Our Pick of the Very Best Places to Travel Solo
Me, myself and I. It’s time to take yourself on a solo adventure
Solo travel can be an incredibly liberating experience. You have the freedom to go wherever you want and do exactly what you want to do, without having to take into consideration anyone else's wants. Kind of sounds like the dream, right? From time to time, it’s healthy to put yourself first. If you’re nervously thinking “how do I go on vacation by myself?”, don’t worry. We’ve picked out the very best places to go that will make you forget why you ever even questioned it. Here at Plum Guide, we've put our expert heads together to provide you with the most extensive, awe-inspiring guide possible (you're welcome). From vibrant cities to beach destinations, take a look at our guide to the best places to travel solo. With so many activities to keep you busy and enthralled, you’ll wonder why you've never embarked on this adventure before.
Texans are notoriously friendly, and Austin is the best place to experience that famed Southern hospitality. Some of the best things to do will be found outside, whether it’s visiting public art installations, relaxing in parks, or cooling down at one of the city’s many swimming holes. Make sure you come with a big appetite too, as Austin’s food scene is second to none. Dining is a casual affair, with some of the most mouthwatering dishes coming from food trucks and barbecues. The best sizzling meat is a hotly debated topic in Austin, but we can vouch for Franklin Barbecue - which has unsurprisingly attracted a national following. You’ll never eat alone in Austin as you join other people at bar-style seating. Of course, the city’s rich live music history can’t be ignored, with over 250 music venues to choose from. We recommend The Continental Club for rock, blues, jazz, and country - a great place to meet like-minded music fans.
Safety is a big factor to take into consideration when travelling solo, so it’s only right that you do your research on the safest places to travel alone. This is where Stockholm comes in - it's one of the safest cities in the world, and getting around independently is a piece of cake. To get a taste of Swedish culture, start at the Moderna Museet or sing your heart out at the ABBA Museum Hall of Fame. Wander around the cobbled streets and medieval alleyways of Gamla Stan Old Town, and have a browse through the Swedish handicraft shops. Feeling peckish? Grab some Swedish delicacies at the Östermalms Saluhall Food Hall. Better still, take your picnic with you onto a boat cruise. Spread across fourteen islands connected by bridges, one of the best ways to enjoy views of Stockholm is from the water.
If you’re wondering where you can find the best place to go travelling alone, look no further than London. This cosmopolitan city has an easy-going attitude, with countless things to keep you entertained. The theatre is a no-brainer when it comes to solo trips, and London is one of the best places on earth to catch a show - the Globe Theatre being a must-visit for Shakespeare fans in particular. For more culture, take a tour of London’s many museums and galleries, from the main options such as the V&A, to the smaller ones such as the Wellcome Collection. Depending on the weather, exploring the city’s great outdoors is also a must. London’s many parks are great for relaxing and catching views of the city skyline, and if you’re brave enough, you can even go swimming in the Hampstead bathing ponds. Don’t forget to take the time to wander through the city’s many markets, or pop into a quaint old-fashioned bookshop.
There’s something truly special about travelling solo in Costa Rica. The country’s magnificent biodiversity gives you the opportunity to reconnect with yourself amongst breathtaking nature. There are numerous ways to enjoy that Costa Rican pura vida, whether you’re trekking through the rainforest, swimming under waterfalls, white water rafting down a river, climbing a volcano, or surfing the waves. One of the best attractions is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, where you'll walk along the trails to explore the flora and fauna in the forest. Towns such as Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, Puerto Viejo, La Fortuna, and Nosara are particularly friendly, and endlessly welcoming to solo travellers. These are good places to stay if you want to try out yoga, visit night markets, discover how chocolate is made, or unwind in hot springs.
