Exploring the World Alone: The Ultimate Guide to Top Destinations for Solo Travelers
Whether you're an experienced solo traveler or just starting to venture out on your own, the world is filled with incredible destinations waiting to be explored. From the charming city of Saratoga Springs, New York, to the cultural hub of Seville, Spain, and the breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park, Montana, there is something for everyone on this list of top destinations for solo travelers. So grab your passport and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure.
Saratoga Springs, New York
Saratoga Springs, located in upstate New York, is a charming town that offers a perfect solo getaway for residents of New York City. With just a short Amtrak ride away, it provides an ideal opportunity to unwind. Visitors can enjoy watching horse races at the historic Saratoga Race Track, attending concerts at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and indulging in the mineral spring baths, which gave the city its name, at Saratoga Spa State Park. In addition, Broadway is lined with fabulous dining and shopping options.
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Waco, Texas, is a delightful Texas town that appeals to fans of the popular show Fixer Upper. Conveniently located within a short drive from Austin and Dallas, it offers a low-key escape. A visit to Chip and Joanna Gaines's Magnolia empire is a must, where you can explore Magnolia Market for tasty treats and farmhouse chic shopping. Apart from Magnolia, Waco boasts boutique shopping, wine and beer tastings, and a vibrant nightlife downtown. For more enriching experiences, you can tour the Dr. Pepper Museum, visit the Mammoth National Monument, or explore the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a haven for art enthusiasts. It is renowned as the home of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the original Meow Wolf, an experimental and immersive art exhibit. The city is also characterized by its picturesque downtown area, adorned with art galleries, antique stores, and craft shops. Visitors can explore these attractions while savoring New Mexico's famous red and green chiles. In addition, a spa day at the Inn & Spa at Loretto is highly recommended.
For those seeking relaxation, Burlington in Vermont is a serene town with a laid-back atmosphere. Indulge in a leisurely stroll through the delightful Church Street Marketplace, take a tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory, or enjoy a refreshing drink at a local craft brewery. A short 20-minute drive away is the Essex Resort & Spa, where you can participate in a cooking class. During warm weather, you can also partake in various activities along Lake Champlain, such as boating, sunbathing, and hiking along the shoreline. Alternatively, visit during the fall season to witness the breathtaking foliage.
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Flagstaff, Arizona, offers the best of both worlds with its range of activities and small-town atmosphere. Although it is located near natural and historical wonders like the Grand Canyon, Walnut Canyon, and the Wupatki National Monument, you don't need a car to visit them as there are numerous tour operators in Flagstaff. Don't miss a visit to the famous Lowell Observatory, where astronomers first discovered Pluto. The city's downtown area is also a vibrant destination with its excellent selection of restaurants and bars, making it the perfect place to unwind after desert adventures.
Ranked as one of the 25 safest places to live by U.S. News, Portland is a picturesque seaside city in New England. Adorned with beautiful lighthouses, an art museum, and opulent Victorian mansions, it offers a serene and safe environment for solo travelers. Experience the local cuisine by dining at waterfront restaurants and enjoy the catch of the day. Make sure to visit local brewpubs for a taste of the thriving craft beer scene.
New York City, New York
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New York City, also known as "The Big Apple," is a bustling metropolis that never fails to captivate solo travelers. The city offers an abundance of activities, from exploring world-class museums to catching a Broadway show. Indulge in the never-ending debate over the best slice of pizza or bagel in town while discovering different neighborhoods. The extensive subway system makes it easy to navigate the city, allowing you to explore iconic landmarks such as Central Park, Battery Park, and the vibrant neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens.
The Poconos, Pennsylvania
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The Poconos, a mountainous region in northeastern Pennsylvania, offers an ideal destination for both adventure and relaxation. With its scenic ski slopes and charming small towns, it caters to various preferences. Visitors can embark on thrilling hikes along trails like Bushkill Falls and explore local gems like Callie's Candy Kitchen. For those seeking a more soothing experience, the Poconos is home to numerous resorts, including the renowned Skytop Lodge. The opportunity to witness the region's stunning fall foliage is a definite highlight.
