No doubt about it, solo travel is on the rise. It’s easy to see why; you have the freedom to go where you want when you want, and make all your own decisions along the way. The big question first-time and experienced solo travelers need to ask while planning is this: where can I travel and be safe by myself? Though there's no such thing as guaranteed safety (we should always employ safe travel practices), some countries are considered safer than others, and are rated by a multitude of factors based on statistics and research.
To assist you in planning your first — or next — solo travel adventure, we’ve read safety reports, consulted the Institute for Economics & Peace. Global Peace Index : Measuring Peace in a Complex World and scoured the internet. Here's a short list of suggestions for solo travelers (in no particular order).
A popular destination for solo travel, Iceland has made the list for years. Crime rates are low, happiness levels are high and the healthcare system is excellent. Explore the beautiful landscape, museums and relax in the famous geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. Plan your timing just right and you may see the incredible Northern Lights — a sight everyone should witness at least once in their lives.
Along with other Nordic countries, Norway has virtually no violent crime, making it a safe choice for solo travel. The locals are quite welcoming to tourists, and public transportation is generally safe in major towns and cities. Plan some affordable day trips to rural areas and discover towering mountain peaks and winding fjords. Go with a tour group — a great way to meet other solo travelers. Visit Norway’s capital city Oslo, full of comfortable accommodations, tasty food, and convenient transport links. With plenty of museums, galleries, and historical landmarks to visit, you’ll never get bored in Norway.
You can’t go wrong with spectacular mountain views, quaint coffee shops, and the beautiful architecture of Switzerland. Purchase a Swiss Travel Pass to see Switzerland by train, and you’ll travel past stunning waterfalls, lush forests, and crystal clear lakes. Hop on and off the train to hike the Alps, visit medieval castles, and drink Swiss wine to your heart’s content. From luxury shopping and delicious food to chocolate-themed walking tours in Lucerne and Zürich, you’ll find so many things to explore you’ll want to plan another trip immediately.
4. New Zealand
New Zealand ranks high on the list of safest countries for solo travel. Brimming with outdoor adventure, you’ll never be at a loss for something to do. Along with spectacular scenery, New Zealand offers a fantastic culinary scene, friendly locals, and an interesting Maori culture. Don’t forget to visit famous sites such as The Hobbit movie set and the geothermal Wai-O-Tapu waters.
5. Costa Rica
Look no further than Costa Rica for tropical solo travel goodness. Enjoy beautiful beaches, whitewater rafting, zip lining, or rappelling down gorgeous waterfalls, and hiking volcanoes for abundant outdoor adventures. If you want to relax, head to the hot springs or the white sands and wildlife at Playa Manuel Antonio, a tropical beach in Manuel Antonio National Park.
From world-famous architecture and museums to delicious culinary options and spectacular beaches, Spain is hard to beat. According to Travel & Leisure, “while in Barcelona, spend time in Parc Güell, a public park that doubles as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features modern architecture, sculptures, and mosaics designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Continue your tour at La Sagrada Família before moving onto the Picasso Museum.” When you start to get hungry, head to La Boqueria, the oldest market in the city.
Who wouldn’t want to visit a country known as a happy place? Second only to Finland, Denmark is often regarded as one of the happiest countries in the world. Take in some hiking, visit their popular amusement park or sign up for a guided cycling tour around the capital city of Copenhagen. Enjoy the city’s iconic wooden ships, stroll the canal and beautiful Tivoli Gardens. If you’re a Shakespeare fan, head to Kronborg Castle, the UNESCO World Heritage site that inspired Elsinore Castle in Hamlet.
Consider the Netherlands for safe solo travel due to the country’s lower crime rates. With a laid-back and friendly culture, Amsterdam is a nice place to start. Explore Vondelpark, world-famous museums, and the city’s interesting architecture. If you plan your visit to Holland between mid-April and the first week of May, you’ll enjoy the vast array and beauty of their bloomed tulips. The Keukenhof alone boasts of over 7 million bulbs and 800 varieties of tulips to enjoy.
Germany has many adventures to offer solo travelers. In Berlin, you’ll find numerous museums and historical sites, cafés, nightclubs, and beautiful parks. Taste some famous German beer in Munich and head to Frankfurt for a host of activities. Straight out of a fairy tale, no trip to Germany is complete without visiting a few of the over 20,000 castles ready to be explored.
For solo American travelers, the convenience of English-speaking locals can really help make things easier. From the literary walking tour of the UNESCO City of Literature in Dublin to the gorgeous scenery of the iconic Cliffs of Moher, there’s something for everyone. Stop by the Guinness Storehouse for a world-famous pint of stout, enjoy live Irish folk music or catch the ferry to explore archeological sites and medieval forts on the Aran Islands.
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