Solo Vacations: The 30 Best Places to Travel Alone

These fabulous destinations make traveling on your own simple and spectacular.

By Lyn Mettler, ContributorJuly 23, 2018
By Lyn Mettler, ContributorJuly 23, 2018, at 10:47 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

Solo Vacations: The 30 Best Places to Travel Alone

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Portland, Oregon is the best place to travel alone
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Portland, Oregon

Portland's reputation of having open and free-thinking residents makes it ideal for solo travelers. Definitely consider biking (it's a favorite of locals) or using the MAX Light Rail or the Portland Streetcar to get from point A to point B. Also be sure to sample the city's local brews during a beer tour or night out. Nicknamed Beervana because of its top-notch craft beer scene, Portland is home to 75-plus breweries, more than any other city in the world. Portland also features cool neighborhoods like the Pearl District, Hawthorne and Belmont, as well as great solo spots such as the Portland Japanese Garden, Powell's City of Books and Voodoo Doughnut, which offers bacon-topped and Captain Crunch-covered doughnuts, among other varieties. Hip hotels to check out include the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland and The Porter Portland.
New Zealand is the best place to travel alone
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New Zealand

Often labeled one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world, New Zealand is a good option for travelers venturing out on their own. Known for its gorgeous landscapes featured in films like "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "A Wrinkle in Time," this island nation beckons to outdoorsy types. You can explore its many black sand beaches, fjord-filled national parks, glowworm caves and hot pools, or base yourself in Queenstown so you can easily reach historic Arrowtown, sip wine in Gibbston Valley's vineyards and shop while taking in views of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is also popular with adventure enthusiasts keen on trying activities like skydiving, bungee jumping and whitewater rafting. Though you'll want to rent a car to get from city to city, you can take a plane or ferry to travel between the country's North and South islands.
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Thailand is the best place to travel alone
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(Getty Images)

Thailand

Many travel bloggers report Thailand as a safe destination for solo travel, including the busy city of Bangkok. In the Thai capital, visitors will find top sights like foodie-centric Khao San Road and the aptly named Grand Palace, plus an impressive nightlife scene. To get around the city or to other parts of Thailand, vacationers can take advantage of the country's many modes of transportation, which range from traditional choices like trains, subways, buses and taxis to local options such as long-tail boats and three-wheeled motorcycles known as tuk-tuks. Female travelers can even download the Tourism Authority of Thailand's "Women's Journey Thailand" app for more tips.
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From beach retreats to artsy escapes, these spots around the world are superb options for your next solo trip.

There are many reasons to travel solo, from not having to coordinate with others' schedules to getting to spend time doing only what interests you most. Plus, many destinations offer easy transportation, lots of activities and relatively safe environments that make them ideal for exploring alone. Here are some of the most solo-friendly locations around the world to consider for your next getaway.

Beaver Creek, Colorado

For those who love the outdoors, this charming village in the Rocky Mountains offers plenty to do in both winter and summer. Hop in a Colorado Mountain Express shuttle at Denver International Airport and travel about 130 miles west to your hotel, home or condo. Beaver Creek Resort offers free shuttle service for travel anywhere within the resort, so you'll have no trouble getting around. Ski and snowboard to your heart's content in winter, or enjoy solitary hiking, mountain biking or sitting by a peaceful mountain stream during the warmer months. Don't miss local restaurants like Beano's Cabin (which you can visit on horseback), the Beaver Creek Chophouse and Toscanini.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Known for its friendly locals and outstanding cuisine, the latter of which has led many to call this island the culinary capital of the Caribbean, Grand Cayman is easy and affordable to reach on airlines like Southwest. It's also simple to get around using taxis or public buses and offers plenty of solitary activities. Be sure to take a charter to Stingray City, where you can touch stingrays as they look for food. Other must-dos include snorkeling or scuba diving with one of 40-plus operators like Ocean Frontiers and unwinding at luxury resorts like the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa on Seven Mile Beach.