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Savannah, also known as the "Hostess City of the South," is famous for its historic district. It boasts stunning architecture, museums, art galleries, and lush green squares, making it an ideal destination for solo exploration. In addition to its cultural offerings, the city is a paradise for foodies, with a diverse range of restaurants and cafes that serve delicious cuisine. While in Savannah, make sure to savor Southern dishes that are an integral part of the local food scene.
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Boise, Idaho, is often overlooked but shouldn't be. It has earned a spot as one of the 25 safest places to live in the U.S. Surrounded by mountains, it offers beautiful scenery and is a paradise for hikers. The city itself features several green spaces, including the Idaho Botanical Garden and Camel's Back Park. On Saturdays, visitors can explore the Capital City Public Market, where local food and craft vendors gather. Those visiting in late summer should not miss the annual Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic, a breathtaking hot air balloon event held in Ann Morrison Park.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan, is an underrated town with a vibrant arts scene, thanks to the University of Michigan. Solo travelers interested in museums will find the University of Michigan's Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, and Museum of Archaeology worth a visit. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens offer a tranquil experience, and the Hill Auditorium showcases captivating performances. Off-campus, the Nickels Arcade is an excellent spot for shopping and dining.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City may be an underrated destination, but it has much to offer. From its lively Bricktown neighborhood to the unique Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, there is no shortage of activities. The beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens and the whitewater rafting and kayaking facility provide additional opportunities for adventure. Food and accommodation options are aplenty, including the newly-opened National Hotel housed in a former bank, complete with a cocktail bar in the old vault.
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While Las Vegas may take the spotlight in Nevada, Reno is a more accessible destination for solo travelers. It offers a wide range of attractions, including impressive art and automobile museums, a delightful rose garden, and the Nevada Historical Society. In winter, nearby skiing opportunities abound, while the annual Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic offers a magical experience in the early fall. As "The Biggest Little City in the World," Reno truly lives up to its nickname.
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While South Florida's attractions are well-known, Tampa is gaining recognition as one of the safest cities to live in the U.S. It offers a myriad of experiences for solo travelers. The world-famous attraction, Busch Gardens, provides thrilling adventures, but Tampa has much more to offer beyond roller coasters. The Tampa Riverwalk invites visitors to enjoy waterfront dining, while Ybor City offers a vibrant nightlife scene, classic cigar lounges, and the renowned 118-year-old Columbia Restaurant, which serves a delicious house salad and hosts must-see flamenco shows.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina, offers a wide range of attractions that cater to all types of interests. History enthusiasts can explore the grandeur of the Biltmore Estate. Shopaholics will enjoy the Grove Arcade, and hikers can take advantage of the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains. Art lovers can stroll through the River Arts District, while foodies can indulge in exceptional Southern comfort food and local breweries. Asheville truly has something for everyone.
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Boulder, Colorado, is not just a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Before hitting the slopes or embarking on hiking trails, take the time to explore the Pearl Street Mall, which is filled with unique shops and delectable eateries. Boulder is also home to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, a landmark tea spot offering a serene ambiance for solo afternoon tea. Art enthusiasts can visit the contemporary art museum, and car enthusiasts can explore the Shelby American Collection of classic cars.
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Chicago, the Windy City, may be a bustling metropolis, but it is surprisingly easy to navigate on foot or via the efficient "L" train system. There is no shortage of activities, whether it involves taking an architectural history boat tour, visiting world-renowned museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago or Field Museum, or capturing memorable photos with the famous "Bean." Of course, exploring the city's culinary scene by indulging in deep-dish pizza is a must-do experience for solo travelers.
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Harpers Ferry, located in West Virginia, offers a captivating experience for solo travelers interested in hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail. The visitor center serves as the "psychological midpoint" of the trail, and the surrounding area boasts several scenic day hikes. The town itself, part of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, exudes small-town charm with its antique shop called The Gilded Flea and a historic candy shop.
Best for: eating and drinking
Texans are renowned for their friendliness, and Austin is no exception. As the capital of Texas, it offers a vibrant atmosphere where solo travelers can partake in various activities. The city is known for its diverse culinary scene, and dining out is a relaxed experience, with many excellent food trucks offering communal seating. With over 1,000 food trucks roaming the streets, don't miss the cult-favorite Gourdough’s doughnuts served out of a vintage Airstream, especially their grilled banana and bacon creation.
