The Best Cities to Travel Alone

The Best Cities to Travel Alone
Photo by Atlas Green / Unsplash

Solo travel is more popular than ever as the world becomes more connected and accessible. While travelling with friends and family is enjoyable, there is something special about venturing out and exploring new places at your own pace. On the other hand, choosing the right place for solo travel is critical to having a good and safe journey.

In this post, we'll look at the finest cities for solo travelers, considering criteria like safety, ease of navigation, language hurdles, affordability, and social scene. We'll go in-depth on the best five cities that offer unique experiences for solo travelers and recommendations on how to stay safe and make the most of your time there.

Whether you're a seasoned solo traveller or embarking on your first solo adventure, this article will give you the inspiration and information you need to make your trip memorable. So pack your bags, get your passport, and join me as we explore the most significant cities to travel alone.

Factors to consider when choosing a city for solo travel

Aside from safety, there are several factors to consider when selecting a city for solo travel. Here are some other considerations:

A. Ease of navigation: Consider the city's public transit alternatives, such as buses, trains, and subways, and the convenience of renting a car or bike. If you intend to walk, ensure that the city is pedestrian-friendly and that streets and landmarks are well-marked.

B. Language barriers: If you don't speak the local language, try visiting cities with a high concentration of English speakers or areas where English is widely spoken. You can also learn some simple words in the local language to help you get by.

C. Budget: Consider the cost of lodging, meals, transportation, and attractions in the city you intend to visit. Look for budget-friendly options like hostels or Airbnbs and for free or low-cost activities to participate in.

D. Social scene: If you want to meet other travellers or locals, explore towns with a thriving social scene. Look for cities that have vibrant nightlife, social activities, or cultural festivals.

By considering these characteristics, you may select a city that suits your goals and interests as a single traveler, whether you want a low-cost experience, an easy-to-navigate location, or a place to meet new people and experience diverse cultures.

Top 5 cities for solo travel

01. Tokyo, Japan

Photo by Jezael Melgoza / Unsplash

Tokyo is usually recognised as one of the world's safest cities, making it an excellent choice for lone travellers. The Japanese are noted for their strong commitment to rules and social conventions, contributing to the city's sense of order and safety. Tokyo's crime rate is low compared to other large cities worldwide, and violent crime is incredibly uncommon.

Aside from low crime rates, Tokyo has a well-developed public transport system that is simple to use, even for non-Japanese speakers. The city's train and underground systems are exceptionally efficient and dependable, allowing single travellers to travel effortlessly and swiftly without fear of being lost or stranded.

Furthermore, Tokyo has a strong culture of hospitality and politeness, with locals frequently going out of their way to assist tourists in navigating the city. This is incredibly comforting for solo travellers worried about travelling in an unfamiliar city alone.

Tokyo is a city rich in history and culture, and numerous unique experiences are available for solitary travellers looking to immerse themselves in Japanese culture. Here are some of the best cultural experiences to think about:

Visit a traditional Japanese tea house: There are several conventional Japanese tea houses in Tokyo where visitors can experience the art of tea ceremony. These tea rooms are typically located in lovely gardens or parks and provide a calm reprieve from the city's hustle and bustle.

Explore the temples and shrines: Tokyo is home to many historic temples and shrines, such as Senso-ji and Meiji Jingu, that allow visitors to learn about Japanese spirituality and architecture. These locations, frequently surrounded by lovely gardens, are an excellent way to learn more about Japanese history and culture.

Watch a traditional performance: Tokyo has a thriving arts scene, and there are numerous opportunities to see standard Japanese versions such as kabuki, noh, and bunraku. These events, which are frequently staged in old theatres, allow guests to witness the beauty and grace of traditional Japanese arts.

Try traditional Japanese cuisine: Tokyo is a foodie's dream, with endless options to sample classic Japanese fares like sushi, tempura, and ramen. Many restaurants in Tokyo offer unique and innovative twists on traditional dishes, making it an excellent foodie destination.

