Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem being by myself. I’m a total hoot, so I like spending time with myself (lols). I can sit in a cafe alone, enjoying a coffee and a good book. I can spend the day walking around town and lazing in a park or go to the cinema. But when I think about trying to travel alone, I can never bring myself to do it. But I decided to challenge myself, now the ripe old age of 30, to travel alone before turning 31.
It’s the age old problem, age being the key word; as we get older and our lives get busier—careers take off and people settle down—and trying to find someone to go on holiday with can be a bigger chore than booking the bloody thing. So solo travelling becomes the default option if you’re looking to go away, but there are so many variables: What do you do? What if you get bored? What if you don’t meet anyone nice? How long do you go for? Is that too long to spend alone?
Then there’s the main question, where? Not everywhere is going to be solo traveller friendly, either it doesn’t have enough to do (museums and the like), or doesn’t have the most open nightlife—the thought of going to a bar alone is probably the biggest fear. I’m always so impressed by people who can do it, and put themselves out there to meet new people.
So after doing some research, I’ve narrowed down my shortlist to the following options. If you’ve been to any of these places, either solo or with friends, give me your recommendations!
Learning to travel alone: the short list
Berlin seems to be the must-visit place in Europe these days, especially for LGBT+ travellers due to the city’s inclusive and diverse community. There’s also plenty of museums and historical sites to visit, plus a vibrant nightlife. There’s also a safety net of knowing a couple people who live here. Berlin has been the most recommended as place to go for those looking to travel alone
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague seems to be the go-to place for European backpackers and tourists alike. Founded in the 7th Century, Prague has been a cultural, political and economic centre of central Europe and offers a plethora of cultural attractions, including Prague castle, the Charles Bridge and Old Town Square.
I’ve always liked the look of this Bavarian city, though I have also had Cologne recommended to me as a great place for solo travellers. Munich boats picturesque architecture, art galleries and of course, beer halls (I’ll be avoiding the chaos of Oktoberfest, me thinks).
Switzerland has been on my must-visit list for eons. The main draw for me is that I am, in fact, part Swiss on my mother’s side, though my family originates form a smaller town in the canton of Graubünden. Zürich seems a good place to start to my discovery of Switzerland, with the opportunity to take the famous Swiss trains around the wider parts of the country.
I’ve always wanted to visit Copenhagen, but I am also aware I’m quickly running out of time to get there while the weather is more amenable. After August the temperatures start to drop and I’m’ hoping to go somewhere I can be outside a lot.
Budapest has been on my list for a while now as a place to visit anyway. I really want to visit the thermal baths and spas for a relaxing weekend. Outside of the spas, there’s plenty to see and do, from the Parliament building, Castle Hill and Margaret Island. A strong contender.
Last on the list is Kraków. The second largest city in Poland, Kraków has cropped up in conversation a few times with friends who have spontaneously visited the city after finding great travel deals. There’s a beautiful Basilica to visit, plus the UNESCO salt mines. Also all of the pierogi I could possible desire.
So that’s my shortlist! I’d love to hear which you think I should choose and why. Comment below or catch me on social!
No need to fear it, I’ve been travelling solo since I was 23 (have as well in that time been away with boyfriends or friends as well) but I’ve done at least 12 trips on my own (I’ve actually lost count). If you are feeling anxious then definitely do a short city break, as you have narrowed it down this far and choose a hotel that is well located to the places you want to go, that way you’re likely to meet like minded people and maybe even friends to see places with. My big piece of advice, don’t be afraid of going to a bar alone…in Europe it somehow feels different to London…you might think people are looking at you, but the reality is no one thinks anything of it if someone goes to a bar alone…wherever you decide, just enjoy it!
Ah, Laura! Thanks so much for the advice. You sound like you’ve really travelled! The bar thing is def a worry, but I think I’m game! I’ve actually added New York as a wild card to this list. I’m excited!