In case you haven’t noticed I’m primarily a solo female traveller. Over 4 years and 35 countries in, you can bet I get asked a lot of questions about travelling alone. One of the most common questions being what’s the best place for a first time solo female traveller.
Is there actually a best place? No, it’s dependent on your likes, travel style, and of course your experience. But all that aside, I’m always happy to provide some suggestions.
Personally, for first timers, I would recommend starting in Europe. It’s more ‘westernized’ than SE Asia or South America, meaning it’s different enough to guarantee an authentic travel experience without being a complete shock to the system. It’s popular with plenty of other travellers, making it easy for first time solo adventurers to make friends. And should something go wrong and you decide you absolutely can’t stand where you are anymore- there are plenty of other countries just a short (and often cheap) bus, train, or plane ride away.
So with that being said here are my top 5 picks of European countries perfect to ignite your wanderlust and kickstart your adventures as a solo female traveller. I’ve chosen these destinations based on my own experiences; taking into consideration safety, ease of meeting others and making friends, and helpfulness of locals. And, what I’m sure every wannabe solo female travellers are excited to hear, these are the places where I was harassed the least as a young woman travelling alone.
I’m probably a bit biased since Ireland was where I started, but the Emerald Isle will always be one of my top recommendations for all solo travellers. The pub life, which is accessible to everyone- including solo females, makes it one of the easiest places to fit in and meet people. The country is full of natural beauty, picturesque towns, and interesting history, and the Irish themselves are legendary for their friendliness. For more on why Ireland is perfect for solo travel read this.
Beautiful beaches, island sailing, waterfalls to swim in, and beautiful cities is part of what puts Croatia on this list. The party-life including the sail trips, music festivals, and of course island clubs make Croatia a hot spot for travellers around the world, which mean’s the country’s tourism industry in terms of public transportation, accommodation, and tours, is incredibly traveller friendly. I loved my time exploring Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and I don’t think I’ve ever felt safer as a solo female traveller than I did in Zadar.
Like Ireland, Scotland’s pub life is pretty legendary making it a great opportunity to get social. Edinburgh and Glasgow are also major student cities so there are plenty of activities going on, and budget friendly options available in terms of dining, transportation, and accommodation. The mix of medieval cities and rugged, natural beauty in the highlands makes it a great place to get the best of both worlds.
Austria, like the other destinations on this list, offers up an qual balance of beautiful cities and gorgeous landscapes. One of the best things about this European country though is that it is an attractive destination with plenty to do and see during every season. I personally loved being in Salzburg and Vienna during the holiday season, even though I was alone the Christmas markets and celebrations that take place throughout the country made me feel welcome everywhere I went.
Ok so I’m cheating a bit here, but I couldn’t pick just one. And while the Nordic countries may not be the most budget friendly destinatio, the safety here for female travellers is legendary. I wasn’t harassed once during my time in Stockholm, Copenhagen, or Helsinki; by men, beggars, or the typical European scammers. I felt comfortable going out by myself at night to take photos, and walked around by myself every day with no issues. Another bonus for the single ladies: the men are gorgeous!