You don’t have to be an extrovert to enjoy traveling alone.
Solo travelers can and do go just about anywhere, but there are certain places around the world that are particularly easy and even rewarding to visit by yourself. In crafting this list of the best places to travel alone, I looked at factors such as safety (especially for women traveling alone), local culture, the chance to meet other travelers, and the ease of getting around if you don’t speak the language.
Solo travelers who love hiking, mountain biking or other outdoor activities shouldn’t miss New Zealand. It’s one of the world’s most relaxing places to travel: Crime is low, and just about every city and town has its own visitor info center with friendly staff who will help you find lodging or book activities (so you’ll never feel lost). Best of all, there are countless adventures to be had, from the country’s famous Great Walks to “Lord of the Rings” tours.
Where to stay: The intimate Hotel DeBrett is a boutique option right in downtown Auckland.
Exploring Denmark, which appears frequently on top 10 lists of the world’s happiest and safest countries, is a breeze for solo travelers. Most Danes speak English and are glad to help tourists find their way around; some even welcome travelers into their homes for dinner. (See MeettheDanes.com.) History lovers can enjoy Viking ruins and medieval castles, while outdoorsy sorts can join the locals on the thousands of miles of bike paths that crisscross the country.
Where to stay: Copenhagen’s 66 Guldsmeden is conveniently located within walking distance of Central Station and the Tivoli Gardens.
Crime novels are popular in Iceland, but that may be partially because the country sees so little violence in real life. (It’s topped the Global Peace Index since 2008.) Both men and women traveling alone can do so safely on this remote island, known for thundering waterfalls, steaming geysers and craggy volcanic landscapes. Many Icelanders speak at least a little English, so it’s no problem to get around and chat with locals, and the country’s largest city, Reykjavik, feels more like an easily navigable large town than a giant metropolis.
Where to stay: Book a clean, modern room in Iceland’s capital at Reykjavik Lights.
Thanks to smiling locals, unforgettable sights and a well-established backpacker trail, Thailand is incredibly popular with people traveling alone. You can make your solo trip anything you want in Thailand: an urban adventure in Bangkok, a week on the beaches of Koh Samui, a homestay in a northern hill town, a yoga retreat on a remote island – or a mix of all of the above.
Where to stay: SENSIMAR Koh Samui Resort and Spa has a prime location right on the beach in Koh Samui.
Hong Kong’s low crime rate, efficient public transportation system and unique combination of Eastern and Western cultures make it an inviting spot for solo travelers, especially those who haven’t yet traveled much on their own. Because English is one of the city’s official languages, you’ll never feel like you’re lost in translation; nor will you run out of things to do, with countless options from harborfront museums to the bustling restaurants of Nathan Road.
Where to stay: The sleek, contemporary Hotel Stage is located in Kowloon.
This long, skinny country is one of South America’s safest, boasting incredible landscapes (Beaches! Mountains! Glaciers!) as well as delicious wines. Chileans are friendly and welcoming, although they don’t all speak English – so you’ll want to brush up on basic Spanish phrases before you go. Popular spots to visit include the remote Atacama Desert in the north and the sweeping mountain vistas of Patagonia in the south.
Where to stay: Explora Patagonia is a splurge, but it’s worth it for its stunning location in Torres del Paine National Park.
Ireland holds numerous appeals for solo travelers: It’s safe, beautiful and an easy place for English speakers to get around. But what I love best about Ireland is how friendly it is. The locals will say hi to you on the street or strike up a conversation with you at the pub, so you’ll never lack for friends even if you’re traveling alone. You can also meet fellow travelers at hostels, on trains or over the breakfast table at a B&B.
Where to stay: One of Dublin’s newest hotels is the chic Hotel 7, located in a restored Georgian building.
While terrorism is an ever-present concern, security is high and millions of people safely visit Israel every year, including plenty of solo travelers. Most of them spend at least a few days exploring the holy sites and colorful markets of Jerusalem before moving on to cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, the beach town of Eilat or the mountain fortress of Masada. You’re sure to meet other travelers along the way, whether you stay in hostels or kibbutzim (farms).
Where to stay: The apartment-style accommodations at Shamai Suites are within walking distance of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Is an African safari on your bucket list? Consider a solo trip to Tanzania, where you can spot the Big Five and much more. If you want to meet fellow travelers, look for a camp or lodge that offers communal meals and shared game drives, or join a group trip. Keep an eye out for tours with a discounted or waived single supplement (you’ll often see these during the off season when demand is low), or book with a company such as Intrepid Travel or G Adventures, which will help you skip the supplement by matching you with a same-sex roommate.
Where to stay: See the famous wildebeest migration at Lamai Serengeti, a luxury camp.
With its low crime rates and kind, respectful locals, Japan is an ideal place for solo travel, including solo female travel. Buy a rail pass and hop aboard the country’s clean, fast bullet trains to explore temples and teahouses in Kyoto, hiking trails and hot springs in Hakone, and the bustling neon streets of Tokyo. Be sure to spend at least one night in a traditional ryokan, where you’ll sleep on a tatami mat and enjoy a typical Japanese breakfast.
Where to stay: Experience a traditional Japanese ryokan with a stay at Ryokufuso in Kyoto.
A recent report found that Australia was the world’s safest country for women, making this a particularly appealing destination for solo female travel. Men and women alike will appreciate Australia’s diverse landscapes, ranging from the famous Sydney skyline to the colorful Great Barrier Reef to the wide-open, red-dirt stretches of the Outback. There’s a well-established backpacker trail of hostels where you can meet other solo travelers, and the laid-back locals speak English (albeit with their own unique vocabulary!), so you won’t have trouble finding your way.
Where to stay: Medusa is a stylish design hotel in Sydney’s lively Darlinghurst neighborhood.
Canada’s already low crime rates have dropped even further over the past decade or two, making this an even safer and more appealing place to travel alone. You can base yourself in a cosmopolitan city like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver to focus on museums and nightlife, or take a road trip through rugged national parks like Banff or Jasper. No matter where you travel, Canada’s friendly, English-speaking locals are happy to point you in the right direction.
Where to stay: The legendary Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise offers spectacular views of Banff National Park.
One of Central America’s safest countries, Costa Rica draws solo travelers in search of outdoor adventure. Consider booking a stay at a jungle lodge where you can meet fellow travelers and join guided excursions into the rainforest to look for wildlife like monkeys, sloths, toucans and macaws. Or head for the coast to take a surfing lesson or simply relax on the beach. You can also visit local farms or soak in hot springs.
Where to stay: Enjoy a sustainable stay in the jungle at Finca Luna Nueva Lodge in Arenal Volcano National Park.
This story originally appeared on SmarterTravel.com.
More from SmarterTravel:
Top tips for solo travel
15 mistakes to avoid when traveling solo
6 things to pack when traveling alone
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