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Solo traveling may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and it can be pretty challenging, too, especially for the unversed. But it is a great way to push yourself and forge into what you will someday describe as the adventure of a lifetime.
“Solo travel not only pushes you out of your comfort zone, but it also pushes you out of the zone of others’ expectations.”– Suzy Strutner
So if traveling solo has been on your bucket list for a while now, it’s time to pack your bags and head out. You’ll be surprised to know you’re not alone. According to the Travel Industry Association, nearly 32 million American women are traveling solo every year, and the numbers only keep rising.
And while it may be scary or unnerving, we guarantee it will also be the most liberating and life-changing experience of your life.
There’s a whole wide world waiting to be explored, but here are the 10 best places to travel alone as a female to get you started.
#1 Paris, France
Paris is a city that finds itself on almost everybody’s list of places to visit. It is considered the best place to travel alone given that the French are quieter, more reserved than Americans, and tend to go about their business.
From The Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral to the Arc De Triomphe and the Palace of Versailles, there’s plenty to see, not to forget the renowned Eiffel Tower. And when you’re done seeing the sights, just stroll down the streets, stop for a meal at any one of the numerous street cafes that line the streets, visit the museum and take in the magnificent artworks and sculptures, or go shopping.
Solo Travel Tips: Be aware that the city also has a rough side to it. Parisians have a reputation for rudeness, especially to tourists, and their curtness can be jarring for first-time visitors. There is also a significant amount of crime, with pickpocketing, bag snatching, and street harassment considered commonplace.
So, blend in as much as you can, be aware of your surroundings even while taking in the sights, don’t carry too much travel gear, and keep your hand on your purse at all times. And if you are an inexperienced traveler visiting the city for the first time, it is probably wise to stay on the beaten path.
#2 Galápagos, Ecuador
Channel your inner Alexis Rose from Schitt’s Creek, and head to the beautiful Galapagos Islands In Ecuador. Considered among the safest places to travel, it is counted among the ideal solo travel destinations. Not surprising because a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a National Park, and a Marine Reserve make up 97% of the Galapagos Islands, and it’s therefore highly regulated and protected.
From petrified lava fields and colossal volcanoes, some of which are still active, to arid coats and lush forests, the Galapagos Islands offer diversity in the landscape that is stunning and out of the world. Wildlife abounds here, and you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with exotic birds, sea creatures, and critters.
Must-visit sites include the El Chato Tortoise Reserve, Tortuga Bay, Wolf Island, and Floreana Island.
Travel Tips: Galapagos cruises are perfect for solo female travelers looking for adventure and a time-efficient way of getting around the archipelago. Considered among the safest places, women can walk down the streets alone, even at night. Apart from a few incidents of petty crime now and then, crime is practically non-existent here.
That said, it is always wise to be aware of your surroundings and keep a close eye on your belongings whether you are at a public place or a restaurant.
#3 Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, Japan
If it’s Asia calling, head to Japan. It’s one of the most literate countries and the land of technological marvels. You will be impressed by the numerous beautiful shrines and temples, attractive palaces and gardens, and stunning mountains. Major cities like Kyoto, Tokyo, and Osaka are a must-visit.
The cultural and historical heart of Japan, Kyoto is where classical Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines vie for attention with imperial palaces and magnificent gardens. Not to forget the geishas and the cherry blossoms if you happen to travel in late March or early April. The Tokyo Tower, the Guinness World Records Museum, or the Tokyo Tower Wax Museum are major tourist attractions in Tokyo. For food lovers, Osaka, the country’s street food capital, offers a unique culinary experience made even more unforgettable by its warm and outgoing locals.
Travel Tips: The Japanese are known to be extremely reserved but don’t let that put you off. They are also kind and polite and always willing to help. Japan is also among the safest countries in the world, with violent and even petty crimes extremely rare. If you are traveling alone as a woman, Japan needs to be on your travel bucket list.
Portugal truly has it all – from cosmopolitan cities to quaint towns, exotic beaches, and stunning national parks, looking like it was plucked out of a travel magazine. There’s a lot to see and explore and a visit to Portugal is considered incomplete without a trip to the wine region in Douro Valley.
Lisbon, Sintra, Porto, Évora, and Óbidos are among the popular tourist destinations. You can also sign up for an organized day tour to Torre de Belém, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and Tavira. From friendly and helpful locals to fantastic food, great wines, and a diverse landscape that is a mix of rugged and scenic interspersed with rolling stretches of Mediterranean, Portugal ticks all the right boxes as a destination for solo female travel.
Travel Tips: It’s easy to get around Portugal, and public transport is clean, efficient, and affordable. Another plus is that it is among the cheapest destinations for travel in Western Europe. It is also safe for solo travelers, given that it’s ranked third among the safest countries in the world.
Like in any other major city, keep an eye out for pickpockets and drug dealers when in Lisbon. Scams and petty thefts are also common in the popular tourist destinations here but adhere to common travel guidelines, and you’ll be fine.
Right from its sweeping glaciers, stunning fjords, and splendid Rivers of Fire and Ice, Iceland will blow you away with its magnificence. This glorious volcanic island sits just south of the Arctic Circle, nearly at the end of the earth.
Soak yourself in the soothing hot springs on the coast of Vatnsfjörður fjord, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon, hike up a glacier, go snorkeling or whale watching to make the most of your trip here.
