Wanderlust doesn’t subside, even when your friends and family do. But which solo-friendly cities make for the best travel destinations?
With so much to see, some of us simply yearn to endlessly travel the world, but it’s quite rare to find somebody who’s consistently up for the same kind of adventure as you all the time. Then there’s that thing called life. Whether it’s due to careers, financials, or love, sometimes life gets in the way. The not-so-obvious solution, however, is to get out there and continue to fulfill your wanderlust by yourself. While it can seem daunting and intimidating at first, it’s also an opportunity for learning, adventure and self-discovery. However, choosing solo travel destinations is a tricky subject. Whether you value safety, activities, landmarks, or culture, we’ve put together a list for some of the world’s best global destinations for solo adventurers.
We’ll start this one off with perhaps the most popular destination for solo travellers–it’s often said that you might be lucky to meet a Thai in Bangkok. Whether you want to immerse yourself into the spiritual culture and Buddhist mindset of the locals or you’re hoping to meet fellow like-minded adventure enthusiasts, Bangkok is one of few cities dynamic enough for you to have the choice. For the best of both worlds, take a visit during events like the Songkran festival, ensuring you will meet people from all walks of life.
With the seemingly perfect mix between a bustling city life and beautiful golden beaches, Melbourne’s spot on this list was never in question. Located on a large natural bay, Melbourne is a popular spot for domestic and international backpackers alike with a world-renowned reputation for its safety and rich arts scene. Beautiful street art litter the town and the surfing as well as its proximity to many nearby national parks ensure you will be able to properly enjoy the Golden Coast weather. Moreover, as an English-speaking nation, the absence of any language barriers is a nice luxury to have on the road.
San José City, Costa Rica
Costa Rica as a whole is another destination famed for its outdoors, including its volcanoes, wildlife, lush forests and Pacific Ocean beaches. With ideal temperatures all-year round and a central location, San José City is a great base of exploration for those who want to experience everything the country has to offer. Full of both youthful backpackers and warm-hearted locals, what better way is there to bond with someone you’ve just met than the abundance of thrilling recreational activities like surfing, hiking and zip lining. While many Latin American countries have their fair share of class struggles and high crime rates, Costa Rica is a rare case that has never seen political unrest–the constitution even forbids a standing army!
If a mouth-full of salt water and being suspended a few hundred metres in the air doesn’t sound like an ideal meeting spot, another popular bonding alternative is over a pint of beer. Guinness to be exact. Although you’ll show up solo, Dublin is a famed for its welcoming Irish hospitality. From the endless array of traditional Irish pubs to the rich historical significance found throughout the region, exploring Dublin is an enjoyable time for just about every kind of traveller.
An increasingly popular travel destination in recent years and it’s easy to see why. “The Pearl of the Adriatic” checks off pretty much everything on any visitor’s list–great coastal weather, convenient infrastructure, charming architecture and wonderful locals. Its favourable location on the Dalmatian coastline is perfect for the boat enthusiast, whether that means cruising along while sipping your strawberry daiquiri or adventuring out to the nearby islands.
With a west coast lifestyle that is slightly different than its southern partners, Vancouver is famed for its collective laid-back, bohemian attitude. A visit in the summer guarantees non-stop sunshine, beautiful nature and live music festivals, whereas the winter season provides an endless amount of outdoor activities, including some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. While you’re busy soaking in the signature relaxed ambiance of the city, don’t forget to dives deep into the great food and bar scene!
While Tokyo may seem like a chaotic destination at first, when you consider its international reputation as one of the world leaders in safety, transportation, cleanliness, entertainment and more, the hub of Japan almost seems like a no-brainer. One of the globe’s richest cultures with an fascinating and progressive history, there is an endless amount of sights to see and traditions to experience in a trip to Tokyo, including the tranquil gardens, Shinto shrines and relaxing natural hot springs. While you’re busy soaking in the culture, don’t forget one of the most essential parts–the cuisine!
The famed mecca of the ancient Inca Empire, Cusco is still known for its relatively large indigenous population, who are firmly ingrained into local society and are often seen on the streets wearing traditional clothing. A trip to the famed lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, is an obvious must, but from an archaeological standpoint, Peru is unrivaled. From the fascinating architecture to the ancient ruins from a past society, Cusco is filled with some of the world’s historical and cultural treasures.
A visit to Iceland is an absolute must for any outdoor enthusiast, as the country boasts some of the world’s most stunning natural sights. Reykjavik, in particular, is the best of both worlds as it’s the hub for Icelandic culture and life while providing a good base to see the natural wonders of the country. Whether it’s whale watching, unbeatable waterfront strolls or unwinding geothermal spas (The Blue Lagoon is the most famous one), Reykjavik offers an unmatched experience that is almost certainly one-of-a-kind in terms of its natural beauty.
An ideal travel destination for pretty much any type of traveller, Barcelona offers an intriguing mix of laid-back and busy lifestyle. Experience the café-lined boulevards perfect for people-watching, coupled with the a walk down to the gorgeous mediterranean beaches. Oh, and you can marvel over the striking architectural mix of Gothic to Antoni Gaudí along the way. In the evening, the selection of trendy tapas bars is a unique cuisine experience in itself that is viewed as more of a social activity in the Catalan culture.
Words by Braeden Alexander — In collaboration with Canon.