Solo Travel in Europe: Best Places to Travel Alone + Tips

Are you looking for the best solo travel destinations in Europe?

Then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve visited most European countries over the past three decades, many of these as a solo traveller.

To inspire you to plan your next solo trip to Europe, I’ve pulled together an awesome list of the best destinations. To make it as varied as possible, I’ve reached out to fellow travel writers for their suggestions.

Read on to discover the best places to travel alone in Europe and solo travel tips, including how to get around and how to stay safe.

woman in sunglasses and hat in front of the rhine valley which is one of the best places to travel alone in europe

Some articles on this website contain affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.


Dreaming of your first solo trip? Click here to download your FREE solo travel toolkit

It’s just what you need to kickstart your plans!

My Top 10 Solo Travel Destinations in Europe

1.  Anywhere in Italy

f lucca view and flashpacker
Looking out over lovely Lucca

Italy is an amazing solo travel destination, especially if you are travelling alone for the first time. It was one of the first countries that I visited as a solo traveller more than 30 years ago and one to which I have returned more times than I can count.

There is a well-worn tourist trail, and English is widely spoken in tourism hotspots and by younger people. And the familiarity that comes with unconscious immersion in the country’s food and culture makes Italy a super easy country for the novice solo traveller.

For centuries, Italy’s landscape, history and food have drawn travellers from across the globe (for me, add Italian coffee bars and gelato!). The famous hilltop towns of Tuscany draw travellers from near and far.

Italy is every Renaissance fangirl or fanboy’s dream with world-famous art and architectural treasures too numerous to count. From Rome to Rimini, Urbino to the Uffizi, Cortona to Carrara’s marble mines, there’s something for everyone.

2. Anywhere in Spain

curved colonnaded facade of plaza espana with tiled alcoves in seville pain
Seville is one of my favourite Spanish cities

Spain ticks many of the boxes for an ideal solo travel destination

It has natural beauty in spades with wide, sandy beaches, rugged rocky coves and a highland plateau, straddled by dramatic mountain ranges.

Thanks to decades of mass tourism, it has an extremely well-developed infrastructure. There are accommodation choices to suit all budgets, restaurants are plentiful, English is widely spoken and the train network is extensive. 

One of the things that Spain is most famous for is its rich historical heritage. Its UNESCO-listed sites include Granada’s majestic Alhambra PalaceSeville’s Cathedral and its Alcázar palace, Antoni Gaudí’s work in Barcelona (including the jaw-dropping La Sagrada Família) and Tarragona’s Roman ruins (to name but a few).

And don’t write off the Canary Islands for your solo trip.  They offer much more than sun-and-sangria beach flops, from hiking in the Anaga Forest of Tenerife to exploring the magical world of César Manrique in Lanzarote.

3. Anywhere in Portugal

deep canyon of valley of the nuns madeira with village at bottom
Valley of the Nuns, Madeira

Portugal is one of the cheapest solo travel destinations in Western Europe.

Although not as well developed as that of its Iberian neighbour, Portugal’s travel infrastructure does allow independent exploration with its rail network covering major tourist hubs. And as Portugal is a relatively small country, this makes travel more manageable if you only have a few weeks to spare.

Like Spain, it has a temperate climate and abundant natural beauty with a long beach-lined coastline, a mountainous north and the lush Duoro River valley, home to the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. 

The sub-tropical island of Madeira is one of the best places I have visited as a solo traveller in recent years.

Finally, Portugal has been ranked as the third safest country in the world, welcome news if you are a female solo traveller. 

READ THIS NEXT: Solo Travel in Madeira: The Ultimate Guide

4. Ghent, Belgium

old grey stone turreted building by side of canal

If you are a solo traveller looking for a less-touristy alternative to Bruges in Belgium, book your ticket to gorgeous Ghent.

Bruges may be better known, but Ghent has a cityscape to rival its busier neighbour with red-bricked gable-roofed buildings and monumental Gothic spires overlooking meandering canals. It’s a delight.

Hit the highlights of this medieval city on a free Ghent self-guided walking tour, taking in the famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb in St. Bavo’s Cathedral, and climb the UNESCO-listed Belfry for a bird’s eye view of Ghent. Take a boat tour along the canals and, as evening falls, join a local for a beer tour of the city (highly recommended!).

A broad range of places to stay in Ghent and the excellent value Ghent City Card help to keep things affordable. It is a friendly and safe city with locals, students and tourists alike enjoying its attractions, bars and restaurants.

5. Reykjavik, Iceland

an icelandic horse close up in snow covered field

Reykjavik is a superb solo city break and is a good jumping-off point for Iceland’s outstanding natural wonders. 

Take a day tour of the Golden Circle, a 300 km circular route that loops from Reykjavik into central Iceland, to explore the country’s rugged interior. Soak your cares away in the milky waters of the Blue Lagoon whilst sipping on a cool Icelandic beer. 

Iceland’s crime rate approaches zero and, as a solo female traveller, harassment is also rare. It is easy to book excursions online or via one of the agencies in downtown Reykjavik, and Iceland is also a mecca for outdoor activities.

Whilst it’s safe to say that Iceland isn’t the most budget-friendly destination, there are tips and tricks for cutting costs when you visit Iceland.

6. London, England

telephone boxes
Telephone boxes, Covent Garden

I may be biased, but my home town of London has a cultural scene that is second to none. There are world-class museums, including Tate Britain and Tate Modern, a theatrical and musical landscape to accommodate all tastes, excellent restaurants and, of course, a lively drinking culture. 

There is no shortage of things to do in London as a solo traveller

Meet fellow travellers on one of the many walking tours – I recommend one of the London street art tours. Or tick off many of London’s landmarks by taking a stroll along the Victoria Embankment or the South Bank. 

Or see the sights from the water by taking a boat ride along the Thames (for the more adventurous you can ride in a RIB!). This is a great way to fully appreciate London’s magnificent bridges.

On those rainy afternoons (and we do get a few of these!), visit a museum or gallery, get a bargain ticket for a theatre matinee performance, see a new cinematic release or an old classic or linger over a book in a coffee shop.