Investigate Japanese pop culture: Tokyo is known for its thriving pop culture scene, with anime, manga, and video games all playing essential roles in Japanese culture. Solo visitors can see this side of Tokyo by visiting Akihabara and Harajuku, noted for their unique apparel and bright energy.

Shibuya and Shinjuku are two of Tokyo's most popular and iconic neighbourhoods, and they are must-see sites for single travellers looking to experience the city's vitality and excitement. Here's a quick rundown of each location and some of the must-see attractions:

Shibuya is a lively neighbourhood noted for its fashion, nightlife, and well-known pedestrian crossing. Shibuya Crossing is one of the busiest junctions in the world and a favourite site for people-watching and snapping photos. Other popular Shibuya attractions include the Hachiko Statue, a bronze statue of a dog symbolising loyalty and a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike.

Shibuya 109 is a prominent shopping mall with contemporary fashion and accessories for young women.

Centre Gai: a busy pedestrian strip containing stores, restaurants, and pubs for young people.

Shinjuku: Another bustling neighbourhood famed for its entertainment, shopping, and food is Shinjuku. It has one of the busiest train stations in the world and serves as a transit centre in Tokyo. Shinjuku's significant attractions include the following:

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building: a skyscraper with an observation deck that provides panoramic city views.

Golden Gai is a network of narrow alleyways lined with small pubs and eateries that provide a taste of the city's nightlife.

Kabukicho is a red-light district with several restaurants, bars, and shops. It is well-known for its dynamic energy and atmosphere.

Overall, Shibuya and Shinjuku are two of Tokyo's most fascinating and vibrant neighbourhoods, and they provide solitary travellers with an opportunity to experience the city's distinct energy and culture.

02. Berlin, Germany

View over the River Spree to Nikolaiviertel and Alexanderplatz. The Nikolaiviertel is the reconstructed historical heart of the German capital Berlin. The Nikolaikirche (Saint Nicholas Church) gives its name to the neighbourhood five minutes away from Alexanderplatz. The Alexanderplatz is a large public square and transport hub in the central Mitte district of Berlin, near the Fernsehturm the Rotes Rathaus, the town hall of Berlin.
Photo by Stefan Widua / Unsplash

Berlin is well-known for its dynamic nightlife and entertainment scene, making it an ideal location for solitary travellers looking to participate in various cultural events after dark. Here are a few of the main reasons Berlin is famous for its nightlife:

Clubs and Bars: There are numerous nightclubs and bars in Berlin that appeal to various preferences and music styles. There's something for everyone, from techno clubs like Berghain and Watergate to jazz clubs like A-Trane and B-Flat. Bars and pubs are also standard in Berlin, with bustling bar scenes in many historic and trendy neighbourhoods like Kreuzberg, Neukölln, and Friedrichshain.

Berlin's streets are covered with colourful street art and graffiti, making it an excellent location for lone travellers exploring the city's artistic side after dark. Street art and graffiti scenes are particularly prominent in areas such as the East Side Gallery and the Friedrichshain neighbourhood.

Concerts and Theatre: Berlin boasts a vibrant music and theatre culture, with several venues offering concerts, operas, and theatre plays throughout the week. The Berlin Philharmonic, the Deutsche Oper, and the Volksbühne are all popular venues.

Festivals & Events: Berlin holds several festivals and events throughout the year, many of which take place after dark. The Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), the Fête de la Musique, and the Berlin Art Week are just a few of the city's many cultural events.

Berlin's nightlife and entertainment scene are known for their diversity and innovation. It is a must-see destination for solitary travellers looking to experience the city's unique spirit and culture after dark.

Berlin has a rich history and is essential for those interested in culture and politics. Here are some of the main reasons why Berlin is a popular destination for history and culture buffs:

The Berliner Mauer: The Berlin Wall represented the Cold War and the separation of Germany into East and West. Today, remnants of the wall can be seen throughout the city. Many museums and memorials, such as the Berlin Wall Memorial and the East Side Gallery, provide historical insight.

World War II and the Holocaust: Berlin was the site of several significant events during World War II and the Holocaust, and numerous museums and memorials commemorated these events, such as the Holocaust Memorial, the Topography of Terror, and the German-Russian Museum.

