13 of the Best Places to Travel Alone in Europe- Lesser Known Locations
Europe is an amazing place to travel around solo for a first time traveller. But it is also pretty big! And, it can quickly get expensive. So, though it'll all be great, you want to make sure you hit the highlights. I asked 13 fellow travel bloggers their opinion on the best places to travel alone in Europe. Their responses might surprise you...
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With dozens of high quality hostels on offers, there are many places to meet other solo travelers while backpacking through Madrid. Or, if you prefer to keep to yourself, you'll find plenty of wide open space to relax in the gorgeous Retiro Park.
Top attractions in Madrid include visiting the Royal Palace and marveling at the Temple of Debod (an Egyptian Temple gifted to Spain). But the best thing to do in Madrid is to simply stroll the streets and take in its energy!
While Madrid is a wonderful place to visit at anytime of the year, you'll find that late spring and early fall bring temperate weather and shoulder-season prices.
Check out Nate’s picks of the best backpacks for travelling Europe.
2) Bucharest, Romania
Stephanie, Sofia Adventures
I have traveled to Bucharest, Romania as a solo traveler and with a group of people, so I can confidently say that Bucharest is a great place to travel solo.
In fact, I would have to say I preferred my first solo trip to my second trip with friends. This is because there are a lot of super cool things to see and do in Bucharest, but it’s a very spread out city with a lot to see over a wide geographic area.
Thus, if you travel alone, you can set out to see exactly the parts of the city you're interested in seeing without interference from anyone.
3) Reykjavik, Iceland
Natasha, The World Pursuit
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the main port of entry for all travelers. It's a charming city and can easily fill a few travel days. Iceland is rated as one of the safest countries in the world so it's a great introduction to solo travel.
Everyone has to take a second to admire the architecture of Hallgrímskirkja church - the iconic church can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.
The last thing every solo traveler has to do is to venture outside of the city and enjoy sights such as the Golden Circle.
Unfortunately, though, the pearl of the Czech Republic is always crowded with tourists. However, there are many awesome things to do in Prague away from the tourist attractions where the other people are focused.
One of my best discoveries, thanks to my local friend, was a lovely and hidden cafe that offers a great view.
As such a touristic place and backpackers destinations it is so easy to meet other travelers and like-minded people in Prague. I meet a few people while I was in the city that I still keep in touch with up to date.
Some of the places to meet other people are, of course, hostels as well the free tours.
5) Helsinki, Finland
Jessica Korteman, Travel Solo Anyway
Helsinki, Finland is one of the best places to travel solo in Europe and is the perfect place to get your feet wet in Scandinavia. The best time to travel to Finland is the summer months when the temperature is a very mild 20-25 degrees Celsius and there are long periods of daylight.
For the solo traveler, this means you can enjoy the city without the crowds while never feeling isolated. There’s an easy to understand public transportation system and it’s a breeze for English speakers to get around.
Definitely head to Seurasaari, a district of Helsinki, but also a tranquil forest island and home to the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum. You can get there by simply crossing a short bridge by foot! It’s where many locals go to walk and jog, or just be at one with nature. Also be sure to enjoy a coffee (basically a national pastime) at one of the city’s many hip cafes.
6) Oslo, Norway
Jordan, Queer in the World
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is one of my favorite places to travel solo in Europe.
Sure, the winters might be bitterly cold but if you visit during the summer you’ll quickly find these Vikings out in forces storming the city parks, public spaces and hiking trails- really anywhere that lets them back in the sun and enjoy the fresh air!
Norway is an expensive destination and Oslo locals know it so will invite you back to their house for traditional meals, happily guide you around if they have time and even give you all the inside tips on how to save money in Oslo…They find it expensive here too!
Plus Oslo is one of the safest capital cities in the world so solo travel really don’t need to worry about anything!
With a small compact city center to explore on foot, world-class museums, futuristic architecture and some wild-night life there is plenty of top things to do in Oslo. Our favourites however were hiking in the surrounding fjords, exploring Grünerløkka (Oslo’s hipster neighbourhood) and meeting locals over a cup of coffee in a cosy cafe.
