While it was pretty unheard of for a woman to travel alone in the past, nowadays, solo trips for women are all the rage. Whether it’s jet setting to the island of Maui to learn how to surf, or taking a flight to Lisbon to explore the city’s cultural history, the opportunities to quench your wanderlust are endless. Traveling solo is one of the most fulfilling and therapeutic things a woman can do. Although it may be intimidating, it allows us to push our boundaries, improve our confidence, and challenge ourselves with things we might not regularly try. And with so much out there that we have yet to experience – from amazing cultures to unique customs to mouth-watering cuisine, an independent trip can do our souls good.
But, keep in mind, while all of these places are known to be on the safe side for women travelers, not everywhere is completely without its concerns. Even your hometown has its own set of dangers, so just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and use common sense; don’t walk alone at night, don’t get drunk, and protect your belongings.
Traveling solo can be a once (or more, if you’re lucky) in a lifetime experience, and one that many women recommend. The people you meet and the cultures you’ll embrace will be strikingly unforgettable. From the cobble-stoned streets of Mykonos to the Old Town marvels of Edinburgh, these are the 15 places every woman should travel to solo.
15 Hong Kong, China
The hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, with all its markets, restaurants and cultural attractions, is a must-visit for any female traveling on her own. Although a busy place, it’s also considered one of the safest cities in the world, with very low crime rates and a high number of trained police. There’s also so much to do – you can eat dim sum at Luk Yu Tea House, hit up a nightclub on the city’s famous party street, Lan Kwai Fong, and take in all the cultural history that Hong Kong has to offer. Just walking around the streets will make you feel immersed in the culture with all of the sights, smells and sounds.
14 Verona, Italy
Though utterly romantic, the province of Verona (located between Milan and Venice) is a beautiful place to explore on your own. You can take in a wine tour at one of Verona’s premier vineyards, and you’ll find the heart of the city at Piazza delle Erbe, their open-air market. And of course, if you’re going to Italy, indulging in some classic Italian meals will be high on your list. The city’s many outdoor restaurants are sure to fuel your cravings.
13 Edinburgh, Scotland
The visual aesthetic of Scotland’s capital is as picturesque as a fairytale. You can explore the city’s Old Town and New Town, spending time at charming pubs, boutiques and flea markets. If that’s not enough to draw you in, Edinburgh is home to multiple festivals that boast music, dance and theatre. Just don’t forget to pack your rain boots. It’s one of the rainiest places on earth with approximately 191 rainy days a year.
12 Chiang Mai, Thailand
In the northern city of Thailand’s Chiang Mai you can dabble in the vibrant markets and marvel at the beauty of the city’s many temples. Fill yourself up with delicious Thai dishes such as Tom Kha Kai (chicken in coconut soup) and Yam Nua (spicy beef salad); and take a cooking class where you will spend the day learning how to make spring rolls, curry and pad Thai. The people there are kind and the hostels, bountiful. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take on a jungle trek, where you’ll be immersed in the breathtaking jungle, play with elephants, swim in waterfalls and raft on bamboo.
11 Lisbon, Portugal
As a woman traveling alone, who may want to hit up the party scene, you want to make sure the nightlife is safe. Lisbon’s neighbourhoods are some of the safest and least overwhelming, especially when compared to other European cities. During the day you can walk the winding stone-paved streets of the city and take in the beauty of the bright coloured buildings. Make sure to take a trip to the town of Sintra, which is home to a number of magnificent monuments such as the Pena National Palace.
10 Dubrovnik, Croatia
There are many accommodations for a stay in Dubrovnik, and if you’re traveling solo you probably want to stay in a hostel; in either a private room or dorm room if you want to meet and chat with other travelers. A stay in the city’s centre will have you close to markets, restaurants and bars and don’t forget to climb the Great Wall in Old Town or to have ice cream and crepes at one of the many cafes. There are also an abundance of activities you can do as part of a group, such as cycling, hiking, diving or kayaking.
