Last Updated on 11th January 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Looking to venture around Europe by yourself but not sure where to start? Well, here’s some good news: if you’re looking to go travelling solo in Europe, then there are a myriad of destinations from which to choose. From seaside escapes to city breaks, and between cultural excursions and foodie experiences, hands down these are the 10+ best places to travel alone in Europe!
#1 Zurich, Switzerland
Often mistaken to be the capital city of Switzerland (there is actually no capital city), Zurich is a stunning Swiss destination that should be on any Europe itinerary. Located in the North of this land-locked country, some of the best things to do in Zurich on your own include exploring the Altstadt (literally translated as ‘old town,’ this district features many cobbled lanes and plenty of traditional Swiss architecture), and catching the best view of the city from the top of the 12th-century Grossmünster cathedral.
Though the city is beautiful to visit during any time of the year, it’s worth noting that while the summer months promise the best weather (and are therefore the best time to enjoy day excursions from the city), the winter months coat the city in a stunning blanket of snow and the Christmas Markets of Zurich are easily among some of the best in Europe.
#2 Lyon, France
If it’s your first time visiting Europe on your own, then I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Paris as a solo traveller (the city can be pretty overwhelming and is vast)! Instead, the smaller Eastern French city of Lyon is best-known for its world-famous foodie scene, impressive Roman ruins, and wealth of stunning architecture. Lyon also happens to have a fantastic international airport not far from the city centre!
Whether you enjoy wandering around historic museums, taking day trips to the nearby wine country, or simply enjoy soaking up the sights of an old town, Lyon is perfect for the first (or hundredth) time solo traveller in France. Nearby, the town of Vienne has stunning Roman ruins, while Lyon itself acts as the gateway to wine country, i.e. Burgundy. Not yet convinced? Here’s why you might consider a visit to Lyon ASAP!
#3 Antwerp, Belgium
Of all the places in Belgium to travel solo, there is perhaps nowhere quite as enticing, thrilling, or exciting as Antwerp. A cool and vibrant port city that’s often overlooked in favour of the Belgian capital city, Brussels, Anvers as it is so-called in French or Antwerpen as it is known in Flemish is filled with historical and beautiful things to do.
For example, if you love modern art, then you should certainly head to the MAS museum (which also happens to offer a free panoramic rooftop terrace), while history buffs should certainly try to follow in the footsteps of Rubens, who hailed from the Northern Belgian city. Elsewhere in Antwerp, there’s many a hidden gem to uncover, including several stunning and ever so Flemish churches.
#4 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Picture this: you wandering along 17th-century canal houses, camera in one hand and curiosity in the other. There is perhaps no European capital city quite as suited to solo female travel as that of Amsterdam. Filled with quirky museums, stunning vistas, and plenty of unusual things to do, you can’t go wrong by dedicating at least a long weekend to discovering the delights of this city.
While in the Dutch capital, must-see attractions include the Rijksmuseum (where you’ll spy the world-famous painting The Night Watch) and enjoying the many hidden gems of the city, such as the hidden courtyards that are the hofjes.
For one of the best Dutch experiences to be had in Amsterdam, I personally recommend visiting Café de Sluyswacht (address: Jodenbreestraat 1, 1011 NG Amsterdam). Offering a wide selection of local beers, you can even order vegan bitterballen to accompany your tipple. For more information on visiting the city alone, check out my solo travel Amsterdam guide.
#5 Edinburgh, Scotland
As the capital city of Scotland, it’s clear that there’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Edinburgh. Between scouting out Harry Potter inspiration locations and drinking some of the best local beers that the city has to offer, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time wandering around this UNESCO world heritage literary city, especially if you’re travelling alone and are free to set your own schedule!
Of course, other highlights of the Scottish capital include visiting the world-famous Edinburgh Castle, enjoying the best viewpoint in Edinburgh by climbing up to the top of Arthur’s Seat, and enjoying the attractions of Scotland’s most famous street, i.e. The Royal Mile.
#6 Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
In a landlocked country in the very heart of Europe, you’ll find countless castles, endless hiking trails, and many a glittering lake. Welcome to Luxembourg, the last Grand Duchy in the world with a capital of the same name, Luxembourg City. And thanks to its great transport links with the rest of Europe and beyond, you’ll soon discover that it’s the perfect stopover on any solo Europe trip.
Highlights of Luxembourg city include wandering around the cobbled streets of Luxembourg old town, exploring the centuries-old underground casemates which were first begun in the 17th-century, and enjoying the city’s excellent foodie scene (think pastries and tarts).
