Best Solo Destinations for 2017

Best solo destinations

If you ever wanted to travel solo, now is the best time to do it. In the last few years solo travel has exploded with more girls than ever realising just how easy it is to book a flight and go off alone. So where are the best solo destinations to head to in 2017? Here are my top 10. 

Are any of these on your list?

1. Switzerland

Best Solo Destinations for 2017

Although it is more expensive than other countries, you simply cannot beat Switzerland for scenery. Take the train to the top of Europe for snowy peaks, relax around one of the many lakes, or go chocolate shopping in Zurich. If I had to sum up Switzerland in one word it would be ‘stunning.’

What other solos say: My first destination on my solo trip in Europe last August/Sept was Switzerland! It was a great place to start. It may not be the cheapest place in Europe but the scenery makes up for that. I stayed in Zurich, arriving into the city was smooth and effortless. There are great public transport links across Switzerland. I found the Swiss to be the best English speaking in the countries I visited which can be a help to those who are new to solo travelling.”

“It's also one of the safest places in the world, and I truly felt this. I know this can be a worry for solo females. This is why it made a great first stop for me. I had no issue walking around at night. I did a trip to the alps which was a trip I will never forget. It is literally as most people put it, ‘the fakest looking real place in the world’.

Best time to go – May to August.

How to get around – Switzerland has a fantastic travel system but the trains are quite costly so consider a Swiss Pass if you’re staying a while which includes unlimited travel by train, bus and boat for the whole of Switzerland (within a time span)

AccommodationBalmers Hostel is a great social place to stay if you’re planning a trip to Interlaken – the Swiss adventure playground for adults.

Find out how to travel solo to Switzerland with the Switzerland Solo Guide.

2. Austria Austria - Salzburg. Travelling solo in Austria

Another stunning country with amazing architecture and a great rail network. You can even do your own walking tours in Vienna or Salzburg with the free maps that you pick up in hostels or join a ‘Sound of Music’ tour instead. Amazing ski resorts, great hiking and fantastic sightseeing.

Vienna is the capital and one of my favourite cities. Here you’ll find modern architecture, old taverns and coffee houses as well as tons of galleries and museums to look around. Salzburg is not just known for the ‘Sound of Music’ it’s also been nicknamed ‘The Rome of the North,’ because of its churches and cathedrals. Don’t forget to visit the monastery where monks brew their own beer! Then there’s Innsbruck – a mecca for adventure seekers with you can do practically any outdoor activity you’ve ever desired. With such a safe, beautiful country, can there really be an easier choice for solos?

What other solos say: “Salzburg in Austria! I went there on a solo trip and it was great, met amazing people and loved exploring such a rich historical and musical place.”

Best time to go – May to August.

How to get around – Similar to Switzerland, Austria has a great train network making it easy to get around the country.

AccommodationWombats are a great hostel chain and their hostel in Vienna is in a fab location.

3. Nicaragua

Volcano boarding in Nicaragua

From Europe to Central America, Nicaragua is not only cheap but it’s beautiful too. There are so many volcanoes here that you won’t know where to begin. Volcano boarding in Leon should definitely be on your list as well as the Leon Cathedral with its stunning, white rooftop. Explore the iconic yellow cathedral in Granada and take a day trip to Laguna de Apoyo – a natural lagoon inside a volcanic crater.

Isla de Ometepe is a unique island. Formed of two volcanoes it sits in the middle of a large freshwater lake. It’s the perfect place to escape the mainland. Or take a flight to the Corn Islands, two Caribbean islands in the middle of nowhere. I loved Nicaragua so much that I stayed here for a month. Is it safe? yes, but you do need some Spanish to be able to get around and you may get a bit of attention in areas such as Leon.

Best time to go to Nicaragua – It’s hot all year round but February is the best month.

How to get around – Chicken buses! Even a ride on one of these buses is an experience in itself.

Accommodation – Hostel Casa Ivana is in Leon and only US $5 a night. It has a really cute courtyard and a lovely owner who can book your tours for you.

4. Thailand

Solo Travel in Thailand

(photo @ Natalie Howson)

Yes, Thailand is on the list again. I don’t think this Buddhist country will ever not be good for solos. If you’ve never travelled solo before then Thailand should be your first port of call. The people are incredibly friendly (it’s not called ‘The Land of Smiles’ for nothing) and there are so many travellers here following the same routes that you’ll be looking for those hidden gems to escape the crowds.

The capital, Bangkok is one of Asia’s most exciting and culture shocking cities. The beaches are every cliche under the sun and there are so many to choose from especially along the Andaman Coast but it’s real magic lies in its Buddhist culture and stunning temples. With dreamy beaches, a cultural north and hedonistic south, Thailand can be whatever you need it to be.

What other solos say: Thailand! So so easy to meet people and so much to see and do.”

Best time to go to Thailand – Thailand does have a monsoon season so travel between March to May for the South. November to December for the North.