Finally, if you want a break from city life, take one of the many easy day trips from London, including Bohemian Brighton, the golden dunes of Camber Sands, the dreaming spires of Oxford and the Georgian splendour of Bath.

7. Rhine Valley, Germany

panoramic view of roofs of bacharach germany with church spire and rhine river and vineyard

Are you a solo traveller searching for a perfect mix of legend, history and beauty? Then start planning a trip to the UNESCO-listed Upper Middle Rhine Valley, also known as the Rhine Gorge.

The good news is that you don’t have to fork out for an expensive cruise to experience this idyllic section of the Rhine. It’s easy to explore Germany’s Romantic Rhine Valley on public transport.

Base yourself in Boppard and use local trains and buses to visit Burg Rheinfels, one of the mightiest castles on the river, Bacharach and Oberwesel.

And when the sightseeing is done, there’s the region’s excellent food and wine to savour.

8. Highlands of Scotland

green valley with lake reached from fort william to glencoe
Valley of Glencoe, Scotland

Studded with deep lochs and soaring mountains, the Scottish Highlands is blessed with some of the most dramatic scenery on the planet. 

Better still, its abundance of outdoor activities provides ample opportunities for solo travellers to meet other people. If you prefer solitude, solo hiking is relatively safe as long as you don’t too far off the beaten path.

And if you love train travel as much as I do, you’re in luck. From catching the Caledonian Sleeper from London to the magical Harry Potter scenic train between Fort William and Mallaig, there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring trips.

Base yourself in Fort William to ride the Jacobite steam train and visit glorious Glencoe. Make the lovely city of Inverness your second base, the jumping-off point for Loch Ness and the historic Culloden battlefield.

9. Provence, France

cassis-provence-boats inport
Cassis, Provence

The ease with which you can explore Provence by train; fields filled with fragrant lavender; ancient Roman ruins; picture-perfect walled medieval cities and some of the best food and wine in the world. These are just a few reasons why this region of France is perfect for those who are travelling alone. 

During a week in Provence, you can explore the ‘three As” – the historic cities of Avignon, Arles and Aix-en-Provence. If you are a history buff, visit the amphitheatre at Orange and the sensational Pont du Gard, the tallest aqueduct bridge in the Roman world.

Moving south, spend a day in revitalised Marseilles, visiting the MuCEM, Marseille’s Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, before relaxing in the quintessential Provençal portside town of Cassis.

And, of course, in summer there are the lavender and sunflower fields in full bloom.

10. Kraków, Poland

massive head sculpture in old square in krakow
“The Head”, Kraków

If you are looking for a budget-friendly solo travel destination with a first-rate bar scene, Kraków could be just the ticket. This is a city that hasn’t sold its soul to tourism, and where it is possible to feast on a meal for 15 PLN washed down with a glass of craft beer for 5 PLN (around 4 GBP). 

Join one of its excellent free walking tours – I loved the one exploring Kraków’s Royal Road –  to meet like-minded travellers. However, the whole city has a social vibe.

Reflect on Kraków’s tragic past by visiting Kazimierz, the city’s old Jewish Quarter, the former Jewish ghetto in Podgorze and the neighbouring Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory. For many people, the chance to take a day trip to Auschwitz is reason enough to visit Kraków. 

For something a little different, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wieliczka Salt Mine, a labyrinthine network of tunnels lacing through the mine’s salty depths. Just 12km south-east of Kraków, this is an easy day trip from Kraków. 

Best Cities in Europe for Solo Travel (A to Z List)

11. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

bicycles at side of canal in amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam has a large and vibrant community of travellers, be they leisure travellers or freelance digital nomads.

People hang out at hostels or connect with each other through communities such as Couchsurfing or Meetup. Couchsurfing events are a great way to meet locals in addition to fellow travellers (I remember joining a meet-up of Spanish-speaking folks in Amsterdam, which was such fun!).  

In addition to this thriving community, Amsterdam is also home to tons of museums.  If you have even a little curiosity regarding history or art, you can spend hours here, not really caring about having company. 

Getting around Amsterdam is easy and it’s a convenient base for day trips to other Dutch cities. The excellent tram network, comfortable buses and cycling infrastructure are a real boon for a solo traveller in Amsterdam.  

The best sights in Amsterdam are the museums and Dam Square. The Jordaan area is also a good place to spend an evening chilling in cafes and pubs. 

If you feel more adventurous, cross the river to the Noord region to enjoy the I AM HOLLAND experience and Adam’s Lookout. The former experience gives you an epic virtual tour of The Netherlands, while the latter offers a stunning view of the city. 

By Umang of Travelmax

12. Athens, Greece

classical greek temple of the acropolis in athens
The Acropolis, Athens

Athens is friendly, welcoming, easy to get around and home to spectacular attractions.

With relatively cheap flights from Europe and beyond, some great hostels and an excellent range of bars, restaurants and cafes, Athens is an amazing destination for solo travellers taking a weekend break and those travelling more extensively across Europe.

Choose centrally located accommodation in Athens so you can easily walk around the top sights.

These include the Acropolis (and Acropolis Museum), the Ancient Agora, Monastiraki, Plaka and Syntagma Square. Thankfully there are so many options within this area that you won’t be hard pushed to find a decent hotel or Airbnb.

Athens also has some awesome tours that you can take (e.g. Local Food Tours, Street Art Tours) which are a great way to interact with both locals and other travellers.

As Athens has both easy-to-use public transport and taxis, you’ll be able to explore the city safely. There are also some fun day trips that can be taken as tours out of the city.

By Chrysoula of Athens and Beyond

13. Belgrade, Serbia

entrance to old fortress in belgrade serbia
Belgrade, Serbia

If you’re looking for the perfect solo travel destination in Europe, you really can’t go wrong with Belgrade, Serbia.

The capital of Serbia has lots to offer visitors and it is a great place to visit alone. There are countless things to do in Belgrade over two or three (or more!) days and the atmosphere of the city, along with the gregarious nature of the locals, make it ideal to visit on your own.

