and make you feel as if you’re the main character in a fantasy novel. The Scottish Highlands are just so, so, so breathtaking and beautiful. I have no words for how much I love Scotland as a solo traveler, and I think you will fall in love with it too. 

sunny sweden always is appealing

Stockholm, Sweden

Like Copenhagen, Stockholm is another wonderful option for visiting Europe alone in the summer. Sweden is an outdoor lovers dream come true. Even in the capital city, you’re able to take boat rides to the gorgeous Archipelago and see some absolutely stunning islands.  

Stockholm has a lot to see and do for solo travelers, and as long as you’re mindful of prices, you’ll have an amazing time in the Swedish capital city. 

solo travel in switzerland is safe especially in the mountain

Switzerland (All of It)

Last but certainly not least, Switzerland is another amazing country to explore in the summer. Solo travel in Switzerland means seeing some of the most epic scenery that Europe has to offer. 

Another benefit is that Switzerland is super safe to travel alone. I’m serious. Whether I was in Zurich or a small village, like Wengen or Appenzell, I always felt perfectly at ease and relaxed on my own. 

thrilled to be in barcelona selfie
Solo Travel in Europe in Summer? YAY.

I hope this guide inspired you to travel alone to Europe in the summer. Where do you want to visit in Europe? Are you nervous about planning your first solo trip? Feel free to check out some of my travel planning services if you need additional help.