Accommodation – Even if you’re on a budget here you can still live like a queen. There are bungalows on the beach, hostels, and hotel rooms are really cheap too. Home Base Hostel in Bangkok has really helpful staff and is in a quiet location, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of Khao San Road.

Find out how to travel solo to Thailand with the Thailand Solo Guide.

5. Estonia

Travelling in the Baltics. Estonia

I love Estonia. I visited this country three years ago and found it so cheap. As one of the Baltic States, it’s growing in popularity as one of the new hot spots for European breaks. Although there are a shortage of girls travelling alone here, the Baltics are incredibly safe, great for those on a budget, and are popular with travellers who travel from north to south or vice versa.

You’ll find all sorts of activities from staying overnight in a former Soviet prison to bobsledding or husky dog sledding. It’s got a cute colourful old town and fab nightlife making it really easy to meet others here. Plus there are so many hostels to choose from, most with a friendly, social vibe.

What other solos say: “I loved the Baltic countries for sort of easing into solo traveling (especially Estonia) — the capital cities are big enough to be exciting, but not so big that they feel like every other major city around the globe; English is spoken widely enough that you're not completely at sea, but you're still surrounded mostly by locals; they're small enough that you can explore the country mostly through day trips; you can access most of the comforts you may be missing from home, but still feels a bit off the beaten track, and SO much history. and inexpensive enough that you can stay a few extra days and relax, explore, or do whatever!”

Best time to go to Estonia – It does get cold in the winter so visit between May to August if you can.

How to get around – Transport is cheap, getting from capital to capital costs approx €20 with Ecolines or Simple Express.

Accommodation – The Monk’s Bunk Party Hostel is a great spot in Tallinn, the capital.  With an onsite bar they regularly hold bar crawls and are perfect for those seeking Estonia’s nightlife.

 6. Greece

Best Solo Destinations

If you love beautiful islands, history and ancient temples, then stick Greece on your solo bucket list. This European country with its breathtaking islands, and a vibrant contemporary culture make Greece a must-visit stop on any itinerary. The country offers something for everyone whether you are a history buff, beach babe, foodie or party goer (or a mixture of all of them!)

Greece is generally very safe for solo female travellers as locals are friendly and helpful. Visit Athens for the Acropolis or skip the mainland and head straight to the islands. Santorini has to be the most beautiful of the islands but if it’s too romantic for one then travel to Kos, or Mykonos instead to meet other travellers. If you prefer to see as many islands as you can, a sailing trip is not only perfect for island hopping but it’s also a fun way to travel with like-minded others.

What other solos say: “Athens and Santorini!” “Paros and Santorini!”

Best time to go to Greece – May and June.

How to get around – For traveling around the mainland, the country’s bus system, KTEL, is your best bet. KTEL is reliable, comfortable, safe, and goes almost everywhere in Greece. Use the ferries to island hop.

AccommodationChameleon Youth Hostel is in the heart of Athens with great views of the city. Bars and shops are all within walking distance.

Find out how to travel solo to Greece with the Greece Solo Guide.

7. Japan

Best Solo Destinations

Having only stopped in Japan for one night and seen Japan from the inside of an airport hotel, I can’t really relay any experiences of Japan but when I asked the girls in my Facebook group which countries they recommend for solos, Japan came up as one of the destinations.

Why Japan? It’s got Mount Fuji for a start which is the highest peak in the country. These active volcano is not only an inspiration for many artists but it’s also a place of pilgrimage, although you can just see it from afar if you don’t fancy hiking it. Then there are the islands in the Yaeyama archipelago, and Ishigaki – Japan’s premier beach destination with clear blue waters. Visit Hiroshima, a city that has recovered from the atomic bomb, or Kamakura – a seaside resort with a relaxed vibe and a huge bronze Buddha amongst its temples and shrines.

Takayama is one of the best preserved old towns in Japan where you can experience the rural side of the country. You can’t miss enchanting Tohoku either – home to idyllic mountains and more of Japan’s zen temples. But the main reason to come here is of course Tokyo, Japan’s crazy capital with a fast-paced way of life. Where tall skyscrapers meet historic Asian temples (don’t forget the cat cafes either). From ancient temples to traditional villages steeped in history, there is more to Japan than meets the eye. 

Best time to go to Japan – To see Japan at its prettiest, visit during the cherry blossom season in March and April, otherwise visit Tokyo between September and November. See Mount Fuji at its most beautiful between July to August.

How to get around – With the best trains in the world, you simply have to travel by bullet train.

AccommodationSpace Hostel Tokyo is a short walk away from a metro station and a good choice for this uber modern city. As well as having curtains around each dorm bed they have heated toilet seats too!

8. Hong Kong

Best Solo Destinations

Full of towering skyscrapers, upscale shops, and some of China’s best restaurants (don’t forget to sample the city’s delicious dim sum!), Hong Kong is an interesting destination for solos, especially if you’re after a change in culture. Expect a bit of culture shock as it is still part of China. When you tire of city life, turn your eye to the city’s outlying islands, many of which are home to exquisite beaches and forests. Discover the giant Buddha statue on Lantau Island and old stilt houses or learn about the fishing heritage on Lamma Island.