Belgrade is a popular city amongst backpackers and there are countless hostels throughout the city, where it is easy to meet other like-minded travellers.

There are also numerous free walking tours of the city’s neighbourhoods. Ideal for meeting others while learning about the destination.

Belgrade locals are also easy-going, sociable and easy to talk to, so you never truly have to feel alone when visiting this dynamic city.

Some of the top sites in Belgrade include the fascinating Old Town, the wonderful pedestrian street of Knez Mihailova and, of course, the sprawling Kalemegdan fortress park overlooking the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. There are also several interesting museums where you can learn more about Belgrade’s history plus a great nightlife scene to experience.

By Maggie of The World Was Here First

14. Bruges, Belgium

display case of chocolates

Picture-postcard-perfect Bruges is an idyllic destination for those travelling alone in Europe and an essential part of any Belgium itinerary.

It is picturesque, safe, easy to get to and there are lots of things to do. As it is a compact and walkable city, it is simple to navigate.

Bruges is famous for its meandering canals that lace their way through its perfectly preserved medieval centre, its magnificent Belfry, world-class museums and, of course, Belgian beer.

But for my money, one of the best things to do in this charming city is to take a self-guided Bruges chocolate tour. Belgium produces some of the finest chocolate in the world, and this is the ideal place to try the best of the best from the city’s artisan producers.

15. Brussels, Belgium

detailed sculpture of figures on a pillar with gable roof buildings in background

The Belgian capital is one of Europe’s liveliest cities. With just one day in Brussels, you can soak up its medieval architecture and stuff yourself silly with beer, waffles and chocolate.

The UNESCO-listed Grand Place is at the heart of Brussels’ city centre and is lined with porticoed and frilly, late medieval buildings. This is also where the city’s Christmas market takes place.

On the eastern side of the city, old architecture gives way to sleek skyscrapers, including the headquarters of the European Union.

Lovers of cartoons should follow the Comic Strip Walk or visit the Belgian Comic Strip Centre.

Brussels is also the best base from which to visit other Belgian cities. Ones for your bucket list include lovely Leuven and its botanic garden (De Kruidtuin Leuven), Mechelen and Hasselt (don’t miss the Jenever Museum and Japanse Tuin Hasselt).

16. Budapest, Hungary

panoramic view of bridge across river leading to an old town in budapest hungary
Budapest, Hungary

There are so many great places to travel alone in Europe and Budapest is one of them.

Budapest is a safe city to visit, even at night. However, as with any big city, take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

Also, Budapest is easy to navigate. The trams and buses are simple to use, there are lots of helpful maps that will guide you from place to place and the majority of the signs are written in English.

Budapest has great hostels and hotels, world-class attractions and first-rate restaurants and pubs that won’t break the bank. As a solo traveller, you can find anything within your budget.

Some of the most iconic things to do in Budapest include the Parliament HouseDohany Street SynagogueFisherman’s Bastion, the Jewish QuarterSt. Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge, and Szechenyi Spa Baths.

By Disha of Disha Discovers

>>> Are you looking for motivation to book your solo trip to Europe? If so, check out these inspirational quotations about travelling alone.

17. Cologne, Germany

faux medieval buildings and church spire of cologne old town

For a German city with a rich historical legacy, visit Cologne.

It is best known for the UNESCO-listed Cologne Cathedral, one of the greatest churches in Christendom, and its toilet water, Eau de Cologne.

Germany’s fourth-largest city is also home to the busiest railway bridge in the world, Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke), which is smothered in love locks. The other highlights of Cologne include its 12 great Romanesque churches, the Old Town’s squares and buildings and its insanely popular Chocolate Museum.

Last but not least, don’t leave town before trying the local Kölsch, the delicious local brew which has a hoppy and slightly sweet taste.

18. Copenhagen, Denmark

boats parked along canal
Christianshavn

Denmark’s capital city is effortlessly cool.

Copenhagen has the lot. A historic city centre with cobbled streets and candy-coloured gabled houses; a cutting-edge design scene and trendy shops, bars and restaurants.

Paying your respects to The Little Mermaid is pretty much obligatory but manage your expectations. At just four feet tall, she is a little underwhelming.

One of the best things to do in Copenhagen is to take a canal cruise from Nyhavn and Ved Stranden, allowing you to see the city from a different perspective. With its crayon-hued houses, the former rough sailors’ district of Nyhavn has been transformed into the poster child of Copenhagen.

Finally, for a different side of Copenhagen, stroll through the hash-perfumed community of Freetown Christiana. There are not many cities that have a main drag called Pushers Street.

19. Dubrovnik, Croatia

red roofed houses set on a hill rising from harbour in dubrovnik
Dubrovnik harbour and old town

Dubrovnik is the gem of the Adriatic coast in Croatia. As it’s not a dangerous city, you don’t need to take special safety precautions; just use your common sense like anywhere else and you will be fine.

With all the great things to do in Dubrovnik, you will be busy all day long with sightseeing.

Be sure to walk the city walls around the Old Town. The views from there are incredible and with the ticket, you can also visit Fort Lovrijenac just outside the Old Town.

Fans of Game of Thrones will recognise many of Dubrovnik’s sights from their television screen. One of the best activities in Dubrovnik though is just wandering around its narrow streets and enjoying the atmosphere of the town.

The city is very popular among tourists, especially in the summer season, but once the crowds are gone Dubrovnik is bliss.   

By Kami of Kami & The Rest of the World

20. Dublin, Ireland

people walking across small iron footbridge over river
Ha’Penny Bridge, Dublin

By day and by night, Dublin, the capital city of Ireland, has a diverse range of attractions to offer. As a solo tourist, you will feel right at home and have a packed Dublin itinerary exploring the city, its culture and top-class tourist sights.  

The must-see attractions include the Guinness Storehouse with an unbeatable view of the Dublin skyline from the Gravity Bar, Trinity College and the medieval manuscript of the Book of Kells and the latest treasures found in the Chester Beatty Library.  