Museums and Galleries: Berlin has approximately 175 museums and galleries ranging from classical art to modern culture. The Pergamon Museum, the Berlinische Galerie, and the Jewish Museum Berlin are famous museums.

Political and Cultural Movements: Throughout history, Berlin has been the epicentre of numerous political and cultural movements, including student protests in the 1960s and punk and techno movements in the 1980s and 1990s. The city remains a centre for artistic and cultural expression, with numerous festivals and events held throughout the year.

Berlin's history and relevance make it an essential destination for cultural and political travellers. The city's museums, memorials, and landmarks provide insight into some of the twentieth century's most meaningful events. At the same time, its dynamic cultural scene attracts artists, musicians, and creatives worldwide.

Berlin has numerous different and active neighbourhoods with distinct personalities and attractions. Here are two of the most popular areas to visit for visitors:

Kreuzberg: Kreuzberg's lively and diverse neighbourhood is recognised for its alternative culture, street art, and nightlife. It has a substantial Turkish population, which has helped create the food scene in the neighbourhood, with several outstanding Turkish restaurants and markets. The bars and clubs on Oranienstrasse are trendy, and Görlitzer Park is a favourite site for picnics and leisure.

Mitte: Mitte is Berlin's central neighbourhood, home to several of the city's most popular attractions, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and Museum Island. It features a combination of old and modern buildings, as well as a plethora of stylish restaurants, cafes, and stores. The nightclubs and art galleries around the Rosenthaler Platz neighbourhood are trendy.

Kreuzberg and Mitte are just two of Berlin's many exciting neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its distinct ambience and attractions, making it simple for solitary travelers to choose something that suits their interests and tastes.

03. Melbourne, Australia

While on a stroll through Melbourne I snapped this pic on the streets of some people going about their business. I really like the mood in this pic, the subtle movement in the foreground and the overall lighting. It just started to get dark outside so I could still take pictures handheld with a decent shutterspeed.
Photo by Steven Groeneveld / Unsplash

Melbourne, Australia, has a well-deserved reputation as a welcoming city for solo travellers. Here are a few of the main reasons why Melbourne is a popular destination for solo travellers:

Melbourne is known for its friendly and welcoming locals, who are often willing to help visitors navigate the city and recommend places to visit. Solo travellers can relax knowing they can ask locals for assistance or advice if necessary.

Safety: With low crime rates and a well-policed city centre, Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the world. Even at night, solo travellers can feel comfortable exploring the city on foot.

Melbourne has an extensive public transport system that is both easy to use and reasonably priced. The trams, buses, and trains in the city are excellent ways for solo travellers to get around and explore different neighbourhoods.

Melbourne is well-known for its diverse and high-quality food and beverage scene. From world-class coffee shops and brunch spots to fine dining restaurants and trendy bars, solo travellers can indulge in various activities.

Cultural Events: Throughout the year, Melbourne hosts various cultural events, ranging from music festivals like the Melbourne International Jazz Festival to cultural celebrations like the Chinese New Year Festival. These events allow solo travellers to meet new people and learn about the city's culture.

Melbourne is a welcoming city for solo travellers due to its friendly locals, safety, public transport, food and drink scene, and cultural events. It's no surprise that Melbourne is a popular destination for solo adventurers worldwide, with so much to see and do.

Due to its small size and ease of navigation, Reykjavik, Iceland, is an excellent choice for solo travellers. Here are a few of the main reasons why Reykjavik is a perfect choice for solo travellers:

Compact Size: With a population of around 130,000, Reykjavik is a small city that is easy to explore on foot. Solo visitors can easily walk around the city centre and see all of the major attractions, including the iconic Hallgrimskirkja church and the colourful houses of the Old Town.

Reykjavik also has a dependable and reasonably priced public transport system for those who prefer to avoid walking. The city buses run regularly and cover most of the city, including the suburbs.

Safety: With low crime rates and a high standard of living, Iceland is consistently ranked as one of the safest countries in the world. Even when walking around at night, solo travellers can feel safe and secure in Reykjavik.