Paris

Paris is an extremely walkable city, ideal for individuals exploring on their own. Mass transit, including the Métro and bus system, are also easy to navigate, and a Paris Visite travel card covers unlimited trips for a set number of days in its fee. Grab a Paris Museum Pass and admire the amazing artwork at the Musée du Louvre (try Friday night when it's less busy), the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d'Orsay, or make like a local and find a spot along the Seine to enjoy a baguette and bottle of wine. The Hotel Indigo Paris - Opera is close to many attractions on the Right Bank, while charming vacation rentals are plentiful on the Left Bank.

San Diego

There are so many options for where to go and what to do in San Diego that it works for many types of solo travelers. Visitors can sunbathe and surf at Pacific Beach, go shopping and get up close to seals in La Jolla or enjoy the nightlife in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. If you love comics, be sure to arrive in July so you can attend Comic-Con International, the largest annual convention dedicated to comics and pop culture in the U.S. Or, soak up some California sun while hiking through a nearby state park or wandering around the spacious Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo. As for accommodations, travelers can stay at the iconic Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton on Coronado Island or opt for a quieter getaway at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla.

Rome

Rome is a bucket list destination that gives visitors the opportunity to see the famous Colosseum, world-renowned artwork and the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City. Italians tend to speak English and are generally warm and friendly people, making it easy to socialize and find your way around. Plus, the bus system is a convenient mode of transportation (once you know some basics), and taxis are typically safe to use. Areas like Trastevere and the Spanish Steps feature several convenient accommodation options, such as the Aleph Rome Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton and the Hotel Indigo Rome - St. George on Via Guilia, one of Rome's most beautiful streets. It's also easy to hop on a tour with companies like The Roman Guy, which offers excursions to the city's ancient catacombs and areas beneath the Colosseum, among other options.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Solo travelers looking for clear skies should consider visiting Santa Fe. Offering an average of 325 days of sunshine per year, this southwestern city, which is the oldest capital in the United States, is known for its art scene and beautiful scenery. Visitors can go hiking or skiing or check out more than 20 museums, such as iconic Canyon Road's Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. To reach the city, vacationers can fly into Santa Fe Regional Airport on American Airlines or United Airlines or into Albuquerque International Sunport before catching the Sandia Shuttle to Santa Fe. Travelers can then get around on foot, by bike or via the city's bus system.

Asheville, North Carolina

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville is a friendly, art-focused mountain town that also happens to be home to the Biltmore Estate, an 8,000-acre property once owned by George Vanderbilt. The city features more than 30 art galleries and offers opportunities for solo hiking, biking, kayaking and even fly-fishing. With a growing culinary scene and plenty of breweries, Asheville is also a great place to explore fun and funky restaurants and sip local beers. For a place to stay, check out the luxurious Omni Grove Park Inn or the Biltmore Estate's options, which include The Inn on Biltmore Estate and the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate. American, United and Delta are just some of the airlines that fly into Asheville Regional Airport, but many East Coast-based travelers can easily reach Asheville by car.

Tuscany, Italy

For the ultimate solo getaway, consider walking along the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route that runs through much of the Tuscan region, including popular hill towns like Siena and San Gimignano. Chandi Wyant, an American author who lives in Italy, shares her experience hiking the trail alone in her book "Return to Glow: A Pilgrimage of Transformation in Italy." She describes how she found friendly locals who helped her along the way and enjoyed much soul-searching during the journey. VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations also recommends Tuscany to solo travelers, as English is spoken widely and many types of experiences are available. Plus, each town's plethora of Italian trattorias are likely to welcome anyone with open arms and ample pasta and wine.

Santa Barbara, California

Enjoy top-notch shopping, wine tasting and scenery in Santa Barbara, a California city known for buildings with red-tile roofs and its many paseos, or hidden walkways, that descend deep behind the main thoroughfare of State Street. The Funk Zone district offers wine tastings, nightlife and galleries, while the Old Mission Santa Barbara showcases the city's rich history. Other fun activities include hiking the Santa Ynez Mountains and sampling wines in nearby towns like Los Olivos and Solvang. Check out hotels like the Kimpton Canary Hotel and the luxurious Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, or opt for a quiet bed-and-breakfast close to downtown, such as the charming Simpson House Inn.