The capital city of Reykjavik is known for its vibrant art and music scene and active nightlife in addition to being a treasure trove of cultural and historical monuments with the towering Hallgrímskirkja Church its crowning glory. Take in the beautiful sights, including the museums and art galleries, and then cool off in any of the numerous swimming pools that dot the city.
Travel Tips: Iceland has an isolated allure that draws in solo travelers looking for an escape from their chaotic existence. Another plus is the country’s incredibly low crime rate. This and the fact that the country places great stress on gender equality makes Iceland a great place for solo female travel.
The close-knit community looks out for each other, including tourists, and the easily accessible Wifi and great phone reception means you are always connected.
Think Turkey and Cappadocia with its fairy chimneys and hot air balloons, comes to mind. But there’s more to Turkey with its spectacular natural beauty, sites steeped in history and architecture, and the warm hospitality of the locals making it the 6th most popular tourist destination even if you are traveling alone as a woman.
From the Butterfly Valley in Fethiye and the Egyptian or Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, to the sites of historic, religious, and social significance like Ephesus, Troy, Pergamon, House of the Virgin Mary, Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Trabzon with one of the oldest monasteries and Konya (where the poet Rumi spent most of his life), are just a few of the places you must consider visiting.
Travel Tips: While Turkey is generally considered safe even for the solo female traveler, it is always advisable to be prudent. Research unsafe neighborhoods, avoid going out late at night and steer clear of poorly lit areas and dark alleyways. Learn as many important words as you can of the local language and try to blend in.
#7 The Nusa Islands, Indonesia
While Bali, Indonesia, may be a honeymooner’s delight, the Nusa Islands, a cluster of small islands around 20 km off the coast of the mainland, is an excellent destination for solo female travel.
Comprising Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida, these holiday islands are a tourist delight for their white sandy beaches, lush mangrove forests, soaring cliffs, and idyllic sunset views. Popular sites include Angel’s Billabong,
Crystal Bay, Broken Beach, Devil’s Tear, and Dream Beach, to name a few.
Travel Tips: The country is not only safe for solo women travelers but also convenient and cheap. While it is always great to travel light, remember to stock up on monthly feminine products like Tampons since these are not easily available and are sold at grossly inflated rates. Apart from that, respect local culture and traditions and always be aware of your surroundings.
#8 Berlin, Germany
Also known as the Millennium City, Berlin has immense historical significance and is counted among the biggest, cultural hotspots in the world. It is an expensive city but public transport is an excellent way to get around. You can also try exploring the city on a bicycle or segway. There are a lot of sights to see in the city starting from the Tiergarten that is filled with monuments and landmarks to the Brandenburg Gate, the Zoological Gardens, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and the Berlin Cathedral.
History buffs will love visiting the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Museum. After a day spent exploring, head out to explore the city’s nightlife. Considered one of the world’s top destinations for nightlife, Berlin is a mecca for trance and electronica and offers something for everyone.
Travel Tips: Even though the city appears to be a little rough around the edges, Berlin is considered among the safe solo travel destinations. However, as a woman traveling alone, you’d be wise to keep to the tourist parts and steer clear of unsafe areas farther up east of the city.
While hate crimes are rare, pickpockets are common, so be aware of your belongings and valuables while using public transport and in public places. Travel light, carry a small amount of cash even if you are comfortable with digital modes of payment, and always carry some form of ID.
Besides the political unrest in the country, this naturally beautiful place is home to active volcanoes, dense forests, multiple lakes, cloud forests, and two massive coastlines. With its tropical climate and natural scenic beauty, it is surprising that Nicaragua is not as popular as some of the other destinations on this list.
Having said that, there’s plenty to do here. Adventure lovers can hike up dormant volcanoes and crater lakes or sled down mountains of volcanic ash. For the wildlife enthusiast, Nicaragua has many protected reserves that are home to hundreds of avian species in addition to jaguars, white-faced monkeys, etc.
For the thalassophile, numerous beaches dot its Caribbean and Pacific Ocean coastlines. Other exciting places to visit include the Emerald Coast and the Corn Islands.
Travel Tips: Traveling alone as a woman is generally safe in Nicaragua but stay alert, never leave your belongings unattended, and keep your phone and wallet close.
Also, be wary of giving out way too much personal information to strangers, no matter how friendly they seem. Catcalling can be expected, but it is best ignored.
#10 Sri Lanka
Last but not least on our list of solo travel destinations is Sri Lanka, the Land of Serendipity, and the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. This teardrop-shaped nation is home to ancient ruins, stunning golden beaches, tropical rainforests, and amazingly diverse wildlife. Not to forget the oldest tree planted by humans and tea plantations.
The elephant-filled national parks like Yala and Udawalawe are popular tourist attractions in addition to the capital city Colombo, Kandy the erstwhile capital of the royal dynasty, the Galle Fort – a preserved walled town and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Travel Tips: December to April is usually the best time to visit. While you may see reports to the contrary, Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist, making it safe for solo female travel. That said, it pays to be cautious. Dress appropriately and respect the culture. Steer clear of public transport to avoid being groped. It’s best not to let people know you’re traveling alone and, when possible, stick to well-lit and well-populated areas. And keep a pepper spray handy in case of emergencies.
Pick a place that tugs at your heartstrings and head out with your baggage in tow. And, no matter where you go, traveling solo can be an enriching experience. As you travel solo, being totally responsible for yourself, and letting go of inhibitions, you will be surprised to discover just how capable you truly are.
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