Visit some of the top spots for solo travelers. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Treat Yourself: 6 Destinations That Are Perfect for Solo Travelers

Whether you’re seeking exciting new adventures, historical sightseeing or a quiet escape on your own, here are six destinations for solo travelers that offer a variety of activities for those seeking a low-key getaway or looking for new friends on the go.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Italy

Famous the world over for its architecture, art, fashion and gastronomy, Italy is an ideal place to explore on your own. Avoid the crowds in Naples with a downloadable self-guided tour to historical wonders like Mount Vesuvius and the lost city Pompeii. Better still, as the city is widely said to be the birthplace of pizza, try Pizzeria Trianon, a popular eatery where you can order take-out pies to eat and then mingle and meet locals at neighborhood bars.

In Florence, solo travelers can combine a love of landmarks, food and socializing by taking part in historic city tours paired with gourmet delights. As one of the most walkable cities in Italy, this Renaissance gem is an excellent choice for lone travelers seeking new adventures. Highlights include the Piazza del Duomo, San Lorenzo Market and foodie favorites pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan tomato soup) and gelato. For style-setters, Milan offers a choice of fashion or perfume tours.

For active, solo social butterflies looking for a fun overview of Rome, take part in a three-hour city bike tour. Or in Venice, try a walking tour and gondola ride to experience its grand canals while making friends with other travelers along the way.

Once you’ve visited classic landmarks, venture alone to lesser-known attractions, including Largo di Torre Argentina, Julius Caesar’s assassination site, in Rome, or the quirky Libreria Acqua Alta bookstore in Venice, featuring vintage books housed in bathtubs and gondolas. Though Italy is generally safe for solo travelers, be vigilant of pickpockets, who tend to target single travelers over groups.

Egypt

With its ancient pyramids, archeological treasures and striking Red Sea, Egypt, the mythical land of pharaohs, is a must-see destination for all bucket-listers — including solo travelers. Before getting ready to mix and mingle, jump-start your solo adventure at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum, where you can spend hours scouring the fascinating artifacts, including mummies, jewelry and a miniature replica of the Sphinx.

From there, visit iconic landmarks with licensed local guides who can provide anecdotes, shielding from overzealous street vendors and advise you on safe areas to visit alone. For a unique perspective, take a camel ride on an Egyptologist-led group tour, or opt for a scenic cruise on the Nile River via felucca boat.

At mealtime, do as the locals do and head to street food stalwart Kebdet El Prince, a buzzy eatery serving local dishes such as waraet lahma (beef chunks with veggies) and molokhia (a broth-cooked leafy vegetable).

Other activities of note include a hookah (flavored tobacco pipe) break in a Bedouin bar at the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh and touring the Valley of the Kings (and Queens) in Luxor. While generally safe for solo travelers, it’s always a good idea to research local customs, including modest dress and a frown upon public displays of affection when traveling to Egypt.

Greece

Alive with whitewashed ruins, year-round sun, Mediterranean cuisine and exceptionally social natives, Greece is a dream spot for solo travelers seeking new experiences and friendships.

With fascinating historical sites, including the Acropolis and nearby Ancient Agora Museum (a onetime marketplace), and an active nightlife, Athens features some of the best attractions in a country of many faces. A fun activity to enjoy all by your lonesome is checking out the multi-hued street art sprinkled throughout the city, particularly the Psirri and Gazi districts.

During the warmer months, venture to Poseidonos Avenue for a choice of seaside bars and restaurants, including the Riviera Grill, a modern eatery serving elevated versions of traditional bites like souvlaki (skewered meat) and tzatziki (yogurt-cucumber dip).

With hundreds of islands on offer, Greece has a place for every taste. For relaxation, healthy cooking classes, wine tasting and spectacular scenery visit Santorini and Crete.

