If you haven't yet made plans for your next solo trip then I’ve put together a list of the best solo travel destinations for 2020. This list covers countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. Chosen by myself and our solo female community as the most recommended destinations for next year, I hope that this list of the 2020 ‘hot spots' inspires you to try somewhere new (the destinations are listed in alphabetical order).
Why? Let’s face it; who doesn’t want to visit the seventh continent? If you’re on a ‘want to see all continents’ mission then maybe 2020 is the year to make it happen? You may need to take out a credit card for this destination though.
What to do? More of a ‘cold spot’ than a hot spot, Antarctica is the coldest continent on Earth so it’s not really the type of destination that you want to visit if you’re hoping to get a tan. Instead, it offers penguins, icebergs, whales, more icebergs and a journey through the Drake Passage. Still up for it? Then click on the link below to find out more.
Who for? Adventure Girl about the Globe, Wildlife GatG, Winter GatG.
Read more: Solo Travel in Antarctica
Why? “It’s great for entrepreneurs especially if you have a start up. There’s a great co-working community and so many people around that it’s easy to make friends. It’s safe and there is a lot to see and do as a solo. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to go there either.” – Sara Smile
“I’ve been to Bali twice on my own and loved it. I stayed at a retreat and super recommend Escape Haven, a luxury retreat that was so amazing and healing” – Tara Gallagher
What to do? Climb Mount Batur at sunrise, indulge in a traditional Balinese massage, soak in the hot spring, go river rafting, surf at Kuta beach, see the monkeys at Monkey Forest in Ubud or take a bike tour here, and discover all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. And if you have time visit the Komodo Islands to see the largest living lizards in the world.
Who for? Adventurous Girl about the Globe, Cultural GatG, Digital Nomad GatG, Nature GatG, Party GatG, Surfing GatG, Wildlife GatG.
Read more: Solo Travel in Bali
Why? “Dubrovnik, Croatia was a perfect spot for my first solo European vacation! I felt safe and welcome, and enjoyed exploring Lokrum, the Old Town, and the Elefiti islands by myself. I did a boat tour of the islands and several couples from other countries asked me to hang out with them.” – Lydia Harrison.
What to do? – Walk the 2km trail along the Ancient City Walls to the highest point of the Old Town. Allow approximately 2 hours for the walk. Explore the Medieval magical of the Old Town. Enter through the Pile Gate and you’ll find historic sights to explore the other end such as the Sponza Palace, a 16th-century palace, and the Church of St. Blaise with a beautiful facade and stone cravings above the door.
Step inside the Dominican Monastery in the Old Town to admire the renaissance and gothic cloister and collection of art. Take the cable car to the top of Srd Hill for some breathtaking panoramas of the Old Town and its islands. The Museum of the Homeland War is also at the top. Don’t forget the islands too! If you want to avoid the tourists visit outside of the cruise ship season. You could also combine Dubrovnik with a sailing trip across the Croatian islands.
Who for? History Girl about the Globe, Movie GatG, Old Town GatG, Sailing GatG.
Read more: Solo Travel in Croatia
Why? “The first place I visited solo, was London. It's a great choice for solo gals! You have a ton of museums, of which many are free, so you will definitely have a lot of things to do. The city is naturally also known for its great shopping areas and most stores stay open late. Night time activity: check! A lot of solo travellers visit London, so it will be easy to meet some new friends in your hostel. And last but not least: I always feel very safe in the city, even after dark.”- Karen de Windt.
What to do? London has so much to see and do that you’ll need at least a week here. Highlights include: the British Museum, the view from the top of the Shard, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, window shopping in Harrods, Camden Market, Covent Garden and so much more…
Who for? Arty and Museum Girl about the Globe, History Girl about the Globe.
Why? “Poland, especially Cieszyn. Poland is a country full of history, culture, gastric satisfaction at low costs, a mix of modern and past.” – Cecilia Yik
“Krakow is amazing for solo travellers. It’s safe, a budget destination and there is so much to see and do whether you are into history, or just want to explore the salt mine and marvel at crystal salt chandeliers and sculptures.” – Lisa Imogen Eldridge
What to do? Learn more about the history of Krakow in the historic Jewish Quarter. See the fusion of architectural styles of Wawel Castle: people-watch in Market Square, the heart of Krakow Old Town: see the Barbican, the remaining gatehouse of the old medieval city: and listen to the buskers at St Florian’s Gate.
Go underground and explore the chambers and chapels of Wieliczka Salt Mine, explore the Royal Castle in Warsaw, and learn about life under Nazi rule and the Uprising at Warsaw Rising Museum. Learn more about the sombre history of the largest concentration camp at Auschwitz.
Who for? Budget Girl about the Globe, Dark Tourism GatG, History GatG.