The city also offers hip accommodations like the sleek Hotel Saint Cecilia and the more affordable San Jose Hotel, both managed by renowned hotelier Liz Lambert. South Congress, lined with organic grocery stores, vintage shops, coffeehouses, and music venues such as the legendary Continental Club, is worth exploring. For a taste of the up-and-coming creative scene, head to the East Side after a visit to Hops & Grain Brewing. Don't forget to make time for a visit to Rainey Street, where bars and cafes are housed in converted bungalows. Nature lovers can cycle around Ladybird Lake or cool off at the beautiful Barton Springs pool. Austin truly has something for everyone.
An expert's guide to Austin
Best for: forming friendships
Once avoided by travelers due to sectarian violence, Belfast has transformed into a lively and welcoming city break destination in Europe. This warm-hearted town is a place where solo travelers can walk into a bar like The Spaniard in Cathedral Quarter and easily make new friends over a pint of Guinness. The Merchant Hotel remains the city's most sophisticated accommodation choice, but there are also stylish and reasonably-priced boutique hotels, such as the Bullitt Hotel. The dining scene in Belfast offers a mix of established favorites like Mourne Seafood and innovative newcomers like The Muddlers Club.
The newly developed Titanic Quarter is a top tourist attraction in the city, with its centerpiece museum being a must-visit. Other notable cultural spots include the MAC Belfast and the Ulster Museum, located in the charming Botanical Gardens. Before the Troubles, Belfast was a prosperous Victorian center for shipbuilding, and reminders of its genteel past can be found in the leafy parks like Lady Dixon and Lagan Meadows, which are often overlooked by visitors.
Best for: surfing
For those looking for a sunny destination closer to home where they can avoid the crowds of families and couples, Portugal offers an ideal surf camp scene. With over 800km of coastline, Portugal has a diverse range of options, from dramatic cliffs to excellent surf breaks, and from dune-covered beaches to peaceful sandy islets. Portugal's coastline is generous, ensuring that no stretch is dominated solely by families or couples, but provides a healthy mix of both. In addition to its beautiful beaches, Portugal offers opportunities for solo travelers to hike the granite peaks of Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês or explore traditional villages in the lesser-known Beiras region.
Furthermore, Portuguese cities like Lisbon and Porto have a distinct and informal charm, setting them apart from their Spanish, French, and Italian counterparts. Throughout the year, festivals are a prominent feature of Portugal's cultural calendar, making it possible for solo travelers to plan their trips around events like Lisbon's Festa de Santo António or Porto's Festa de São João. Additionally, smaller jazz and rock festivals can be found along the coast. Regardless of the time of year, solo travelers in Portugal can enjoy the melancholic melodies of fado music and explore the vibrant social scene of the country with ease.
When I made the move to Spain nearly a decade ago without any acquaintances, I felt a sense of panic. In a country known for its social nature (where tapas are meant to be shared with friends), I wondered how I would manage. Fortunately, I found myself in Seville.
The southern region of Spain lives up to its reputation as a vibrant, open, and hospitable part of the country. Social life thrives on the streets and in the plazas, with bars and cafes overflowing onto the cobblestones. A local friend once told me that he lived in Seville for years without ever stepping inside his best friend's house. This environment makes it easy for solo travelers to strike up conversations with locals (if they can navigate the tricky Andaluz accent) or mingle with other study-abroad students.