Even if you’re travelling on your own, you’ll soon discover that there are plenty of group tours in the city to join, and that the country’s wonderful transport links mean that taking day trips from Luxembourg couldn’t be easier! Some of the best excursions from the city include the fairytale town of Vianden and the impossibly pretty town of Clervaux.
#7 Bath, England
A small city of buttery stone architecture and Georgian façades, just a couple of hours from the UK capital city of London, Bath is so-called thanks to its wealth of Roman ruins, most notably in the form of the Roman Bath complex that’s easily one of the largest in Europe.
In the past few centuries, the town has become famous for its literary connections, most notably with great writers such as Jane Austen and Fanny Burney. Centuries before, it’s said that even Chaucer had found inspiration in these two millennia-old city.
Nowadays, the student vibe of the town, as well as its small and compact nature (meaning that getting around on foot is the easiest way to explore), makes Bath one of the best places to travel alone in Europe. You should also know that for those who are travelling Europe alone and who are seeking out the best of unusual things to do, Bath offers plenty of hidden gems and off the beaten path attractions!
#8 Turin, Italy
As the capital of the Piedmont region of Italy, it should come as no surprise that there’s no shortage of incredible things to do in Turin (known locally as Torino). Between spying the views from the Basilica di Superga that sits atop a nearby mountain to enjoying the city’s fantastic chocolate scene (it’s said that the chocolate bar was actually invented in Turin), there’s something for everyone in this historic Northern Italian city.
Furthermore, Turin is a great place for solo travel in Europe thanks to its great transport links to both Italy and the wider region of Europe. The city even has its own international airport! And thanks to the wealth of tours and activities in the city means that meeting new people isn’t too difficult!
#9 Mykonos, Greece
Of all the Greek islands (contrary to what many might believe, Athens is actually on the mainland!), Mykonos is probably one of the most famous, secondary only to the island of Santorini. Easy to reach on a quick flight from Athens, highlights of Mykonos include wandering around the old town (known locally as the Chora) and enjoying the bars and restaurants of Little Venice.
If you have a little more time while on the island, then you might consider taking a day trip to Delos. Alleged to be the mythical birthplace of Apollo, there’s an archaeological museum on the island, as well as plenty of millennia-old ruins. Otherwise, Mykonos has plenty of beaches on which to relax and local taverns in which to enjoy some Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. For more tips, check out my one day guide for Mykonos.
#10 Gothenburg, Sweden
Located on the West Coast of Sweden and often overlooked in favour of the hip, cool, and trendy capital city of Stockholm, missing out on a visit to Gothenburg would be your first mistake. Easy to visit all year round thanks to international flights from airports such as Amsterdam and London, there are plenty of things to do in Gothenburg, even for the solo traveller.
Truth be told, the best time to visit this Swedish city is in the summer months when the daylight lasts for hours and everything in the central botanical gardens is actually in bloom. Otherwise, highlights of Sweden include a fantastic foodie scene, plenty of museums, and the chance to explore further along the Bohuslan coastline. Check here for the best free and self-guided tour of Gothenburg!
#11 Burgos, Spain
Of all the solo female travel destinations in Europe, one of the very best is that of Burgos. Situated in Northern Spain, along the ancient Camino pilgrimage route, the city of Burgos boasts an impressively beautiful cathedral dedicated to Saint Mary (and which also happens to be the final resting place of El Cid) and Burgos Castle, a set of fortifications that sits atop of the town and has been in situ in some form or another since the 9th-century.
When it comes to visiting alone, Burgos makes for the perfect Spanish destination as this city is no stranger to visitors, travellers, and tourists; after all, Burgos is one of the best highlights of El Camino. Otherwise, you should know that many people have a great level of English (though it’s always polite to learn a few words of the local language!) and that there’s plenty of accommodation available for every budget!
#12 Leiden, The Netherlands
Small, quaint, and compact, if you choose just one destination to visit as a solo traveller in Europe, make it the Netherlands. Easy (and fairly affordable) to get around via public transport, this beautiful country is characterised by its many cheese markets in the summer months, stunning canal cities, and wealth of tulip fields in the spring. Furthermore, every time I travel to the Netherlands, even when alone, I feel very safe!
Leiden itself can be found somewhere between the cities of Amsterdam and The Hague, making this 17th-century timewarp a perfect base from which to explore the wider region of Holland. Highlights of Leiden include many a stunning canal, lots of traditional Dutch bars, and even some association with the pilgrims. After all, it’s from here in the 17th-century that many Pilgrims sailed to what is now the USA.