Read more: Places To See in Poland
Why? “Lisbon and Lagos are such laidback, friendly places with great food scenes. I didn’t know much about Portugal or it’s history so I did a Free Walking Tour in Lisbon, and I learned so much. I also found it to be very accessible and affordable staying in hostels and using public transit. It’s such an interesting country that I think is really starting to grow in popularity!” – Kaitlin Sonneveld
What to do? It seems as though everyone is flocking to Lisbon and with Portuguese food being so good, it’s no wonder why. This coastal city is the country’s hilly capital and you’ll need good walking shoes to explore. See the medieval Tower of Belem, the Moorish castle named Castelo de S. Jorge which sits upon a hilltop, Jeronimos Monastery (a World Heritage Gothic monastery) or just relax and find a cafe to people watch at Praca do Comercio. If you visit in the summer months, enjoy one of the nearby beaches too.
Lagos is more for the nature Girl about the Globe with its colourful cliffs and natural wonders. Just south of Lagos is Ponta da Piedade that you can also explore on a kayak or boat. Hike down the nearby steps at Praia do Camilo to see this gorgeous little cove. Explore the historical Old Lagos with its whitewashed houses and see the monument from the former slave market at Mercado de Escravos.
Who for? Digital Nomad Girl about the Globe, Foodie GatG, Sightseeing GatG.
Read more: Places To See in Portugal
Why? “Malmo is excellent for solos, especially women. It’s very safe and socially liberal. But my love of Malmö all boils down to two things – Nordic Noir film and lit genre, and the city being home to my favourite sauna in the world. Malmö was the scene of the excellent and gripping Nordic Noir TV series ‘The Bridge'. The other big pull factor for me is the much loved by locals women's kalbadhus (literally, cold bath house). Sauna is at the heart of Swedish culture, so much so that it actually costs less than a pint of beer. Instead of a cold plunge pool, here you cool down by jumping into the freezing Baltic Sea!” – Stephanie Henthorne
But it’s not just Malmo that is a good place for solos; with Gothenburg being voted the most sustainable city in the world, Sweden definitely has our vote.
What to do? Malmo is the third largest city in Sweden and is home to the tallest tower in the country. Visit Malmohus Castle, see The Stortorget (the largest square), and the Turning Torso, a skyscraper that twists 90 degrees. Gothenburg is the second-largest city with a lot more to do. Visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art, sample some seafood at Feskekorka fish market, and explore the rainforest (yes, I did say rainforest!) at Universeum, the largest science centre in Scandinavia, or take a day trip to the fishing villages on Gothenburg’s archipelago.
Who for? Eco Girl about the Globe (GatG), Science GatG, Sightseeing GatG.
Read more: Places To See in Sweden
Why? “Out of the 3 solo trips I have done so far I feel that Switzerland is a really safe country. The reason I loved it so much is because I found it so easy to get around. The trains are expensive but as I was only visiting Switzerland for 3 days and taking a few trains, I didn’t really require a Swiss Pass.
For anyone going longer I would recommend looking into getting the Swiss pass but I managed to get from the airport to Grindelwald (175kms) without any problem. The scenery and tranquility of the mountains is brilliant for clearing your head and there are lots of options for outdoor activities and hiking…I really felt on top of the world.” – Elaine Murphy
What to do? Visit Zurich during August for the Zurich Street Parade, See the former residence of Albert Einstein, see the ‘Dying Lion of Lucerne’ one of the country’s most famous monuments, take the panorama gondola up Mount Pilatus before riding the world's steepest cogwheel railway en route to Alpnachstad, go bungy jumping or hand gliding in Interlaken or just explore the mountains, and lakes. Take the Jungfrau Railway to the ‘Top of Europe.’ Hike the valleys in Lauterbrunnen, and visit Trummelbach Falls. And whilst in Switzerland, don’t forget to try a fondue!
Who for? Adventure Girl about the Globe, Chocolate GatG, Hiking GatG, Nature GatG, Train Journey GatG.
Read more: Solo Travel in Switzerland
Why? “Standing in front of one of these enormous mausoleums for the first time is completely awe-inspiring. With more tourist infrastructure than its neighbouring ‘Stans,’ you may not find that many solos here but there are tourists. The fast-speed trains are good, tour guides speak English and the old city of Bukhara feels as though you have stepped back in time and onto a movie set. With entry to the country via eVisa, Uzbekistan is now more accessible than ever.” – Lisa Imogen Eldridge
What to do? There are so many monuments to see in the country. The most famous is the Registan in Samarkand but there are plenty of other impressive monuments in the capital. See the Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum, the final resting place of Timur: the Shah-i-Zinda with the meaning ‘Tomb of the Living King.’ Stay in Old Bukhara and see the Ark, the country’s oldest structure before admiring the Kalyan minaret lit up at night. Visit a silk factory in the west, or if you make it to Khiva, the Tosh-Hovli Palace is a must-see as well as the Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum.
