Best Places for Solo Female Travel
January 24, 2021
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.
Are you an avid solo female traveler like me? Or are you still flirting with the idea of taking a solo adventure? Either way, you’ll want to keep reading for a list of the best places for solo female travel.
There are so many factors to consider when choosing a destination for your next (or first) solo female adventure including cost, safety, and ability to mingle with other solo travelers. If you’ve never solo traveled before you may want to start with my top tips for solo female travel, and of course my guide to smart solo travel safety tips.
Solo Female Travel Articles
- 7 Smart Solo Female Traveler Safety Tips
- Backpackers Hostel: How to Choose the Best Hostel
- Solo Hiking: 9 Hiking Tips for Female Travelers
- How to Make Friends When Traveling Solo
- Why Everyone Should Experience Solo Travel
- Top Tips for Solo Traveling as a Female
- How to Take Your Own Photos as a Solo Traveler
Many people recommend traveling somewhere locally for your first solo trip, however I don’t necessarily agree. While there are plenty of cities in the US that are great for solo travel, many international destinations have more of a infrastrure set of more solo travelers which make it easier to meet other travels.
Vietnam is one of the best places for solo female travel, and one of my personal favorites. Vietnam was actually the first stop on my first extended solo backpacking trip, so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Vietnam checks all of the boxes for the perfect solo travel destination, budget accommodations, delicious food, and tons of other solo travelers.
It is super common for solo backpackers to spend a few weeks traveling from North to South, or vice versa, through Vietnam, which makes it easy to connect with other travelers.
There are so many incredible places to visit in Vietnam, but I’ll highlight a few of my favorites, plus what to do and where to eat.
Hoi An is one of the most picturesque areas to visit in Vietnam. It is the perfect solo travel destination because it is relatively small, and easy to navigate by bike.
Things to do in Hoi An
There are so many things to do in Hoi An, from biking through the Old Town to taking a local cooking class. Cafe 43 offers a cooking class where you chose the entree that you’d like to eat, and then simply pay an additional $5 USD to join the chef in the kitchen to cook it. This is a great way to understand the local dishes, and meet some other travelers and locals. Hoi An is also known for their abundance of tailors. You won’t want to leave town without purchasing some custom pieces, so save some room in your bag.
You’ll find plenty of hostels in Hoi An, but Hoi An Lovely Hostel is one of my favorites. They offer free breakfast daily and free dinner three days a week, plus free beer a few nights a week, which is a great opportunity to socialize with other solo travelers.
If you are a foodie like me, then any trip to Vietnam isn’t complete without a visit to Hanoi. I’ve got a list of the places that you need to eat at in Hanoi, but Bun Cha 34 Hang Than and Banh Mi 25 are definitely at the top.
Things to do in Hanoi
A visit to the Train Street is one of the best things to do in Hanoi. It’s a cool way to experience the local lifestyle, plus it is thrilling when the train goes by. After you visit, spend some time shopping at the Dong Xuan Market before grabbing a Bia Hoi, the local beer, at one of the many street corner shops.
Hanoi is a great place to meet other solo travelers as they have quite the hostel scene. However, make sure that you find a hostel that fits your travel style needs. Many of the hostels in Hanoi are geared heavily towards partiers. That may be your vibe, or it may not be!Q
The first thing that struck me when I landed in Taiwan was that nobody bothered me. No one asked me strange questions, or tried to sell me anything. After having spent a few months in Southeast Asia backpacking, I became accustomed to the haggling and bartering, locals trying to sell you just about anything and everything.
Walking through the markets in Taiwan, I felt invisible in the best way possible. Taiwan is one of the best places for solo female travel because it is incredibly safe, easy to get around, and there are tons of things to see and do.
Bali and solo female travelers practically go hand in hand, as it has quickly become a top destination for digital nomads. Bali is an extremely safe (and popular) destination for solo travelers, so it is easy to meet like minded travelers. Plus, it is super easy to visit Bali on a budget.