While you may stand out among couples visiting these romantic isles, you’ll never feel left out; locals will eagerly welcome you into their conversations and suggest creative activities. For off-the-beaten-track travel, try Aegina (by bike) and Nisyros, offering a volcano excursion. For a lively social scene, Mykonos is your best bet.

Ireland

Diminutive in size but larger than life in terms of history, lush landscapes and welcoming people, Ireland enchants single visitors with its magnetic allure and miles of sights to be enjoyed on foot — an ideal option for solo travelers. Dublin sets the pace with can’t-miss landmarks Kilmainham Gaol (former jailhouse) and Guinness Storehouse.

Notable day trips are the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and Belfast, known for its ill-fated ship, the RMS Titanic.

For meeting friendly folk, try the legendary, lone-visitor-magnet Temple Bar Pub, distinguished for its extensive whiskey menu. Solo diners delight in learning they are a common sight in all areas of the country, though easy-going locals make sure to make them feel at home. Want to be the life of the party? Buy a round of beer at a neighborhood pub to fully embrace the Irish way of life.

Food lovers will also enjoy Galway, a harbor city featuring a mixed bag of food tours and a range of eateries, with standouts like Loam, a Michelin-starred spot using traditional ingredients with a modern twist. Cork, considered the food capital of Ireland, warrants a visit to the English Market, the oldest of its kind in Europe.

Other places worth their while for solo travelers include Blarney for its fabled castle and stone, the rocky coastal hikes along the Giant’s Causeway, and Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile marvels. Overall, Ireland is considered very safe though taking precautions to watch your belongs in crowded places and pre-arranging late night transportation will go a long way to keep it that way.

Portugal

Revered for its multicultural cities, medieval architecture and thriving culinary scene, Portugal is a culture lover’s paradise. Additionally, to help navigate their itineraries, solo visitors are pleased to discover that English is widely-spoken here. Lisbon leads the charmed pack with its hilly streets, cobblestone alleyways and striking blue azulejo tile work.

Try the city’s top activities, including a stroll to the seafront Praca do Comercio; a visit to the Alfama district, which is lined with fado (Portuguese folk music) bars; or a nostalgic ride on a vintage Tram 28 streetcar. Alternately, wander the streets at sunrise, where you can get a taste of life in an ancient city.

Learn more about Portugal’s dynamic food history while making friends with like-minded peeps by way of an anecdote-filled foodie tour that includes tastings of traditional bites like bacalhau (salted cod) and tasty pastel de nata (custard tart) and is topped off with shot of Portugal’s cherry liqueur, ginja.

Complete your discovery journey with trips to Porto, land of port wine and Douro River cruises; the Alentejo wine region for its rich red wines; the fairy-tale-like Pena Palace in Sintra; and the pristine beaches of Lagos in the Algarve region. Among the safest cities in Europe, wherever you go in Portugal denizens will share stories about their own areas and make suggestions for ongoing travel.

Dubai

A well-balanced mix of age-old traditions and ultra-modern skyscrapers, Dubai amazes solo travelers with its blend of shiny, futuristic areas and idyllic desert escapes. In this opulent city, it’s only natural that malls double as top attractions. For instance, the Dubai Mall is also home to a suspended aquarium and eye-popping underwater zoo.

The Dubai Marina offers great international eats in a lively, upscale setting that welcomes lone diners. For Middle Eastern fare, try the Al Khaima restaurant for authentic baba ghanoush (oven-roasted eggplant spread) or makanek (sauteed lamb sausage) in a relaxed setting.

Switch gears with a visit to the Al Fahidi district, one of the oldest parts of town, or stop at a colorful, fragrant spice souk. Continue your solo comparison of the old and new with nature adventures such as a Dhow Cruise down the Dubai Creek or a four-wheel-drive desert safari.

Although local laws may forbid public displays of affection and even taking photos of others, learning the laws pre-trip frees you to meet people of all walks of life in this cosmopolitan gem, one of the safest countries to visit in the Middle East.