Joining the solo travel tribe may seem a little daunting, but it means discovering the treasures of the world exactly the way you want to – it’s the greatest form of self-indulgence. You can make new friends or be left in total peace, you can explore at your own pace and you can eat whatever cuisine you fancy, whenever you like. Whether it’s an action-packed trip of a lifetime or a laid-back city sojourn, these are the top destinations you should explore to master the art of solo travel.
Best for: natural beauty
Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye is best known for its awe-inspiring, dramatic landscapes – some of Scotland’s most iconic. Alongside jagged granite cliffs, glimmering lochs and velvet moors, discover brooding castles and pre-historic sites that lure you in with their majestic features. Secluded and remote, this part of the Scottish Highlands is the ideal place to get off the grid and envelop yourself within scenic natural surrounds.
Iceland boasts some of the most spectacular phenomena in the world and has a beguiling allure that’s utterly majestic. Hunt the kaleidoscopic Northern Lights, bathe in the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon and discover gorgeous waterfalls and glaciers in the Golden Circle and beyond. The tight-knit capital, Reykjavik, is an ideal base, and you’ll receive a warm welcome from the locals who are happy to help over a laid-back drink of Brennivin.
Soft white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, luscious forest landscapes, cascading waterfalls – these are just a few of the reasons Bali’s beautiful, unspoiled neighbour is ideal for soaking up natural scenery solo. Learn to snorkel or surf, explore Gunung Rinjani volcano or hotfoot it to the Gili Islands on Lombok’s northwest coast. Sunsets here are also particularly special, as are the warm and friendly locals.
Best for: mouth-watering food
Tokyo boasts more Michelin stars than Paris and New York combined, but also offers cheap street eats, so there’s something for all taste buds and budgets. It’s not all about top-class sushi either, with delicacies including ramen, tempura, wagyu, udon and soba. Must-dos include dining in the iconic Shinjuku neighbourhood, making traditional Japanese sweets and visiting the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Going it alone is embraced in Japan, so you’ll be in safe, welcoming hands.
The Portuguese are known for having a sweet tooth, with the famed pastéis de nata a national favourite. But it’s not just custard tarts that make the culinary capital worth flocking to. Time Out Market is the first curated food market of its kind, boasting mouth-watering samples from the best restaurants and top chefs – think traditional fare with modern twists. A bonus is that Lisbon is budget-friendly, with welcoming and helpful locals.
Alongside picturesque pagodas and colonial architecture, Hanoi boasts diverse cuisine with myriad wild and wonderful flavours – think salty, sweet, sour and spicy. For a true Vietnamese experience, eat like a local on the bustling streets, sampling everything from fresh bánh cuốn to pho tuoi noodles and cơm tấm. There’s also a unique coffee culture that rivals Europe, with their speciality ca phe trung (beaten egg whites poured over an espresso) a must-try.
Best for: intrepid travellers
Costa Rica, Central America
Satiate your appetite for solo adventure in phenomenal Costa Rica, where exotic scenery and activities abound – zipline through the luscious Monteverde jungle, go whitewater rafting on the choppy Pacuare River, and discover Arenal’s natural hot springs and soaring volcano. The country is home to a sea of friendly faces, too, which makes flying solo a lot less daunting and much more rewarding.
Nepal, South Asia
Whether you’re tracking rhino through the Chitwan jungle or conquering the climb to Everest Base Camp, Nepal is a mecca for once-in-a-lifetime adventure. A trekking heaven, you can cycle in the clouds on a bike expedition from Kathmandu to Pokhara, or embark on a hike through the Himalayas to Poon Hill – a 10,000-foot lookout for a magnificent sunrise. Along the way, pass Magar and Gurung villages for an authentic look into local life.
South Island, New Zealand
Living up to its nickname of the adventure capital of the world, go full throttle in Queenstown, which is home to the infamous Nevis Bungy – a mighty 134 metres high – and one of the world’s biggest swings. The South Island is the gift that keeps on giving too, with skydiving, horse riding and whitewater rafting on the long list of solo activities for outdoor-lovers – plus, there’s jaw-dropping scenery everywhere you turn.
Best for: culture vultures
The Big Smoke brims with history and charm alongside a plethora of eateries, iconic cultural attractions and wonderful cityscapes. A liveable city, London has something for everyone going it alone – get lost in a museum or gallery, rent a bike and see the sights from a saddle, or enjoy a film at a quirky movie theatre. It’s also a goldmine of gastronomy, so you can taste your way through the world-class dining scene, from street food to Michelin-starred fare.
The fun-loving south of Spain is a place where social life is a public affair, so when it comes to going it alone but never feeling lonely, Seville ticks all the boxes. Alongside visiting the iconic Alcázar palace and Plaza de España, discover Triana’s colourful ceramic tiles, dine on authentic tapas, and watch an impromptu flamenco show. This beautiful Spanish city is straightforward to navigate on foot, and it’s even easier to strike up a conversation with the friendly residents.
New York City, USA
From cutting-edge galleries and famous landmarks to flea markets and a sprawling urban park, New York City is globally recognised as an epicentre of art, culture, food, shopping… the list goes on. It’s a city that always offers something new to experience, and thanks to the block system, it’s easy to navigate. Dine on top-notch cuisine in Greenwich Village, watch the sun go down from The High Line and sip on signature cocktails at a downtown speakeasy.