Solo travel for women is gaining in popularity, with a sharp increase of women travelling alone over the past five years. Whether it’s the freedom to see what you want, when you want, or the promise of new friendships made stronger by a shared experience, more and more women are ditching the travel buddy and going it alone. But when you have the entire world to choose from, which places are the safest for women to travel alone? Our guide will help you choose where to take your next solo adventure.
The vast majority of Scandinavia is safe for female travellers, but Iceland takes the safety crown as it’s recently been ranked number one in the Global Peace Index, an annual list of the most peaceful nations in the world. As well as being safe, Iceland is stunningly beautiful, sporting breath-taking landscapes and natural wonders. Features such as the Gullfoss waterfall and Great Geysir make this underrated country more and more popular with solo travellers.
A staple of bucket lists all over the world, New Zealand is one of the best places in the world for female solo travellers, with its diverse scenery, fascinating cities and relaxed atmosphere. This is definitely one for lovers of the outdoors: glaciers, mountains and lush, green countryside provide the perfect arena for a huge range of extreme sports, such as white-water rafting, skydiving and kayaking.
Art and food are high on the list for most women travelling to Spain, and there’s plenty of both on offer, especially in Northern Spain. Visit Barcelona for the ideal combination of city and beach life, and Bilbao for the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, whose building is just as stunning as the treasures inside. When you’ve had your fill of culture, take a seat in one of the region’s many Michelin-starred restaurants and discover the world-famous cuisine and unique culture of the Basque country.
As a city of diverse tastes and culture, Amsterdam has long been one of Europe’s most relaxed destinations, with canals and cycle networks making travel around the city enjoyable and stress-free. Despite its infamous reputation, Amsterdam is extremely friendly and harassment of women is rare. For a sense of its history and culture, visit the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum to take in the Dutch masters, before going to the Anne Frank House for a unique insight into to the girl who hid from the Nazis and wrote her inspirational diary.
One of the best places in the world for women travelling alone is Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia. Start with The National Gallery of Victoria then move onto the Heide Museum of Modern Art, before seeking out a Banksy on Degraves Street. While you’re there, lose yourself in a maze of cobbled lanes and treat yourself in one of the many cafés. Huge parks, elegant rooftop bars and an enviable location (set within easy travelling distance to the Grampians National Park) make Melbourne the ideal destination for the adventurous female traveller. Remember to check your Travel Insurance before participating in any potentially risky activities to check that you are covered.
With its low crime rate, fantastic landscapes and thriving cities, Canada is high on the list of best places for solo female travel. Start off in Toronto (ranked the 4th safest city in the world by The Economist) for its multicultural museums, fascinating Distillery District and the view from the CN Tower, then travel onto Montreal for its 17th Century architecture and scenic riverfront. Finally, cross the country to find Vancouver; a haven for nature lovers, with mountain range backdrops and the vast Stanley Park providing hours of ocean-side wandering.
Like much of Scandinavia, Copenhagen is a great destination for females travelling alone. Denmark is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to gender equality, and Danish women are highly independent and proud of their strength both in the workplace and when relaxing. So there’s very little harassment and a lot of respect for the solo female traveller. There’s also inspiring architecture, beautiful scenery and a fantastic nightlife.
We’re a little closer to home for our final choice. With its enviable collection of galleries, museums, theatres, restaurants and shopping, Central London remains a fantastic choice for the independent female nomad. Head to Covent Garden for some free street entertainment and a spot of shopping, then treat yourself to a few hours in a luxury spa such as The Health Club at One Aldwych. If you’re still feeling energetic, head up to Hampstead for some women-only open-air swimming in the Ladies’ Pond.