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Best 5 Places to Travel Solo in Europe (Summer 2024)

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3 weeks ago

During my 12-year journey to Visit Every Country in the world, I traveled solo for months and months on end. In fact, I think almost 90% of my travels have been solo. And as part of that, I have backpacked, studied and lived in Europe on-and-off over the past 10 years. This may be a little ambitious, but I feel pretty confident in identifying the best places to travel solo in Europe!

Traveling solo has its ups and downs, and highs and lows. Let’s start with the lows: no splitting bills for accommodation or transport; those awkward restaurant moments (‘can I have a table for 1?’); and the hard truth: you will occasionally feel a little lonely.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love traveling with friends and family. But traveling solo has some real perks, not least that you get to meet new, fascinating people, often from a whole different world to that from which you come. You don’t need to risk having to deal with that one annoying friend (we’ve all been there…).

And, most importantly, I believe traveling solo allows for a far more immersive travel experience. Simply put, when you’re on your own, you’re paying much more attention to your surroundings.

With that in mind, here are the 5 best places to travel solo in Europe this summer.

5. Warsaw, Poland

From taxis to hotel rooms, one of the major cons of traveling solo is you often have to shoulder the entire burden of travel costs. In my opinion, Warsaw is one of the most affordable (read: cheap) capitals in Europe. And for solo travelers on a budget, visiting Warsaw means you won’t break the bank.

When traveling solo, I always recommend joining small group tours. This is both an excellent way to learn more about the city you are in, and meet other solo travelers.

Warsaw is an excellent city for joining tours, from short walking tours of Warsaw’s historic old town to more detailed tours of the former Warsaw ghetto, the latter being the best way to learn about Warsaw’s complex Jewish history. Some of my closest friends over the years are people I’ve met on walking tours of everywhere from Buenos Aires to Amman.

When I’m solo traveling, the only time loneliness really hits home is after dark. It’s one thing to sit at a restaurant on your own, and a complete other thing to go to a bar or club on your own.

Warsaw (and Poland more generally) has an extremely vibrant nightlife. When you’re traveling solo, I’d definitely recommend asking if your Warsaw hostel arranges any events after dark. Or better, join a Warsaw pub crawl to make some new friends.

One of the great surprises of traveling solo is that sometimes you end up traveling with new friends you met that same day. More often than not it is for a day trip, but sometimes it’s for a few more days to the next town.

Warsaw is the gateway to Poland and the ideal starting point for day trips to Treblinka or further afield to Lublin which makes for a great alternative base too. If you make friends in Warsaw, there’s a good chance you will catch them again elsewhere in Poland.

4. York, England

Big cities like London can sometimes be a little overwhelming for solo travelers. When I’m traveling solo, I’ll often seek out small, charming towns. They’re a little more manageable and, as a solo traveler, you can avoid finding yourself overwhelmed with the responsibility of navigating a complicated metro or dodging big-city scams.

As a solo traveler in York, you probably want to be saving money. Let’s be honest, the strength of the British Pound can hurt even the most thrifty of budget travelers. One of my favorite things about York is that so many of York’s unmissable things to do are completely free. From climbing the old city walls to navigating the Harry Potter-esque streets of the Shambles, a few days in York won’t hurt your bank account.

Many solo travelers often share that mealtimes can be the loneliest. We think York may well be Northern England’s foodie capital. But as a solo traveler, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. I’m a big fan of York’s small casual restaurants, from little cafes to the best cheese toastie in the UK. Many of our favorite York restaurants are very casual, so they’re perfect to eat lunch with a book (or scroll through your Instagram feed).

3. Bucharest, Romania

It’s no secret that one of the best things about traveling in the European Union is the lack of border controls. Later this month, Romania (and Bulgaria) will join the Schengen Zone. This means that travelers can travel from Romania to as far west as Paris without passing through immigration!

Bucharest is one of the best destinations in Europe for solo travelers. Much like Warsaw, Bucharest is a multi-layered city, and the only real way to understand its fascinating history is by joining a tour. My personal favorite is the Communism tours, where you will learn about the the cult of personality surrounding Nicolae Ceausescu – which would have put North Korea to shame!

If you are visiting Romania on a solo trip, you probably don’t want to rent a car and drive around by yourself. But the good thing about visiting Bucharest solo is that you don’t need to abandon your Romania road trip dreams! Bucharest is one of the cheapest holiday destinations in Europe and, for solo travelers, this means full day group tours to magnificent sites like Dracula’s Castle can be as low as $35!

Bucharest is also a major backpacking hub, with extremely social hostels, some of Europe’s best pub crawls and a seemingly always lively Old Town.

2. Paris, France

Paris may always be a good idea. But this time it’s different. We’re convinced that 2024 is the year to visit France.

For those of who who are less sport-inclined, you may be surprised to hear that the 2024 Olympics are being held in Paris this summer (July 26 – August 11) and mark 100 years since the last Paris Olympics! For solo travelers, the electric energy of the Olympics means that you will never feel alone!

If you decide to visit Paris after the Olympics (which is also a great idea), Paris is a great major city for solo travelers to Europe.

The Parisian joie de vivre means that if you do decide to sit down solo with a glass of wine in the middle of the day, nobody will give you a judging stare.

To avoid the tourist crowds, you’ll want to make sure you’ve read our local insighter article with Parisian artist AWEN.

If you would prefer to wait to visit Paris with a special someone, France is full of vibrant destinations that also offer unique experiences when traveling solo in Europe. From making new friends in a microbrewery tour of Lille to getting under the skin of the French Riviera, France truly has something for every traveler.

1. And the best place to travel solo in Europe is…

The eternal city: Rome, Italy.

For thousands of years, travelers have passed through Rome to pay their respects to the heart of ancient European civilization. As a solo traveler, I sometimes find crowds comforting, and other times extremely annoying. Rome is deservedly popular and solo travelers will never feel alone among the many international visitors at the Colosseum or the Vatican.

However, to get the most out of your visit, you’ll want to make sure you pre-arrange an audio guide for major sites. When I’m traveling solo, I find audio guides to be the perfect balance between a trusted friend and local guide. And best of all, you can switch it off when you’re done!

One of my favorite things to do in Rome is meander through the beautifully photogenic neighborhood of Trastevere. It’s full of little piazzas and bougainvillea-clad buildings.

When I’m traveling solo, I find the entire experience of travel to be far more immersive. I’m aware of my surroundings and I consciously absorb its beauty and stories. With 3 days in Rome, you’ll want to allocate some time to the gorgeous cobblestone alleyways of Trastevere. Or better yet, plan your meals around Trastevere’s excellent restaurants (some of which make the best carbonara in Rome!).

And once you’re already in Rome, why not take a train north and visit Florence or Milan? Milan in particular is well suited to solo travelers seeking a base for day trips to Lake Como and the less touristy hidden gems of Northern Italy.

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