Travelling solo in Europe: Discovering Top Destinations and Tips the Solo Travellers
Exploring new places can be a hit or miss, and travelling solo in Europe is no exception. It can be a great experience due to the abundance of beautiful destinations or a disaster due to loneliness or safety concerns.
Understanding that, we have this guide to help you choose destinations that suit your preferences. Plus, there are some extra tips to enhance your experience.
Best Places to Solo Travel in Europe
While it seems to be easy to randomly pick a destination, things might get difficult when you want the best solo travel destinations in Europe. Each country and each city has a unique beauty you can’t find anywhere else. It is easy to get lost in the sea of information. Down here will be our 10+ recommendations to help you with your decisions.
Spain is a great place for solo travellers to chase the winter sun. Photo by nonglak - stock.adobe.com
With countless things to offer, from beaches, festivals, architecture, etc. no surprise that Spain is one of the most popular spots for a solo Europe trip.
Spain will be an excellent destination whether you are outdoorsy or have a more artistic mindset that fancies art galleries and museums.
Other than popular destinations such as Barcelona, Madrid, or Granada. We recommend you try out some hidden gems: Andalusia - if you want to see houses built under a huge rock, Costa Brava - for people who wish to escape Barcelona for a tranquil atmosphere and many more.
Fun fact: In Spanish, there is this word: “vacilando”. When somebody is vacilando, that person is heading toward a destination but doesn’t care whether they can get there. We think this word, to some extent, can give us some context into how Spanish culture is.
Italy provides countless options for exploration and enjoyment. Photo by Dan Novac on Unsplash
Yes, pizza, pasta, or gelato will be much more delicious here. But good food is not everything. With ancient architecture preserved almost perfectly, such as the Pantheon or the Sistine Chapel, Italy might be the perfect country to get you the trip back to history.
Even though it is a little bit far from these places to Milan, spending some extra effort for the fashion capital is worth it. If you are an art lover, Italy is just a no-brainer.
However, be aware that Italy is costly to travel to, especially if you are planning a solo holiday around Europe. Plan your itinerary carefully to correctly budget the trip.
Explore the allure and allure of Portugal. Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash
Tired of the hustle and bustle and looking for a laid-back time? Portugal is one of the best solo travel destinations in Europe for you. Plus, it’s among the safest places in the world.
You can just relax in a resort or wander around your accommodation instead of visiting popular places. However, there is one thing we still want you to explore: Portuguese cuisine.
With the focus on fresh seafood, grilled meats, and hearty stews, Portuguese cuisine really brings out the rich and diverse flavour of the ingredients. Some must trys are bacalhau (salt cod), pastel de nata (custard tart), and porco preto (Iberian black pork), etc.
Of course, there are great places you can visit, like the Dom Luís I Bridge in Porto or the Belem Tower and the Ribeira Palace in Lisbon. However, we assure you that all you need for a magnificent experience are a glass of wine and a balcony to sit in this beautiful and historic country.
Germany is a great destination if you are interested in history, culture, or cuisine. Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash
Visiting German is a must if you plan a solo Europe trip. The nation is the opposite of Portugal because of its vibrant mood. With 51 UNESCO World Heritage sites, there will always be something for you to explore in Germany. Even after multiple trips, let alone if this is your first time.
We believe you all heard about Oktoberfest in Munich. Besides drinking beers and getting on with the locals, you can try out some traditional German foods.
Or you can hang around the carnival with numerous games and rides. Most of the time, there will be a lot of singing. It is truly a fun-filled festival.
If, for some reason you have watched those videos about the German language and how angry it sounds, you will be surprised to come to this country. German people are amicable and love to share their social life and experience. Try to talk with some locals, it is the best way to learn about the culture in Germany.
Come and experience the rich history, breathtaking beauty, and Mediterranean cuisine. Photo by Patrick on Unsplash
With the rich, arguably the richest, cultural heritage, including mythology, music, dance, and art, Greece is an attractive solo holiday destination in Europe.