9 Maui, Hawaii
One of the most beautiful places in the world, the island of Maui boasts tranquil beaches, stunning waterfalls and breathtaking parks with evergreen trails. If you’re looking for a relaxing solo vacation, where you can laze on the beach and experience a cultural luau, Maui is the place for you. However, there are also tons of activities you can enjoy solo or in a group, such as surf lessons, a hike through Twin Falls or, for the adrenaline junkies, rappelling down waterfalls. The fruit is fresh, the fish is delicious, and you’ll probably never want to leave.
8 Perth, Australia
With a huge backpacking culture in Australia, it’s common for women to travel solo to its cities. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and there’s so much to do from surfing to shopping to sightseeing. In Perth, make sure to venture to Kings Park to see the War Memorial and Botanic Garden, and if you want to get a glimpse of some kangaroos, head to Heirisson Island, and make sure to bring your camera! Or of course, you can just relax and catch some rays on some of the city’s magnificent beaches.
7 Mykonos, Greece
It may be known as the party island, but Mykonos has so much more to offer. There are plenty of quaint cafes and shops to marvel in, and the high quality food is quite cheap in price. Make sure to get one of their famous gyros and indulge in fresh seafood that comes straight form the ocean. As you walk along the cobbled stone streets, take in the blue and white buildings that are the true essence of Greece, and make sure to enjoy the sunset from Little Venice.
6 Vancouver, Canada
Vancity has plenty to offer whether you want sea, sand or city. You may think of it as an urban dwelling, but its greenery, mountains and ocean scape make it one of Canada’s wonders. Bike around the sea wall, where you’ll enjoy fantastic views of English Bay. A ferry ride over to Granville Island will immerse you in delicious and fresh local food vendor paradise. For the shoppers out there, make sure to hit up Robson Street to get your thrill, and take advantage of the city’s many restaurants, most of which have wicked happy hours.
5 Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is known to be a very safe city for women to travel solo and the locals are (for the most part) very welcoming and friendly. It has a magnificent harbor where you can sit in awe of the beautiful sea line. Take a walk on Jellicoe Avenue, a street that boasts its own rain gardens, and visit the country’s first Marine Reserve at Goat Island. You can also find a tropical paradise just north of the city in the Bay of Islands, and if you’re up for it, tackle a hike to the top of Waewaetorea Island for a 360-degree view.
4 Helsinki, Finland
In 2012, Helsinki was chosen as the World Design Capital, and a walking tour viewing the city’s beautiful architecture and art galleries will show you why. The quirky charm of the old town, with its elegant museums and glorious art-nouveau buildings are truly sights to see and explore. Plus, their culinary side is flourishing with locally sourced tasting menus popping up in every corner. Make your way to Ateneum, Finland’s premier art gallery where you’ll get a crash course in the nation’s art, and you can finish off the day downstairs in the gallery’s café or reading room. And if you go during winter, be sure to look out for the green, orange and purple Northern lights.
3 Tokyo, Japan
Japan is a safe bet for a woman traveling alone. Tokyo is welcoming and bustling, and somewhere you will love for independent travel. There are quick-stop take out eateries where everyone dines on their own, either standing at the counter or sitting at communal tables; and what better place to indulge in fresh, delicious sushi? There are so many cultural structures to explore on your own, including the Sensoji Temple and Edo-Tokyo Museum. And if you’re a shopaholic, Tokyo is the place to be. Make your way to the shopping haven of Shinjuku and the area of Odaiba – a popular entertainment district on the manmade island in Tokyo Bay.
2 Copenhagen, Denmark
The pastel-coloured buildings have become a signature feature of Copenhagen, and as you walk through the city, you’ll be able to take in all its striking architecture. Have dinner at one of the cozy restaurants in Nyhavn, and stop by to see the goddess Gefjen fountain that lights up at night – it tells the mythological tale of the creation of Denmark. The city also prides itself on many museums, galleries and palaces that you can discover.
1 Malmö, Sweden
If you’re craving an active solo trip, Malmö, with its beautiful people and culture, should be high on your list. You can hike or boat the natural landscape, take a peaceful walk in Kungsparken, or explore the city on a bike tour. You can also get some eco-friendly shopping in, as the city has an abundance of environmentally-friendly shopping and restaurant choices, such as Salt & Brygga.