If I could pack up my bags and move tomorrow, I would book the next flight to Bali and head straight to Canggu. This Indonesia surf town captured my heart from my very first visit in 2015. Since then I’ve been back quite a few times, and I fall more in love each time.
Things to do in Canggu
I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to Canggu, but there are a few must-do’s to add to your travel list right away. Grab a scooter on arrival and start exploring.
- Explore the rice paddies and nearby waterfalls by scooter.
- Take a surf lesson, head to the beach by Old Man’s.
- Enjoy a yoga class (Samadi is my favorite)
- Spend a way hanging out at Alternative Beach.
- Enjoy the absolute best cafe scene, at the most affordable prices.
Located in Central Bali, Ubud is Indonesia’s cultural hub. You’ll find tons of access to temple hopping, North Bali waterfalls, and some great hikes, especially as you head North from Ubud.
I do recommend staying centrally, especially if you’re not super comfortable on a scooter, as the traffic in and around Ubud can be quite bad. I’ve put together a Ubud travel itinerary, but here are a few must-dos:
- Take a cooking class at Periuk Bali Cooking Class
- Hike to Mt. Batur at sunrise (not in Ubud, but a tour can be organized)
- Explore the Tegalalang Rice Terraces
- Walk the Campuhan Ridge in Ubud
- Wander the monkey forest (but keep your valuables safe)
The Nusa islands are located just off of the island of Bali, and make a fabulous addition to any trip to Indonesia. I recommend alloting a least a few days on the islands, with at least two days on Nusa Penida. I’ve got a full Guide to Nusa Penida, but here are a few highlights:
- Go snorkeling with Manta Rays at Manta Bay
- Visit Kelingking Beach (wear good shoes for the hike)
- Lounge on Diamond Beach
- Explore Broken Beach + Angel’s Billabong
Iceland has consistently been ranked as the safest country in the world, which obviously makes it a great contender for my list of the best places for solo female travel. While not as budget-friendly as many of the other destinations on this list, there are plenty of ways to visit Iceland on a budget.
Best Things to do in Iceland
I put together an Iceland road trip itinerary, that will allow you to travel to Iceland on a budget, while still seeing all of the best things that the country has to offer. The itinerary takes advantage of a camping card, which is valid for 28 nights of camping for only 159 euros. While I haven’t personally traveled to Iceland solo, I would absolutely feel safe doing so. In fact, I’d love to explore Iceland solo one day!
As I mentioned above, the best way to explore Iceland is by car. I recommend spending only a day or so in Reykjavik, and spend the rest of your time driving the Ring Road. It’s really one large circle, so you don’t have to worry much about getting lost. There are so many incredible gems to explore, with tons of amazing hiking and walks to explore. Most of the campsites have bathrooms and cooking facilities. Some also have a common space, making it easy to meet other travelers.
Canada is ranked as the 6th safest country based on the Global Peace Index.Which definitely makes it one of the best solo female travel destinations. Plus, it is an absolutely gorgeous country.
Despite growing up in New York, so close to the Canadian border, I didn’t really start exploring until I was out of college. Without a doubt, Banff National Park, and the nearby Yoho National Park, are my favorite areas in Canada to explore.
If you’re arriving from outside of Canada, then I recommend flying into Calgary. It is super easy to get from Calgary to Banff National Park. Once in Banff National Park, here are some must-visit spots, including some of the best hikes in Banff:
- Sunrise on Lake Louise, plus the Big Beehive hike
- Views of Peyto Lake and Icefields Parkway
- Moraine Lake
I know that Thailand is the stereotypical solo travel destination, but I promise that there is a reason for it. One of the things that makes Thailand so great for solo travel is that it is based with solo travelers!
As great as the islands are, if I had to choose, I would visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pai instead. Northern Thailand just has so much to offer, and I feel that it is a more unique experience than island time.