The hospitality of Greeks is similar to the Germans but more well-known. If you have a chance to get acquainted with local people and visit their homes, you will be welcomed with traditional treats. Usually, a small plate of sweets is accompanied by a cup of coffee. These traditional treats are called “Glyká”, directly translated to “sweets” in English.
Also, Greece is believed to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world: Santorini, Mykonos, and Corfu. Try to visit at least one when you come to this country.
Even though there are a lot of expensive places in Greece, the country is considered a budget-friendly destination. You don’t need to spend too much time in the country to experience Greece. Beaches are accessible, traditional food is cheap, and visiting archaeological sites is affordable if you don’t hire a guide.
France is a nation full of romance, natural beauty, and adventure. Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash
No explanation is needed for why France is world-famous as a romantic destination for couples. But of course, as a destination for solo female travel to Europe, it is a safe bet.
If there ever is a heaven for food on earth, it would be in France. French cuisine has always played a significant role in the culinary world. Every food lover should come to this country, and your culinary endeavour, if it has never been, will be finally satisfied.
Even though the food is alluring, spare some time to visit the Louvre Museum. It is the world's largest museum and the home of numerous famous paintings. The Mona Lisa or the Liberty Leading the People, to name just a few.
If you plan to stay in France long, we suggest adding visiting castles to your itinerary. It would be almost impossible to see all the castles, but staying in some of them is possible. Yes, you read it correctly. Some castles allow you to do so to better appreciate the beauty of these places.
Bike through charming towns and cities and take in the welcoming spirit of the Netherlands. Photo by Javier M. on Unsplash
The Netherlands is a wonderful country with breathtaking views almost everywhere you go, from architecture like cathedrals to nature like rivers, canals, etc.
Especially flowers. There, there are fields and fields of tulips. They come in many colours – red, green, yellow, etc. you name it. Mid-April is the best time for a solo Europe trip to the nation if you are a tulip lover.
The Netherlands is the perfect place to cycle. With flat landscapes, beautiful weather, well-built roads, etc., nothing can stop you from getting on the bike. Even when travelling alone around Europe, nature in the Netherlands will be a lovely companion you don’t know you want.
Pay attention to small bike paths. They will lead you to hidden gems that are inaccessible to cars. If you don’t have too much time to spare in this country, we recommend Amsterdam. Get there, take a walk, and enjoy one of the most colourful cities on this planet.
Denmark, where exquisite design, architecture, and cuisine coexist together. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash
This Scandinavia country is consistently ranked one of the happiest and safest places in the world. It is plausible to say that Denmark is up there on the list of best solo travel destinations in Europe.
Stay true to its Scandinavia energy. It is not difficult for you to find castles, ruins, monuments, etc., across Denmark.
The country is famous for the " hygge " concept, which refers to a cosy and fulfilled feeling. This feeling is spread across the country, whether in a vibrant cafe, a restaurant, or a park. It’s all about enjoying the good things in life with good people.
The food here is very fresh and healthy, with many seasonal options. We recommend the Torvehallerne food markets in Copenhagen, a fantastic place to discover local foods. If you are already in Copenhagen, Tivoli Garden - the 3rd oldest amusement park is a must-see.
9. Czech Republic
Take in the breathtaking architecture, savour the famed beer and the country's illustrious past. Photo by Rodrigo Ardilha on Unsplash
Speaking of castles, over 2,000 of them are waiting for you in the Czech Republic. Thus, it is the perfect spot for people who love history and architecture.
In fact, due to its rich history and culture, Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe. Even if you are under a strict schedule, Prague is still an available option because of its short distance from major cities like Berlin (Germany), Krakow (Poland), or Vienna (Austria). The nation is the best starting point for your solo trip to Europe.