Outdoor Activities: Reykjavik is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, and there are numerous outdoor activities for solo travellers to enjoy, including hiking and horseback riding, as well as whale watching and Northern Lights tours. Many of these activities are available for booking through local tour companies or the city's tourist information centre.

Reykjavik is an ideal destination for solo travellers due to its small size, easy navigation, safety, and abundance of outdoor activities. With so much to see and do in this unique and beautiful city, solo travellers can quickly fill their days with adventures and exploration.

Melbourne has a well-known coffee culture and food scene, making it a must-see destination for foodies and coffee enthusiasts. Here are a few highlights of Melbourne's coffee culture and food scene:

Melbourne is well-known for its coffee culture, with a thriving cafe scene that rivals any other city worldwide. Many speciality coffee shops can be found in the town, and locals take their coffee seriously, preferring artisanal, single-origin beans and pour-over brewing methods. Solo travellers can quickly lose track of time in cosy cafes, sipping coffee and people-watching.

Food Markets: Melbourne has a thriving food market scene with numerous options. Queen Victoria Market is the city's largest and oldest market, offering a diverse selection of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and baked goods. South Melbourne Market, Prahran Market, and Dandenong Market are famous.

Brunch: Melbourne is well-known for its brunch scene, with numerous cafes and restaurants serving inventive and delectable breakfast and brunch fare. Higher Ground, Top Paddock, and Hardware Societe are popular brunch spots.

Melbourne's multicultural population has resulted in a diverse and exciting food scene, with a wide range of international cuisine available throughout the city. There's something for everyone's taste buds, from Vietnamese pho to Greek souvlaki to Middle Eastern shawarma.

Melbourne also has a thriving fine dining scene, with many world-renowned chefs operating restaurants in the city. Attica, Vue de Monde, and Lûmé are notable fine dining establishments.

Melbourne's coffee culture and food scene provide many options for solo travellers. Melbourne is a foodie's paradise, with everything from cosy cafes to bustling food markets to fine dining restaurants.

Whether you're travelling alone or with a group, Melbourne has no shortage of popular attractions that are well worth a visit. Here are two of Melbourne's most popular attractions:

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew: The Royal Botanic Gardens is a sprawling oasis in Melbourne's heart that provides a peaceful respite from the city's hustle and bustle. The gardens cover 38 hectares and include numerous lakes, walking paths, picnic areas, and a diverse collection of plants and flowers. Within the gardens, there are also several cafes and restaurants.

Federation Square: Federation Square is a bustling public space in Melbourne's central business district that hosts various cultural events and activities throughout the year. It has distinctive architecture, with a blend of modern and historic structures. It is home to several museums and galleries, including the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and the Centre for the Moving Image. The square also contains several restaurants and bars.

Overall, Melbourne has much to offer solo visitors, from natural oases like the Royal Botanic Gardens to bustling public spaces like Federation Square. With so much to see and do in Melbourne, staying entertained and engaged on a solo trip is easy.

04. Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceberg reflection in Jökulsárlón
Photo by Jeremy Bishop / Unsplash

Reykjavik is Iceland's capital and largest city, but it is still relatively small by international standards, with just over 130,000 people. Because of its small size and ease of navigation, it is an ideal destination for solo travellers exploring independently. Here are some of the reasons:

Reykjavik is a very walkable city, with many of its main attractions within a few blocks of each other. As a result, solo visitors can easily explore the city on foot, taking in the charming architecture, street art, and local flavour.

While walking is the preferred mode of transportation for many solo travellers in Reykjavik, the city also has a dependable and reasonably priced bus system. The buses run frequently, and tickets can be purchased on board or at one of the city's many convenience stores.

Reykjavik is one of the world's safest cities, with low crime rates and a friendly, welcoming population. This means that solo travelers can feel safe and secure even at night while exploring the city.

While many solo travelers prefer to explore independently, Reykjavik also has various tour options for those who prefer a guided experience. These tours are a great way to learn about the city's history, culture, and natural beauty while meeting other travelers.

