Solo Vacations: The 30 Best Places to Travel Alone – Part 1

2021-08-02

From beach retreats to artsy escapes, these spots around the world are superb options for your next solo trip.

There are many reasons to travel solo, from not having to coordinate with others’ schedules to getting to spend time doing what only interests you most. Plus, many destinations offer easy transportation, lots of activities and relatively safe environments that make them ideal for exploring alone. Here are some of the most solo-friendly locations around the world to consider for your next getaway. (Note: Some of these destinations may be affected by the coronavirus pandemic. New policies may be in place, including testing or vaccine requirements for visiting. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)
Solo vacations

Beaver Creek, Colorado

For those who love the outdoors, this charming village in the Rocky Mountains offers plenty to do in both winter and summer. Hop in an Epic Mountain Express shuttle at Denver International Airport and travel about 130 miles west to your hotel, home or condo. Beaver Creek Resort offers a free shuttle service for travel anywhere within the resort, so you’ll have no trouble getting around. Ski and snowboard to your heart’s content in winter, or enjoy solitary hiking, mountain biking or sitting by a peaceful mountain stream during summer. Don’t miss local restaurants like Beano’s Cabin (which you can visit on horseback), the Beaver Creek Chophouse and Toscanini.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Known for its friendly locals and outstanding cuisine – the latter of which has led many to call the island the culinary capital of the Caribbean – Grand Cayman is easy and affordable to reach on airlines like Southwest and Delta. You’ll find the best airfare deals between March and June, and Grand Cayman is simple to get around using taxis or public buses. Travelers will find plenty of solitary activities, including Stingray City (where you can touch stingrays as they look for food), snorkeling outings and scuba diving tours with your choice of 40-plus operators, such as Ocean Frontiers. At the end of the day, unwind at a luxury resort like the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort or the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa on stunning Seven Mile Beach.

Paris

Paris is an extremely walkable city, ideal for individuals exploring on their own. Mass transit, including the Métro and bus system, are also easy to navigate, and a Paris Visite travel card covers unlimited trips for a set number of days in its fee. Grab a Paris Museum Pass and admire the amazing artwork at the Musée du Louvre (try Friday night when it’s less busy), the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d’Orsay, or make like a local and find a spot along the Seine to enjoy a baguette and bottle of wine. Try a tour company like The Tour Guy to skip the often hourslong lines at the Paris Catacombs or to enjoy a guided tour of other sites like Versailles. Hilton Paris Opera sits close to many attractions on the Right Bank, while charming vacation rentals are plentiful on the Left Bank. Or, bed down at a simple and affordable option like the Holiday Inn Paris – St. Germain des Près.

San Diego

There are so many options for where to go and what to do in San Diego that it works for many types of solo travelers. Visitors can sunbathe and surf at Pacific Beach, go shopping and get up close to seals and sea lions in La Jolla or enjoy the nightlife in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. If you love comics, be sure to arrive in July so you can attend Comic-Con International, the largest annual convention dedicated to comics and pop culture in the U.S. Or, soak up some California sun while hiking through a nearby state park or wandering around spacious Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. As for accommodations, solo travelers can relax at the Kona Kai Resort & Spa on Shelter Island, which features an adults-only pool and a private beach. Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa is another great choice, as solo travelers can enjoy free outdoor barre and yoga classes, an area to practice meditation and in-room fitness options.

Rome

Rome is a bucket list destination that gives visitors the opportunity to see the famous Colosseum, world-renowned artwork and the seat of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City. Italians tend to speak English and are generally warm and friendly people, making it easy to socialize and find your way around. Plus, the bus system and the metro are convenient modes of transportation (once you know some basics), and taxis are typically safe to use. A Roma Pass gets you free transportation and discounts on attractions. Areas like Trastevere and the 18th-century Spanish Steps feature several convenient accommodation options, such as Aleph Rome Hotel, Hassler Roma and the Hotel Indigo Rome – St. George on Via Giulia, one of Rome’s most beautiful streets. It’s also easy to hop on a tour with companies like The Roman Guy, which offers excursions to the city’s ancient catacombs and areas beneath the Colosseum, among other options.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Solo travelers looking for clear skies should consider visiting Santa Fe. Offering an average of 325 days of sunshine per year, this Southwestern city, which is the oldest capital in the United States, is known for its art scene and beautiful surroundings. Visitors can go hiking or skiing (depending on the season) or check out more than a dozen museums, such as the iconic Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. To reach the city, vacationers can fly into Santa Fe Regional Airport on American Airlines or United Airlines, or travel into Albuquerque International Sunport before catching a shuttle to Santa Fe. Travelers can then get around on foot, by bike or via ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. The city also offers public buses and a free shuttle system.

Asheville, North Carolina

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville is a friendly, art-focused mountain destination that also happens to be home to the Biltmore Estate, an 8,000-acre property once owned by George Vanderbilt. The city features more than 30 art galleries and offers opportunities for solo hiking, biking, kayaking and even fishing. With a growing culinary scene and plenty of breweries, Asheville is also a great place to explore fun and funky restaurants and sip local beers. For a place to stay, check out the luxurious Omni Grove Park Inn or the Biltmore Estate’s options, which include The Inn on Biltmore Estate and the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate. American, United and Delta are just some of the airlines that fly into Asheville Regional Airport, but many East Coast-based travelers can easily reach Asheville by car.

Tuscany, Italy

For the ultimate solo getaway, consider walking along the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route that runs through much of the Tuscan region, including popular hill towns like Lucca, Siena and San Gimignano. Chandi Wyant, an American author who lives in Italy and is now an Italian tour guide, shares her experience hiking the trail alone in her book “Return to Glow: A Pilgrimage of Transformation in Italy.” VBT Bicycling Vacations also recommends Tuscany to solo travelers, as English is spoken widely and many types of experiences are available. Plus, each town’s plethora of Italian trattorias are likely to welcome anyone with open arms – and ample pasta and wine.

Santa Barbara, California

Enjoy top-notch shopping, wine tasting and scenery in Santa Barbara, a California city known for buildings with red-tile roofs and its many paseos, or hidden walkways, that descend deep behind the main thoroughfare of State Street. The Funk Zone district offers wine tastings, shops and galleries, while Old Mission Santa Barbara showcases the city’s rich history. Other fun activities include hiking the Santa Ynez Mountains and sampling wines in nearby towns like Los Olivos and Solvang. Bed down at a hotel like the Kimpton Canary Hotel or Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort (which has a pool, a spa and bike rentals), or opt for a quiet bed-and-breakfast close to downtown, such as the charming Simpson House Inn.

Iceland

According to Intrepid Travel, which leads group tours all over the world, Iceland is a great destination for solo travel. Most locals speak English and are warm and friendly, and the company notes that Wi-Fi access and cellphone reception are both very good. The country is often called the Land of Fire and Ice because of its abundance of natural wonders, from glaciers to volcanoes to waterfalls and hot springs. Consider a visit during the summer months to enjoy nearly 24 hours of sunlight while participating in outdoor activities like ice climbing, caving, cycling and hiking. Reykjavik, the country’s capital and most populous city, is a good home base thanks to its proximity to Iceland’s international airport and its multitude of shops, cafes, museums and art galleries.

Courtesy of USNews

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