Best destinations for Traveling Solo
Are you someone who likes to discover the world on their own or just curious about it?
Solo travel is by no means a new phenomenon, but especially since the pandemic, the number of solo travelers is steadily increasing. It’s not hard to understand why. Traveling alone is empowering: you learn to trust yourself, enjoy your own company, and you can also completely focus on yourself and your own needs.
There are few things more liberating than being able to focus on what’s missing in your own life—whether it’s an adventure, a moment of relaxation, or a chance to break out of your comfort zone. When you travel alone, you’re also more flexible and have the luxury of being spontaneous in a way you can’t be in a group.
What do you dream of? Cycling around a gorgeous island with the salty breeze in your hair, heading for a picnic on a corner of that secret beach you heard about the night before? Joining a fellow music lover at a concert of a band you just discovered? Or sitting with a glass of wine on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city skyline and watching the other guests?
To get you thinking, we’ve put together our top destinations for solo travelers. Will 2024 be the year you try it?
Peace of mind
Formentera and Ibiza
With Ibiza’s history as a hippie paradise and hedonistic clubbing hotspot, it’s a place used to welcoming solo travelers. You can live the hermit life on the beach or join the crowd on the dance floor. But our top tip—after flying in—is to take the ferry to Formentera. The mix of Formentera’s tranquility and the more vibrant ambiance on Ibiza means you can have the best of both worlds. Why not rent a bike and spend your days exploring the island? At the far eastern end, La Mola lighthouse is considered by many to be Formentera’s most beautiful spot. This is where French author Jules Verne’s book Off on a Comet begins—a book you’ve probably packed with you. Architecture buffs can check out local architect Marià Castelló’s various projects on the island, before returning to Ibiza, checking into a bohemian hotel on the west coast and soaking in out-of-this-world sunsets.
For art without distractions
Few cities pack in as many impressions and emotions as New York. It’s a city where you can lose yourself—and discover yourself. But for solo travelers, it’s New York’s status as an art metropolis that is a strong selling point: the city is home to some of the world’s most prominent art spaces and galleries. This makes New York the perfect city for solo travelers, especially if you’re one of those people who dream of never having to rush through an art exhibition because your child, partner, or friend doesn’t appreciate art as much as you do. Of course, there are as many other reasons to visit New York as there are solo travelers—but the art on offer is perhaps the greatest in the world, and best experienced in person.
Spend a day (or two) at classic institutions like the Met or MoMa. Learn about exciting new artists at one of the galleries in the Meatpacking District. Or jump on the subway to Long Island and the Noguchi Museum, a stunning sculpture garden and art gallery dedicated to Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi.
Everything for the bon vivant
For the solo traveler who wants to get away to really indulge, Milan is the perfect destination. It’s a big city where most of the tourist attractions are within walking distance. Go shopping on Via Montenapoleone and the surrounding streets, one of the world’s best luxury fashion districts. But the greatest luxury in Italy is surely the ever delicious food, providing you stick to the local cuisine—and that’s not even mentioning the coffee. In Milan, solo travelers live a life of indulgence, and if you’re looking for a crowd in the evening, head to the Navigli area for a walk, a drink, and maybe a flirt. The next day, check into one of Milan’s luxury spas—why not try the stylish Armani Spa at the Armani Hotel?
Hiking, surfing, and friendly locals
Faro and the Algarve
For the nature and sports-minded solo traveler, Faro and the Algarve are a must. Here you can hike the incredibly beautiful red cliffs of Ponta da Piedade, and for surfers, Portugal is one of the best destinations in Europe to catch a wave. The sunny Portuguese culture is also wonderfully inviting, which is great for making new friends and spending your solo trip challenging yourself to try out new social settings. Take in a concert or hit the dance floor with the locals. Maybe you’ll meet up on the beach the next day!
3 tips for solo travelers
1. Take yourself on a date
Take a good book to a local café or restaurant and savor every bite while losing yourself in your book or just people watching.
2. Go for a run in the neighborhood
Sometimes it’s only when you explore a place on foot that you start to really get a feel for it. Lace up your running shoes and experience your new surroundings while invigorating your body and mind.
3. Make friends at a concert
The easiest way to make new friends when traveling alone is to challenge yourself to take part in a new social context. Go to a concert but leave your phone in your pocket and enjoy being surrounded by like-minded people. Say hello to someone you may have seen before but were afraid to say hello to, or make a connection by simply commenting on the music.
Text by Astra Wahllöf Olander