I adore solo travelling. Whilst it’s not for everyone, with concerns about safety, or simply a desire for trusted company, for me the benefits outweigh any niggles. I love being able to wholeheartedly set my own agenda with no compromise. I take enormous pleasure from immersing myself into a new place, forced to rely on forging new connections. Most of all, I enjoy the solitude, reflection and freedom, whilst knowing that my support squad are just a WhatsApp away!
As such, I wanted to dive into some of my favourite solo travel cities in Europe and share with you why these are the best cities for solo travel in Europe to give you the confidence and inspiration to book that next trip. Remember – solo travel is about one person only: you. Make your trip exactly what you want it to be.
I think part of my heart lives permanently in Rome since I visited before (check out my Rome Guide Travel Advice). I found Rome to be an incredibly friendly city. Everyone I spoke to was wonderfully helpful and friendly, from hotel staff to waiting staff in every eatery I popped into. Rome is the third most visited city in Europe, so they are geared up for you. That is probably why Rome is the best solo city break in Europe for many people.
The Eternal City (and oh boy did the Romans get that right) will leave a mark on your heart. There’s something incredibly wonderful about standing alone in the city centre knowing that you are completely surrounded by colossal ancient remains and monuments. You’re in history here. Imagine yourself as a gladiator in the Colosseum or as a chariot-driver in the Circus Maximus. Or have a pensive moment in St Peter’s Basilica and at the Trevi Fountain.
If there’s even just the tiniest part of you that is a foodie, you’ll love Rome too. Of course, there’s Italian fare galore here with a decadent fill of pizza and pasta. In my experience, the lively atmosphere is also perfect for the solo traveller as you’ll feel welcome and part of everything that’s going on.
As I’ve said before about visiting Amsterdam, “I felt welcomed, safe and almost like I was in a home from home.” It’s for these reasons that I rate Amsterdam, undoubtedly, as one of the best cities in Europe for solo travel.
This 17th century capital is both bursting with history and wonderful architecture but also distinctly modern and vibrant. The museums are incredible and you’ll lose yourself for many an hour, whether you’re pondering Van Gogh or Anne Frank. But then you can hop on a boat tour of the canals or get yourself a bike for a native travel experience, and discover a very different side. You can satisfy yourself as a shopper in the city centre, or take it easy with a stroll through Vondelpark.
Also in Amsterdam, it seems that something is always happening, despite how laid back it is. From live music festivals to world-class events, there’s much to do. And it feels like everyone speaks English and wants to be your friend, so that’s great for solo travellers too!
Edinburgh is just a short hop for us Brits, wherever we are in the UK, and as such it makes a perfect city for a quick weekend getaway. If you’re new to solo travel, Edinburgh is a great starting point. It’s enough like home that you feel completely safe and secure with all the customs and culture.
Edinburgh is also a small and compact city, making it easy and definitely one of the safest cities in Europe to travel alone in. There’s plenty to do here and its intimate feel will ensure that it never feels lonely.
London has long held a reputation for being one of the best cities for solo travel in Europe. Whilst it may be huge compared to somewhere like Edinburgh, it’s highly connected and it never sleeps. This means that there’s always something to do or see, and your itinerary will be packed. Indeed, because there is so much to do in London, that’s why I urge you to visit alone. You can set the agenda and the pace, and get exactly what you want from this fabulous capital, rather than discovering a trip filled with compromises.
What’s great is that once you’ve mastered a solo trip to London you’ll find yourself going back again and again. Check out my suggestions for quirky things to do in London. What’s more, if you want to nab yourself a last minute trip to a West End show, that’s so much easier if there’s just one of you looking for a single seat!
I’ve also put together a hand-picked list of the best London hotels for solo travellers.
Ok, so Venice is one of those cities where I’d urge you to travel solo, even if you have a queue of travel companions lining up to join you. There’s something so utterly absorbing about a solo ride in a gondola, slowly savouring your chosen gelato, and then nipping in and out of the crowds on the Rialto Bridge.
What’s more, when it comes to Venice accommodation, you can find some truly remarkable gems if you are looking for a single spot.
One of the best cities to visit alone in Europe for a warm welcome is Reykjavik. It’s a small and compact city bursting with beauty. I’m desperate to go back for a longer visit, and as such planning a solo trip to complement my previous adventure when I visited Iceland in November.
I found the locals of Reykjavik incredibly friendly and keen to show off their wonderful city. It’s a really easy city to explore by foot and I promise it’s always easy to find your way again when you get pleasantly lost! Join up with a tour to visit Blue Lagoon whilst there for the perfect balance of company. If you’re planning a trip to the land of fire and ice, have a read of my Iceland travel guide.