In Seville, there is no need for a rigid plan. Simply stepping outside will lead to unexpected encounters, whether it's stumbling upon a religious procession (which occur frequently), witnessing an impromptu flamenco performance, or joining a crowd of strangers cheering on the local football team in a bar on La Alameda or Plaza del Salvador. For a unique experience, visit Seville during the Feria de Abril, when the entire city transforms into a scene reminiscent of 1899, with a week-long celebration featuring traditional sevillanas dances and day-long festivities in vibrant casetas (canvas tents). Although most casetas are reserved for specific families and their close friends, some are open to the public, providing an instant connection to the local community. -Maya Kroth
When people discuss Redding, they often remember the devastating Carr Fire and the destruction it brought upon Northern California. However, as is the nature of wildfires, new growth has sprung forth, and Redding is undergoing a revitalization. While not the trendiest destination on the West Coast, Redding has its own unique appeal. It is a city that is large enough to explore on your own, but small enough that you can build connections and familiarize yourself with the community within a week, perhaps even considering the real estate opportunities on the outskirts of Shasta Lake.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Redding is how it paradoxically makes you want to leave it. The city is surrounded by breathtaking and untouched natural beauty. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest to the north, which is home to Lake Shasta, and Lassen Volcanic National Park to the east, with its hydrothermal sites and the Devastated Area Trail, offer incredible outdoor experiences. To the west, you'll find Six Rivers National Forest. During my visit, I embarked on a hike to see a series of waterfalls. Originally planning to see four falls in one day, I was pleasantly surprised to discover seven along the way. Among these falls, Middle McCloud Falls stood out as particularly stunning. Although the water was freezing, swimming beneath the scorching summer sun while gazing at the majestic waterfall surrounding me was a truly spiritual experience. For a more adventurous outing, you can visit Hatchet Creek Falls, where you can jump off a giant log into the swimming hole below. Just be sure not to get lost, as there is no cell service.
Another notable waterfall is McArthur-Burney Falls. Most of the river leading up to the falls is located underground, so when you reach the base, it appears as if a massive wall of water is cascading out from the mountain. Although I refrained from swimming here due to uncertainty about permission and the chilly weather that day, it's a risk that would undoubtedly be worth taking. On the way back to Redding, indulge in a visit to Yaks on the 5. Their burgers are among the best I've ever tasted, and after a day of hiking and swimming, it's the perfect choice. -Alex Robinson
Bangkok is a city that caters to all types of travelers. It is a bustling metropolis filled with diverse personalities and an array of visitors, all coexisting in harmonious symbiosis. Even for those who may be shy or take some time to adjust to new environments, it is effortless to meet people in Bangkok. The friendly locals are quick to take you under their wing, and you'll find yourself befriending fellow travelers with whom you may not have connected under different circumstances, simply by sharing common experiences and navigating the dynamic and sometimes overwhelming atmosphere of the city.
Attending a bar opening or expat mixer can easily lead to an impromptu adventure, as a few drinks later, you may find yourself crammed into a tuk-tuk with a motley group headed to a nightclub or afterparty. I recall an experience years ago when I was a tourist in Bangkok. I unexpectedly found myself adopted by a Thai celebrity couple and their entourage at a Lady Gaga concert. This chance encounter led to a night of VIP bottle service at one of Bangkok's finest clubs. It was a vibrant and colorful experience that Bangkok is known for creating. In fact, it was this encounter that prompted me to return to Canada, pack up my belongings, and permanently move to Bangkok. -Barbara Woolsey
When you book a trip to Paris, you may encounter questions from friends and acquaintances asking, "Who are you going with?" Your response can simply be, "No one." Paris is a city where you can fully immerse yourself in some of the world's best museums and cultural experiences without the distraction of a companion. Catering to a travel partner can easily diminish the contemplative and introspective moments one seeks when admiring centuries-old paintings or meandering through the city's picturesque streets. Investing in the Paris Museum Pass, which provides access to 50 different sites over a six-day period for a cost of 78 euros, allows for leisurely exploration. Personally, I only managed to visit a dozen sites, including the Louvre, which could easily take up all six days to fully appreciate. Paris presents culture and beauty as lavishly as foie gras farmers feed their geese.