Check out Jordan’s comprehensive guide to gay travel in Norway
7) Edinburgh, Scotland
Susanne, Adventures Around Scotland
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and a great place to visit if you are a solo traveller. There are vibrant hostels and a bustling nightlife thanks to it being a popular destination for international travellers and students.
It is a fairly safe city, with friendly locals and the city centre is compact and easily walkable, with good public transport options.
If you would rather join a group then there are themed walking tours for all tastes from ghosts to Harry Potter and pub crawls to literary tours. If you can think of it then Edinburgh probably has a tour for it!
The Hop on Hop off bus tours are also a good sightseeing option in the city. If you want to explore further afield, there are small group coach tours that cover most parts of Scotland including Loch Ness and Glen Coe and these are a great way of meeting fellow travellers.
August is a memorable time to visit the city as the famous Edinburgh International Festival takes place although accommodation can be pricier, December can also be a magical time with Edinburgh Christmas events and markets.
Check out Susanne’s awesome Edinburgh hop on hop off bus guide.
8) Zurich, Switzerland
Arzo Nayel, Arzo Travels
One of the best cities in Europe to visit as a solo traveler is Zurich - no, actually not only in Europe but it is one of the best places in the world.
How can I make such a claim? Well, the truth is that I often travel the world solo but Switzerland, and Zurich in particular, is amazing for solo (female) travelers.
It is safe (yes, so no worries if you want to stay out longer), it is super easy to get around (no need to grab an expensive taxi which costs you cannot share with anyone) and it is...one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
My top tips for Zurich as a solo traveler: stroll Lake Zurich (if you want to make new friends, this is probably the best place, especially in the evening when people are out to enjoy their time around the lake), get up Uetliberg (the "house" mountain of Zurich), check out the most expensive shopping street in the world (Bahnhofsstraße) and just chill in this relaxed and, for Switzerland standards, quite liberal city!
I am sure you will love it!
Check out Arzo’s awesome piece on Where to Stay in Zurich
9) Vienna, Austria
Marie Gizelle, Vienna.101facets
How long must you stay in a city to get to know it, to identify if it's safe or not? You might only need a full day to say Vienna is safe, even for your solo travel.
In Vienna, I often walk around and get lost on purpose to discover charming streets and shops- and you can do this any time of the year. But autumn is for me, the best season to explore Vienna, how with nature's changing colours and the cool breeze, it's very comfortable to walk around the city to enjoy its beauty.
Train stations are clean and installed with CCTV cameras all around, you can easily ask the information officer in any station if you need help.
There are trams and buses with routes that the engineers carefully planned so you could reach your destination without so much a sweat. Most of all, your day-ticket is valid for all vehicles.
But walking in Vienna is a delightful thing to do too- the Ringstrasse for example, houses a handful of Baroque and Gothic buildings and museums- the Rathaus (city hall), the Parliament, the twin museums, the Hofburg (now the national library), the Opera house and the Stadtpark (city park) - there's a tramline that goes around in one circular route so you can get off to visit each but walking around the whole area is doable.
The city center is also an easy walk from any point along the Ringstrasse, there you will find several restaurants, cafes, museums, a street full of shopping stores, and St. Stephen's cathedral, the center point where Viennese civilization has started from.
Grab a melange and get a bite of sacher torte before walking around the inner city streets, or have your lunch of wiener schnitzel, tafelspitz, or gulasch at one of the more modern taverns.
Visiting the Schönbrunn palace and grounds in autumn is also a must, lined with trees, foliage turning red, yellow, and orange, it is the most picturesque spot to be on.
The vast garden and the whole of the premises would have dried leaves to walk on, a squirrel or two might greet you along the way. If you want, you can also get a tour of the palace and see how royalty lived back in the day.
No city is free of crime, that's a fact that's why it is best to be cautious when travelling, which ever city you go to.
But Vienna is not named as the most livable city for nothing, one criteria that it ended up on the top list is: providing resident and expatriates with high security, well-structured public transportation and a variety of variety of cultural and recreational facilities.