The Irish are a famously friendly bunch, and Dublin is undoubtedly one of the best places to travel solo. You’ll have no problems making friends in the city, and you’ll soon find yourself having a good ‘craic’ - as the Irish say. Dublin is quite compact, and the best way to get a handle on the city is to take a stroll, enjoying such highlights as Dublin Castle and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Speaking of highlights, The Guinness Storehouse is a must-visit when in Dublin - you can even join a group tour if you don’t feel like drinking alone. Literature lovers will be pleased to know there are countless literary locations around the city, such as the Dublin Writers Museum and the famous Trinity College Library. Come evening, the Temple Bar district is a lively place to get a taste of Dublin’s nightlife. Even if you’re not interested in visiting the pubs, the area has plenty of shops and art galleries to peruse.
Japan is another of the best countries to travel alone, with its comforting safety and its convenient transport links. Naturally, delicious food should be at the top of your hit list. There’s so much variety here, from standing bars serving deep-fried meat on skewers, to casual barbecue joints, to high-end sushi restaurants. Japan is steeped in culture, and there are countless sights to visit, including the Great Torii floating shrine, and the red gates of the Fushimi Inari shrine. Kyoto is a particularly fascinating city - a treasure trove of temples and cobbled streets. There is also an array of outdoor activities if you’re looking for a break from the city. Hiking along the Old Hakone Highway, or taking a relaxing dip in the mountain hot springs are great ways to experience the sprawling nature than Japan has to offer.
Spain’s capital should always be one of your first considerations when wondering where to travel alone. It’s a safe city with a friendly buzz, and it’s very easy to get around either on foot or by public transport. Wander around the streets, before relaxing with a drink in one of the many picturesque plazas. The 16th-century Plaza Mayor is the most popular - you can even catch a Christmas market here if you’re visiting around the holidays. Be sure to visit the ancient Egyptian Templo de Debod for spectacular sunset views, or the Parque del Cerro del Tío Pío - a peaceful park slightly out of town. It’s worth noting that Madrid’s food scene is unrivalled, with high quality cafes and gastro bars dotted throughout the city. If you want to avoid eating alone in a restaurant, head to one of Madrid’s food markets, such as Mercado San Miguel, where you can join the crowds and try out local specialities.
With its mix of bustling cities and spectacular natural landscapes, Chile offers a whole range of fantastic experiences for solo travellers. Santiago is a modern metropolis, and makes for a great jumping point for further travel around Chile. It’s easy to get around by foot or bike, with plenty of museums, galleries, boutiques, cafes, and cocktail bars to keep you entertained. St Christopher Hill and Santa Lucia Hill make great lookout points, especially at sunset. One of the best things about Chile is that it offers something for absolutely everyone - you don’t have to be a pro climber to hike in Patagonia or the Torres del Paine National Park. The country is also full of unique experiences to try, including camping under the night sky in the Atacama Desert, or kayaking under the unforgettable Marble Caves.
Bursting with history, culture, and delicious food, Rome is renowned as an incredible destination for a reason. Art and history lovers will want to wander round museums, galleries, and the many ornate churches. Shoppers can get some retail therapy at Via dei Condotti, or in the shopping streets around Piazza di Spagna. Of course, no visit to the Eternal City would be complete without seeing the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. However, there is more to Rome than these tourist sites. To get a taste of la dolce vita, visit the many markets selling everything from cured meats and cheeses, to wines and fresh flowers. Grab a bite to eat, and find a spot on the Spanish Steps to enjoy views of the city. For somewhere a little quieter, the lush gardens at Villa Borghese offer a slice of solitude away from the crowds.
New Zealand regularly makes lists of the best places to travel solo, largely because of its reputation as one of the safest countries in the world. Another big draw for people travelling alone is the country’s natural landscapes, meaning you can meet like-minded, outdoorsy travellers everywhere you go. Thrill-seekers will want to go bungee-jumping in Queenstown, heli-hike through the Franz Josef Glacier, and go sky-diving in Taupo. For those looking for something a little less adrenaline-filled, why not cruise through the fjords and waterfalls of Milford Sound, or go whale-watching in the Bay of Plenty. But New Zealand isn’t all about immersing yourself in nature, and there are many ways you can have some down time from adventuring. Take a wine tour on Waiheke Island, or wander around the real-life The Shire on the Hobbiton Movie Set. Just watch your head.