When visiting, it is advisable to choose a central and walkable location as your base. I opted for a tranquil apartment through a rental site called Paris Perfect, but if you prefer a more budget-friendly option, there are countless one-room apartments available for as low as $40 a night on Airbnb. Another alternative is staying at a hostel if you are on a tighter budget. Regardless of your choice, make sure to take in the architectural wonders that make Paris truly, well, Paris. For instance, the Rodin Museum is housed in a grand 18th-century mansion that the artist himself inhabited in 1911. Just across the street, the Museum of the Army is located in a palace built by Louis XIV for his wounded veterans. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of similar sites waiting to be explored. The best part is that no one is rushing you from one location to another, allowing you to sit, stay, and absorb the beauty of the city at your own pace. -Sam Eifling
If you are in search of a setting for your next short story, I recommend jetting across the pond to explore the Welsh coastline. This region is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world, such as Barafundle Bay with its emerald fields, Tenby with its colorful waterfront architecture, and Presipe with its rugged cliffs. To enhance the charm of your visit, consider staying at a cozy bed-and-breakfast or one of Wales's many medieval castles, such as Bath Tower on the northern coast. Some beach towns, such as Shell Island, even offer camping grounds, providing the opportunity to pitch a tent and fall asleep to the soothing sound of waves in the countryside.
Wales is known for its overall safety, making it an ideal destination for solo travelers. The Welsh people are also renowned for their friendliness and hospitality, although it's important to note that they prefer not to be referred to as British. When you inevitably find yourself in a local pub enjoying a pint, striking up a conversation with a fellow patron will come naturally, especially since English is widely spoken. While native Welsh is more prevalent in rural areas, attempting to ask for directions to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (yes, it's a real place) might prove quite the challenge. -Brooke Sager
Greece is often associated with honeymoons and romantic getaways, and it's true that Santorini's breathtaking sunsets are worth every moment. However, spending a week alone in Athens, a city often overlooked as a mere stopover, can provide a unique and eye-opening experience. Athens is the unavoidable gateway to any Greek adventure, as flights and ferries connect here, making it a necessary stop no matter your final destination.
During a trip to Crete, I found myself unexpectedly alone in Athens for two days when a friend encountered travel difficulties. I chose to stay in the vibrant neighborhood of Psiri, a former artisan area that has now become an up-and-coming district. Exploring the winding cobbled streets of Plaka, the historical center that is home to the Acropolis, sidewalk cafes, and traditional Greek tavernas, became a highlight. I enjoyed a leisurely lunch on a charming terrace at Birdman, a Japanese gastropub famous for its innovative yakitori. Artisanal olive oil and mountain tea from a gourmet grocery store, and a delightful evening of natural wine and a cheese platter at Heteroclito, the Greek equivalent of a Parisian wine bar, rounded out my culinary adventures.
What struck me most during my time in Athens was the genuine warmth and friendliness of the locals. The server at Heteroclito was more interested in why I was in Athens and passionate about extolling the virtues of his city than in whether I was waiting for someone to join me. The taxi driver who took me to the ferry port for my friend's arrival expressed his hope that more people would stay longer in Athens, emphasizing the city's upcoming hotel openings and the desire for visitors to truly explore and appreciate all that Athens has to offer. Although staying in Athens was not originally part of my plan, I am grateful that circumstances led me to experience this vibrant and often underestimated capital city. -Lane Nieset
Glacier National Park, Montana
At some point during a 3-mile hike up a steep incline, with the risk of stumbling into a crevasse, you begin to take stock of your surroundings. Your quads ache, your lungs burn, and instinctively, you touch the bear spray on your belt, as if it were your phone in your pocket. It was Vince Lombardi who famously said that fatigue makes cowards of us all, but here, on the trails of America's National Parks, you discover a fighting spirit within yourself. If you want the full experience, I encourage you to visit Glacier National Park in Montana. Encompassing over a million acres, with 175 mountains and an impressive 745 miles of maintained hiking trails, this vast and breathtaking park presents a unique and thrilling obstacle course. Along your journey, you will encounter a range of wildlife, from chipmunks and rabbits to bears and moose. The park recommends wearing jingling bells to ward off bears and always carrying bear spray, especially if you are hiking alone. Yet, amidst the solitude, you will also find yourself surrounded by towering mountains capped with glistening snow. Reaching a trail's end or standing atop a peak, taking in the awe-inspiring view, humbles you and reminds you that nature is the true ruler of this realm. -Nicole Schuman
When picturing a charming European city, Bruges immediately comes to mind. Its picturesque streets lined with historic houses and canals create a magical atmosphere that pulls you into its storybook setting. Bruges is a perfect destination for solo travelers seeking a combination of tranquility and enchantment. Indulge in a glass of beer while admiring the view from a cozy outdoor café.