#13 Porto, Portugal
Located to the North of the country, Porto is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Northern Portugal. Set over many different levels (so bring your comfiest walking shoes), fresh and authentic Portuguese fare can be found at very reasonable prices, while the city is incredibly welcoming to solo travellers traversing Europe.
Some of the top highlights of the city, setting aside the wealth of stunning tiling that the city is so well-known for, include stepping inside the Livraria Lello bookshop (which is often said to be Harry Potter inspiration), the iconic Luis Bridge, and of course, going Porto tasting!
#14 Dublin, Ireland
As the capital of the Emerland Isle (i.e. The Republic of Ireland), Dublin is the perfect destination for a solo trip, even for those going it alone for the first time. Home to a plethora of attractions, including plenty of indoor activities, Dublin boasts something to interest every traveller, as well as almost every budget.
Highlights of the city include scouting out the many bars of the Temple District area of the city, frequenting the Guinness Storehouse and learning all about how the famous Irish tipple is made (buy your tickets here), and even going vintage shopping.
Otherwise, be sure to enjoy the cherry blossom in the spring and the many galleries, museums, and cultural hubs available to both tourists and locals alike. Finally, Dublin makes for a great base from which to explore much of the rest of Ireland, with plenty of wonderful day trip opportunities to destinations such as The Cliffs of Moher and Kilkenny Castle.
#15 Barcelona, Spain
Stunning and home to a plethora of great tapas bars, historic streets, and, of course, plenty of Gaudi architecture, Barcelona is a solo traveller in Europe’s dream destination. After all, there is a myriad of hotels, hostels, and accommodation options, at plenty of different price points.
Wander through the city for any given length of time (or simply take this free walking tour of Barcelona) and you’ll soon discover that the Gothic District is a maze of cobbled lanes and historic buildings, while Parc Güell offers unparalleled views over the city. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, many people (especially those working in the tourism industry) speak English, meaning that Barcelona is the perfect destination for a solo travel visitor to Europe!
#16 Prague, Czechia
Situated in Eastern Europe, the capital city of the Czech Republic (which is also known as Czechia), Prague is a stunning city with a complex history. Set across both sides of the River Vltava, Prague boasts a fantastic vegan scene, lots of wonderful museums, and plenty of hidden gems that are well worth uncovering.
For those who love Panoramic views, a trip up the Old Town Hall tower is an absolute must. Just below, you’ll soon spy the Prague Astronomical Clock, which is one of the most beautiful timepieces in Europe. Elsewhere in the city, you can admire the Prague Castle Complex, while the beer scene is second to none. All in all, Prague is easily one of the best places to travel alone in Europe!
Solo travel tips you need to know before visiting Europe on your own (Europe solo travel FAQs)
It is dangerous to travel alone in Europe?
When it comes to solo travel in Europe, a chief concern of many visitors is whether or not it’s safe to travel alone. Typically, travelling around Europe is as safe as travelling around your hometown and you should take the same precautions as you would if you were back home. For example, limit yourself to a drink or two, keep key addresses written down, etc.
What’s the best way to get around Europe when on your own?
Firstly, Europe has some amazing transport links! This means that to visit most of the major cities, and even the larger towns, you won’t need a car. Instead, the easiest, most convenient, and cost-effective way to explore the continent is via public transportation in the form of planes, trains, and buses.
What’s more is that Europe has some of the most beautiful train routes in the world. Top highlights include the Bernina Express in Switzerland and the Jacobite Steam Train (i.e. the Harry Potter steam train) in Scotland. When it comes to flying, there are plenty of budget airlines to choose from, with links all over the place. Ryanair, Easyjet, WizzAir, and Flybe are just a few of the low cost airlines operating in Europe.
How do I meet people when solo travelling in Europe?
Next, the easiest way to meet people during your travels is in hostels and group tours (i.e. guided walking tours of the city). I personally use and love GetYourGuide to book the coolest experiences in each city I visit. When it comes to accommodation, I use Booking.com to compare the best hotel rates.
And if you’re wanting to go it alone but are worried about the experience of dining for one, here’s how to eat alone as a solo traveller. Finally, for further practical advice for planning your visit to Europe, check out my step by step guide for planning your first solo trip.
The long and short of it is that it’s normal to be nervous, but I’m sure you’re going to have a fantastic time! For more insider information on solo travel, check out these solo female travel hacks.