Dublin is designated a UNESCO City of Literature. Join in the fun at the James Joyce Bloomsday Festival in June, or visit the Museum of Modern Literature to get a taste of Irish Literature at its finest. 

If you want to learn more about the country’s history, visit Kilmainham Gaol, the birthplace of modern Ireland

Ireland’s capital is an excellent base for day trips with many locations to choose from, so you won’t have to bother renting a car. From Howth Harbour outside the city centre (reachable by train) to the Cliffs of Moher or to the Giant’s Causeway, you will be spoilt for choice! 

In the evenings, you can enjoy some great live music in the many pubs around the city. There is always music in Temple Bar, but it can be very touristy. 

Try some of these other pubs for a more authentic atmosphere. Don’t worry about being by yourself, it is very easy to strike up a conversation with most Irish people! 

By Emer and Nils of Let’s Go Ireland

21. Frieburg, Germany

pretty narrow cobblestone street lined with old buidlings under a blue sky

Hugging the western edge of the Black Forest, sunny Freiburg im Breisgau is the perfect destination for the solo traveller wishing to combine a cultural city break with first-rate hiking. has a lot going for it.

This university city has a compact Old Town (Altstadt), a magnificent Cathedral, a handful of first-rate museums and more cafes and restaurants than you can shake a stick at. It is also an excellent base from which to explore the Black Forest.

Although it was extensively damaged by Allied bombing raids in World War II, its Old Town has been faithfully restored and is home to a number of fine medieval buildings. The city even has a resident crocodile!

If you crave an easy walk in the Black Forest, a short bus and tram journey will bring you to the Schlauslandbahn Cableway. From the top station, 2.5 km to 8.8 km walking trails offer sensational views over this iconic German landscape.

22. Glasgow, Scotland

ornate fountain in a square with a red brick building
Templeton Square, Glasgow

As a solo traveller, do you want to visit a city that is friendly and welcoming, gentle on your wallet, filled with fun people and dotted with amazing things to do? Look no further than Glasgow, Scotland.

The city’s slogan “People Make Glasgow” could not be more true. The locals are super friendly, whether you need help with directions to want to meet new people in the pub. 

There are numerous budget-friendly accommodation options from great hostels to quirky boutique guest houses. Most attractions and museums are free to visit, which makes it easy to soak up as much of Glasgow’s history, art and culture as possible.  

Glasgow has also many fantastic green spaces and a colourful street art trail with massive murals. There are several street food markets, cool shops filled with local designs and of course endless pubs with live music and banter.  

I highly recommend taking a history tour with Glasgow Women’s Library and looking into the city’s historic involvement with the slave trade, signs of which can be seen in street names and buildings around the city. 

And that’s just in the city.

Glasgow is also a great place to base yourself if you want to take day trips to the Scottish countryside. Other cities like Stirling and Edinburgh are within easy reach. Beautiful castles, stunning Highland scenery and several Scottish islands are on your doorstep.  

All this and more makes Glasgow a perfect place to visit as a solo traveller.

By Kathi of Watch Me See

23. Gothenburg, Sweden

suspension bridge spanning a wide river with sea birds
Gothenburg, Sweden

Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg is an underrated destination compared to the capital, Stockholm. But as the world’s most sustainable destination four times in a row, it’s a European city that will inspire any solo traveller.  

Gothenburg is a very walkable city, filled with beautiful botanical gardens, local designer shops, and a strong Swedish fika culture. Gothenburg is a paradise for foodies and has a much more affordable price tag compared to Stockholm. 

With free walking tours, it’s easy for solo travellers to make friends and explore quaint neighbourhoods such as Haga, which is famous for baking the largest cinnamon rolls in Sweden.  

The best time of year to visit the city is December for the Gothenburg Christmas markets. This is when the whole city turns into a festive winter wonderland. 

Gothenburg has four Christmas markets, but the main one is Sweden’s largest and is found at Liseberg Amusement Park. Liseberg is an icon in Sweden and includes thrilling rollercoaster rides, a seasonal ice skating show and over 80 Christmas stalls and shops.

By Roshni of The Wanderlust Within

24. Helsinki, Finland

brightly colored buildings large white cathedral and boats along the seafront in helsinki finland
Helsinki, Finland

Modest Helsinki, or Finland, might not be at the top of your list when considering places for a solo Europe escape, but it should be. 

Tucked away in the northeast of Europe, Helsinki is an enigma; an excellent secret destination full of local charm and personality but minus the crowds. A short vacation with a difference. 

Not only is it wonderfully weird and completely original, but it is utterly welcoming to everyone. And it is oh so safe! Helsinki is one of the safest cities in the world, and you can walk everywhere during the day without worry. 

Finns are shy, reserved and independent, and love to spend time alone. However, this adds to Helsinki’s appeal as a solo travel destination since most of its attractions can easily be undertaken by one person. 

Dining alone, drinking coffee, sauna, you name it; being solo here is completely normal. And, especially as a female traveller, it would be unheard of for someone to come up and harass you for being alone. 

Strolling around Helsinki is like being in an outdoor museum of architecture, with an eclectic mish-mash of magnificent neoclassical architecture, art nouveau constructs, and modern design. Inside top highlights include the Kiasma Museum, the Löyly Sauna, the Amos Rex, and the Moomin store

And don’t forget to visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Suomenlinna Island Fortress. You might not know much about Helsinki before visiting, but you’ll never forget it afterwards.

By Jordan of Inspired by Maps

25. La Valletta, Malta

large harbous with small island with castle built from warm stone in valetta malta
La Valletta, Malta

La Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a great European destination for solo travellers.

It’s delightfully compact, with stone buildings piled on top of each other higgledy-piggledy. The entire Valletta peninsula is only a couple of kilometres long, so you can easily explore the whole city on foot. Just be prepared to climb lots of stairs.

Most locals here speak fluent English, so it’s easy to make new friends

Valletta’s role as the headquarters of the Knights of Malta from the 16th to 18th Centuries is a very important part of the city’s history, and many of its best sights relate to this period. The knights’ armoury can be visited inside the Palace of the Grand Masters, though the palace now serves as the parliament and president’s office, most of it is off-limits.

