One of the most important factors of solo travel is to make sure you choose the right country. Whether you’re planning a quick visit to a new city or dreaming of a long, multi-nation singles holiday, some destinations are more suited to solo travel than others.
The good news is that there are countless countries that are a joy to explore by yourself – exotic countries on the other side of the world to those a bit closer to home.
So, to get you inspired, here are eight of the best countries for solo travellers.
Guatemala has long been one of the most popular countries to visit on the Latin American backpacking trail – and for good reason.
As one of Central America’s most diverse countries, it’s colourful and captivating. You’ll find ancient Mayan temples, mist-shrouded volcanoes, breathtaking lakes, and an enthralling culture that stretches back centuries.
Because it’s a hotspot for backpackers, it’s one of the easiest places to travel solo. Plus, it’s very inexpensive, making it a top choice if you’re on a budget.
Despite its popularity with younger travellers, Guatemala attracts people of all ages. And if you’re looking to volunteer while you’re away or learn Spanish, there are dozens of learning and volunteering opportunities you can get involved with in tourist hotspots like Antigua.
Another perk of Guatemala’s popularity is that it’s easy to meet other travellers (especially solo travellers). So, if you’re looking to travel independently but make some friends along the way, it’s a great place to visit.
There’s so much to do here too – from scaling volcanoes to trekking through jungles and visiting coffee farms – so you definitely won’t get bored by yourself.
Explore the colourful culture of Guatemala
If you’d rather stay a little closer to home for your first solo trip, or prefer to visit a country where you already speak the language, you might want to consider visiting Ireland.
Known across the world for its charming, friendly locals, if you’re feeling a bit lonely here, all you have to do is wander into a pub, pull up a stool, buy a pint of Guinness, and make conversation with the other punters.
Due to Ireland’s relatively small size, it’s also easy for solo travellers to explore. Dublin is a compact and walkable city, and there’s plenty to keep you occupied here. You can take a walking tour of the UNESCO City of Literature, browse Grafton Street’s lively shops, and learn about the world’s most famous stout at the Guinness Storehouse. Then, in the evenings, if you can find a pub playing Irish folk music, you’re sure to have a ball.
Outside of the capital, Galway is another city that’s ideal for solo travellers – and, from here, you’re perfectly placed to explore the remote west coast, where you’ll find many of the country’s most revered sites – like Skellig Michael and Croagh Patrick.
If you’re looking to sightsee but would enjoy being with other people, there are countless day trips you can join in Ireland too; from whisky tours in Cork to trips to the traditional Aran islands.
Experience the magic of the Emerald Isle
If you’re looking to travel a little further afield but still don’t want to venture too far, Spain is an excellent destination for a solo trip.
As one of the most visited countries in the world, it has an excellent tourism infrastructure, is easy to get around, and has something for every budget. Plus, because it’s so popular, you’re sure to meet other solo travellers while you’re there.
The beauty of Spain is that there’s something for everyone. Vibrant Barcelona is one of the world’s best cities to travel alone.
If you fancy a spot of people-watching, the countless cafes lining the leafy streets are perfect. And if you’re in the mood for some rest and relaxation, the city beaches are easy to reach with public transport. If you don’t enjoy eating alone in restaurants, simply head to one of the city’s many cool bars instead, where you can nibble on tapas as you sip a cerveza.
Elsewhere, Madrid’s historical buildings, fascinating museums, and bustling food markets are popular with solo travellers too.
And if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Spain. The country’s diverse landscape and open-minded attitude make it a playground for solo travellers, from the dramatic Sierra Nevada mountain range to the gorgeous beaches on the Mediterranean coast.
Immerse yourself in the joys of Spanish life
Indonesia – especially Bali – is another top travel destination for solo travellers, particularly women.
Its low cost of living, thriving nomad community, acceptance of foreigners, and focus on health and wellness make it a go-to spot. And because tourism is so prevalent here, you’re sure to meet other like-minded people as you journey around.
Bali’s spiritual centre of Ubud has long been popular with people looking to rest, relax, and reflect – Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, was even published here!
This laidback town is packed with yoga studios, meditation centres, and plant-based cafes – and past the emerald rice fields and mist-shrouded mountains, there are countless health retreats you can check into to unwind.
The neighbouring island of Lombok is also becoming increasingly popular with solo travellers, particularly those who want to spend time surfing, snorkelling, and diving.
The Gili Islands, off Lombok’s north coast, are also great spots to visit solo. While Gili Trawangan is known as a party island, Gilo Meno and Gili Air are very relaxed and great places to recharge your batteries.
Lose yourself in Indonesia’s laid-back way of life
5. New Zealand
New Zealand regularly tops lists of the most desirable travel destinations. And this beautiful country is ideal for solo travellers – particularly those who are feeling a bit nervous about travelling alone.
