The summer of 2020 may seem like quite a while away still, but, if you happen to be planning a once-in-a-lifetime solo travel experience, then time is of the essence! Certain destinations around the world lend themselves particularly well to solo travel, enhancing that sense of freedom and independence that you feel.
Destinations that are social, friendly, cultural and naturally stunning tend to be the best for solo travelers, so here are six destinations around the world that tick all of those boxes.
South America is such a fascinating part of the world to visit, but some areas can be a little tricky to navigate if you don’t speak Spanish. This is where Santiago stands out – although this may be the capital of Chile, as well as the country’s largest city, Santiago is surprisingly easy to get around on your own. The city is known for being clean, developed and safe, as well as quite prosperous, making this the perfect destination for a solo traveler.
Exactly how safe is Santiago?
Santiago is regularly rated as the safest big city in South America. Although petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, may still go on here, violent crime is very rare. Still, a pickpocketing incident could really ruin your trip, especially since the organized pickpocket groups tend to target tourists, so be sure to remain vigilant throughout your vacation.
What’s There to Do in Santiago?
Dynamic and constantly-bustling, Santiago is a city that will never bore you. It boasts an exciting mix of ancient traditions, European influences and natural beauty, all coming together to create a truly unique ambience.
Some of the things that you could do here include:
- Heading to the top of the Costanera Center, which is the highest building in Latin America and offers incredible views of the glittering city beneath you
- Go on a tour of the Palacio de La Moneda, which is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile
- Explore the Cajon del Maipo, a huge gorge that sits about 15 miles outside of the city. Outdoor adventures are rife here – choose from hiking, rafting, skiing, cycling and more. Alternatively, spend your day sampling local wines at the nearby winery
- Visit the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino to see some ancient art
- Spend some time people-watching at the vibrant Plaza de Armas
A charming Mediterranean island located between Sicily and the north of Africa, Malta is constantly being rated as one of the best destinations in the world for solo travelers.
Because although it may be one of the most densely-populated countries in the world, English is widely spoken here (along with Maltese, it’s an official language), and it is easy to get around the country.
Most tourists immediately head to Valletta, which is the Maltese capital. With its grand churches, palaces and museums, as well as its impressive shopping (if your skin is in a fix, stop by the OROGOLD store in Valletta), Valletta definitely has plenty to offer, but Sliema tends to be a better base for solo travelers.
There are still numerous shops and restaurants in this resort town, which sits on Malta’s eastern coast. The views from this area are simply exquisite, and Sliema has a deep sense of heritage and tradition that is sometimes missing from Valletta.
What’s There to Do in Sliema?
Although Sliema was once a quiet fishing village, it exponentially grew during the British period, and quickly became the commercial heart of the island. Some of the things that a solo traveler could do here include:
- Visiting Manoel Island, which is home to Fort Manoel. This was recently restored, and then used as a filming location for TV series Game of Thrones
- Taking in a show at the century-old Salesian Theatre
- Strolling along the Seaside Promenade, where you will pass historic churches, 17th century coastal watchtowers, quaint ice cream parlours, military installations and more
- Swimming in Sliema’s Roman Baths, which are a series of rock-cut pools, complete with ladders
- Tour some of the many churches in Sliema, with the Maltese islands being home to the largest density of churches per square kilometer in the world. Malta is also one of the most Catholic countries in Europe, with some of these churches featuring extraordinary architecture
Seoul, South Korea
The capital of South Korea, Seoul is a city of contrasts. Historic Buddhist temples sit next to soaring skyscrapers, while extravagant palaces and bustling street markets sit side by side.
Although Seoul may be densely populated and rarely quiet, this is actually a very safe city for solo travelers to visit. The crime rates here are far lower than most US cities, sitting more on par with European ones. Serious crimes are rare, and it would be perfectly safe for a female to walk around alone at night here.
The city is also full of modern conveniences, making getting around so easy. From high-tech subway systems to WiFi availability just about everywhere you go, these luxuries make solo travel so much less stressful.
What’s There to Do in Seoul?
Whether you’re into history, pop culture, or just about anything else, Seoul has it all. Here are just a few of the things that you can do in the city:
- Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is one of the best examples of Korean architecture in Seoul
- Shop at the Namdaemun Market, which is the largest traditional market in Korea, with more than 10,000 stores to browse
- Tour some of the quirky museums in the city, such as the Korea Furniture Museum or the Trick Eye Museum
- Learn more about the country’s history at the beautifully-preserved, 600 year old Bukchon Hanok Village, which is also where you will find the Bukchon Traditional Culture Center
- Soak up some culture at Suyeonsanbang – a traditional teahouse that serves up local delicacies, such as bamboo rice cakes, along with their own herbal tea
The safety and cosmopolitan nature of Toronto make the city a popular choice for solo travelers. Plus, with the surrounding Ontario province being so rich in natural diversity, Toronto has something to offer just about everyone.
