Flying solo: 10 destinations solo travellers shouldn’t miss
By Sam Wood
Solo travel can be an incredibly rewarding and indulgent experience. Setting your own schedule, going at your own pace and focusing on the things you enjoy about travelling can be a great way to relax and recharge, especially if you often have to deal with other people’s whims and desires in your everyday life.
Some places are better suited to solo travel than others. We’ve put together a list of the 10 places around the world that you shouldn’t miss as a solo traveller. Now go on … book that trip!
With a huge party scene, loads of great (and cheap) food, excellent coffee, tons of history, art and even nature, the German capital has something for every kind of solo traveller.
Berlin is a big enough city that you can get lost in anonymity if you want to, but its many and varied neighbourhoods are cosy and village-like enough that you can also meet people and get a feeling of what it’s like to be a regular in your local coffee shop. Some highlights not to miss are the outdoor karaoke at Mauerpark on Sundays, a self-guided walking tour of some of Kreuzberg’s and Friedrichshain’s spectacular street art and watching the sun set over the former airfield at Tempelhof.
Home to some beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic coast just outside town, picturesque architecture, great food, friendly locals and the iconic Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is a small but bustling and diverse city with a lot to offer. Spend a morning museum hopping and getting a good dose of culture before sampling the many local foodie delights: here many bars and restaurants serve pintxos, small snacks on toothpicks served when you order a drink, which are essentially the Basque answer to tapas.
Later, hop on the slick, modern metro towards the sea and enjoy a walk along the dramatic coastline: the perfect time for some self-reflection.
Sweden’s second city has an alternative vibe and is an easy city to explore on foot. There’s lots of cool art happening all over the city and it’s a great base from which to explore some of Sweden’s most accessible nature.
Get lost and stumble upon cute independent cafes in the old street of Haga, learn something new at the unique science museum Universeum and surround yourself with green in the peaceful Slottsskogen park. To get out of the city, just take one of the many ferries to explore the archipelago of islands in the North Sea, or drive down the rocky coast to the south. Kullavik, just 20 kilometres away, is an especially magical place to watch the sun set over the other-worldly rock formations that make up the beach there.
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
A popular day trip destination from Prague, this Bohemian fairytale medieval town built on a bend in the river Vltava is a dream come true.
During the afternoons, it can be quite busy with tourists from the capital, but if you stay overnight, you’ll wake up with the place almost entirely to yourself. Explore the gorgeous castle gardens, hike up Křižek hill for views over the town and countryside beyond, eat typical Czech fare at the many impossibly cute restaurants in town, wander around the maze of winding streets or even spend a relaxing afternoon rafting down the river.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
This northern Thai city has an extremely hip vibe and despite being relatively small and easy to navigate, it’s very dense and has lots of cool spots to discover including cool cafes, alternative art spaces, bars with live music and of course all that famously delicious Thai food.
The locals are also incredibly hospitable, so even as a solo traveller, you’ll feel welcome and there are tons of things you can do to meet other travellers, whether it’s taking a cooking course, a cycling tour or a group hike just outside the city.
With a great street art scene, crumbling colonial architecture, excellent coffee shops and good food, Penang really has it all. It’s also a very popular destination in general, so you need not be alone if you don’t want to be.
Spend some time getting lost in the colourful streets of the old town, stumbling upon the many incredible pieces of well-preserved street art, eat all the typical food of the region from laksa to rojak, and take a trip out of Georgetown to take the funicular up to Penang Hill for a bit of relief from the heat and for the beautiful views over the island.
Canada’s third largest city is incredibly diverse, both in its population and in what it has to offer, meaning it really has something for everyone: world-class museums, film and television sets to explore, loads of live music events, some amazing international food and very easy access to some gorgeous nature.
Some of the highlights not to miss include a visit to the Museum of Anthropology for its award-winning architecture and impressive collection of First Nations art, taking a gondola up to Grouse Mountain for an alpine landscape just 15 minutes from downtown, and seeing musicians perform live at one of the many excellent venues along the Granville Strip.
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia & Peru
There are two main towns on Lake Titicaca worth visiting: Copacabana on the Bolivian side and Puno on the Peruvian side. Both great places to explore the world’s highest lake, with hiking and sunset watching opportunities aplenty in Copacabana, and half-day tours by boat to the floating reed islands of the Uru people on the lake from Puno. Both sides are friendly and welcoming, though the Bolivian side is generally a bit cheaper and has a larger backpacker presence, ideal if you want to meet others while in the region.
One piece of advice: don’t be fooled by the pictures of sunny weather in the region; it is in fact very cold at night, so come prepared.
The Cotswolds, an expansive region located between Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath in Southern England, is a great place for anyone who loves being outdoors. There are countless examples of typical English gardens (many attached to manor houses) in the area to visit, with highlights including Painswick Rococo Garden, Westonbirt Arboretum, Bourton House Garden and Hidcote Manor Garden.
It’s also a prime location in the UK for easy day hikes with literally hundreds of kilometres of well-marked trails to follow. What’s more, the people in the area are friendly and talkative, so even if you head out on a trail on your own, you can easily make friends with fellow hikers.
Queenstown, New Zealand
The small city of Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu is an excellent place to visit for both winter and summer outdoor sports and is also ideally situated for exploring the Central Otago wine region.
In winter, there are several slopes for skiing and snowboarding in the area, while come summer, many of the peaks nearby have well-marked trails that are worth the climb for the outstanding views of this part of the Southern Alps. Bungee jumping, paragliding, whitewater rafting and skydiving are all also popular activities that are easy to partake in while in Queenstown. Of course, all these activities can easily be shared with others if you’d like some extra company.
Note: These rates are based on the most recent data pulled from KAYAK.co.uk, the cheapest prices are always displayed first, regardless of specific dates mentioned. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy, are per night and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available