So your friends are busy and you need a break from your family - instead of waiting around for someone to go on an adventure with, why not just have one yourself? Sometimes the idea of it is more intimidating than when you’re actually standing on the train platform or boarding the plane. Solo travelling around Europe is a fantastic way to experience the rich and diverse culture of this continent, and the best part is that wherever you want to go or do, it’s all up to you. From the cobbled streets of Barcelona to the pristine coves and beaches of Portugal, there are so many amazing destinations to explore that are perfect for a quick solo weekend getaway or for a longer trip. Curious? Follow me on Instagram and YouTube for more adventures!
And just because you’re going by yourself, doesn’t mean that you won’t make friends and meet new people that will be part of your trip along the way. So we’ve rounded up the best places for solo travellers in Europe, as well as the accommodations that make it easy to meet people when you’re by yourself. And for those who just want to take time off and spend time with themselves without socializing with anyone? This handpicked list doubles for you too!
Is it safe to Solo travel in Europe?
The most common question we get on the topic of solo travelling… Yes, it is generally safe to solo travel in Europe! Of course, as with any destination, there are certain areas and countries in that you may have to be more vigilant than others. That being said, Europe is a great place for solo travellers due to its well-developed infrastructure (hello awesome railway train networks) and strong public transportation systems. For those who want to meet new people, there are many cities in Europe that have an incredibly vibrant nightlife (ahem, Spain - need I say more?) and cultural attractions that make them ideal destinations for travelling by yourself.
Here are some great countries for solo travellers in Europe:
Oh, Croatia. This Adriatic country is known for its stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, and vibrant cities. From the capital city of Zagreb to the coastal towns of Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia truly has something for everyone.
Solo travellers can take advantage of the country’s low cost of living and enjoy the thrilling adventures that Croatia has to offer. From hiking in Plitvice Lakes National Park to visiting ancient Roman ruins in Pula, there are plenty of activities for solo travellers to experience and make friends along the way. Even going on a river rafting through canyons is a memorable way to make friends with other travellers that will be on your raft. For those looking for a more relaxed vacation, Croatia’s bountiful of islands provide peaceful retreats with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.
If you’re a music lover, Croatia is also home to some of Europe’s most iconic music festivals such as Ultra Europe, Outlook Festival, and Dimensions Festival. These rave fest attract thousands of visitors from around the world who come together to enjoy incredible DJs and unforgettable nights. Solo travellers can join in on the fun or take time out to explore nearby towns or villages such as Rovinj or Motovun.
For those solo outdoor lovers - look no further, Slovenia has some of the best hiking trails in Europe. The Julian Alps and Triglav National Park offer spectacular views and challenging hikes. There are also numerous rivers and lakes that can be explored by canoe or kayak. Or, try ziplining across the mountainous valley of Bovec. For those who prefer more leisurely activities, there are many picturesque villages and towns that can be explored on foot or bike.
Slovenia also offers some great cultural experiences for those of us travelling by ourselves. Ljubljana, the capital city, is a vibrant city filled with museums, galleries, shops, and cute eateries with wonderful traditional cuisine. Other cultural highlights include the medieval town of Ptuj, which is home to several ancient castles; Maribor, which is known for its wine culture (check out our wine region itinerary of Slovenia for more inspiration); Piran on the coast; Bled with its iconic lake; and Celje with its impressive castle ruins.
With its diverse landscape and rich cultural heritage, Slovenia is one of my favourite countries for solo travellers looking for an exciting adventure off the beaten path!
One of Europe’s best-kept secrets? I know you must mean Montenegro. This is a small, mountainous country located on the Adriatic Sea in southeastern Europe (right next to Croatia). It offers stunning natural beauty, ranging from rugged mountains to picturesque beaches with some of the clearest blue waters you’ll ever see. The capital city of Podgorica is a cultural hub that’s home to several museums and galleries that showcase Montenegrin culture and history. Meanwhile, the coastal towns of Budva and Kotor have charming old centres filled with cobblestoned streets lined with cafes and restaurants – perfect for those going solo who want to soak up some local culture without being overwhelmed by crowds!
When I was solo backpacking here, I loved exploring Montenegro's diverse landscape at my own pace, whether it be cities or venturing into the quaint countryside. There are numerous outdoor activities available, including the mysterious Blue cave by Kotor, biking, kayaking, Durmitor National Park views, and some breathtaking bird watching on Skadar Lake.
I have an ongoing love affair with Italy that stem from my first-ever summer solo backpacking throughout the country. From Rome's jaw-dropping sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill to the ever-timeless canals of Venice and Florence's answer to France’s Lourve with the Uffizi Gallery, Italy is boundless for a solo traveller.