Iceland

According to Intrepid Travel, which leads group tours all over the world, Iceland is a great destination for solo travel. Most locals speak English and are warm and friendly, and the company notes that Wi-Fi access and cellphone reception are both very good. The country is often called the Land of Fire and Ice because of its abundance of natural wonders, from glaciers to volcanoes to waterfalls and hot springs. Consider a visit during the summer months to enjoy nearly 24 hours of sunlight while participating in outdoor activities like ice climbing, caving, cycling and hiking. Reykjavik, the country's capital and most populous city, is a good home base thanks to its proximity to Iceland's international airport and its multitude of shops, cafes, museums and art galleries.

New York City

The Big Apple's melting pot of cultures makes it a popular option for solo travelers with varying interests. With three airports, two major train stations and a subway system that takes you nearly anywhere you want to go, New York is easy to reach and explore. To escape the crowds, avoid Times Square and instead wander around quieter areas like the hip Meatpacking District, the charming West Village and trendy Brooklyn, which is accessible by ferry from Manhattan. After sightseeing, sit for a slice of New York-style pizza at a local joint like Joe's Pizza before bedding down for the night. Hotel options include the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC, The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn and Hotel Elysée in Midtown East.

Toronto

Situated 99 miles north of Buffalo, New York, Toronto offers a distinctly European feel close to home. Get around town on the GO Transit network of trains and buses or by streetcar, or stick to the downtown area and explore on foot. Top attractions include the CN Tower (one of the world's tallest towers at roughly 1,815 feet), Yonge-Dundas Square, CF Toronto Eaton Centre and the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto CityPASS is an easy way to see multiple attractions for a reduced price and to bypass long ticket lines. If you'd rather enjoy the outdoors, check out Centre Island, which sits less than 3 miles south of the city center, or head to High Park, Toronto's largest public park.

Seville, Spain

For a taste of Spain, visit Seville, the capital of the country's autonomous Andalusia region. Featuring an extensive bus and metro system, Seville is fairly simple to navigate. Plus, top sights like the Cathedral of Seville, Torre del Oro, the Giralda and Alameda de Hércules sit in the heart of downtown. Once the sun sets, check out the nightlife scenes in the Alameda and Triana neighborhoods. Also save time for a flamenco lesson or a football (soccer) match.

Naples, Florida

Naples, on Florida's Gulf Coast, offers plenty of sunshine, pristine beaches and a high-end atmosphere. To get to the city, visitors can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport, which is located about 35 miles north in Fort Myers. After driving to Naples, travelers can head to the beach or check out the upscale shops and eateries lining the historic city center's famed Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South. For accommodations, vacationers can treat themselves to a stay at one of the area's luxury properties, including Naples Grande Beach Resort and the Inn on Fifth.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Unlike other European cities, the capital of Slovenia offers spectacular scenery without hordes of tourists, making it a great vacation destination for those traveling alone. To get your bearings, join a two-hour city tour of the historic center and Ljubljana Castle, which includes a funicular ride and samples of traditional Slovenian dishes. You can also take a boat cruise down the Ljubljanica River to see the Dragon and Triple bridges, explore Tivoli Park and wander among the ancient Roman ruins of a 2,000-year-old city. The handy Ljubljana Card grants you access to 21 local attractions, plus unlimited rides on city buses and complimentary internet access. If you tire of Ljubljana's offerings, travel 32 miles northwest to Bled to see its stunning lake and 11th-century castle.

Seattle

Head to the Pacific Northwest to explore this vibrant city full of natural beauty. If arriving by plane, hop a ride on the Link light rail to reach downtown from the airport. You can also use the monorail, buses or streetcars to get around the city (consider a day pass for unlimited rides on most modes of transportation). There are plenty of things to see and do in Seattle, from the iconic Space Needle (which unveiled renovated observation areas in summer 2018) to the bustling Pike Place Market (where the original Starbucks store is located). For a dose of nature, head to Snoqualmie Falls, walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park or go whale watching. No visit would be complete without a stay at the waterfront Edgewater Hotel or the Loews Hotel 1000.