St. John’s Co-Cathedral doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the interior is covered head to toe in marble and frescoes and is incredibly ornate. If you love art, be sure to visit the Cathedral Museum, which displays two paintings by Caravaggio, who was once a knight himself.

And Valletta is the perfect base from which to explore the rest of this small island nation. Across the harbour from Valletta are three other cities: Birgu, Senglea and Bormla.

Most locals here speak fluent English, so it’s easy to make new friends.

Finally, don’t leave Valletta without trying some of the traditional Maltese foods like bigilla and pastizzi.

By Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan

26. Lyon, France

fresco-on-side-of-building-in-lyon
One of Lyon’s famous frescoes

Lyon may be a big city – it is France’s 2nd or 3rd, depending on your source – but that is precisely what makes it perfect for the solo traveller: an abundance of choice. 

If you’re new to Lyon, go see the murals. These are scattered along the edges of the Old Town, as well as here and there throughout the rest of the city. They not only look realistic, but are huge and provide a strong sense of Lyon’s personality. 

Lyon is considered France’s gastronomic heartland and if you believe French food is sublime, Lyon is amazing when it comes to food

There are plenty of great restaurants but try a bouchon, a typical Lyonnais eatery. If the heavy fare is daunting, head for Les Halles Paul Bocuse, a covered market filled with shops that sell every kind of food you could expect to find in Lyon, and more.

Wandering around Old Lyon is always a pleasure, as is visiting the Roman Fourvière Theatre. But for an intriguing view of Lyon, two things should grab your attention, both related to silk, of which Lyon was for years France’s main supplier. 

The first is the traboules in the old town: these are ancient tunnels that allowed weavers to carry bolts of silk from building to building without getting them wet when it rained. 

The second must-see sights are the silk establishments on the Croix-Rousse hill; these are shops, or old buildings where workshops were once located, topping it off with a visit to the Maison des Canuts, the silk museum. 

France is a safe destination for solo travellers and Lyon is no exception. That said, it is best to stick to the more touristed parts of town after dark. It is, after all, a major city.

By Leyla of Offbeat France

27. Munich, Germany

aerial view of medieval buildings and church in munich germany
Munich, Germany

Bavaria’s capital has a friendly, supportive small-town feel but, at the same time, it is metropolitan enough to nurture a thriving traveller and ex-pat scene. Munich has a good choice of accommodation and its public transport is excellent and easy to navigate, allowing you to explore every part of the city. 

Here are some of the must-dos in Munich: 

Munich Beer Halls. Everyone knows the Hofbräuhaus, but there are quite a few others that are not quite as touristy, like the Paulaner, or the Weißes Brauhaus. 

What is great about these beer halls is that they usually have community tables that you share with others. That makes it easy to connect with other guests and chat.  

Swimming in the Isar. If you travel to Munich in the summer, pack your swimsuit and go to the Isar Beaches. That is where the locals hang out and it is easy to connect with others.  

Go on a Walking Tour. Munich has a lot of history and a walking tour is fun, inexpensive (sometimes even free), and you can meet other travellers. To get some non-touristy recommendations, ask the guide for his favourite bars and restaurants 

Pro Tip: If a restaurant is busy and does not have empty tables, it is customary to join a party already seated. Simply ask if the seat is taken, and if they nod in approval you can join them.

This is a great way to find some company during meals if you are travelling alone. 

By Maria of Europe Up Close

28. Nuremberg, Germany

old covered chain bridge with small tower over river with reflections

Nuremberg (Nürnberg) is both a wonderful destination for solo travellers in its own right and a fabulous base from which to explore Bavaria by train.

Nuremberg Old Town is home to magnificent medieval buildings, a thousand-year-old castle, Germany’s tiniest (and some say tastiest) bratwurst and one of the country’s biggest and best Christmas markets. But Nuremberg is perhaps best known for its dark Nazi past, as the city where Hitler liked to throw a really big party.

Easy day trips from Nuremberg include UNESCO-listed Bamberg, home to the smokiest beer on the planet, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the medieval city that inspired the Disney animation Pinocchio.

29. Paris, France

large elegant building by the side of the river in paris france
Paris, France

France is a fabulous solo travel destination and Paris is no exception.

Easy public transport, many people speaking different languages and an abundance of fellow travellers help make Paris a great city to visit solo.

It’s also a relatively safe city to visit if you are travelling alone. You can easily walk around many of the popular neighbourhoods and take the metro at night without feeling uncomfortable.

Paris’s top attractions include a visit to the Eiffel Tower, browsing the many museums like the Louvre and D’Orsaypeople-watching at one of the hundreds of cafes, and strolling down the Champs-Elysees.

And don’t forget to grab a baguette and a bottle of wine, and enjoy a picnic in one of the many lovely parks.

Some other great things that you visit in Paris are the Catacombs – if you dare! –  and the stunning churches that dot the city, like Sacre-Coeur and Saint-Sulpice.

So, make sure you plan at least four days in Paris for your next solo adventure. It will be epic!

By Stephanie of The World As I See It

30. Prague, Czech Republic

an old stone bridge in prague at sunrise
Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is one of the prettiest medieval cities in the world and one of the best places to travel solo with lots to see and do.

Take a walking tour. Several companies offer free walking tours of the old town, the castle and even some lesser-known neighbourhoods, and this is a great way to meet other people who are travelling alone.

Enjoy a beer at Letna Park Beer Garden or Strahov Monastery. Both places offer spectacular views of the city.

Visiting a quirky museum like the Beer Museum (which includes a beer tasting), the Chocolate Museum or the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians, where you learn the darker side of Prague’s history.

Along with things to do during the day, Prague has an excellent nightlife and food scene worth checking out. If you want dinner and a show, you should book a medieval dinner show or a dinner show with traditional Czech dancing.

If you want to party, Prague has a few pub crawls worth checking out.

