Whether it’s because you want to experience more, find it more convenient, or want to know yourself better through your own Eat, Pray, Love journey, we travel alone for many reasons. As for myself, it’s usually because I either want to immerse myself in a place without the comfort of having a friend to fall back on, or I simply want to get away and be alone for a while. This also means that the ideal places for solo travel will have to either:
• Have really friendly people so you can make friends easily and get to know a place through local knowledge;
• Be away from crowds but yet safe enough for you to relax without worrying too much.
Here’s my attempt at curating 10 awesome places for solo travel with lots of help from my big brother Google. The list is based largely on where I thought was cool, WEF’s Friendliest Country survey and Vision for Humanity’s Safety Index.
10. Hallstatt, Austria
Other than visiting the famous capital at Vienna, there is a picturesque postcard village found in the Salzkammergut lake region that is quaint and lovely to be at. Hallstatt has a rich salt mining history that’s worth checking out as well.
9. Kenting, Taiwan
Kenting is one of those places that fulfills my criteria for an ideal solo travel location. There is a main street with lots of friendly locals (and food), beaches to relax, and plenty of quieter scenic sights a scooter or cab ride away. My only qualm is that it is a little too touristy.
9. Quebec City, Canada
More French than American, the cobblestone streets within the old fortified city of Vieux Quebec brings back the old World charm that has disappeared from North America since the industrial revolution. I always find places that have some form of identity dissonance the most interesting.
With high literacy rates and urbanisation, Uruguay is probably the safest place to get a small taste of Latin America. Explore the countryside on horseback with the gauchos, experience the carnival culture or simply kick back with the locals at one of the many beaches.
6. Kyoto, Japan
The former capital of Japan is often touted as the most beautiful city in the country. As with most cities in Japan, the charm is in appreciating how modern day society interacts with the traditional. There are plenty of gems sprinkled all across the city.
5. Kangaroo Island, Australia
From getting close to wildlife, savouring gourmet food and partaking in outdoor adventure activities, Kangaroo Island has something for almost everyone. For the solo traveller, it’s a nice contained environment with everything you need from a vacation.
4. Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken has a backpackers atmosphere and is at the heart of the beautiful Jungfrau region. The town itself isn’t too scenic, but it makes a good base as it’s only a short journey out to breathtaking scenery. It is also relatively cheaper than other parts of Switzerland, and in my opinion has the best outdoor adventure sports establishments in the World.
3. Aveiro, Portugal
Aveiro almost seems like part Venice (Italy) and part Brighton Beach (Australia). Canals, bridges and painted boats called Moliceiros makes up part of the city, alongside the white sandy beaches of Costa Nova with their brightly painted houses. It’s as though you are on two different continents at once!
2. New Zealand
New Zealand is a haven for those who love adventure sports and the outdoors. There are dozens of easily accessible activities to get your adrenaline pumping. The best way is to do a road trip from the north to south islands and take your time exploring the different towns and cities. It is very convenient!
(I did a trip to NZ in 2008 so feel free to ask if you need more ideas!)
Surveyed as being the most welcoming to foreigners and the most peaceful country on planet Earth, Iceland tops this list. Friendly people, safe environment and a low population density makes it an ideal place to visit for solo travelers get away from it all and immerse in Icelandic culture. Probably not for city lovers though!
I cannot talk about the 10 most awesome places to travel without mentioning Singapore. Most people visit Singapore while transiting or for specific events only, but I think it’s worth a stop just for the food and mash of cultures. Unfortunately despite being a safe and friendly place, the high population density doesn’t make it an ideal getaway location.
Reprinted with permission from Thought Catalog. Want more?