Solo travel is fun. And while this may seem quite hard to understand for a lot of you, I really mean it. Solo traveling makes your trip 100% about you – you are free, you have all the time in the world to do what you want to do, with nobody to tell you otherwise. You do you.
In the past two years I’ve traveled to 10 countries, solo. And while sometimes I wait for somebody to travel with me, mostly I really don’t mind to be alone while traveling.
The thing is though, even though you hop on that plane alone, as soon as you step into a new country, walk into the lobby of a hostel or join a tour you won’t be alone anymore. You’ll get to meet new people from all over the world and you get the chance to hear their story and explore their culture too!
As I’ve said, I’ve traveled solo to 10 countries now, but most of the countries I visited alone were in Europe. I love how easy it is to travel around Europe as a tourist, how quickly you can get everywhere and how diverse one country is from another.
Another plus for solo travelers is that you’ll always find other travelers.. wherever you are, most people speak English too, and there is always something to do or something to eat!
So here is an article, from one solo traveler to another, including the best countries and destinations for solo travel in Europe!
I ADORE Ireland and I am waiting for the day I can go back. I traveled to Ireland solo in January, and absolutely loved my experience in the country. Ireland is filled with fun hostels and is the meeting point for travelers from all over the world. I didn’t know this but apparently a lot of people from America travel to Ireland as well, so during my trip I met a lot of Americans, Brazilians and I even met a girl from Costa Rica, which was fun!
During my trip to Ireland I haven’t spend one minute alone, and it was all thanks to the lovely vibe and friendly people you find in Ireland. Truly: the Irish are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and I feel like that ‘radiates’ on travelers which makes the whole atmostphere outgoing and fun.
Next to the fact that Ireland is just really friendly and fun to visit – it is also a great country to travel around. You can easily see a lot of the country without spending too much money, needing too much time or having too much trouble. Rent a car and drive by yourself (irish roads aren’t hard to drive), join a tour or take the train or bus and find yourself at the best and most beautiful spots in the country!
To me, writing these few lines about why you should visit The Netherlands are going to sound very promotional, seeing I’m from The Netherlands myself. However, if you are a solo traveler I strongly urge you to visit The Netherlands. Why? Because we are the friendliest, most handsome, and loveliest people you will ever meet.
No but seriously, everytime I travel abroad and tell people where I am from I always get the same response: travelers either want to go to The Netherlands because they have heard such good stories or they’ve traveled to The Netherlands themselves and enjoyed it so much that they would like to go back.
Now, without joking: Dutchies have a great sense of humor, are very friendly and inviting and if you visit the capital Amsterdam you’ll notice right away that you can be yourself without limits. No shame. The Netherlands has a very liberal state of mind and because of that you’ll fit right in, no matter what.
Just another couple of benefits for the solo traveler: it’s freaking easy to travel around the Netherlands – train and bus connections are really good (and easy to understand for tourists) and since the country is small you can get basically everywhere in the country within 2,5 hours (using public transport). 95% Of the Dutchies speak English, which definitely makes traveling a lot easier and you can easily travel to other countries nearby: from out Amsterdam it’s a three hour train ride to Paris (with stops in Antwerp and Brussels) a short (RyanAir) flight to London or Dublin, and a seven hour drive to Berlin!
I’ve traveled to Portugal once, when I was younger. I still remember the beaches, but mostly I only dream about visiting Portugal once again – I’m actually planning a trip to Portugal this summer.
Portugal is an extremely friendly country and rated as one of the safest countries in Europe (definitely a plus for the solo traveler). Just as Spain you can enjoy a a very warm vibe in Portugal, eat your heart out at one of the many restaurants, watch football (or soccer, you know) in a bar, stumble upon the greatest villages or go surfing!
The capital of Portugal, Lisbon – or as it’s also known: the San Francisco of Europe – has definitely grown a lot during the past few years (it is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations of Europe!) and really mapped herself as a must visit destination for travelers. I can’t argue.. Lisbon has been on my radar for ages now.. it looks absolutely stunning.
Also: I actually didn’t know this until recently, but Portugal also is a really good country to go surfing! One of the best surfing destinations in Europe, in fact. Over the past few years Portugal has gotten a lot of new surf retreats and surf hostels, which seems like a perfect place to stay for the solo traveler, don’t you agree? And don’t worry, you don’t have to ride the monster waves just yet.