Reykjavik's small size and ease of navigation make it an ideal destination for independent travelers. It's easy to see why Reykjavik has become such a popular solo travel destination, with a walkable city Centre, dependable public transportation, and a welcoming and safe environment.

Reykjavik is located in one of the world's most naturally beautiful areas, with a unique landscape that provides a variety of outdoor activities for solo travelers. Here are a few of the best outdoor activities in Reykjavik:

Whale Watching: Reykjavik is one of the best places on the planet to go whale watching, with several tour companies offering daily excursions into the nearby North Atlantic waters. Visitors can see whales of all kinds, including humpback, minke, blue whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

Hot Springs: Iceland is well-known for its hot springs, and Reykjavik has several excellent options. The most notable is the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa just outside town that provides a relaxing and rejuvenating experience in a stunning natural setting. The Secret Lagoon and Reykjadalur Hot Springs are two other famous hot springs.

National Parks: Reykjavik is surrounded by several national parks and natural reserves, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Thingvellir National Park. Hiking, camping, and wildlife watching are just a few outdoor activities available in these areas.

Finally, Reykjavik is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, which are caused by the interaction of charged particles from the sun with the Earth's atmosphere. Visitors can take guided tours to see the lights or go out on their own to see this incredible sight.

Reykjavik's natural beauty and outdoor activities make it an ideal destination for solo travellers looking to explore the great outdoors. Reykjavik has something for everyone, whether you're looking for a relaxing spa experience, an up-close encounter with whales, or a chance to see the Northern Lights.

Many popular attractions in Reykjavik are must-sees for solo travellers. Here are a few of the most well-known:

The Blue Lagoon: The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa about an hour's drive from Reykjavik. The milky blue waters are mineral-rich and have healing properties. Visitors can unwind in the warm waters, get a massage or a facial, and explore the nearby lava fields.

Hallgrimskirkja: Hallgrimskirkja is a beautiful church in the centre of Reykjavik. The church is one of the city's most recognisable landmarks, with its distinctive design inspired by the basalt columns of Iceland. Visitors can lift to the tower's top for panoramic city views.

The Harpa Concert Hall is a stunning piece of architecture that houses the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Icelandic Opera. The structure comprises thousands of glass panels that reflect the surrounding landscape and illuminate the interior.

The Sun Voyager: The Sun Voyager is a sculpture located on the waterfront of Reykjavik. The statue symbolises hope, progress, and freedom and is a popular photo location for solo travelers.

The Reykjavik Art Museum is one of the city's top cultural attractions, housing a modern and contemporary art collection by Icelandic and international artists. The museum is divided into three locations throughout the town, each showcasing a different collection aspect.

Overall, Reykjavik has a diverse range of attractions for solo travelers, ranging from breathtaking natural landmarks like the Blue Lagoon to cultural institutions like the Reykjavik Art Museum. Reykjavik has something for everyone, whether you're into art, architecture, or outdoor adventure.

05.  Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon Cityscape Sunset
Photo by Andreas Brücker / Unsplash

Lisbon, Portugal's capital, has long been a popular destination for solo travellers. Here are some of the reasons:

Lisbon is well-known for its safety, with low levels of violent crime and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The city is well-lit and well-policed, so solo travellers can feel safe walking around late at night.

Affordability: Lisbon is also known as a budget-friendly destination. While prices have risen recently, the city remains reasonably priced compared to other European capitals. Solo travellers will find affordable lodging, food, and activities, making it an ideal destination for those on a tight budget.

Walkability: Because Lisbon is a small city, many of its top attractions are within walking distance of one another. Solo visitors can easily explore the city on foot, taking in the sights and sounds at their own pace.

Cultural Diversity: With influences from Africa, Asia, and the Americas, Lisbon is a cultural melting pot. The city's food, music, and art scenes reflect this diversity, making it an intriguing destination for solo travellers interested in experiencing different cultures.

Lisbon has diverse architectural styles, from mediaeval castles to modernist structures. The city's vibrant neighbourhoods are filled with beautiful designs, many adorned with colourful tiles known as azulejos.

