More people want to take holidays and travel alone than ever before, but knowing where to go can be difficult to decide. Where is safe to travel alone? How should you spend your time when you arrive? And what opportunities are there for socialising with locals and fellow travellers? We answer all of these questions here with our top picks for solo travel destinations in 2020.
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As far as Caribbean islands go, few are safer or more varied than Aruba, making it perfect for solo travel!
A coast of white sand and constant trade winds means the beaches are always warm without being uncomfortable, and the turquoise ocean is inviting for swimmers and surfers alike. But while the beaches slope gently into the sea, the rocky coastline hints at wild country inland for adventure and exploration. Hike Arikok National Park, ride ATVs, and visit wildlife up close and personal in the many sanctuaries. The island also boasts a disproportionately high number of ruins historical monuments.
For everything else, head to Oranjestad. Shopping ranges from high-end luxury to handcrafts. There are plenty of bars and brewery tours for meeting fellow travellers. And entertainment ranges from street performers to a fountain show and amphitheatre.
Malaga lies at the edge of Spain’s Costa del Sol and so manages to offer world-famous beaches, cultural tours, delicious food, and a short flight, all rolled into one.
It is a city, with everything one can offer solo travel enthusiasts: a huge selection of food, from seafood and traditional Spanish tapas to American-style pancakes; plenty of sites and attractions, such as churches, plazas, clubs, and pubs; and tours to nearby regions and countries, including Gibraltar, Morocco and Caminito del Rey.
But this city is also a place for relaxation. You have your choice of local beaches to enjoy. Some are popular for sun-worshippers, while others are preferred escapes for water sports fans. Either way, the people are friendly and there are plenty of chiringuitos (beach café-bars) where you can socialise with others.
The island of Sicily off the main coast of Italy is full of breath-taking landscapes, vistas, culture, and history. It is a place best enjoyed slowly and quietly, making it ideal for solo travel.
Sicily’s location between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa means it has been influenced by numerous cultures throughout history. Quaint villages hang over stunning coastal edges with the water rolling below. Enticing hikes range from strolling through fields of flower beds and sheep to climbing the spectacular Mount Etna. And the wineries are not the be missed.
The best way to see the whole countryside is by hiring a car and driving the snaking, cliff-side roads. But there are three cities as well (Palermo, Catania, Syracuse) for opportunities to shop, visit museums, and enjoy social events.
This safe city is a holiday-makers paradise because it is so welcoming and cheap, while food, drink, and entertainment are plentiful. For instance, many solo travel fanatics stay on or around Khao San Road. The street food is some of the best in the world and is incredibly cheap, as are the Thai beers in the many bars. Eating on the street is also a great way to meet other travellers to visit amazing sights in and around the city: The Grand Palace; the enormous open-air Chatuchak Weekend Market; a ferry boat tour; or the Asiatique night market.
Top tip: When choosing somewhere to eat, ignore the tourists and instead flock to where the locals are eating. They know where food is best and cheapest!
Kuusamo is best known for Ruka Ski Resort during the winter months, where snow blankets the ground and trees for some world-class skiing and dog sledging beneath the Northern Lights. It also serves as a great base for visiting Lapland, where you visit Santa Claus Village and the museum at Arktikum.
But it is equally impressive in the summer months when the wilderness is green and lush. Explore the national parks, go bear watching, and relax on still calm lakes.
Outside of the exciting ski resorts, Kuusamo is the perfect place for solo travel if you want some time for quiet reflection and introspection.
There is so much to see in the city that founded democracy and Western civilization as we know it is probably best enjoyed as a solo travel experience.
Ancient archaeological sites and historical ruins are everywhere, with the Acropolis the clear centrepiece that dominates the skyline from any hill or rooftop bar. Plaka is the oldest, most classical-looking part of the city, with tight streets and quaint stores. Shopaholics will not want to miss Syntagma, the main commercial centre with numerous high-end shops. Meanwhile, Psirri is the bohemian district perfect for meeting other travellers. There are wine bars, cafes, street art, and fun tours.
And getting the around the city is simple and cheap for a solo traveller, too, as a fantastic metro means there is no need to contend with buses and taxis.
Marrakesh is a very friendly and welcoming location for holidaymakers. However, like all cities, travellers should be cautious, especially solo women who can expect to get a great deal of attention from the local men. But so long as you are careful, perhaps finding a travel buddy where you can, your trip will be one of the best solo travel experiences ever!
The city itself is full of colour and entertainment, particularly around the main square, Jemaa el Fna, where there are markets, stalls, and restaurants. Food is vibrant, spicy, seasoned, and incredibly flavourful. This is also the part of Marrakesh where travellers will find companies offering single and multi-day trips out of the city. Marvel at the magnificent Ouzoud Waterfalls in the Atlas Mountains, spend the night under the stars in the Sahara Desert, or head to Oukira Valley where the golden sand transforms into a paradise oasis.
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