A few safety measures to keep in mind when visiting Thailand:
- When purchasing bottled water, always make sure that the bottle is properly sealed.
- If you’re solo, be careful with the large buckets of mysterious liquor.. but that’s just a thought!
- When taking taxis or tuk tuks, either set a price beforehand or ask them to use the meter (recommended). Be on the lookout for trick meters!
- Make sure to dress conservatively when visiting religious sites and temples.
Bangkok is easily one of my favorite cities in the world. The city is filled with so much culture and incredible cuisine. I have visited Bangkok five times, and I am sure that I will be back many more. If you’re planning a solo trip to Thailand, make sure to allot at least 48 hours in Bangkok.
Things to Do in Bangkok
You’ll want to keep out my full guide to Bangkok, but here are some highlights:
- Explore the temples (by water ferry).
- Visit the Sunday Chatuchak shopping market.
- Take a day trip to Ayutthaya (I recommend taking the train).
- Eat (the best) street food. Just eat all of it!
- Take a stroll through Lumpini Park in the early morning.
- Visit the Taling Chan Floating Market.
Chiang Mai is one of my favorite places in the world, and I have considered moving here many times. But for now, I’ll just be content with frequent visits.
Things to do in Chiang Mai
- Grab a spicy papaya salad from the Chiang Mai Gate Food Market.
- Enjoy a (or ten) nutella crepe(s) from one of the street vendors.
- Take a cooking class at Siam Rice Cookery.
- Visit an elephant sanctuary.
- Explore the temples in the Old Town.
If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia, you’re probably quickly finding out that there are so many amazing things to do in Cambodia, especially in Siem Reap. Siem Reap is one of the best places for solo female travel because it’s affordable, filled with culture, and there are tons of other solo travelers.
Things to do in Siem Reap
You probably could have guessed it, but I have a full guide on the best things to do in Siem Reap. But I’ll still share a snapshot here for you:
- Visit the Temples of Ankor (duh!). I’d allot two days to seeing them temples, but if you’re on a budget you can stick to a single day. Angkor Wat is the most famous of the temples, which is usually visited at sunrise. However, there are actually so many other temples to see. I recommend hiring a tuk tuk driver for the day. Or if you’re up for a challenge, visiting by bike!
- Explore the Night Market for some local souvenirs.
- Visit Wat Bo Temple at sunset for a unique experience.
New York City
Although I can’t say that I’ve ever solo traveled in NYC, as I have lived in the area most of myself, it is actually one of the best cities to explore alone. Trust me, no one will look twice when you arrive at a restaurant alone, or even grab a solo drink at the local bar. NYC is all about anonymity, which is great for a solo adventure.
While hostels aren’t nearly as popular in the US as they are elsewhere, they are still a thing! If you’re looking to meet some fellow travelers, or just a really great host with all of the insider tips, then I recommend a stay at The Funky Loft. They have 3 bedrooms at the airbnbs, plus a shared space. However, NYC is also a great solo trip for when you need an escape. You can be completely alone, doing your own thing, yet always surrounded by crowds.
Best Things to do in NYC
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start as a local because there is SO much to do and see, and it really depends on your interests.
- Explore Central Park during any season, any time of day. It’s famous for a reason.
- Eat everything. From bagels and an egg and cheese sandwich from the bodega, authentic NYC pizza (Joe’s Pizza for me), and the vast amount of different cuisines available. So many cheap eats in NYC.
- Do the touristy thing and head to Top of the Rock for some of the best views of the city.
- See a show on Broadway. You can find discounted tickets at TKTS.
- Explore some of my favorite museums, including The Whitney, MoMa, and the New Museum.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, preferably at sunrise. It’s one of the best places to snap a great photo.
- Get outside of Manhattan and really explore the other boroughs!