Lisbon is a safe and affordable destination with a distinct history, culture, and architecture mix. Without breaking the bank, solo travellers can easily navigate the city on foot, explore its diverse neighbourhoods, and indulge in its delicious food and wine.

Lisbon has a rich history and culture shaped by its location at the mouth of the Tagus River and its centuries-long importance as a centre of trade and exploration. Here are a few cultural highlights from the city:

Fado Music: Fado is a traditional Portuguese form of music that is especially popular in Lisbon. The music is distinguished by mournful melodies and lyrics that frequently address love, loss, and longing themes. Many of the city's restaurants and bars host live Fado performances, allowing solo travellers to immerse themselves in an authentic cultural experience.

Historic Neighbourhoods: Lisbon has several historic neighbourhoods, each with its distinct personality. For example, Alfama is known for its winding streets and colourful houses, whereas Bairro Alto is known for its nightlife and live music venues. Solo visitors can spend hours walking through these neighbourhoods, taking in the city's sights, sounds, and smells.

Museums: There are several excellent museums in Lisbon, including the National Museum of Ancient Art, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, and the Museum of Lisbon. These museums highlight the city's rich history and culture with collections ranging from ancient artefacts to contemporary art.

Architecture: Lisbon has a diverse range of architectural styles, from the Gothic splendour of the Jerónimos Monastery to the modernist lines of the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown. Solo visitors can admire the unique features of each building as they walk or take the tram around the city's many architectural gems.

Food and Wine: Lisbon has a thriving food and wine scene, serving everything from seafood stews to custard tarts. Solo visitors can sample these delectable treats at local restaurants and cafes and visit the city's numerous wine bars and cellars.

Lisbon has a rich history and culture shaped by its location, architecture, food, and wine. Solo visitors can immerse themselves in this culture by exploring the city's historic neighbourhoods, visiting museums and galleries, and listening to famous Fado music.

Certainly! Here are some of the most famous sights in Lisbon, Portugal:

The Belem Tower (Torre de Belem) is a 16th-century tower on the Tagus River's banks. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Lisbon's most famous landmarks.

Alfama is a historic neighbourhood with narrow streets, colourful houses, and stunning city views. It is well-known for its Fado music, traditional Portuguese restaurants, and the famous So Jorge Castle.

The Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) is a 15th-century monastery close to the Belem Tower. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with intricate architecture and lovely gardens.

Castelo de So Jorge - a mediaeval castle in the Alfama district. It provides panoramic views of the city and insight into Lisbon's history.

Praça do Comércio is a large square near the Tagus River. It's famous for its grand arch and breathtaking river and city views.

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of Europe's largest aquariums in the Parque das Naçes neighbourhood. It is home to diverse marine life, including sharks, rays, and penguins.

Rossio Square (Praça Dom Pedro IV) is a popular meeting spot in the centre of Lisbon. It has a lovely fountain surrounded by shops, restaurants, and historic structures.

Chiado is a trendy neighbourhood with upscale shops, cafes, and theatres. It is well-known for its vibrant atmosphere and cultural events.

The National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo) is devoted to the art of ceramic tiles, or azulejos, which are an essential part of Portuguese culture and history.

Bairro Alto is a vibrant neighbourhood known for its nightlife, with a diverse selection of bars, restaurants, and clubs. It's also an excellent location for viewing street art and learning about the city's alternative culture.

Travelling alone can be a rewarding and life-changing experience, and many cities worldwide are ideal for solo travellers. There are cities to suit every taste and budget, from Bangkok's vibrant nightlife to Melbourne's laid-back charm.

Tokyo, Berlin, Lisbon, Melbourne, and Reykjavik are among the best cities for solo travel. These cities provide a unique combination of history, culture, nightlife, and natural beauty and numerous opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.

Travelling alone can be frightening at first, but it can also be extraordinarily liberating and empowering. Solo travellers can discover new places, try new things, and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them with careful planning and an open mind.

So, if you're considering travelling alone, don't be afraid to take the plunge and see the world alone. The best cities for solo travel are waiting to be discovered if you have the right mindset and a sense of adventure.