Travelling as a single person is a great way to meet new people, make new friends, and if you’re lucky, maybe even find love. But you don’t have to be looking for love to enjoy solo travel. There is something very liberating about travelling where no one knows your past or your present, where you can travel at your leisure without having to take into consideration somebody else’s preferences. With dozens of tour operators and websites dedicated to singles travel, these days travelling alone is easier than ever. Whether you want to meet new friends or just enjoy the alone time, here is my pick of awesome destinations for the solo traveller.
Photo: Nico Kaiser
If you want to make friends on your travels, Dublin is the perfect place to go. You can make friends with anyone over a pint of Guinness, right? And of course, Irish hospitality is legendary. Even in the most remote country pubs the locals are quite happy to strike up a conversation with tourists. The great thing about Dublin itself is that the city centre is compact and very walkable. It also makes a great base from which to explore places like Wicklow and tourist favourites like Blarney Castle and Giant’s Causway.
Insider Tip: If you have time, take a trip down to Kinsale in County Cork. Hailed as the “Gourmet Capital of Ireland”, it’s food heaven, with the added bonus of being one of the most picturesque fishing villages in the country!
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Photo: Jimmy McIntyre
The Indonesian island of Bali is a popular choice for independent travellers looking for some down time with a spiritual bent. Whether you take a yoga class, get pampered at a spa, visit a temple, relax on the picture-perfect beaches or just take a stroll around the local markets you’re bound to come away affected by the relaxed pace and stress-free way of life. You’ll probably bump into a lot of other solo travellers, particularly in the Ubud area, which has become very popular thanks to the film based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love. It also helps that the cost of living is remarkably cheap and the food delicious! Although there has recently been concern over safety in Bali, the reality is you probably face more danger back home than on the island. As always, check the government’s travel advisories before you plan your trip, maintain a healthy level of scepticism while you’re there and listen to the advice of locals to stay safe.
Insider tip: Bali is known as “the island of 1000 temples” so you can’t miss visiting at least a couple while you are there. There are two fantastically preserved temples right outside of Ubud: Goa Gajah (Elephant Temple) and Pura Tirta Empul (the Water Temple), but my favourite is Pura Ulun Danu Bratan on the shores of Lake Bratan – you just can’t beat the setting. If you’re looking for a great souvenir to take home, visit Threads of Life in Ubud: they sell magnificent fair trade traditional textiles made by local women.
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Photo: David Iliff
Seville evokes images of romance and flamenco dancing, but it’s a city that’s not just for couples. The capital of Andalusia is a great place for solo travellers looking to meet new people. There are dozens of vibrant tapas bars and restaurants where friendships are forged over shrimp, tortillas and mozzarella dressed with oregano. The city is also easy to explore on foot, with fabulous attractions like Plaza de España, the famous Moorish Alcazar, and the Seville Cathedral and Giralda Tower.
Insider Tip: There are dozens of fantastic tapas bars that each have their own charm, but my favourites are Bar Alfalfa and La Trastienda (which just happen to be right next to each other). La Trastienda may not be much to look at from the outside, but the barmen are so friendly and the food is divine! Bar Alfalfa is a tiny corner bar that you’ll need to squeeze into, but it is just oozing authenticity and charm.
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Photo: Pedro Szekely
If you’re unattached, enjoy seafood and aren’t pressed for cash, Stockholm might be the perfect destination for you. Singles will enjoy the nightlife in Södermalm, which has a distinctly Bohemian vibe. If you enjoy people-watching, there is no better place to do so than Gamla stan (the Old Town) in the heart of the city. Get a cup of coffee and sit in the Stortorget square. If you’d prefer some peace and quiet you can always retreat to the beautiful Djurgården neighbourhood, which is home to the Vasa Museum, Skansen (the open-air museum), and beautiful cow pastures. The best way to explore the leafy island neighbourhood is by bicycle.
Insider Tip: You’ll find the most delicious tasting fried herring at the Nystekt Strömmingvagnen food cart in Södermalm Square. Try the Skåning (herring on rye topped with Spanish onion, fresh dill and mustard), which is a favourite with the locals.
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Where have you ventured as a solo traveller? Let us know your favourite destinations by leaving a comment below.
Main image by Satbir Singh
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