That, and the fact that Italy has some of the best, most affordable, food in Europe makes it no surprise that people are trying to have their own Eat, Pray, Love in this country with experiences like wine-tasting or pizza-making classes. There are also countless restaurants serving up traditional Italian dishes like pizza, pasta and gelato that can be enjoyed alone or with new-found friends.
In Latvia, you have to visit the capital city of Riga and explore its beautiful architecture, stroll through Vermanes Park, take a boat ride on the Daugava River and visit the historic Old Town. People don’t often think of Latvia when it comes to solo travelling - and that’s a shame because oftentimes you’ll feel like you’re just amongst the locals. You can also explore the wild beauty of Kemeri National Park or dive into the picturesque coastal towns of Jurmala, Liepaja, and Ventspils.
For budget-conscious solo travellers, Latvia is an ideal country in Europe to travel through, due to its relatively low cost of living. Accommodation options range from very affordable hostels to luxury hotels that won’t even break the bank. Food prices are also very reasonable; you can find delicious traditional Latvian dishes like potato pancakes or smoked fish at local eateries that serve big portions too.
In addition to its affordability, Latvia is a safe place to travel alone; it ranks among the top 10 safest countries in Europe according to the Global Peace Index 2019 report. With its friendly locals and peaceful atmosphere, Latvia you shouldn’t miss out on this Baltic country’s unique culture and underrated gems.
In Azores, Portugal you can enjoy some stunning natural beauty including volcanic islands with hot springs and thermal baths. The Azores is known for its rich history and culture so it’s worth exploring some of the old fishing villages and visiting some of the many museums in Ponta Delgada. Other activities include whale watching, diving in crystal clear waters or simply relaxing on one of the many beaches which we dive further into with our itinerary here.
Then for those of us who are travelling by ourselves, why not try your hand at surfing or learning how to surf? For those who prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of options too - from taking a cable car ride up to Monte Palace Gardens to exploring charming villages like Sintra or visiting one of Portugal’s many castles such as Pena Palace or Castelo de Sao Jorge.
7. Czech Republic
What makes the Czech Republic so perfect for solo travellers is how compact the country actually is for Central Europe. You can take a quick train journey from Prague, the capital city to Brno, an enriching cobblestone city on the day of without having to book in advance. Other places like Karlovy Vary (well-known amongst the locals for being a spa town) make for a great day trip from Prague. While the country has modern infrastructure and a well-connected public transportation system for various cities, it’s still super affordable. The Czech Republic is one of the very few places in Europe where beer in most places is cheaper than water.
With its stunning beaches, extremely out-of-this-world nightlife and unique culture, Spain is another great destination for those who just want to explore Europe with their own company. Whether you're hitting up Barcelona's visually iconic Sagrada Familia or soaking up some sun on Mallorca's beaches, there's plenty to keep you entertained here.
From exciting historical cities like Madrid and Seville to tranquil mountain villages like San Sebastian de los Reyes or volcanic craters in Timanfaya National Park on Lanzarote - you can spend weeks on end in Spain and still just scratch the surface of what this huge country has to offer. Also, Spanish people live up to their reputation as friendly, warm, and welcoming - so chatting up with locals or making new friends when you’re by yourself comes quite naturally when you travel through Spain. If you’re predominantly an English speaker, don’t fret that Spanish will be hard. Even with a few hand gestures and of course, the handy-dandy Google Translate will get you around easily.
Now I won’t say Norway is easy to make new friends on the road, even if you’re staying in a hostel here most people tend to stick to their own groups. But if you're looking for outdoor adventures and some much-needed alone time, then Norway should be at the top of your list! This Scandinavian country boasts stunning fjords, majestic mountains and doting colourful towns that make it a great place for solo travel.
If you’re a wildlife lover, then Norway also has surreal, up-close experiences with activities like cruising on a ship for whale-watching and the ever so adorable yet extremely too fast, too furious husky sleigh rides.
Solo travelling in Europe is an incredibly rewarding experience, offering any traveller of all ages the opportunity to explore hidden gems and underrated places that may not be as well-known. When you go by yourself you can take the time to really get to know a place and make meaningful connections with locals that they would likely never have had the chance to meet otherwise. With so many diverse cultures, languages and landscapes, countries across Europe offer something for everyone, no matter what your interests are. Whatever type of trip you want to have on this continent, you don’t have to worry about making compromises with someone else’s travel plans or budget. You can take your time seeing everything that interests you without feeling rushed or worrying about what others may think — after all, it’s your trip!