Best destinations for solo travel
With solo travel more in vogue than ever, it's an enticing prospect. Freedom, adventure and a smattering of self-indulgence make it an experience worth trying at least once. With improvements in technology and instant communication making the world safer for all travellers, it's no surprise that British women are 54% more likely to travel alone than they were five years ago.
With the world quite literally at your feet, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, we've put together some of our favourite destinations to start your solo adventure, no matter what your travel tastes.
We think these are the best places to visit but some may not be practical to visit right now due to covid restrictions – check gov.uk for all the latest travel guidance.
Best city break destination - Amsterdam
If you're looking for somewhere not too far away to take your first steps into the world of solo travel, consider Amsterdam.
Flight times from London are less than an hour to the Dutch capital, making it one of the quickest ways to start exploring the continent by yourself. Alternatively, you can hop on the Eurostar which takes just under 4 hours. Once you arrive, you'll find a city that's largely very safe for male, female and non-binary travellers, and that celebrates welcoming, liberal values.
We recommend exploring Amsterdam by bike. The city's infrastructure feels designed for two wheels (except the canals of course), meaning you can explore everywhere at your own pace, taking it all in at street level. Find out more about renting a bike in Amsterdam.
Once you start exploring, you'll discover hundreds of museums, cafes and art galleries to enjoy. We recommend visiting the NEMO Science Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and arguably most important of all, the Cheese Museum on the banks of the canal.
Check out our guide to Amsterdam.
Best far flung destination - Sydney
Fancy heading somewhere further afield? You can't get much further away from the UK than Sydney, Australia. 71% of solo travellers have visited Australia making it the number one international destination for solo travel, and it's easy to see why. With dazzling beaches, a thriving nightlife and a cosmopolitan city centre, it has plenty to offer solo travellers. Sydney Festival takes place every January, with more than 100 events throughout the city, celebrating art in all its forms.
Our top tip? Avoid staying in the centre of Sydney. Nearby Bondi has a much more local vibe, with cheaper accommodation and a less touristy atmosphere. It's here that you'll discover why Australia is considered one of the friendliest nations in the world. Bondi also has its famous beach on offer, as well as plenty of swimming pools, so you can take a dip regardless of the weather and shark sightings!
Want to continue your solo adventure beyond Sydney? The city offers extensive domestic flights to other cities across the subcontinent.
Best off the radar destination - Tallinn
Solo travel is all about uncovering the unknown, both internally and externally. It can be enormously fulfilling to visit somewhere brand new, and for that we recommend Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. On the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is very much on the rise, with a more than 60% increase in visitor numbers in the past decade, meaning it won't remain a best kept secret for long!
Tallinn is a fairly compact city, and you can take it all in safely on foot. As you amble through the streets, you'll find a rich culture and plenty of museums, ranging from the old to more contemporary, including one dedicated to the KGB! If you happen to be visiting when it's on, the city's annual music and arts festival is not to be missed!
When you're ready for a little more peace and quiet, Tallinn has plenty of sanctuaries away from modernity. 25% of the city is designated green space, with Lahemaa (Estonia's largest national park) a prime example of this. Just outside the city limits, it's a great place for walks, berry-picking and becoming reacquainted with the natural world.
Tallinn is a great starting point if you fancy extending your trip into a tour of Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Just a two-hour boat ride from the Finnish capital of Helsinki, it's a unique opportunity to explore two capitals cities in one day!
Best adventure destination - Queenstown
Exploring cities and nature walks a little sedentary for your tastes? Do you prefer to live life in the fast lane? Queenstown in New Zealand has you covered.
The best destination for thrill-seeking solo travellers, Queenstown is an adrenaline junkie's dream. With a variety of extreme sports on offer, ranging from bungee jumping, skydiving, parasailing, and much more, if you want to push your personal limits, look no further.
Our top recommendation would be to spend some time on Lake Wakatipu. Shaped like a cartoon lightning bolt, it offers some astounding views of the natural landscape, and can be enjoyed at any speed that suits you. Whether you want to hurtle across it at 70mph in a speedboat, or cruise along on a traditional steamer, you'll find a tour operator (and most likely fellow like-minded travellers) to suit you.
On top of this, Queensland also celebrates its progressive, forward-thinking values, meaning solo travellers from around the world will find a warm welcome.
Best beach break destination, Thailand
Thailand's capital Bangkok is often referred to as the Mecca for backpackers, and is one of the best places to meet fellow solo adventurers. From the stereotypical youth hostels of Bangkok to elegant 5-star hotels, you'll find a path that suits your style.
Step outside of the city for some of the best beaches you'll find anywhere in the world. Head to the island of Phuket for an assortment of coastal retreats that cater for all tastes and interests – whether you're looking to party until dawn, engage in some watersports or just lounge in a tropical paradise, there's somewhere for you.
But for us, the best of the best is Freedom Beach. You'll need to take a boat to reach this remote coastline, but for those who make the effort, the reward is a 300-metre-long stretch of super-soft white sands surrounded by jungle and hills. The perfect place to recharge your batteries and escape from reality, if only for a little bit!
The Thai New Year's celebration of Songkran happens every year on 13th April, when the country enjoys days of celebration. Often referred to as the 'Water Festival', locals and tourists alike break out in a nationwide water fight as part of the festivities. A unique event that should be on anyone's bucket list!
Best somewhere a bit different destination - Ethiopia
The East African nation of Ethiopia might not be somewhere you've considered visiting before, but it's somewhere you should! Often referred to as the cradle of humanity, what better place to take a journey of self-discovery than the land on which mankind took its first tentative steps?
Much of Ethiopia is safe for solo travellers of all genders, all you need to do is obey customs regarding modest clothing. If you've ever visited popular destinations such as Dubai, this won't come as any surprise, and shouldn't affect the enjoyment of your trip. Find out more on what to wear in Ethiopia and where you can travel safely in Ethiopia.
You'll fly into Addis Ababa, a great place to get acclimated to local customs before you venture out. As with most capital cities, this is where you'll find the broadest international influence, and where modesty rules are the most relaxed.
When you're eventually ready to head out further afield, Ethiopia is a massively diverse and varied country. From some of the world's oldest civilisations, to the Tolkien-esque Gondar and natural beauty of the Simien Mountains, it's a destination that will leave a profound impact on you like no other.
Ethiopia has a full calendar of events, most of which hold religious significance to the Christian and Muslim faiths. Find out what's on.