With Toronto being quite a large city, you would be best off choosing somewhere downtown as your base. This then gives you easy access to the city’s major attractions and areas, and there are also numerous hotels to pick from here as well.
Toronto is extremely multicultural, meaning that you will encounter people from all walks of life here. The locals are friendly, and are always happy to help out a lost traveler.
What’s There to Do in Toronto?
There are a few big-name attractions that every visitor to Toronto definitely needs to see at least once, but Toronto is also home to several hidden gems that are not on the main tourist trail. Some of the things that you can occupy yourself with here include:
- Spend a day exploring the Distillery District, which is home to art galleries, trendy restaurants and luxury boutiques, intermingled with 19th century architecture and cobblestone streets
- Explore some of the city’s museums, such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Museum of Illusions and the Art Gallery of Ontario
- Visit Yonge-Dundas Square, which is a little like a miniature Times Square, with flashing advertisements, an endless array of shops and boutiques, street performers and more. Not too far away is the OROGOLD Toronto store, where you can treat your skin to complimentary facials, product demonstrations and expert advice
- Head to the Rogers Centre to catch a baseball game
- Take a ride up to the top of the CN Tower, which is the city’s most iconic landmark. The glass floor here offers a stomach-churning view of the city below
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Rotterdam may often be overlooked in favor of Amsterdam, but the second-largest Dutch city has just as much to offer as the capital. Famous for its architecture, street art and nightlife, Rotterdam offers the vibrancy of Amsterdam, but without all of the crowds.
When it comes to solo travel, Rotterdam is easy to navigate. The compact layout of the city means that you can pretty much walk anywhere you need to go. Of course, just like Amsterdam, Rotterdam is extremely bicycle-friendly, with tourists able to hire bikes by the hour. You also have the option of taking the water taxi – a wonderfully scenic way to get around the city.
How safe is Rotterdam?
In terms of safety, you don’t really have much to worry about in Rotterdam. This is generally a very safe city with low crime rates. As a tourist, your biggest issue could be pickpockets, but, so long as you are sensible, this shouldn’t be a problem.
What’s There to Do in Rotterdam?
The attractions of Amsterdam are world-famous, from the museums and coffee houses to the canals and red light district. While Rotterdam may be a little lesser-known, its attractions are equally worthy:
- Take in the city’s impressive contemporary architecture, with these modern superstructures, such as the Euromast, being open for the public to tour
- Take a stroll along the historic waterfront area, with some parts, which were left untouched by the war, dating way back to 1389
- Enjoy the nightlife at some of the city’s world-leading venues and clubs
- Taste your way around The Markthal, the main food market in the city where you will be able to sample such a wide array of local dishes
- Tour some of the art galleries along Witte de Withestraat, which is also home to several trendy restaurants and bars
With the city straddling both Asia and Europe, Istanbul is such a fascinating city to visit, with this being the only city in the world that is split between two continents. This is one of the largest cities in Turkey, and while it may be quite a safe one, you do still need to practice some caution when traveling alone, especially as a female. Nevertheless, many would say that Istanbul is one of the safest big European cities for solo travelers, so long as you keep your wits about you.
If you consider yourself to be a foodie, Istanbul will truly delight. Thanks to the city’s multiple cultural influences, the food here is a melting pot of flavors and textures, with local dishes available to suit every type of diet.
What’s There to Do in Istanbul?
Istanbul is a historic city, and many of the attractions here are related to that. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Istanbul:
- Visit Sultanahmet Square, where you will find a number of historical landmarks, such as the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia
- Explore some of the city’s trendier and more hipster neighborhoods, such as Osmanbey and Tesvikiye
- Take some time out on Princes’ Island, with its sandy beaches and warm waters
- Learn more about traditional glass art at The Glass Furnace, where you can try your hand at making some of your own one-of-a-kind glass art pieces
- Explore some of the city’s palaces, such as the lavish Beylerbeyi Palace and the ancient Dolmabahce Palace
Traveling to a new destination on your own can be such a rewarding experience. It gives you the freedom to do exactly what you want and when you want, and you will also find yourself meeting more people and making more friends than you would have if you had been traveling with someone else. So, the next time you find yourself day-dreaming about your future solo travel plans, be sure to keep these six destinations in mind.