For accommodations, consider booking a room in one of Bruges' boutique hotels or bed-and-breakfasts, where you can immerse yourself in the city's rich history and unique character. Exploring Bruges on foot allows you to fully appreciate its architecture and the intricate details of its medieval buildings. One must-see attraction is the famous Glass of beer with view of historic houses and canal in Bruges. Marvel at the masterpieces housed within museums, such as the Groeningemuseum and the Memling Museum. Take a leisurely boat ride through the canals to truly soak in the charm of this Belgian gem. Bruges, with its fairytale ambiance, is a place where solo travelers can find solace and romance in its timeless beauty. -Maria Vonotna
After graduating from grad school, I decided to explore Belgium by bike. Navigating through the country proved to be a challenge, as my high school French wasn't strong enough to ask for directions effectively. I had a hilarious encounter with a friendly elderly woman who convinced me, a vegetarian, to try her homemade sausage. I also had the pleasure of meeting a man named Pol, who had cleverly named his microbrewery Inter-Pol.
Two factors make Belgium an ideal destination for a bike trip. Firstly, the country is densely packed with outstanding breweries. Despite its small size, Belgium boasts over 150 world-famous breweries, allowing you to visit a different one each day. It's incredibly convenient to bike between these breweries, as you can join a tour, sample the beer, and then continue on to your next pint.
Secondly, Belgium has a passion for cycling. Professional cyclists are celebrated as national celebrities, and bike shops can be found on every corner. The country also boasts a remarkable number of dedicated bike paths that run alongside highways. Compared to the United States, drivers in Belgium are much less intimidating, which is essential when cycling after enjoying a bellyful of monk-brewed Trappist beer. –Lewis Kelly
Everywhere you turn in Morocco offers a picture-worthy moment. The vibrant colors of the ancient architecture immediately captivate the senses, as described by photographer Eian Kantor, who recently explored this North African country armed with only a backpack and two cameras. The landscape resembles a magnificent painting, and the chaotic yet beautiful medinas plunge you into a maze of sensory delight.
Each city in Morocco presents a unique experience. Chefchaouen, renowned for its blue-washed buildings, is nestled within the breathtaking Rif Mountain region, providing irresistible filming opportunities. In Fez, you can witness an 11th-century leather tannery where hides undergo a fascinating traditional process involving cow urine, pigeon feces, spices, and natural dyes. The sight of numerous vibrant vats is truly awe-inspiring, especially if you can focus on the beauty and ignore the origins of the colors. Some locals even offer a balcony viewing for a small fee, which photographer Eian Kantor found completely worthwhile. The Moroccans are genuinely proud of their country and eager to share its wonders, a mission that photographers instantly align with. –Rebecca Strassberg
When considering getaways to national and state parks, we often think of summertime adventures. However, summer also means crowds and noise. To experience the serenity and peace of solo travel, especially in natural landscapes, it's best to visit these destinations during the off-season. Utah is a prime choice.
February offers the perfect opportunity for a solo trip to Zion National Park. During the winter months, only a small fraction of visitors venture into the park, ensuring a tranquil and undisturbed experience exploring its trails. Goblin Valley State Park is also a great option during this time, as you can wander through its echoey washes and marvel at the otherworldly hoodoos, similar to those found in Bryce Canyon National Park but without the bustling crowds. If you venture further north, visit Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, located on the Utah-Arizona border. Regardless of your location, make sure to stay out late, as Utah is known for its incredible stargazing opportunities that you wouldn't want to miss. –Kastalia Medrano
Here's a helpful tip for traveling to Berlin: start your journey with a guided walking tour. The city of Berlin is rich in historical significance and visible reminders of Germany's past can be found on almost every corner. Familiarizing yourself quickly with the darker aspects of Berlin's history will provide you with a solid geographical and cultural foundation for the rest of your trip. Explore the Jewish District, visit the former site of the SS & Gestapo Headquarters at the Topography of Terror Museum, and pay your respects at the Holocaust Memorial. Although these experiences can be heavy and thought-provoking, remember that you are on your own, so there's no need to worry about your emotional reactions. Another must-visit location is the East Side Gallery, where you can witness the spectacular remnants of the Berlin Wall and catch a mesmerizing sunset at the Brandenburg Gate. Berlin is the city where historical events, which you've learned about in textbooks since adolescence, came to life, and connecting these dots will undoubtedly be a captivating experience.