With its colourful architecture, cobblestoned streets and countless things to do you are bound to have the best time exploring Prague on your own. 

By Marika of Clumsy Girl Travels

31. Pristina and Prizren, Kosovo

people crossing a stone bridgein the old town of Prizren in Kosovo
Prizren, Kosovo

If you are travelling alone in Kosovo, make sure you visit its capital, Pristina, and its cultural heart, Prizren.

Solo travel in Kosovo feels safe, the locals are friendly and welcoming, especially at local cafes such as Half&Half Cafe in Pristina.

Hostels are well maintained and also very cheap. Bus routes between key cities are not only very budget-friendly but easy to navigate.

Pristina, Europe’s newest capital, is trendy and home to underrated street art and to a diverse range of eateries, including modern and vegan cafes. Look out for the National Library, one of the world’s ugliest buildings, and the Bill Clinton statue (yep, he’s quite the hero in Kosovo!).

More cultural gems include the Cathedral of Saint Mother Teresa.

In Prizren, the Prizren Fortress has spectacular views over the city. There are also many museums to learn more about European, and more specifically Balkan, history.

Nature lovers and keen hikers can also take a day trip to the scenic trails of Peja or to one of the less well-known national parks.

By Cass of Cassie the Hag

32. Reims, France

stone statue of a smiling angel at notre dame de reims cathedral

Reims is one of the loveliest cities in France, known for its magnificent cathedral and its champagne houses, all of which are UNESCO-listed.

Beneath Reims is a labyrinth of 200 km of caves that provide the perfect environment for the second fermentation of champagne. This is the shared real estate for the city’s champagne houses.

It’s very easy to put together a DIY champagne tour of Reims, even if you are travelling alone. From the Disneyesque Champagne Pommery to the elegance of Taittinger, there’s a champagne house for everyone (and far worse ways of spending a day).

With flying buttresses a-plenty and an enigmatic smiling angel, Notre Dame de Reims is one of Europe’s great Gothic cathedrals. This was the coronation site for most of the French kings and its architecture set the mould for cathedrals to follow.

33. St. Petersburg, Russia

buildings along riverfront in st petersburg at sunset
St Petersburg, Russia

Due to the ongoing geopolitical situation, travel to Russia is not currently recommended. For current travel advice, check the advice of the UK FCO here.

St Petersburg in Russia is not only a gem of a city but is also one of the best places to travel alone in Europe.

Some of the major costs for solo travellers are taxis and hotels. However, St. Petersburg has an excellent public transport system that is easy to navigate.

Furthermore, the city has lots of hostels where it is easy to meet other travellers.

There are lots of solo travel-friendly things to do.

First of all, St. Petersburg is full of interesting museums that you can explore at your own pace. The most famous of these is the Hermitage, where you can easily spend a whole day.

As well as the museums, there are the 18th and 19th-Century palaces of the Romanov tsars and their families. These European palaces are not only worth a visit because of their opulent and extravagant rooms inside, but also for their beautiful palace gardens.

St Petersburg is a year-round destination. Visit in the summer for the long nights and to see the bridges open up over the Neva River. Go to St Petersburg in winter for cold, snowy days and the beauty of the frozen Neva.

By Ellis of Backpack Adventures

34. Salzburg, Austria

the rooftops and spires of the city of salzburg
Salzburg, Austria

With an abundance of stunning architecture, a pretty old town and its connection to some musical icons, both classical and modern, the Austrian city of Salzburg is a wonderful destination for solo travellers. And the city’s excellent public transport connections to Austria and beyond make it one of the best places to visit in Europe.

Top sights in Salzburg include the Cathedral, the 12th Century ResidenzMozart’s Birthplace (one of many Mozart sights in Salzburg) and Hohensalzburg Fortress, an imposing castle atop a hill overlooking the city.  All can be found close to the Old Town in the compact city centre and Salzburg’s tourist pass can save you money on ticket prices.

Getreidegasse and Linzer Gasse, two of Salzburg’s most famous streets, are the places for retail therapy or to find the perfect souvenir. Amongst the shops and boutiques, you’ll find one of the city’s specialities on sale, a chocolate ball with a marzipan centre known as a Mozartkugel.

A short walk from the Old Town, and across the Salzach River, the Mirabell Palace and gardens are well worth a visit. Most visitors flock to the steps in front of Rose Hill to re-enact a famous scene from The Sound of Music.

Salzburg can be easily explored alone on foot, on a hop-on-hop-off bus, or even by horse-drawn carriage. But if you’d prefer some company, the Tourist Office offers several guided city tours every day. 

By Carolyn of Holidays to Europe

35. Sibiu, Romania

beautiful main square of sibiu romania with brightly coloured buildings
Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu, a small city in Romania’s southern Transilvania, is an ideal destination in Europe for the solo traveller. 

First and foremost, Romania in general, and Sibiu in particular, are super safe.

Walking home alone at night is not a problem, even as a solo female traveller. There are people who will approach you at restaurants and ask for money if you’re sitting outside, but there are no aggressive tactics employed.

Sibiu is small and pedestrian-friendly, important if you’re not partial to taking public transportation. You’ll be able to walk amongst its colourful buildings and get lost in the winding cobblestone streets of the Old Town 

There’s no shortage of things to do in Sibiu, including restaurants serving delicious food, an impressive number of museums and open-air markets. You’ll never be bored in the European Cultural Capital in 2007.  

If you’re partial to nature, Sibiu is located in the Carpathian Basin. There are plenty of hiking and trekking options nearby, not to mention some gorgeous green parks.

Finally, the people of Romania are very friendly and English is widely spoken among the younger generations.

By Jade of The Migrant Yogi

36. Split, Croatia

blue sky throughvestibule of Diocletian's Palace, Split
The vestibule of Diocletian’s Palace, Split

For my money, Split is one of the most extraordinary cities in Europe. Over the millennia its UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diocletian’s Palace has morphed into the tangle of churches, chapels and houses that now form Split’s medieval hub.

This is truly living history, not some dry, roped-off archaeological site.