Portugal is one of my favorite travel destinations in Europe, perfect for a girls getaway, a couples trip, and of course, one of the best places for solo female travel. In fact, Portugal is ranked as the 3rd safest country based on the Global Peace Index.
I’ve visited Lisbon a few times now, and I love it more and more with every visit. It’s a small city, which makes it easy to navigate, and one of the best places for solo female travel. It’s also extremely affordable, with some of the best food in the world. I recommend staying somewhere central, ideally somewhere that is close to public transportation and many of the main sights. I always recommend staying near the subway or bus stop when traveling solo, so you don’t find yourself walking alone late at night. Good Morning Lisbon Hostel is one of the best places for solo female travelers. It is a bit pricey for a hostel, but the delicious breakfast, daily happy hours, and social atmosphere make it worth it.
Best Things to do in Lisbon
Get to know the city by wandering through the Alfama district, stopping for a meal on Rua dos Bacalhoeiros for a seafood dish. You’ll also want to catch a sunset in Graca, before grabbing dinner at Penalva Da Graca. And don’t leave Lisbon without a pasteis de nata — the best ones are is Belem, but you can find them all over the city.
Best Things to do in Porto
From wandering around the streets of Riberia, to drinking port wine and dining on Portuguese classics (don’t miss the pasteis de nata), there is no shortage of great things to see and do in Porto. You can check out my guide to the 7 best things to do in Porto for a full run down!
Porto is incredibly solo traveler friendly, and one of my favorite cities in the world. It is a small, super walkable city so you shouldn’t need to rely too much on public transportation.
I will caveat this suggestion by saying that this is probably the destination that your family will push back on the most for solo travel. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it’s the safest destination in the world, but it is a beautiful country that can definitely be traveled smart and safely. I’ve even put together a Mexico solo travel guide, featuring Tulum, Mexico City, Guanajuato, and more!
I love Tulum and have visited a handful of times, both with friends and as a solo traveler. I felt incredibly safe during all of my trips, and love how close to home the destination is. Plus, there are so many things to do on a Tulum itinerary.
Best Things to do in Tulum
- Take a local cooking class (and try traditional grasshoppers)
- Swim in the many cenotes surrounding the city
- Spend time relaxing on the beach (and eating at the super Instagram-worthy cafes)
- Head to the town for local tacos
- Explore the (free) art exhibit in the jungle, Azulik Uh May
Guanajuato is a true hidden gem in Mexico, and a city that I can’t wait to visit over and over again. Located in central Mexico, Guanajuato City is the capital of the state with the same name. Will rolling hills of scattered colorful buildings, and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, Guanajuato should be on your bucket list whether you’re planning a solo trip or not. To be honest, I didn’t even know of Guanajuato’s existence until a few months before my trip there. Now I can say that it might just be one of my favorite places in the world.
I visited Italy for the first time when I was 18 (baby Taylor pictured below), when I moved into my first apartment, the start of a 4 month solo adventure in Rome. I have been back countless times since, visiting all parts of the country. From the big cities of Rome, Venice, and Florence, to the quaint towns of Cinque Terre, Lucca, and villages in Tuscany, there is so much to explore as a solo female.
As much as I love the cities and the culture that they hold, my favorite part of Italy is the Dolomites region. The Dolomites are an excellent place for solo female travelers who are looking for adventure. What’s better than a solo road trip through one of the world’s most beautiful destinations? Plus, there are so many things to do in the Dolomites.
Best Things to do in the Dolomites
- Lago di Braies – Photographs of this famous lake have recently found their way all over the internet, and for a very good reason! This famous lake is just as beautiful in person as it is in photos. Blue waters with a striking mountain backdrop, it’s hard not to fall in love with this spot.
- Lago di Sorapis – a striking bright blue lake that takes a few hours to reach by photo. But trust me, it’s worth it!
- Seceda – Take the gondola up to Seceda for some of the best mountain views in the world. If you have the time, stay at a rifugio up top so you can experience sunrise and sunset.