I always believed that travels are the best way to open our mind and enrich our soul, so I always try to find the perfect chances to make them happen.
There were many times, in my recent past, that I decided to travel alone because, in that specific timing, no one could follow me for personal reasons… but, of course, no one could ever stop me to make my dream come true.
So, the first thing I always do, is to decide my next destination. I always follow my heart and not the touristic photographs. Reading other people’s personal travel articles or watching a travel documentary always help me to make the best decision for me. But, for some – maybe stupid reasons – I always have the feeling of fear for being alone somewhere abroad. Of course, I’m a very responsible person, but no one knows when we will face an unexpected bad situation. So, as a European, until now, every destination I chose in the past was only in Europe. It was that silly thought that made me feel more secure: that I’m close enough to my country, to my hometown.
So, this article is about solo female travelers and, stupidity or not, it’s all about security! While wrongdoing details are important, they’re not the characterizing component for an incredible place for women to travel alone. So, if you are that kind of woman, like me, who want to travel and see the world, to join as many experiences you can and learn from them, to explore more things about yourself, to meet local people and see such a variety of lively scenes… well, the world belongs to you! Go and get it! The only question is: where will you start from?
So, here are 10 must-visit European cities that every solo female traveler should visit:
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and is its largest city with almost two million people in its metropolitan area. This busy city has beautiful architecture and renowned shopping. Be sure to see the Goddess Gefjun fountain, which tells the mythological story of how Denmark was created. Stop by at night, where the fountain lights up with a blue glow, alluding to the magic in the Norse religious history.
2. Stockholm, Sweden
The Swedish capital truly has it all! It’s an old town with pedestrian-only roads, 57 bridges that stretch over its 14 islands, an amusement park, dating back to 1880s, a bath house from 1904 and the most artistic subway stations, each decorated with its own theme. If you’re an aspiring photographer, don’t miss the opportunity to see the perfectly preserved Gamla Stan, which translates to “The Old Town”, located right in the heart of Stockholm. With its colorful baroque buildings, crooked cobblestone streets, Gothic churches, hidden tea-houses, and upscale boutiques, you’ll need an extra memory card to capture the hundreds of photos you’ll take. So, it was no surprise that the free walking tours in town were dominated by solo travelers finding their own piece of the low-crime city.
3. Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland, with over 1,300,000 people in its metropolitan area. Enjoy the amazing architecture in Helsinki, with numerous Art Nouveau style buildings. The city was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. After a day exploring the city and a walking tour to view the architecture and art galleries, enjoy the fantastic Nordic style clothing, which makes for fantastic shopping opportunities.
4. Edinburgh, Scotland
One of the best ways to meet people while traveling alone is to head to a festival, where like-minded travelers and locals bond over common interests. And no European city does festivals quite like the Scottish capital. From the more traditional International Film Festival and Jazz & Blues Festival to the spectacles of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the celebrations only add to the long list of to-dos in the hilly coastal city.
5. Setúbal, Portugal
Warm Portugal is a beautiful vacation destination. If you’re looking for a private and relaxing vacation, take a trip to Setúbal. This city has a population of just under 800,000 people. Explore it and enjoy the fresh caught seafood and delicious wines. If you want to get away from it all, take a trip to Serra da Arrabida National Park where the forest meets the sea. The most beautiful beach here is Portinho da Arrabida, as the water is almost perfectly still with no waves.
6. Bruges, Belgium
As I glided through the canals, under stone bridges and past weeping willows in the Flemish town, I felt like I finally understood what all those books about “Once Upon a Time” truly meant. And while I loved perusing the shops and observing the scene in the Market Square, my favorite moment was when I came across a pond filled with the most immaculate swans I had ever seen in my life. What better place to explore on your own than a city that invites you to be the star of your own fair-tale adventure?
7. Paris, France
Forget the romance! The City of Lights is just as magical for a party of one. First, check off the necessary Parisian requirements: strolling down the Champs-Elysées, wandering the winding paths of Montmartre and exploring the halls of the Louvre. Don’t forget to visit Sainte Chapelle. Its stained glass was so dramatic that you will be grateful for the opportunity to take it in at your own pace. If you are a book-lover and you’re looking for a special place for your accommodation, visit the English bookshop Shakespeare & Company, where you pay for your night’s stay by volunteering at the store for a few hours, reading a book a day and writing a one-page autobiography.
8. Verona, Italy
This quaint Italian city has incredible history, with preserved ancient Roman monuments including the fortified Castel Vecchio Bridge and the stunning Arena di Verona Amphitheater, that was built in the first century and is still in use today. Fans of Shakespeare should visit the 14th Century house that is said to have “Juliet’s Balcony”. The interiors are fit for a princess! In fact, they’re so pretty you might not ever want to leave.
9. Lucerne, Switzerland
Follow in Mark Twain’s steps in this tourist-friendly town nestled in central Switzerland, on the northern tip of Lake Lucerne. The charming covered Chapel Bridge and Water Tower sit in the heart of the mountaintop city, making the small town an effortless getaway for first-time solo travelers. The railroad station is in walking distance of Old Town, and the entire city is extremely easy to explore by foot.
10. Prague, Czech Republic
The Czech Republic capital has major sites concentrated within walking distance. Whichever side of the Charles Bridge you stay on, you’re just steps away from Old Town and the Prague Castle, both of which provide a full day’s worth of exploration. Just a stroll away on the castle side is the Petřín Funicular, which will take you in hilltop views of the city, full of orange rooftops, Gothic cathedrals, Baroque churches and renaissance palaces. And, throughout town, you’ll find stands to buy affordable concert tickets, in exclusive venues, like the Clementinum’s Mirror Chapel.
This article is dedicated to Lia Stoubou. Thanks for your interest and for the inspiration! ♥