Game of Thrones fans are also in luck. Some of its scenes were filmed in Diocletian’s Palace and a Split Game of Thrones tour is on offer.

Split is also home to one of the most bizarre museums I have ever visited (Froggyland) and a supermarket that is UNESCO-protected.

As this is a popular port of call for cruise ships, it’s good to get off the beaten track in Spilt. Away from the day-trippers, there is a wonderful walk along the Marjan Peninsula to Telegrin, its highest point.

37. Vienna, Austria

child in red coat at stall in xmas market
Vienna at Christmas

For elegant cafe culture with a twist of Mozart, Vienna is one of the best places to travel alone in Europe.

With its imperial architecture, magnificent museums, classical music scene and cafes galore, Austria’s capital is a superb destination for the solo traveller at any time of year. 

Take a journey from Ancient Rome to the Renaissance by exploring the vast collection of the Kunsthistoriches Museum. Visit Schloss Schönbrunn, one of the Hapsburg Empire’s palaces, in all its gilded glory. 

But perhaps the jewel in Vienna’s crown is the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Belvedere Palace, home to Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (1908).

Finally, if you are visiting Vienna at Christmas, don’t leave the city before washing down a plate of Bratkartoffeln with glühwein (mulled wine) at one of the city’s Christmas markets

38. Wroclaw, Poland

ornate medieval building in square in wroclaw poland with clock face
Old Town Hall, Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw, Poland’s 4th largest city, is a hidden gem in Central Europe and is an ideal solo travel destination for several reasons.

First, it’s easy to get there, whether you want to fly in or prefer taking the bus or the train.

Second, it’s safe. I wandered around in the evening and never felt unsafe. A close friend who calls Wroclaw home swears by the city’s safety too.

Third, it’s just so easy to walk around and explore. You can use public transport (trams & buses), but it’s easy to see Wroclaw’s main sights on foot as they’re located within walking distance of each other.

In the heart of Wroclaw Old Town lies the Market Square with beautiful merchant houses and a monumental Old Town Hall. Many visitors to Wroclaw enjoy tracing the famous Wroclaw dwarfs.

Walk through Butcher’s Street and then stroll all the way to the lovely Tumski Island with its impressive cathedrals

This beautiful city doesn’t attract many visitors, yet there’s so much to see and do in Wroclaw.

By Veronika of Travel Geekery

Best Places to Travel Alone in Europe: Natural Wonders

39. Bansko, Bulgaria

cancle car with the waord bansko going past the houses of a town
Bansko, Bulgaria

Bansko is Bulgaria’s largest ski resort and one of the cheapest places to ski in Europe, perfect for making your holiday budget go further. But this mountain town is so much more than a ski resort. 

Bansko is located two hours from Sofia and 2.5 hours from Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second city, and is served by great public transport connections. There are lots of places to stay here; self-catering accommodation, small family-run hotels and larger ones too, some with pools. 

There are two great co-working locations here in Bansko and, as such, the town has a great social life for solo travellers. With co-living spaces and hostels available, plus apartments for US$180 a month, there are cheap options for places to stay as a single traveller.

The town is easy to navigate on foot and there are great hiking and mountain biking activities with superb groups on Facebook for visitors to find out about activities with others. 

Eating out is cheap, with a great selection of Bulgarian mehanas, alongside more international foods. You’ll also find takeaway and delivery options too. 

From May onwards there are free outdoor festivals, including the Bansko Jazz festival, which has run for more than 20 years.

By Sarah of Lets Grow Cook

40. Lake Bled, Slovenia

man rowing boat across lake with church in background

Lovely Lake Bled is the jewel in Slovenia’s crown.

This picturesque corner of Europe has many of the ingredients for a perfect solo travel break.

Slovenia is cheap by European standards, it’s relatively safe and has a good travel infrastructure.

Lake Bled has an abundance of walking trails, a castle perched on a hillside and an enigmatic island to visit. Traditional boats plough the turquoise waters of the lake, but if you prefer to confine your travelling to dry land, there’s the super scenic Bohinj Railway.

Lake Bled is a mecca for outdoor adventure enthusiasts and joining an organised tour to go canyoning / underground kayaking / ziplining / river rafting (delete as appropriate) is a fantastic way to meet other travellers.

If food and wine are more your thing, join a wine-tasting session – Slovenian wines are very quaffable – and don’t leave town before biting into a slice of feather-light Lake Bled Cake.

41. Lake District, England

snow capped hills reflected in a still lake

The North of England has a reputation as being extremely friendly, and the Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is no exception.

Full of quaint towns and villages, the Lake District is very visitor-friendly. Base yourself in a small town such as Ambleside or Windermere to be in the best possible location.

The main activity for most visitors is hiking, something that can easily be done as a solo traveller. Views around the Lake District are spectacular, so don’t forget your camera.

Local buses mean it is easy to get from town to town.

You can also travel to a lot of the lakes by steamer boat. These traditional ferry boats are a great way to see the scenery from a different angle.

Or rent a bike and explore some of the cycle trails.

If the sun is out, you will find everyone sitting in the afternoon in a scenic garden, enjoying a traditional English roast. Wander alone into any old English pub in the Lake District, and you are sure to make friends in a matter of minutes.

By Demi of Around The World With Her

42. Northern Norway

a fjord in norway with mountains reflected in water

From Arctic-connected Tromso up to Bodo, the “gateway to the North”, Northern Norway is brimming with natural wonders. But why is it an excellent place for a solo traveller?

Well, I usually prefer going to big party destinations, like Madrid or Berlin, together with friends. But when it comes to nature destinations, I prefer going alone, especially if it is something challenging like mountainous Norway.

Norway allows you to test yourself, and somehow, after returning home, you feel stronger.

Northern Norway connects world-famous mountain views and small comfortable towns. But you don’t need to just visit tourist places. 

Unknown fjords are just as beautiful. If you go alone, you can easily choose routes, hike difficulty, and type of landscape according to your preferences and fitness.