In addition to its historical significance, Berlin is a treasure trove of museums and historical landmarks—making it an ideal city for first-time solo travelers. If you're hesitant about engaging in conversations with strangers, spend your days indulging in the city's culinary delights, such as the famous currywurst, while strolling between attractions. Visit places like Bauhaus-Archiv to admire items from Walter Gropius's iconic design school or head to Kulturforum, a complex of cultural buildings that houses the Neue Nationalgalerie—home to a collection of magnificent 20th-century paintings. To enjoy a panoramic view of the city, climb to the top of the Berlin Cathedral. Perhaps on your third or fourth night, you may even be lucky enough to make a peculiar friend who is as alone as you are. Invite them to dinner for a delicious doner kebab, and afterward, see if you can gain entry into Berghain, a notoriously exclusive club with a reputation for its strict door policy. If not, simply continue dancing to trance music until the early hours at another club whose name may escape you. This was my personal experience, at least. –Carrie Dennis
Photo courtesy of Destination Canada
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Whitehorse, located in the cold and isolated Yukon region of northwest Canada, offers a unique experience. Despite its small population of only 25,000 people, which is a fraction compared to the size of California, this city thrives on a strong sense of community. During my two-week stay, I quickly developed connections with the friendly locals, who went above and beyond to make me feel welcome. Within 24 hours of arriving, a person I barely knew came to my assistance, installing a Wi-Fi router in my accommodation and even inviting me to dinner at his house. Later on, he generously offered his car for me to use when I needed to go grocery shopping. The people of Whitehorse truly embody the spirit of hospitality and are always willing to lend a helping hand.
Besides the warmth of its residents, Whitehorse also provides numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and skiing during the winter months. The surrounding wilderness is untamed and offers breathtaking natural beauty, but it also comes with its challenges and risks. This is where the support of your newfound friends becomes invaluable. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, such as a twisted ankle in the middle of the wilderness, having someone to rely on can be a lifesaver. Additionally, it's worth noting that locals carry bear spray with them almost everywhere due to the presence of wildlife, particularly bears. –Lewis Kelly
Dubrovnik, known as one of Croatia's most popular tourist destinations, can sometimes be pricey. However, by exploring Croatia's Dalmatian coastline, you'll discover an abundance of affordable opportunities for indulging in wine, cheese, seafood, and sunbathing. It's possible to enjoy a luxurious experience without straining your finances. Traveling solo to this stunning location doesn't mean sacrificing comfort; you simply need to choose the right spot.
Take the time to savor the oysters in the ancient village of Ston, and don't miss the chance to swim in front of the Sea Organ in Zadar. This unique attraction transforms the waves into a beautifully haunting musical instrument, thanks to strategically hollowed-out marble steps descending into the water. In the town of Pag, treat yourself to a taste of what many consider the best sheep's cheese in the world. No matter where you end your day along the dazzling coastline, make sure to unwind at a local bar, enjoying a glass of the finest red wine while seeking recommendations from the bartender for the best swimming spots to visit the following day. Additionally, as Croatia has decriminalized marijuana, it wouldn't hurt to partake in a little weed if that's your preference. –Kastalia Medrano
From the vibrant streets of New York City to the breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park, these top destinations for solo travelers offer an extraordinary array of experiences. Whether you're seeking cultural immersion in Seville or adventure in the Whitehorse, there's something for everyone on this diverse list. Discover the charm of Harpers Ferry, the history of Athens, and the culinary delights of Belgium. From the ancient ruins of Morocco to the idyllic landscapes of Croatia, the world truly is your oyster. So pack your bags, embrace the freedom of solo travel, and let these incredible destinations be your guide to an unforgettable journey.
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