For a hearty Bavarian welcome, and for a weekend diet of Bratwurst, beer and pretzels, Munich is calling you. Expect to be welcomed by lederhosen clad enthusiasts who will bowl you over with their live music, immersive markets and modern shops too. You’ll feel at ease in a beer hall whether there is one of you or twenty, because all previous friendships are left at the door and everyone is ready to become your friend now.
Munich has some distinctly different districts and you can explore each for a different feel. I really recommend grabbing yourself a spot in Marienplatz, ready for the clock’s antics, and watching the world go by for a good few hours.
Barcelona doesn’t need to work hard to make you fall in love with it. It’s as perfect for the solo traveller as any other place on my list. If you can though, avoid the peak of summer as whilst managing the crowds is easier alone, nabbing a bench and sending someone else to buy the drinks is harder!
It’s a vibrant city which you’ll find immersive. The architecture will bowl you over. Wandering the Gothic Quarter, dipping into the infamous Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, or marvelling at the aesthetics of the Casa Batllo, will be just some of the things you really want to do. If you have time, book an excursion to Montserrat – a monastery in the mountains with incredible vistas; as a solo traveller it will feel more like a pilgrimage.
Of course, Florence is often hailed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As it’s so set up for tourists I definitely rank it as one of the best cities to visit solo in Europe. If you can only visit one part of Tuscany, it has to be Florence.
What’s remarkable about Florence is that you feel like you are part of living history – from the Renaissance! From the Ponte Vecchio to the Cathedral, there’s simply so much to see and do. I urge you to intentionally get lost though, by wandering away from the main tourist route. Dipping across different bridges, you’ll discover tiny art galleries and plentiful parks, ensuring a different view of this infamous city.
Vienna is just as renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so I’m popping it here on my list. The wonderful coffee house culture makes it absolutely perfect for the solo traveller, and you’ll want to enjoy your slice of apfelstrudel with your favourite hot drink as you watch Viennese life unfold around you.
You can’t visit Vienna without being aware of the dominating influence of the Hofburg Palace complex. I recommend experiencing it uniquely by attending Sunday Mass where you can listen to the choir boys sing, or by watching the equine ballet by the Lipizzaner stallions. Make sure you pack comfy shoes as you’ll be pounding museum after museum too. However, never leave Vienna without experiencing some incredible music showcasing the likes of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss or Brahms.
Frequently winning the accolade of happiest city in the world, you’ve got to visit Copenhagen. This strikingly pretty seaside city immerses you in Nordic life and culture with ease. Grab yourself a bike (it’s the easiest way to travel) and discover Copenhagen like a local.
Head to Nyhaven (the brightly coloured houses you’ll recognise from pictures) and have a fun hour snapping away vibrant shots to cheer yourself up. When you’ve had your fill of houses, castles, parks, gardens and cycling, treat yourself to a Danish pastry.
The Irish are rightly famed for their friendly and jovial welcome, so as a single traveller you’ll soon have a raft of new friends in Dublin. What Dublin lacks in the attractiveness-stakes, it makes up for with its character and heart.
Walking tours are a great way to get to know a city, and I really recommend joining one for Dublin, as it is small enough that you won’t be left exhausted. Of course, at the end of the day, the pub will be a-calling you and you can expect to feel right at home the minute you order your pint of Guinness.
The Hungarian capital, Budapest, is often overlooked when it comes to ‘top’ and ‘best’ lists and it really, really, shouldn’t be. It’s awash with history and this is on display in remarkable beauty, grandeur and majesty pretty much everywhere you look. Centred on the Danube, Budapest is an eminently beautiful city. It’s got a diverse and fascinating culture, and welcomes visitors from all over the world.
If you get time, head over the Danube to Buda to visit Fisherman’s Bastion and Castle Hill for elevated views of the city.
Unless you adore the heat, visit Seville in the spring or autumn, when you can expect a balmy sunny city break.
Seville is small which makes it perfect for the solo traveller. However, it packs a punch with incredible Renaissance, Gothic and Mudejar architecture. Find yourself flitting between Baroque churches, Roman ruins and a flamenco experience that will take a hold of your soul.
As an individual, ambling through the little streets of Barrio Santa Cruz is a really pleasurable experience. And when the evening comes, find a terrace bar which gives you the iconic views of the rooftops and cathedral that you’re looking for.
Moscow offers the solo traveller something utterly unique and different. It may feel like a difficult city to visit alone, because of its alien-to-us alphabet and communist brutalism etched into our younger minds, but you’ll be surprised at how easy and welcoming this incredible place is.
Moscow is impressive. That’s what you come for: to be impressed. And you will be. Standing in Red Square gazing on the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral, you’ll suddenly discover you’ve lost all sense of time.
Expect your senses to be bowled over in Moscow. If you can, get tickets to the ballet or another performance at the Bolshoi Theatre – it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Have you visited any of these remarkable cities as a solo traveller? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments, or get in touch on social media!
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