10 Best Cities Around the World to Travel Solo

japan solo travel

Solo travel is a liberating experience. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a new city than diving in headfirst with just your luggage as a companion. Those who fly solo often make lifelong friends on an adventure, step outside of their comfort zones, and experience parts of a destination that are much harder to uncover with another person. 

Of course, while some cities are better explored with a companion for reasons of safety, there are a bunch that would love to host your next solo escape. 

So pack your bags and head off on a solo adventure to one of these 10 destinations.

1. Queenstown, New Zealand

Perfect for: The first-time solo traveller

If you’re venturing overseas on your own for the first time, then a visit to New Zealand is an easy journey for your first adventure. Only a few hours away from Australia’s east coast, Queenstown is the perfect destination if you’re looking for an adrenaline hit. You can bungee jump between rocks cliffs, jet boat through rapid rivers, or ride the city’s famous Skyline Gondola to experience Queenstown’s spectacular views. 

Photographers (rookies and pros) will be overwhelmed by its hypnotic scenery. Head to Lake Esplanade to snap The Remarkables mountain range at sunset, walk through the peaceful Queenstown Gardens on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, or kick back along the wharf (with a glass of red in hand) while you take it all in.

2. Ubud, Bali

Perfect for: Finding your centre 

Those looking to heal and truly unwind and switch off will find Bali the perfect escape. With a multitude of spas and retreats, you’ll walk away feeling like a new person. In Ubud, you’ll find silent meditation and yoga retreats, or spa houses that offer complete relaxation packages. We suggest leaving your phone on Aeroplane Mode to truly experience all the benefits.

If you’re looking to feel reinspired, browse through the Neka Art Museum, or the Agung Rai Museum of Art and Blanco Renaissance Museum, or look for souveniers at the daily art market opposite Ubud Palace.

3. New York, USA

Perfect for: Night owls and extroverts

If you’re looking for non-stop adventure, then make a beeline for the city that never sleeps. There’s enough going on to keep you occupied in New York City for weeks. You can hire a bike and ride around Central Park, treat yourself to a Broadway show or feel like a local at Madison Square Garden for a basketball game Rhianna and Leonardo DiCaprio are often spotted in courtside seats, so keep your eyes peeled. 

When it comes to meal times in NYC, we suggest you grab a margarita and dine at the bar. Strike up a conversation with the bartender and unearth the hidden local gems you’d never be able to find without insider knowledge.

4. San Francisco, USA

Perfect for: Wanderers with an appetite

On the other side of the States, the ‘City by the Bay’ is another great pick for solo travellers looking for something laid-back style with an equal share of attractions to visit. Start with a pastry from Tartine then take a boat trip from Pier 33 to the former Alcatraz prison. Top off the day with a fiery Sichuan feast at Mission Chinese or Mexican fare at La Taqueria. 

Yosemite National Park is just a short drive away (keep an eye out for bears), and you can stay active with a walk or ride across the Golden Gate Bridge.

5. Tokyo, Japan

Perfect for: Culture buffs 

Condé Nast Traveler just named Tokyo the Best City in the World for 2019, which should really be enough to convince any curious traveller. Japan’s capital is also known for being one of the safest capital cities in the world, which makes it ideal for those hesitant about venturing out solo. With a population of almost 14 million people, Tokyo’s bustle can feel a little overwhelming, so make a plan to escape and explore a few other cities. Most head to Kyoto or Osaka, but if you want to go where the locals go, visit Beppu for an onsen experience, or Okinawa for some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see. 

Check out Asakusa for its famous Buddhist temple Senso-ji, and Ueno for one of Tokyo’s largest green spaces. Take a trip to Harajuku to admire Japan’s famous street fashion, then, to really feel like a little fish, tackle one of the world’s busiest pedestrian crossings in Shibuya.

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??? Alleyway classics

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6. Paris, France

Perfect for: People-watchers and art-lovers 

Paris may be known as the city of love, but it’s also the perfect city to fall in love with yourself. Start the day with breakfast at one of the city’s many bistrots and enjoy a coffee and croissants while people watching. Then make your way through the city’s many galleries and museums – the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay and Pompidou Centre are must-sees. Make a dinner booking at a beautiful restaurant (try Girafe or Loulou) and enjoy a long, extravagant meal while people watching. 

When you’ve finished the obvious sights (including the Eiffel Tower and a day-trip to Versailles), give your credit card a workout in the Marais or along Rue Cambon.

7. Hanoi, Vietnam

Perfect for: Market go-ers and adventurous foodies

Vietnam’s capital provides a rich cultural experience with lively streets and overflowing markets. Wander the Phuong Hung Street market for fresh fruit and vegetables, Cho Hang Da for pottery and secondhand clothes, and the Old Quarter night market on weekends for traditional pho soup and Bánh mì sandwiches — the atmosphere is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. 

Vietnam is an active city, and hike, bike and kayak tours that take you from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi are available. Make sure you book a cruise through Halong Bay and make time for a countryside trek followed by cheap-as-chips beers.

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• Old Quarter Stroll •

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8. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Perfect for: Summer lovers 

In summer, the city of Dubrovnik pulses with activity as travellers come to enjoy the long, warm days by the sea and walk the walls of the UNESCO world heritage old town.

But we prefer the town in the months just before and after the peak season. The slightly cooler weather means private stretches of beach to yourself, and trips to picturesque national parks are far more pleasant with less crowds. Load your kindle with a selection of beach reads and catch up on all the books you never have a chance to read at home.

9. Florence, Italy

Perfect for: Appreciators of fine architecture (and pasta)

Florence is one of those architectural stunners you can wander for hours, which subsequently justifies consumption of a gelato (or five) from the many gelaterias scattered around the city.

Climb to Piazzale Michelangelo for a magnificent view over the city, admire Renaissance art at the Uffizi Gallery, and then find a café surrounding the magnificent Duomo cathedral to watch the world go by.

10. Galway, Ireland

Perfect for: Making new friends 

The Irish are a friendly bunch, so if you hang out in an Irish pub you’re sure to find someone up for a chat. The harbour city of Galway incidentally has plenty of pubs, but is also small enough to easily navigate on foot.

It’s the gateway to the towering Cliffs of Moher one of Ireland’s most popular natural attractions which are absolutely worth a visit. 

This story originally appeared in Fitness First magazine.