Vietnam

If you want to visit Asia on your own, Inside Asia Tours recommends vacationing in Vietnam. Describing it as a safe destination with friendly locals and outstanding cuisine, Inside Asia Tours says Vietnam is ideal for solo travelers, though the company suggests traveling with or meeting up with an English-speaking guide to help you get your bearings and plan activities. Try popular dishes like pho (a rice noodle soup with beef or chicken), bun cha (a grilled pork dish with rice vermicelli) and nem (a fried spring roll). For attractions, explore the capital, Ho Chi Minh City, and its museums, temples, pagodas and parks by foot, city bus or local train.

Thailand

Many travel bloggers report Thailand as a safe destination for solo travel, including the busy city of Bangkok. In the Thai capital, visitors will find top sights like foodie-centric Khao San Road and the aptly named Grand Palace, plus an impressive nightlife scene. To get around the city or to other parts of Thailand, vacationers can take advantage of the country's many modes of transportation, which range from traditional choices like trains, subways, buses and taxis to local options such as long-tail boats and three-wheeled motorcycles known as tuk-tuks. Female travelers can even download the Tourism Authority of Thailand's "Women's Journey Thailand" app for more tips.

Portland, Oregon

Portland's reputation of having open and free-thinking residents makes it ideal for solo travelers. Definitely consider biking (it's a favorite of locals) or using the MAX Light Rail or the Portland Streetcar to get from point A to point B. Also be sure to sample the city's local brews during a beer tour or night out. Nicknamed Beervana because of its top-notch craft beer scene, Portland is home to 75-plus breweries, more than any other city in the world. Portland also features cool neighborhoods like the Pearl District, Hawthorne and Belmont, as well as great solo spots such as the Portland Japanese Garden, Powell's City of Books and Voodoo Doughnut, which offers bacon-topped and Captain Crunch-covered doughnuts, among other varieties. Hip hotels to check out include the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland and The Porter Portland.

New Zealand

Often labeled one of the safest and friendliest countries in the world, New Zealand is a good option for travelers venturing out on their own. Known for its gorgeous landscapes featured in films like "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "A Wrinkle in Time," this island nation beckons to outdoorsy types. You can explore its many black sand beaches, fjord-filled national parks, glowworm caves and hot pools, or base yourself in Queenstown so you can easily reach historic Arrowtown, sip wine in Gibbston Valley's vineyards and shop while taking in views of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is also popular with adventure enthusiasts keen on trying activities like skydiving, bungee jumping and whitewater rafting. Though you'll want to rent a car to get from city to city, you can take a plane or ferry to travel between the country's North and South islands.

Morocco

Intrepid Travel offers a special trip to Morocco just for travelers exploring alone. The solo traveler-only Best of Morocco itinerary includes hiking the Atlas Mountains, riding a camel in the Sahara Desert, wandering through the spice markets of Marrakech and admiring Casablanca's breathtaking architecture. While much of the country can be welcoming to foreigners, this tour is ideal for individuals who feel more comfortable traveling in a group with other solo travelers rather than completely on their own.

Galápagos Islands

This collection of islands, which you can fly to from Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador, is a safe natural paradise known for its protected wildlife, including sea lions, coastal birds and marine iguanas. Because of ongoing conservation efforts, multiple travel documents and an entrance fee are required upon arrival, so traveling alone through a tour company is often the easiest way to visit. To cater to solo vacationers, Lindblad Expeditions added more one-person cabins and waived solo passenger supplements for some of its 2018 National Geographic Islander and National Geographic Endeavour II voyages. The trips offer multiple opportunities to snorkel, hike, kayak and take Zodiac cruises in the company of naturalists.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is a walkable city filled with friendly locals, antebellum homes, gourmet restaurants and charming boutiques. Solo visitors won't want to miss the chance to bike or take a carriage ride through the historic downtown area. Travelers should also save time for a tour of grand plantations like Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens and Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. A boat trip to Fort Sumter National Monument and a visit to the South Carolina Aquarium are additional must-dos. For accommodations, consider staying at the centrally located HarbourView Inn. This property even offers a Solo Southern Retreat Package, which allows solo guests to give back by serving at a local community kitchen before eating dinner at nearby Hank's Seafood Restaurant.