If you have time and love to explore, visit Bohemian Paradise. Located in the north of the country, Bohemian Paradise - the 1st natural reserve of the Czech Republic - is the home of sandstone rock labyrinths, hiking traits, and the incredible Bozkov dolomite caves. The last of which is where you can find Czechia’s largest underground lake.
Bonus: There are many unusual things to do in the Czech Republic. You can sleep in a nuclear bunker with a capacity of 500 people. Visit ossuaries where old bones are stored – Kutna Hora has bones of more than 40,000 people. Or take a tour of Prague’s Sex Machine Museum, which displays devices dating back to the 1500s.
Ireland offers visitors a wealth of natural beauty and kind friendliness. Photo by Jason Murphy on Unsplash
Ireland is the most famous country if we are talking about the landscape. If you come to this country, don’t miss the Wild Atlantic Way. It is a 2600–kilometre tourist trail - yes, it is the longest coastal driving route in the world - features more than 150 discovery points and 1,000 attractions.
This road alone is enough for you to visit Ireland over and over again. But Ireland has the Coastal Causeway Route as well. Even though it is shorter, with a length of 313 kilometres, the Coastal Causeway Route still has much to offer; from beaches and castles to numerous locations where they film the famous Games of Thrones series.
If you enjoy history, Ireland will not disappoint with its stunning castles and historic landmarks, including the mediaeval Blarney Castle, famed for the Blarney Stone, and Newgrange's prehistoric stone structures are even older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.
Ireland is also a paradise for the most outstanding hotels. According to the Reader's Choice Awards in 2016 of the Condé Nast Unveils, three Irish hotels were included (with the Ballyfin Demesne Hotel coming out on top of the list). They are worth checking out on your next solo trip to Europe.
11. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is a country full of diversity and excitement. Photo by Sander Crombach on Unsplash
Here in the United Kingdom, there are various unique historic architectures to visit: Abbotsbury Abbey, Amberley Castle, Antony House, Alfred’s Tower, etc.
Don’t worry if you are not a fan of history. The United Kingdom is the perfect balance between the old and the new. For a taste of European city life, London or Manchester won’t disappoint you.
The countryside is also equally impressive. You will have a lovely time taking scenic walks or getting some horseback rides, just like in those fascinating movies. If you are a Potterhead, try to find some filming locations across the nation.
Similar to Denmark, the United Kingdom, with its low levels of crime, will be a great destination for solo female travellers in Europe. For anybody who enjoys sports, you know how serious people in the United Kingdom are about this.
Solo travel in Europe tips
Even though it is familiar to a lot of people, solo travel might still be scary to first-timers.
While a journey with friends and families ensures sweet and memorable moments, travelling alone in Europe is the opportunity to explore new places without any restrictions.
Travelling alone not only helps you to know more about the world but also about yourself. Speaking from our experience, travelling solo, as cliché as it might sound, is truly a life-changing experience.
Hoping you can have the same experience, we have prepared a list of our tips and tricks to enhance your journey.
1. Embracing the fact that you are being alone
There is no better opportunity to meet new and diverse people than travelling. It is normal for you to stay with your circle in your daily life. But try to step out of your comfort zone while travelling. You will have unforgettable moments on your first solo Europe trip.
During your journey, try to start some conversation with the locals. Maybe ask them about the culture, about the social life, and some recommendations as well. For the most part, they know more about the area than any guides on the internet.
If you are staying in a guest house, try to approach people in the kitchen. Who knows, you might end up having a wonderful meal with wonderful people.
While wandering on the street, you might want to approach small-shop owners. Usually, they are familiar with visitors from another country and willing to have small talks.
2. Plan, but only roughly
Just a few checkpoints will be enough. Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash
The best thing about travelling to Europe alone is freedom, and you should take advantage of it. It is a good idea to have a general idea about what to do in the area, accommodation prices, or purchase a plane ticket beforehand. But you don’t need to prepare more than that.
When you arrive at the destination, you will have numerous opportunities to understand the area more. Then you will be able to get a feeling of things that you want to do. Don’t let the strict itinerary stop you from doing so!