In the middle of the European Union you’ll find Switzerland – the center of Europe, without actually being a part of the EU (as one of the few European countries).
You know what they say: if you want to be the ‘neutral’ one – be Switzerland. The country still feels like that: the ‘neutral’ one. I’ve traveled to Switzerland a couple of times now, and I always remember the country as a place where you can be yourself, with nobody minding your business. I remember it as a very quiet country where you can come to rest.
Switzerland is the perfect destination for solo travelers who want to get away from all of it. But it is also the perfect destination for solo travelers who travel the ‘Eat, Pray, Love’-style and are hoping to find themselves.
Above all, Switzerland is a beautiful and magnificent country, defined by high, snowcapped mountains, cute villages and clear, blue lakes.
If you choose to visit Switzerland during the coldest months of the year, you’ll get caught up by the active side of the country. You can go skiing in one of the many, many skiing area’s and go iceskating at miles and miles of frozen lakes.
Visiting Switzerland during summer will surprise you. You’ll find yourself in a Sound of Music-like scenery and feel liberated. Something we all need to feel every now and then.
As one of the safest countries in Europe Norway definitely has to be on your radar as a solo traveler. But that is just one of the many reasons why it should be on your rader, by the way.
I mean, have you ever looked into photos from Norway? The country is absolutely beautiful! High mountains and fjords define the nature scenery of this country, and it is absolutely breathtaking. Since ages Norway draws tourists from all over the world to her country – everybody wants a taste of the view.
While Norway itself only has about 5 million residents, the country is filled with expats, exchange students and tourists traveling around, from one beautiful village to the other.
Enjoy the modern city of Oslo, hike some of the most famous routes of the world like Trolltunga, spot (killer)whales in the ocean, go on thrilling husky rides and be amazed by the northern lights.
Really: who needs company when doing the most amazing activities?
I visited Croatia last year as a solo traveler and I absolutely loved it. I adored walking around those little alleys in the most wonderful cities by myself. It was the perfect little escape which I definitely need sometimes.
Croatia is a beautiful country, and a lot of travelers that are from Asia or America travel to Europe only to see Croatia – really, I met them.
Croatia is an upcoming destination for backpackers and solo travelers which means that it gets easier and easier to travel around the country. Hostels and hotels are popping up like mushrooms and there are more flights going and tourist operations opening up around!
Transport wise, it is easy enough already. You can take the bus to basically anywhere without having to spend much money, and seeing the shape of the country it is easy to make a logical itinerary for your time in Croatia.
Also: it’s easy to make little excursions across the borders and visit countries nearby. Croatia actually has five bordering countries and if you are in the north of the country you can easily travel to Italy and Austria too!
Known as the ultimate gem for backpackers – even though it definitely isn’t a ‘secret’ gem anymore – it is no surprise I added the Czech Republic to this list. As one of the cheapest countries in Europe the Czech Republic definitely attracts a lot of tourists, but of course we all know that the country itself definitely has more contributing factors for the high number of tourists.
With a very fun vibe, great parties and cool bars to visit, youth definitely likes to travel to the capital Prague. But if you’re more like me and don’t live your life for beer (or vodka) you probably want to travel to the Czech Republic for the historical side of beautiful, beautiful Prague, for the gorgeous nature in the country, her mysterious and ancient cities, her amazing art and culture scene, her beautiful fairytale-like castles and one of my favorite gems, which a lot of tourists seem to forget: Karlovy Vary.
There is always something to do in Spain, and that is exactly why solo travelers love the country – and you should too! Spain is vivid, friendly and warm and you need to visit the country for all the right reasons. The cities are filled with highlights and tours you can join. Even as a solo traveler they are really fun – who needs company?! But even then, you’ll soon enough notice that you’ll meet a lot of other solo travelers that traveled to the country to discover it’s finest. And with so many tapas restaurants to enjoy, no solo traveler WON’T ask you to join in.
Spain has a bursting energy and is the meeting point for a lot of travelers from all around the world, so you really won’t have any trouble of meeting someone to spend your time with.
Also, the country has a lot of cheap hostels and a lot of cities and villages you need to visit, that are situated really close to each other. Take a flight with budget airline Vueling or hop on a bus or train and enjoy the best of the country.. all by yourself!