Looking at going on holiday alone? In days gone by, such trips may well have been seen as the refuge of the lonesome – generally bearded – traveller with a large carriage-filling rucksack in tow. Not anymore. One-in-three of us now are planning on going on holiday alone, with both genders and travellers of all ages happy to board a flight solo. Of course, while solo travel isn’t for everyone, for many others it is the very definition of freedom.
Below, we take a look at ten of the best places to go if you’re setting out on your own to experience the world.
Soon to be renamed Czechia (we won’t go into the absurd details), the Czech Republic has much for the solitary traveller, from vast natural beauty to fantastic nightlife and culture. For nightlife, capital city Prague is ideal, with unique nightclubs (Cross Club is the best) and traditional beer houses, or pivovary. However, the Czech Republic is more than just beer and partying (though neither are to be sniffed at). The small country has some of the best scenery and nature the world has to offer, particularly Český ráj (translated as Czech Paradise) and České Švýcarsko (Czech Switzerland), which boasts beautiful mountains and great photo opportunities. Make sure you Czech them out. Sorry (he’s not sorry – Ed.).
Plan your visit with a Czech Republic travel guide.
Brussels hasn’t enjoyed the best publicity in the last year, which is a shame as it’s a fantastic and often overlooked city, particularly if you’re aim is to wander around rather than plan a strict itinerary. The Sint-Katelijne district is filled with hip bars, restaurants and clubs where the staff are more than happy to chat and introduce you to the city’s culinary specialities. Stop in at Monk bar, try fresh seafood or, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a daytrip in the nearby Wallonia region, which has excellent opportunities for cyclists. In general, Brussels may be more suited to ambling than it is rambling, but that sounds ideal to us. More frites anyone?
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Sarajevo has topped many Top Ten lists in the last decade – due to its resurgence following a brutal siege in the 90s – and the city is perfect for the more adventurous solo traveller. Modern shopping streets sit literally yards away from medieval markets which have barely changed in hundreds of years. The best way to enjoy it? Sit in an open-air souk cafe with a traditional Bosnian coffee. A tad on the bitter side, they’re nonetheless delicious and a great accompaniment as you jot down your thoughts and take stock of your solo adventures.
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Lake Bled, Slovenia
In reality, we could put any part of Slovenia in here, but it’s Lake Bled we’re going to focus on. An hour away from the capital, Ljubljana, Lake Bled is a breathtaking place. Both families and sports enthusiasts make the most of the crystal clear waters but the best way to enjoy it, in our opinion, is to simply walk around, before hiring a rowing boat to the country’s only island. Home to the Baroque Church of the Assumption of Mary, it’s about as picturesque as you can get. From there, a calf-troubling jaunt up the hills to Bled’s 11th-century castle is a must, where stunning scenery awaits. Bled, sweat and tears, yes, but well worth the hike.
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It may be further afield, but it’s well worth the journey. New York may have the reputation, but it also has the crowds. Boston is a more relaxing, though no less vibrant, city. The Athens of America, as William Tudor put it, Boston has a fantastic mix of architecture, from colonial to modern day, and an extremely friendly population for a large American hub. With bustling Somerville and Cambridge just over the water, it’s a fantastic city to walk around if you have a decent amount of time on your hands. Just don’t expect to have enough time to remember how to spell Massachusetts… no one’s got that much time to kill.
Buy a travel guide to Boston today.
Dublin isn’t the only town in Ireland, you know. Killarney, in County Kerry, is perfect for solo travellers. The town itself has a bustling, youthful vibe, with great restaurants and typically Irish bars offering live music every night of the week. What’s more, Killarney National Park sits right beside the main town. With 100km2 of countryside, it has beautiful castles, many lakes, and an abundance of wildlife including deer. Dublin who?
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Berlin may have gained a reputation as the hipster capital where picky nightclub bouncers dictate who’s in and who’s out, but there’s far more to the city. For those who like to walk around, the city has an array of wonderful street art and great cafes, while culture vultures can lose themselves in Berlin. From art galleries to historical museums, there’s something for everyone. Our pick? Unlike Checkpoint Charlie itself (a tourist trap), the Checkpoint Charlie Museum is a fascinating window into Berlin’s post-war years. Oh, and yes, do eat currywurst. Food might be better shared with others, but that’s just the sort of thing people who have to share would say.
Plan your visit with a Berlin travel guide.
Paris is for lovers, and if you’re travelling alone, you’re likely single or in need of some much needed breathing space from him/her/them. A beautiful city on the French coast – such as Nimes – will prove ideal. The climate is perfect for those who like to travel alone without wearing ten layers of clothing, and its Coliseum is one of the oldest in the world without suffering from ‘Rome prices’. And as for the ruins, well, let’s just say that blog of yours is going to have a fair number of new photos soon. Watch the likes roll in. Just remember your old pals at Road Less Travelled when you’re famous, yeah?
Find out more with a Nimes travel guide.
Lake Maggiore, Italy
Yes, the Italian lakes are all beautiful, but Lake Maggiore is the pick of the bunch. Immortalised in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, it’s easy to see why the Italian lake took the novelist’s fancy. Pristine waters sit beside beautiful restaurants and cafes and, unlike Como and some of the busier lakes, Maggiore has a more laid-back feel, ideal for those going it alone. But the cherry on top has to be the cable car up to Mottarone, a mountain with stunning views of the surrounding Alps in Italy and Switzerland. Take as long as like, just don’t forget that camera.
Learn more with a Lake Maggiore travel guide.
Believe us, we didn’t think Basel would elbow out the likes of Amsterdam or Barcelona on this list, but that’s before we went. Granted, if you’re not into museums, this one might not be for you, but if you are, well, you’re in the right place. A city of only 300,000 inhabitants, it boasts over 40 of the things; not bad for a town that still can’t decide how it likes to be pronounced (some go for Bah-zel, others Ba-ahl). Museum Tinguely’s our favourite, but the city is also ideal in that it sits at the tripoint of the Swiss-German-French borders. If you’re holidaying alone you want to fit in as much as possible, and with the Black Forest and Saint-Louis nearby, you won’t be short on activities.
Buy a Basel travel guide to plan the perfect journey.