A lot of places on our list are very enjoyable, even when you just simply take a walk. The reason is there are always new things for you to see and explore. Sometimes, not planning is the best plan you can have.
Maybe, if you follow our 1st trip and be able to make some new friends, you might even want to change the entire direction of your trip. It will be a bummer if you have to say goodbye to them because you’ve already booked something.
3. Pack light
Even for normal trips, it is highly recommended to have a travel packing list to avoid overpackaging. It becomes even more important when travelling alone.
The less stuff you bring, the more freedom you can have. Try to limit yourself to one suitcase and one quality backpack. This is just the right amount for many people and can easily last you a week or so.
Make sure to check the weather condition or the types of activities you might encounter to better prepare. Again, remember tip number two. Only prepare roughly.
4. There are several ways to get around
It will vary among countries. However, usually, there are three ways to travel alone around Europe: flights, trains, or renting a car. For flights and trains, the tickets would normally be cheaper if you book in advance.
Remember that you don’t need a fancy car, just a normal and functioning one to get around. Try to save money for local food, for the experience that you can not get elsewhere.
Most European countries have advanced public transport. We advise getting a travel or train pass for a cost-effective way of getting around. But if you are in the Netherlands, you can try cycling around the country. Lovely nature it has!
5. Stay connected
We know that we have just said that you should embrace being by yourself, but it does not mean cutting the connection with people in your daily life. This becomes even more crucial when you are a solo female traveller in Europe.
Make sure you have one, preferably several, ways to connect with people you trust. Consider purchasing a local SIM card or some mobile plan to stay connected while on the go.
For extra safety, before you go to less crowded places like a forest, an island, etc. let somebody you trust know that. In that way, in case of an emergency, they know where to find you.
6. Get travel insurance
On the topic of safety, consider purchasing travel insurance. You don’t want to come to the best solo travel destination, and then accidents happen. Especially if you are about to have a long trip, unexpected events might occur anytime. Some insurances can help reimburse you for losses due to natural disasters, illness, accidents, etc.
Some insurances focus more on your belongings and will pay you when your luggage gets lost, stolen, etc. Make sure to read the policies carefully since they can be very different from one insurance provider to another. It will be long, but it is worth spending the effort.
7. Experience the localness
Prioritising local experience is a good idea. Photo by Roxanne Desgagnés on Unsplash
Trying local cuisine and learning about the customers are essential aspects of immersing yourself in the area. It is probably the only way to actually “travel”. When travelling alone and not bound to any plan, you should take advantage of the opportunities as much as possible.
Even for well-known dishes, the locals certainly hold the secret recipes to lead you to entirely different experiences.
Learning about the local customs can help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of every aspect of the area. We recommend learning some basic phrases in the local language as well.
We have never seen a local who does not smile hearing a foreigner speaking their language. Don’t worry if you get it wrong. It is the effort that counts.
8. Be cautious
It is easy to be absorbed in the fun while travelling, but be sure to put your safety on top of everything. Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night and in deserted places. Fancy as they are, tourist destinations are the most popular place for thieves, pickpockets, etc.
Always store your belongings carefully and avoid carrying too much cash. Try to use cashless payments instead. Another tip is having cash or multiple cards in more than one place.
Don’t drink too much, and have fun responsibly. We recommended making new friends but avoiding going alone with strangers. Before knowing them well, if you are asked, say that you are here to visit a relative or a friend. To others, you never have a solo trip.
While walking down the street, if you feel like you are being followed or just feel uncomfortable, get in a public or well-lit space. A coffee shop or a restaurant where there is a large group of people is a good idea.
9. Be Mindful Of the Moment
Technology has helped us to improve the quality of our lives significantly. Travelling, of course, is not an exception. From maps, reviews, translation apps, etc., you name it.