If you go to Northern Norway, make sure you visit Tromso, the centre of Arctic Exploration and Saami culture. Make it on a ship through the Northern archipelago and long Raften Pass. And visit the jewel of Northern Norway – the Lofoten Islands

By Alexander of Engineer On Tour

43. Zermatt, Switzerland

matterhorn-reflected-in-riffelsee lake
Matterhorn

If you are yearning to hike amongst mountain peaks, one of the best places to travel alone in Europe is Zermatt. 

The appeal of the town itself and the relative ease with which you can explore its surroundings make Zermatt a fantastic solo travel destination at any time of year. 

The star of the show is the mighty Matterhorn, piercing the sky above the town like a harpoon tip.

To get the best view of the mountain, take a ride on the Gornergrat Railway. From here, there are also great hiking trails through mountain valleys and along woodland paths scattered with pine cones, accompanied by the soundtrack of gurgling mountain streams and distant cowbells.

To reach Zermatt, take the Glacier Express from St. Moritz, one of the world’s great train journeys. 

Visas for Europe travel

Many non-EU passport-holders enjoy visa-free travel within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days every six months. The Schengen Area consists of 27 member countries, most of which are in the European Union (EU).

Post-Brexit, the UK is not a member of the Schengen Area.

From 2025, US citizens will have to apply for an ETIAS prior to their trip towards Europe.

Travelling around Europe

red and white drivers cabin of a tgv train in france

Europe by train

There are few things I like better than travelling by train, especially in Europe. Its rail network is vast, connecting major cities and scenic spots in an eco-friendly way.

For the most part, European trains are reliable and have spacious seating, Wi-Fi and dining cars. Stations are usually located in the heart of the city (and are sometimes destinations in their own right).

I have been lucky to ride on some of Europe’s most scenic routes, including the Glacier Express and the Jacobite Steam Train. But you don’t have to buy a ticket for these iconic trains to experience treated to ever-changing landscapes.

group of 4 people sitting around table on the glacier express switzerland
Making friends on the Glacier Express

European rail passes (Interrail / Eurail passes) can unlock the joy of train travel in 33 countries. But always compare the price of the train pass with that of point-to-point tickets for your planned itinerary to figure out if an Interrail pass will be good value.

Many countries have their own rail passes – the Swiss Rail Pass is a good one – or you can just stick with point-to-point tickets.

You can book ahead using the websites of individual train operators, RailEurope or Omio. For local routes, I’ve found that it is often easier to buy a ticket from a self-service machine at the station.

Europe by bus

For the places that trains don’t reach, there are buses.

Tickets are often – but not always – cheaper than train or airfare, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious travellers. The flip side is that bus travel might take longer than trains.

FlixBus and Eurolines operate affordable services connecting Europe’s major cities. To search across multiple operators, head to Omio.

Europe by air

Budget airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir operate cheap flights across Europe.

However, getting around Europe by air would not be my preferred option. Aside from the lack of sustainability and the stress of flying in the 21st Century, you don’t get a sense of the landscape unfolding as you travel from A to B.

That said, there are times when flying might be the most feasible option. You can check flight timetables and prices here.

Europe by car

Again, this one isn’t for me. I am not a happy driver, it’s a lonely experience and hiring a car can be extortionate as a solo traveller.

But I have rented a car in the past and it’s hard to beat when it comes to flexibility and the ease with which you can access remote areas.

With the exception of Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland,  Malta and Cyprus, European countries drive on the right.

If you are a non-E.U. citizen, make sure that you confirm that your license will allow you to drive in Europe. As automatics are in short supply in Europe, make sure that you book in advance if you can’t drive stick.

Europe Solo Travel Tips

Safety tips for female solo travellers

If you are a female solo traveller you might be wondering if it is safe to travel alone in Europe. And while some countries are safer than others, broadly speaking the answer is a resounding “yes.”

That said, there are actionable steps you can take to stay safe when travelling alone. The bottom line is to take the same precautions that you would at home and keep your valuables safe (I use this theft-proof day pack when I travel)

Here are my top tips:

  • Choose accommodation in a good area of town
  • Share your itinerary with someone at home
  • Don’t flash your valuables (better still, keep them locked in your hotel safe)
  • Trust your gut; if somewhere doesn’t feel right, leave
  • Go easy on the booze and never leave a drink unattended
  • Never, ever tell strangers that you are travelling alone

Meeting people on a Europe solo trip

Loneliness is a common fear amongst solo travellers. But the good news is that there are failsafe ways to meet people when you are travelling alone.

Being open and friendly and taking an interest in people goes a long way.

Although my hostelling days are behind me, I have made lifelong friends whilst staying in hostels.

group of people eating sitting around table
Sitting down to a meal in a hostel on my first solo trip (Yep. That perm is for real!)

Nowadays, I find that an organised activity is an excellent way to make friends on the road. I make most of my bookings through GetYourGuide, largely because they have a broad portfolio and most activities come with free cancellation within 24 hours of the event.

Tips for dining out alone

Solo dining is not something I relish. However, I’ve done this so many times that I have developed these tips and tricks for eating out alone.

Bring a prop or two, exude confidence and enjoy every morsel.

Booking hotels in Europe

Choosing the right hotel is important when you are planning your solo Europe vacation. You want somewhere that is affordable, comfortable, welcoming and, above all, safe.

I book around 80% of my accommodation in Europe via Booking.com. When the price or cancellation terms are better, I will book directly with the hotel.

Solo Travel in Europe: Final Thoughts

I hope that these recommendations inspire you to plan a future trip to Europe. It’s an easy part of the world to visit as a solo traveller and has enough diversity to satisfy most people.

If you are not sure whether you are ready to explore Europe independently, why not join a group tour?

As well as being a relatively hassle-free way of travelling, there are many other benefits of a group tour as a solo traveller. There are lots of group travel companies out there but two companies that I have used and can recommend are Exodus Travels and Explore Worldwide!

You’ll have an expertly curated itinerary and you often gain valuable insights into the country, the people and its culture. Generally, there’s safety in numbers. Finally, if you fear the dark spectre of loneliness, there’s the reassurance of ready-made travel companions.

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.