For more great Vienna tips from Marie, be sure to check out vienna.101facets.com
With a lot of solo travellers in the city, it's a great place to travel by yourself and meet like-minded travellers!
The best time to visit Budapest is arguably from April to September. This is when the weather is at its best and you will be able to enjoy all the sights the city has to offer.
Outside of these months, it can be bitterly cold, especially during winter. You will be treated to a beautiful city baked in snow if you visit during the winter months, but your options for activities will be limited because of it.
If you're for somewhere to travel by yourself in Europe, Budapest is somewhere you should definitely consider!
Here's a link to Tom’s awesome post on Budapest.
11) Copenhagen, Denmark
Eric from Penguin and Pia
One of my favourite places to travel to solo is Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.
Located in Northern Europe, the best time to visit Copenhagen is in the summer months from May-August. That said, while they are a little cooler, the shoulder seasons in the spring and fall can be less busy - making them a nice time to stop by the city!
Copenhagen is great for solo travel simply because there are so “many activities to do in Copenhagen” and much of it is free!
While you’re in Copenhagen, you’ll have the great opportunity to get around like a local by renting a bike. Being a solo traveller actually makes exploring the city even easier on a bike since there’s no one to lose among the hundreds of other bikers!
Another great attraction is going up Christiansborg Palace Tower for amazing views of the city. Of course, you can’t visit Copenhagen without stopping by a cafe at Nyhavn Harbour, or wandering through history in one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, Tivoli Gardens!
12) Tbilisi, Georgia
Emily Lush, Wander-Lush
Featuring on countless ‘must-visit in 2018’ lists, Republic of Georgia is receiving a lot of buzz at the moment. And rightly so.
A former Soviet Republic located at the confluence of Europe and Asia, East and West, Georgia is a fusion of cultures and traditions. The country’s capital, Tbilisi, is the gem of the Caucasus.
Tbilisi’s art and electronic music scene sometimes see it branded ‘The New Berlin’. But Tbilisi has a character all of its own. Not only is it affordable, it’s also incredibly safe (consistently named as one of the top 10 safest cities in the world in one of the top 10 safest countries).
The city has an incredible food scene, a charming Old Town, countless churches and monasteries, a wonderful flea market, and some whacky contemporary architecture—best explored on foot by joining in one of the dozens of walking tours.
Solo travellers will love Fabrika, a factory conversion that serves as a hostel and co-working/creative space. Right on Tbilisi’s doorstep, you have Kakheti, the country’s wine region, the mountainous communities of Kazbegi and Tusheti, and the stunning landscapes of Imereti to the west.
Georgia has a Mediterranean-like climate and Tbilisi heats up in the summer, so it’s advisable to visit in spring or autumn (grape harvest time, Rtveli, in September is a great time to go).
For more amazing writing from Emily, head to wander-lush.org
13) Granada, Spain
Jessica Sern, Longest Bus Rides
Granada, Spain is perfect for any solo traveler who loves exploring local foods, wandering historical places for hours, or visiting museums and gardens. The tourist area is very walkable, so there’s no need to rent a car or even ride a bus.
You won’t get bored in Granada, as there’s so much to see and do from morning to night. Start your day at a tranquil cafe for breakfast before visiting the amazing La Alhambra with its Arabic palace and gardens high on the hill.
Finish off your day with a few quiet hours of peacefulness at an Arabic bath or try the wide variety of tapas while chatting with your fellow patrons. A solo traveler can try many types of foods since tapas are small portions, so you can try a few each evening.
Of course, if you’d like to get into the mountains, just take the direct bus 45 minutes and hike along the trail of waterfalls and hanging bridges near Monochil. Autumn is a perfect time for visiting this city in southern Spain. You’ll avoid the summer crowds and still get warm days.
Jess spent 6 weeks road tripping around Spain, and stayed a week in Granada, since she loved it so much.
And there you have it, 13 of the best places to travel alone in Europe, from expert travel bloggers around the world. I hope it comes in handy when you're planning your solo trip to Europe!
Any surprises? Anything we missed out? Let me know in the comments!
Check out this great piece from Museuly for some more awesome ideas for what to do in Europe.