However, remember to use it wisely. We know it is tempting to use your phone to take all the pictures and film all the videos, but try to be present at the moment. Understandably, we can be excited to capture things to share them with others, especially during a solo trip. But would it be a shame if we missed the experience ourselves?
10. Take a break
Don’t overuse your favourite equipment. Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash
You are in a foreign area, and your time is limited, so you should try to go out as much as possible. No, it is not true at all. Taking a break is also an essential part of travelling.
It is essential to let your body rest and refresh your energy level. It is the only way to ensure that the next time you go out, you can fully enjoy the experience.
You don’t have to go to popular spots every day. You can just take a day off, wander in the local area, see what the locals are doing, and think about what you want to do next.
Isn’t that the beauty of travelling alone to a beautiful continent like Europe? No plan, no expectation, just you and yourself. By doing this, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and have a more fulfilling journey.
Can a woman travel alone in Europe?
Europe is a dream destination for many. Photo by Blue Planet Studio - stock.adobe.com
Yes, and there are many great choices for first-time solo female travellers. Unfortunately, females are still viewed as more vulnerable targets, hence the higher risks.
Besides being cautious and following the tips that we have mentioned, we have some more curated specifically for our female readers.
1. Respect the local customs
It is very sad to say that in certain countries, there are certain expectations on how women dress from the locals. For example, in some areas (more common in rural areas) in Italy or Greece, women are expected to dress modestly with their shoulders and knees covered.
2. Scams and theft
As mentioned earlier, women may be seen as vulnerable targets, especially to theft. Generally speaking, women are physically weaker than men. Being extra careful does not seem extra anymore.
3. Take care of your drinks
With the easy accessibility of different types of drugs, it is difficult to purchase aphrodisiacs these days. Unfortunately, these drugs come in various types. You might not even realise seeing one with your own eyes. Take care so that others can’t spike your drinks.
1. Is it safe to travel solo in Europe?
Generally speaking, yes, Europe is widely considered a safe destination for travellers. However, that does not mean you should completely let yourself loose. Remember to stay alert and be cautious with your actions. Most European people are friendly, but all it takes is one person to leave you with a bitter memory.
2. What documents do I need to travel?
Travelling alone to Europe does not require different documents in comparison to other destinations. Here is a simple list for you to consider:
- Passport or visas (depending on travel destination)
- Health insurance information
- Travel insurance proof
- Emergency contact information
- Travel itinerary (including flight, hotel, and transportation information)
- Ski lift tickets or passes (if purchased in advance)
- Car rental or transportation documents
- International driving permit (if applicable)
3. How can I stay within my budget while travelling solo in Europe?
In most cities in Europe, especially cities that are popular with tourists, there are budget hotels. You would be amazed how much cheaper these hotels are compared to traditional ones.
You can also consider finding a place where there is a kitchen. In that way, you can cook your meals instead of eating out every day. However, we still recommend trying local food as much as possible. Different from restaurants, local food is typically cheap.
4. What are some cultural differences to be aware of when travelling solo in Europe?
Local people, especially shop owners, are great guides. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
In comparison with other continents, Europe might be one of the most diverse ones. It is important to be aware of the local customs and etiquette. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure of something. We believe the locals will be glad to explain and help you fit in.
Again, we want to remind you, you are not alone even if you are travelling without companions.
5. How long can I stay in Europe?
The length of time you can stay will vary depending on several factors: nationality, trip purpose, visa requirements, etc. If you are a citizen of an EU country, there is no restriction on the time you can stay.
However, if you are not and come to Europe for a business trip or travelling, you can stay up to 90 days without needing a visa. After that, you must apply for one of many types of visas. Our recommendation is the European Golden Visa due to its great medical, educational, and tourism benefits.
We believe travelling solo in Europe now has become so much easier for you. There is no need to worry too much, travelling is an opportunity for you to enjoy.
Please let us know which country will be your destination below! Hope you have a great trip. Believe us, you will.
Bui Hoang Hai
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