While it is, admittedly, on the other side of the globe, it’s also one of the most peaceful countries in the world – and the fact that it’s an English-speaking country with friendly locals is another plus.
New Zealand is incredibly popular with outdoorsy travellers thanks to its forests, mountains, lakes, beaches, and fjords. And if you plan on hiking, kayaking, skydiving, or whitewater rafting, you’re sure to meet plenty of other people on your travels.
Plus, there are great singles holiday group tours you can join if you’re interested in making friends, and the country’s excellent hostels are popular with travellers of all ages.
While public transport in New Zealand is good, some of its most beautiful and popular attractions – like Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier – can be tricky to reach without a car. But the good news is that New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world for a solo road trip. Car hire can be inexpensive, navigation is easy, and if you ever get lost, you won’t be short of friendly locals happy to help you out.
Thailand is regularly recommended as one of the world’s top destinations for solo travel because it’s cheap, beautiful, safe, and friendly. Plus, as one of the most popular stops on the global travel trail, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll meet lots of other people while you’re here.
With its gorgeous beaches and sensational landscape, Thailand’s southern islands are ideal for a singles holiday packed with rest and relaxation. Whether you head to the Gulf coast on the east or the Andaman coast on the west, you can feel confident that you’ll receive a warm welcome and kind hospitality wherever you are; not for nothing is Thailand known as the ‘Land of Smiles’.
Another top destination – especially for foodies – is Chiang Mai, the capital of northern Thailand. This relaxed and friendly city is absolutely packed with culture and history, but it’s also known for being a gastronomic hotspot.
Aside from countless night markets, cafes, and restaurants, Chiang Mai is also home to dozens of cooking schools. Here, you can learn how to make delicious Thai food and meet plenty of new people.
Immerse yourself in the incredible country of Thailand
Regularly ranked one of the most liveable and happy nations on earth, Denmark’s allure draws visitors from all over the world.
This is a country of fairytale castles, colourful townhouses, and fascinating Scandi culture. The importance of hygge – cosy, comfortable contentment, and camaraderie – is another reason why it’s such a brilliant destination for anyone booking a singles holiday.
The laidback capital city of Copenhagen is pretty easy for solo travellers to tackle. Compact, it’s ideal for traversing on foot – but thanks to the prevalence of cycle paths here, it’s a joy to explore by bike too.
There are also lovely cafes on the canals that are perfect to people-watch in, fantastic museums, and gorgeous gardens to stroll through – not to mention the beauty of the historic Nyhavn district, with its iconic wooden ships.
Other sites solo travellers may want to visit (particularly if you’re a Shakespeare fan) include Kronborg Castle (which inspired Elsinore Castle in Hamlet), Frederiksborg Castle, and the Danish Museum of National History in Hillerød. Thanks to the reliable and easy-to-use rail network, all these destinations are easily reached by train from Copenhagen.
Discover the delights of Denmark
If you’d like to visit somewhere that’s very different to the UK, but feeling safe and comfortable is of the utmost importance, Japan is a wise choice.
This is a country where you can experience the thrill of being ‘culture shocked’ while knowing you’re travelling through an extremely clean and safe country. Locals are polite and friendly, and crime, scams, and harassment are very rare.
What’s more, while Japan isn’t cheap and English isn’t always widely spoken, the locals’ kindness and eagerness to help mean that the language barrier isn’t usually stressful.
Outside of the two main cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan remains largely undiscovered by tourists – and if you’d really like to get away from it all, Hokkaidō is one of the best places in the country to hike, ski, and birdwatch in pristine scenery.
Tokyo is another must-visit for those on a singles holiday. Whether you’d like to feast upon steaming bowls of ramen, enjoy strolling through beautiful gardens, or ride to the top of one of the tallest towers in the world, you can spend weeks in this city and barely scratch the surface.
Thanks to its unusually safe environment and women-only overnight bus, Tokyo is especially popular with solo female travellers.
Jump into Japanese culture
There are many reasons why solo travel is so popular. You might want to embark upon a spiritual journey and explore different countries on your own terms, or you just may not have anyone to travel with right now.
Whatever your reasons for thinking about solo travel, you can feel confident that it’ll probably be one of the most rewarding and meaningful things you do.
While much of the world can be explored independently, if you’re a first-time solo traveller, some destinations are better suited than others. From countries with such low crime rates that you’ll always feel safe and secure to destinations where you’re sure to meet other people and countries with no language barrier, these are our top picks for those looking to set off by themselves.
To find out more, you might be interested in our guide to solo travel, which includes tips and ideas for travelling alone. Alternatively, for more inspiration, head over to the travel section of our website.
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Have you travelled by yourself before? Or do you have your own recommendations for the best countries for solo travellers to visit? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences in the comments below.