Lonely Planet's top ten destinations for tourists traveling alone
When it comes to perfecting the art of solo travel, the most important element to consider is choosing the correct place. Whether you're going on an epic multicountry journey or enjoying an impulsive city break, certain destinations are more suited for solo travelers than others. Here are some suggestions. When it comes to vacation spots, there are those that cater to those seeking seclusion, and others where vacationers are naturally grouped together, making it simple to meet new people.
To top it all off, singles-only travel locations can be found in every part of the world, making it possible to go on a solo vacation in the depths of winter just as readily as you can go on one in the height of summer. Here are ten places that are guaranteed to appeal to lone travelers, categorized by interest. This list of destinations is sure to set your solo travel experience off to a good start, whether you're looking for raves, leisure, hiking, or sightseeing opportunities.
South America: best for solo adventure
With mountains to climb, rivers to raft, ancient sites to find and jungles to explore, South America is the perfect adventure vacation. And the northern hemisphere's winter is South America's summer — the best time to explore Patagonia and the Andes. From well-trodden roads in Argentina, Chile and Brazil to pristine forest tracks in Ecuador and Colombia, the continent provides something for every style of traveller. You'll surely never lack for company on the journey to Machu Picchu!
Don’t let the continent's immensity daunt you — with simple border crossings and well-established visitor centers, South America is great for solo overlanding. The well-worn Gringo Trail, which takes in the continent’s most popular attractions, promises repeated reunions with fellow explorers and many opportunity to buddy up with tourists travelling in the same direction. This, along with the overall kindness of local people and the continent’s top hostel network, makes solo travel effortless.
Ubud, Indonesia: best for self-reflection
Whether you liked or despised Elizabeth Gilbert’s famous solo travel novel Eat, Pray, Love, there’s no disputing that Bali has a certain enchantment. The island's creative and spiritual heart, Ubud, is where the author found love (and presumably ate and prayed) and it remains a delightfully laid-back spot for single travelers to unwind, think and recharge. And Bali is a year-round destination — summer is prime season, but the island has a quieter and calmer appeal in winter.
Nestled among emerald rice fields surrounding by mist-wrapped mountains, Ubud attracts multitudes of single travelers, meaning no prying eyes if you arrive alone at a morning yoga session or ask for a table for one in one of the town’s salubrious vegetarian cafés. To fully harness the therapeutic potential of Ubud (and for some serious isolation), check yourself into one of the many health resorts that dot the green hills around town.
Berlin: Best for nightlife
Some claim you are more likely to get into Berghain, the most famous nightclub in Berlin, if you arrive alone. Whether or if that’s the case, the rumor highlights the German capital’s inherent liking for single visitors. Legions of solitary citybreakers are lured by Berlin's merited reputation as one of the nicest, most accepting cities in Europe, and by its legendary nightlife.
Berlin is one of the greatest cities in Europe to party, providing a selection of huge clubs and graffiti-spattered beer gardens, but going partying is only one of many things to do in Berlin. Thought-provoking history surrounds you from the minute you arrive, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Holocaust Memorial, while quirky cafés, chic shops, weekend flea markets and a rising food-truck culture give more leisurely joys. Berlin is an easy area to travel alone, or join a walking tour for some companionship.
East Africa: best for a group tour
Have you always dreamed of watching gorillas in the forests of Rwanda, visiting a Maasai chief in Kenya or spotting the “Big Five” in Tanzania, but were overwhelmed by the practicalities of tackling East Africa independently? A group trip may simplify the experience of visiting this gorgeous corner of the globe, and provide a buffer for the occasionally hard challenges Africa can throw at first-timers.
East Africa’s tourism infrastructure is well developed and traveling solo in most countries here is quite achievable (particularly in Kenya and Tanzania), but joining a group tour means you can bundle together a string of big game-viewing safaris in multiple countries, without getting hit by additional lone traveler charges or facing the daunting prospect of arranging multiple tours and transport.
Best of all, tours in these bucket-list destinations draw a broad set of visitors, meaning you’re far less likely to be the only solo traveler trapped between canoodling couples, or the lone 20-something in a bus full of empty-nesters.
Singapore: best for solo stopover
With all manner of cultural attractions to explore, a growing collection of hostels and guesthouses, loads of free things to do, and one of the world’s best public transport systems (including excellent airport links), there are few more stress-free solo travel experiences than landing at Singapore's award-winning Changi airport on a tropical afternoon.