Sydney

Australia's most populated city may take some time to reach, but its ample activities and world-renowned attractions make it a superb spot for solo travelers. Water lovers can explore Sydney Harbour or surf at Bondi, Manly or Cronulla beaches. Those keen on enjoying a solitary stroll can head to the Royal Botanic Garden, which offers free tours daily, or try the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. Other top sights include the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Sydney Cricket Ground Museum. All are accessible by light rail, train, bus or ferry. To save on fares, visitors can request a free reloadable Opal card, which comes with ride discounts.

Athens, Greece

Imagine exploring Greece on your own as you marvel at its magnificent ruins and artifacts. Athens is where you'll find top-notch institutions like the National Archaeological Museum and the Benaki Museum, plus the famous Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site that includes the Parthenon and the Erechtheion. You can get around by trolley, metro or bus, and a tram is available for travel to and from the local beaches. A quiet walk along the waterfront makes for a lovely evening, as does exploring Athens' historic city center, which is the largest pedestrian zone in Europe. When you need a break from sightseeing, stop for a drink at a local cafe or bar.

New Orleans

Spend some time in Cajun country in the beautiful city of New Orleans. There are many ways to experience this Southern city, though you might want to steer clear of the partying on Bourbon Street after dark. Start by eating your fill of beignets, sipping a strong hurricane cocktail and noshing on jambalaya and gumbo. After, enjoy fun and safe activities like a stroll through the French Quarter, a tour of a local cemetery and a ride on the St. Charles streetcar, the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world. Consider bedding down at hotels like the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, which overlooks the Mississippi River, or the elegant Windsor Court Hotel.

Austin, Texas

It's easy to get around Austin, whether you're driving, riding the bus or MetroRail, renting a bike or hiring a pedicab. This relaxed Texas city, known for its superb music scene and creative atmosphere, is a safe and exciting getaway for solo travelers. Visit one of 250-plus live music venues, have a drink on happening Sixth Street or walk or jog along the Ladybird Lake Hike & Bike Trail. If you have a car, drive outside the city to Texas Hill Country, which boasts historic towns and more than 20 vineyards.

Sri Lanka

Located off the southeastern coast of India in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka appeals to individuals who enjoy nature. The island is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as stunning beaches, botanical gardens, waterfalls, national parks and almost 500,000 acres of tea estates. To get from point A to point B, the country has trains, taxis and air taxis. Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital, also offers double-decker buses for sightseeing tours. There are two international airports on the island, which are served by major airlines, including Korean Air Lines, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific Airways. Vacations to Sri Lanka can also be booked through tour companies like G Adventures and Audley Travel.

Singapore

Singapore's well-lit streets and safe public transportation system make it a worry-free option for solo visitors. What's more, this modern metropolis' plentiful shopping, nightlife and nature-focused attractions draw travelers with varying interests. Explore neighborhoods like Little India and Chinatown by foot, browse Orchard Road's boutiques or the shops in one of several malls, or get a dose of greenery at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Gardens by the Bay or an offshore island.

San Francisco

Getting to and around San Francisco on your own is a cinch thanks to the city's large international airport, cable cars, streetcars and buses. Can't-miss activities to add to your itinerary include exploring Telegraph Hill's Coit Tower, taking a Big Bus sightseeing tour across the Golden Gate Bridge and walking through the city's historic Chinatown neighborhood. Once you've worked up an appetite, savor a classic seafood dinner at the Fog Harbor Fish House (which overlooks the bay) before retiring for the night to the Palace Hotel, Hotel Zoe Fisherman's Wharf, Hotel Zephyr or one of San Francisco's other top hotels.
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Corrected on Feb. 13, 2019: Corrected on Feb. 13, 2019: A previous version of this story misstated a fact about Santa Fe's history. The city is the oldest capital in the United States.

Lyn Mettler, Contributor

Lyn Mettler is the hotels contributor to U.S. News and also writes about destinations, ...  Read more

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