If you prefer to experience the real Hong Kong, make your way to the back streets hidden in the heart of the city with Chinese lanterns hanging from every stall. They are full of unique gifts. The smell of local delicatessens fill the streets with plenty of cafes offering fresh meat hanging from their display and when you’ve had enough of that, just one street away is back to reality. There’s plenty of small picturesque parks to sit and watch the world go by and plenty of bus stops to hop back on when you want to go back to the airport.

Best time to go to Hong Kong – The best weather in Hong is usually July and August.

How to get around – The easiest way to get there is using the local bus service which operates from outside the airport. Touring around by us takes you to the main Bay in Hong Kong Island. If you’re travelling overland from China, take an epic train journey from Yangshuo.

AccommodationCampus Hong Kong is more than just a hostel. It has a gym, sauna and views of the sea. Plus it’s only 5 minutes from the beach and has female-only dorms.

9. Portugal

Best Solo Destinations

Only having been to the Algarve, the rest of Portugal is on my bucket list. With so many girls raving about it, I simply had to include it in the top 10.

If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, there is a region that shouldn’t be missed. Just along the border from western Spain is the area known as Douro, an area that is known for its production of Port wine. Pay a visit to the UNESCO city of Porto, with its historic centre and baroque churches, (and pop into a world-famous port wine house or two).

Trek to traditional villages in the Montemuro hills, marvel at prehistoric rock art in the Coa Valley which dates back as far as 10,000 BC. Or simply get pampered in the Algarve, an area known for its thalasso spa treatments. If you’re looking for some enchantment at a leisurely pace with great food and wine, look no further than the Douro Valley. Setubal in Portugal,

What other solos say“Portugal, indeed! Last November I went solo to Faro. There was easy access from the airport with very good transport. If you are brave enough they are happy to take hitchhikers.”

“I used Couchsurfing for short term accommodation – and helped the owner pick and marinate olives – a great experience. I highly recommend Carvoeiro, the fantastic cliff walk and Grutas de Benegil. It’s always sunny and warm and relatively cheap. There’s fantastic wine, breathtaking views and hidden beaches. It’s a great destination for walkers, divers, surfers and everyone. Definitely tag it in your must do list for 2017.”

Best time to go to Portugal – Visit in Spring to see flowers at bloom or September to October for autumn.

How to get around – Taking the train can be a scenic way to travel around plus they are cheap too.Take a scenic train journey through Pinhao, Regua and Pocinho. There are also buses which can be quicker depending on your route.  

Accommodation – If you like funky designs then PILOT Design Hostel & Bar in Porto is a very cool choice. They have female only dorms and a cinema onsite, not to mention a communal barbecue to make it easier to meet the other guests.

10. Colombia

Guatape. Women traveling solo in Colombia

I know that I’m biased with this country having lived there for 18 months but even Lonely Planet loves Colombia and has recently named it the 2nd best country to visit in 2017.

Why should Colombia be on your list? Although stereotyped with drug cartels and violence, Colombia’s reputation is gradually changing to one of entrepreneurship, transformation and hope. Admittedly, parts of the country are still out of bounds for tourists but Colombia has come a long way in the last decade and is now a place of magical realism with coffee plantations, Caribbean cities and mountain landscapes.

Now a cosmopolitan capital, Bogota is known for its street art, and the funky vibe of La Candelaria, but there is more to Colombia than its capital. Explore the old colourful streets of Cartagena, dive off the Caribbean coast, see the tall wax palms in the coffee region, or fall in love with the mountain valley known as Medellin. They’ve even got a desert!

What other solos say: “One of my current loves is Colombia. So much diversity in nature (mountains, beaches, cities, desert etc). The people are simply beautiful and I hate that most people are still terrified to visit. They are really missing out!”

Best time to visit Colombia – it really depends which area you travel to. If you go to the Caribbean coast, Cartagena is hot and humid all year round. Visit Medellin and it’s always Spring (except sometimes it rains), and go to Bogota between December to March.

How to get around – You can take a bus which can be more like a minibus but having so many mountains means that the roads are quite windy. If you don’t want to spend hours taking buses you can fly instead. Viva Colombia are a cheap airline to get around Colombia.

Accommodation – I’ve stayed in a few accommodation in Colombia but my favourite is Bambu Glamping House. It’s in a fab location near Parque Lleras and it’s right on a little river so it’s peaceful too. Plus it’s got a funky interior with recycled decor.

Find out how to travel solo to Colombia with the Colombia Solo Guide.

Are any of these destinations on your solo bucket list for this year? Join our GatG Facebook community for inspiration for other countries and solo travel advice.  

N.b. Some of the accommodation links are affiliate links. You still pay the same price but GatG makes a small percentage on your purchase. I give 10% off all profits to War Child. Thanks for helping x

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