Whether you prefer to amble with an audio tour through the Chinatown Heritage Centre, gawp at the surreal Gardens by the Bay, plunge into a luxury rooftop pool, or join the throng dining in Singapore's hawker food courts, the city is well suited to solitary travel. An extra plus is the city's cosmopolitan mentality — residents don't bat an eyelid at the daily flow of international tourists, and there are few problems and frauds to worry about.
Rome, Italy: bestt for culture
From ancient monuments such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to the towering masterpiece of Renaissance architecture that is St Peter’s Basilica, Rome’s cityscape is a colorful canvas of creative flair, architectural astonishment and historical miracles. Whether you’re here for two days or two months, there's so much to see that there's little possibility of being bored.
Though English is not as frequently spoken as in some European nations, it’s impossible to feel lonely among the 14 million other tourists who visit this cultural hotspot each year. And solitary eating means you just have to worry about keeping one taste satisfied in Rome's wonderful eateries. But don’t jam too much into your agenda, since Rome rewards leisure; socializing with strangers over a glass of vino at dusk is an important activity in The Eternal City.
Portland, Oregon: best for city break
One of the USA's hippest cities, Portland has all the cultural benefits of a large metropolis, but the down-home closeness of a small town. This welcoming approach reverberates in the town’s urban vineyards, microbreweries and coffee cafes, where conversation flows quicker than the beverages can be served. And with its patchwork of modest, friendly communities, it's simple to learn this easy-going city one district at a time.
There’s more to this stronghold of counterculture than its enjoyment of a good chinwag, with a range of wacky attractions displaying its odd bent, from a museum dedicated to vacuum cleaners to an urban herd of goats. It’s also a snap to traverse, with efficient public transit and a popular bike-share program. And while Portland is famed for its artisan restaurants, a more convivial – and definitely more fun – way to dine is at the city’s 500-or-so street food carts.
Chiang Mai, Thailand: best for cuisine
It's a close-run thing, but for solo foodie travel, one place rises above all others for travelers who view the world through the prism of a knife and fork. The capital of northern Thailand – and once the center of an independent kingdom – Chiang Mai offers the entire Thai package in one compact location: stellar food, rich culture, ancient ruins, responsible elephant encounters, relaxed nightlife and an easy-going traveler scene that's easy to plug into.
Every time of day is snack time in Chiang Mai. From the city's excellent northern Thai restaurants to its fun-filled and chaotic night markets and hole-in-the-wall eateries offering the city's famed kow soi soup, the city always has a fork or spoon in hand. What makes Chiang Mai especially appropriate to lone travelers is its plethora of culinary schools - fantastic locations to meet new people and learn how to cook up a perfect bowl of phat thai, green curry or hot and sour tom yam soup.
Caye Caulker, Belize: excellent for an island escape
Enchanting atolls aren’t reserved for newlyweds. Pastel-hued, car-free Caye Caulker has traditionally been a popular spot for solitary travelers because to its modest size and easy-going, backpacker-friendly ethos, which draws a calm, multinational clientele in pursuit of a less marketed piece of paradise.
It’s easy to waste days relaxing at The Split, the island’s best beach, but there are plenty of other things on offer, from snorkeling and diving on teeming reefs to kayaking to lesser-visited portions of the island while keeping a beady eye out for crocodiles.
Join other visitors at local reggae bars during the afternoon happy hour before enjoying Creole-style street cuisine around dark. What's undoubtedly the biggest blessing of solo travel? You don’t have to share your shrimp and swordfish supper!
East Coast Australia: best for road-tripping
It would actually be challenging to tour the East Coast of Australia alone. So many visitors follow the twisting stretch of road that runs from Sydney to Cairns that isolation is sometimes harder to find than camaraderie. For tourists in quest of natural beauty, superb infrastructure, plentiful excursions and group activities and wild late-night celebration, there are few destinations to equal it.
But it’s not simply the good-time mood that makes this stretch of beach so magnificent. The traditional road trip route is filled with bucket-list sites, from lolling on Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach to meandering through the ancient Daintree Rainforest or blowing bubbles on the Great Barrier Reef. Consider hiring a car to explore — the most memorable moments will likely come from interactions with people in coastal surf towns and one-pub settlements in the Outback an hour or two inland from the coast.