Travelling solo can seem daunting, even in this era of instant global connections and high-tech gadgets, but venturing alone to a bustling city or sun-drenched beach has never been easier, or more necessary.
So drop your iPad – gently, of course – and book your flight now for a break from everything and every one. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten destinations for solo travel that are sure to reignite the fearless jetsetter in you.
What could be better than bookending a day of museums and sightseeing with café au laits and bottles of Bordeaux? In Paris, that’s a typical Tuesday. Plant yourself at one of the many charming cafes in St. Germain des Pres, a fabulous part of the City of Lights’ 6th arrondissement, and watch as the city’s chicest residents pass by.
Wander in and out of fabulous boutiques along the cobblestone streets of Le Marais, make your way to Centre Georges Pompidou for a dose of contemporary art, and cap it all off over a cocktail in former red light district, now hot spot Pigalle.
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Pizza. Gelato. Pasta. Need we say more? Rome is a culinary and historical mecca, and an ideal spot for someone travelling alone for the first time. Lose yourself in the city’s winding streets, boutique museums and clothing shops – in between our recommended five meals a day, of course.
Start your urban exploration in San Lorenzo, bustling with artists and students packed into pizzerias, markets and shops. Stop for gelato and practice your Italian (“uno gelato per favore”) as you take in the Eternal City’s most famous sites: the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps.
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As an unescorted visitor, you’ll spend days checking out the historical sites and architectural wonders that are situated on 90 islands bridged by 400 overpasses.
There’s no better way to do it than by bike, the most common way of getting about. Rent a two-wheeler from one of the many trusted companies near Dam Square, and let your feet be your guide.
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Reykjavik is a wonderfully walkable town full of historic monuments, churches and museums. Visit The Culture House, which features world-class exhibits and medieval manuscripts, or find a bargain at Kolaportið, Iceland’s sole flea market. For the ultimate in relaxation, hop on a bus to Blue Lagoon, the 5,000-square-metre geothermal bath that overlooks Iceland’s magnificent countryside.
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San Francisco is brimming with young professionals, artists, and other “granola”-types who together create a melting pot of culture and vitality. Spend no more than a morning playing the typical tourist (though you must) and tour Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Once your point-and-shoot has had its fill, take a taxi inland to discover the food, music and people that dwell in the city’s hippest districts: the Mission, the Haight and Russian Hill.
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With eight million people roaming its streets daily, New York City is a hard place for a visitor to feel alone. Spend an afternoon in Midtown exploring the Big Apple’s main tourist attractions – Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Rockefeller Center – before hailing a cab downtown. Make like a real New Yorker and admire the boutiques of SoHo, the restaurants of the West Village, and the overall fabulousness of Tribeca, before taking the subway south to the Brooklyn Bridge. Whether your preference is to admire the architectural wonder from the Manhattan side or walk across to Brooklyn, you’ll marvel in the bridge’s – and the city’s – magnificence.
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New Zealand is a perfect destination for the adventurous solo traveller. Canyon, climb or canoe – whichever your preference – around picturesque islands that have doubled as movie sets for famous blockbusters.
Make Queenstown your hub, and from there book adrenaline-pumping excursions such as bungee jumping, white water rafting or mountaineering with local outdoor groups. Even if you’re not the jump-off-a-mountain type, New Zealand provides enough scenery and hospitality to revive any stressed holidaymaker.
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We’re willing to bet that the culture and tradition of Bhutan could cleanse any nomad’s anxious mind. Situated between Tibet, China and India, Bhutan is a glorious diamond. Though the process for getting in is slightly tedious – a costly visa must be purchased at least 30 days in advance, and won’t be issued without a tour confirmation – it’s well worth the hassle.
Towns in Bhutan are perched on the foothills of the Himalayas, setting the scene for the most magnificent views in the area. Discover sacred fortresses and religious festivals on treks led by Bhutanese guides, arguably the friendliest in the world. Search and compare: cheap flights to Bhutan
Museums and cultural venues are popping up what seems like daily in Santiago, Chile’s capital, making it one of the hottest destinations in South America. Grab a subway card on your first day in town and start the delightful job of playing tourist.
Hit downtown (Santiago Centro) with just your camera, or join a city tour group – most provide transport to and from your hotel. Make sure Parque Metropolitano, the city’s sprawling urban park, and contemporary art galleries in Vitacura are checked off your list before retreating for a tasting of Chile’s impressive – and inexpensive – wines.
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Take a hint from the Mayans if what you need is a white-sand beach for full body (and mind) relaxation. Once a worshiping ground and retreat for Mayan kings, Tulum now serves as a go-to spot for yoga gurus and meditation enthusiasts.
Split your time at the bohemian oasis, located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, between soaking up the sun’s rays and exploring the area’s geographical wonders, from fresh water caves to preserved jungles. Even if sun salutations aren’t your favourite, we guarantee Tulum’s pristine beaches and aqua seas will be.
Search and compare: cheap flights to TulumOonagh Shiel