Who for? Architecture GatG, History GatG, Shopping GatG, Spiritual GatG
Read more: Uzbekistan Tours and Itineraries
Why? “Marketed as the G Spot of Europe. ”Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it's amazing,” Vilnius has definitely been put on the map. This Baltic city in Europe is funky, fresh and still keeps its history alive too. It's safe, walkable and a great city for a weekend break.” – Lisa Imogen Eldridge.
What to do? Vilnius has plenty of Baroque architecture so meander around the Medieval Old Town, take a hot balloon ride over the capital, see Vilnius Cathedral, take a walking tour of Soviet Vilnius, or a foodie city break to sample the best local cuisine. Because the country isn’t that big, you could also visit Trakai Castle and explore the rest of Lithuania.
Who for? Budget Girl about the Globe, Foodie GatG.
Read more: Places to See in Lithuania
And finally, countries that I want to include but ethically feel very uncomfortable about doing so.
Myanmar is a controversial destination. The country is home to the Rakhine State where more than 730,00 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee across the border to Bangladesh to escape a military-led crackdown. With the current news that Myanmar’s defector leader, Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the genocide charge against the country, it’s uncomfortable for me to include Myanmar on the list.
There’s an argument about visiting countries where you don’t agree with what the government are doing but one of the main arguments is that it can be the local people that suffer from lack of tourism in the country. If you do decide to visit here’s why Tracy believes it’s a great choice for solo females.
Why? – “Myanmar is a beautiful country with gentle, truly friendly and caring people. They abide by Buddhist ethics more than any country I've ever visited. It is still possible to meet people amazed to see foreigners. Even in places where they are used to seeing tourists they will still sometimes ask to have a photo taken with you, especially if you are a woman on your own. Go before it really gets discovered and is overrun with tourists. I've travelled to many places in the world and this is my absolute favourite.” – Tracy Morefield
What to do? Visit Bagan at sunset to see more than 2,200 pagodas and temples then see the near by Nyang Oo market: Inle Lake with its beautiful scenery and stilt villages: the Royal Palace and other imperial sites in Mandalay: and last but definitely not least the Mergui Archipelago, an oceanic paradise of 800 plus islands.
Who for? Cultural Girl about the Globe, Spiritual GatG
Read more: Myanmar tours and itineraries
Iran (Update 6/1/20 Due to the U.S. tensions it's not recommended to visit Iran at the moment).
Iran is another country that we want to include but feel uncomfortable about doing so. The country has been under the spotlight for the sentencing of Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian human rights lawyer who was peacefully advocating for women’s rights.
Why? Iran was once part of the Silk Road, and ancient trade route between the east and the west. This country has stunning mausoleums and incredible landscapes, and you can travel along the world’s most famous trading route staying in Caravanserais, as the ancient merchants once did. Iran remains a beautiful country with some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
What to do? Take a road trip along Chalus Road, one of the most scenic roads in the country with natural springs and stunning mountainside passes. Visit Persepolis, the former capital of the Persian Empire; Chogha Zanbil, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 13th century. See Naqsh-e Jahan Square to admire both the Imam Mosque, and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and Ali Qapu Palace.
Take a boat ride at Anzali Lagoon to see stilt houses and spot birds, visit the Valley of the Stars on Qeshm Island, or marvel at the architecture at the many Bridges of Esfahan. If you’re an adventurous Girl about the Globe then make your way to Babak Castle, a castle surrounded by deep gorges and a place not for the faint hearted.
Who for? Cultural Girl about the Globe, History GatG.
Read more: Iran tours and itineraries
Why? With a rise in sustainable travel, one of my predictions as an emerging destination next year will be Rwanda; a country with a capital city that has banned plastic bags! Rwanda has a very tragic past with the Rwandan genocide that happened in 1994. Now, more than twenty years since the genocide, Rwanda is overcoming its ethnic differences and is building a new identity. The country is very welcoming to travellers with minibuses taking you around the country. Rwanda a safe country for solo female to visit and a perfect choice for wildlife Girl about the Globes.
What to do? Go gorilla trekking of course! See chimpanzees at Nyungwe Forest National Park, See Rwanda’s Art Renaissance, and learn more about the Rwandan genocide that happened in 2014 at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre.
Who for? Dark tourism Girl about the Globe, Nature GatG, Wildlife GatG.
Read more: Rwanda tours and itineraries
So there you have it, our solo female community’s best destinations for solos in 2020. Do you agree with our list or would you like to recommend a destination that you believe is great for solos?