A bike resting against a canal bridge in Amsterdam

The Best Places to Travel Alone in Europe

We can’t talk enough about the benefits of traveling alone, and Europe is the perfect continent for a solo trip. It’s full of fun things to see and do, and traveling from place to place is so easy that it practically requires spontaneous changes of plan that only those unencumbered with travel partners can pull off.

Choosing the best places to travel alone in Europe is hard when the whole continent is so well-suited to solo exploration, but in terms of overall safety, tourist infrastructure, and friendliness, these places are at the top of the list. Whether you’re craving solitude or the distractions of new sights and sounds, there is something for every solo traveler in Europe.

Travel to: Europe

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Contrary to its reputation of debauchery, Amsterdam is actually one of the most wholesome cities in Europe and one of the very best places to travel alone. This enigmatic city is home to quirky museums, more bikes than people, and more canals than Venice, and the best way to take it all in is by spending some quality time with it one-on-one. Grab some coffee at one of Amsterdam’s many cafés (for the uninitiated, skip the coffeeshops if you’re traveling alone), and follow up with some frites or stroopwafel. Explore the Museumplein’s three major museums: the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum, and don’t forget the offbeat ones, like the Museum of Bags and Purses, the Cheese Museum, and Electric Ladyland, a one-of-its-kind basement museum dedicated to fluorescent art.

the 'I Amsterdam' sign in Amsterdam
Museumplein, Amsterdam | © Jennie Ramida/Unsplash

But perhaps one of the best ways to spend a day in Amsterdam is on two wheels. You can go almost anywhere on a bike in this city, and it’s a great way to see more of the city’s beautiful architecture. You’ll be taken by the friendliness of the locals, most of whom speak fluent English, and the city’s progressive and laid-back vibe.

Bologna, Italy

If you’re traveling alone in Italy, it’s best to skip the touristy stuff and get right to its essence. Bologna is the best city to visit to do just that. As the food center of the country and the home of the oldest university in Europe and rosy-hued architecture, Bologna has earned the affectionate nicknames la grassa (the fat one), la dotta (the educated one), and la rossa (the red one). Walking is customary, and the locals take a leisurely evening stroll every night through the city’s streets and painted porticoes.

Indeed, the city is best explored on foot, and it’s the best way to blend in with the locals. Take a food tour and try a cooking class to make the best pasta you’ll have in your life with your own two hands, or follow the Portico di San Luca up to the San Luca Basilica for a beautiful scenic stroll and a panoramic view.

Bologna, Italy
Beautiful Bologna | © Andrey Kirov/Unsplash

Ljubljana, Slovenia

This quaint, eco-conscious capital in Eastern Europe has an interesting history and a youthful atmosphere. It’s perfect to explore on your own, and is a wonderful introduction to the rest of Slovenia. A short bus ride away is the beautiful Lake Bled, where you can immerse yourself in striking natural scenery and landscapes. The Julian Alps make a stunning background against the shimmering turquoise lake and the vibrant emerald hills that surround it, and Bled Island is a curious islet in the middle of it all.

As calming as the gorgeous scenery is, the lake also allows for a lot of fun activities, like swimming, rowing, and kayaking. You can take advantage of one of the many hikes and walks that surround the lake to get back to nature, as well. And if you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, Lake Bled offers summer tobogganing, ziplining, a ropes course, and more.

A canal cruise in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Explore Ljubljana via canal cruise | © Febiyan/Unsplash

Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal is a solo traveler’s paradise – its friendly people, affordable prices, and overall safety make it a great place to travel alone. Lisbon, its bright and exciting capital, is incredibly agreeable to tourists. One of the best indicators of this is the abundance of good hostels in the city, some of which are the best in the world. If you’re into street art, you’ve come to the right place – Lisbon is home to a vibrant street art scene, and you can spend a wonderful, solitary day wandering the streets in search of the best pieces.

A woman standing on a hill in Lisbon, Portugal
Exploring Lisbon solo has so many benefits! | © John Sting/Unsplash

Traverse the Alfama district on the retro No. 28 tram, or go looking for some of Portugal’s best cuisine at Time Out Market, where you can get delicious pasteis de nata. Lisbon is also a great starting point for trips to historic Belém and colourful Sintra.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Though on the more expensive side of this list, Reykjavik is still one of the best places to travel alone in Europe. For the more adventurous traveler, this Icelandic city is the ultimate destination for anyone looking to swap the hustle and bustle for fresh air and rugged nature. Depending on the season, changes in weather can mean sudden changes of plan, so the flexibility that comes with solo travel can be helpful here. With friendly English-speaking locals who are always happy to help, it’s an exercise in isolation without the loneliness.

a person standing on a black sand beach in Iceland
Exploring Iceland’s stark beauty is an incredible solo experience | © Hari Nandakumar/Unsplash

The best and most popular way to explore Iceland is to rent a car, but it’s also possible to join tours and take public transit, or even hitchhike or carpool. Iceland is the safest country in the world, so these ridesharing methods are far more popular and legitimate ways to get around. You might even meet some likeminded travelers along the way! Make sure to have a soak in a hot spring, like the popular Blue Lagoon, and tour Iceland’s Golden Circle to see the Northern Lights.

Travelling solo is a unique experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. The good news is, whether you’re an experienced solo traveller or you’re setting out alone for the very first time, Europe is home to gorgeous countries sure to welcome you to your next great adventure.

Melanie is a Toronto-based writer and editor who loves experiencing new things in new places. In between adventures, you can find her with her nose in a book, re-watching episodes of Friends, or on the lookout for her next favourite brunch spot.

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