Solo Female Travel In Europe – Tips & Tricks!

solo female travel europe

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This guide to solo female travel in Europe is long overdue since I have written already about solo female travel in Asia as well as many individual countries (see my solo travel archives for all of them). While it’s tricky to write a guide to a rich and diverse continent of 50 countries, I’m going to give it my best shot!

EUROPE QUICK LINKS

Accommodation: Booking.com / Hostelworld

Getting around: flight / car / bus / train

Activities: GetYourGuide / Viator

Travel insurance: True Traveller (UK & Europe residents) / Hey Mundo (all travellers) / Safety Wing (digital nomads)

I grew up in the UK so that’s one European country I know like the back of my hand. Given the ease and affordability of getting around Europe, I have explored as part of many city breaks and holidays. I’ve also done some longer multi-month backpacking trips (in 2019 I went from Germany to Bulgaria overland and in 2022 I did an epic 2-month Balkans trip).

I also temporarily lived in Europe when the world events of 2020 brought me back from Mexico, where I’d been living previously. After spending 3 months living in Porto, Portugal and another 3 months in Split, Croatia, I know these cities and countries well and have fantastic memories!

solo female travel europe
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In this guide, I’ll share my tips for women travelling alone including the best places for solo female travel in Europe

Is Europe good for solo female travel?

Yes, absolutely! I don’t think anyone will tell you otherwise. Europe is full of different countries each with their own long histories, languages, cuisines and cultures. Solo travel in Europe is a fascinating and rewarding option with so much variety in terms of cities, towns, islands, beaches, hikes and more!

Although it’s a wonderful place to travel generally, it’s worth noting that Europe is great for women travelling alone. It’s safe (well as safe as our world can be) with fantastic infrastructure and well-travelled routes that have been traversed a million times before by women like you.

Italy
Italy is great for food… No one can deny that!

Is Europe safe for solo female travellers?

Absolutely! Europe, particularly Western Europe, generally has a positive safety rating which should set your mind at ease. Actually, I think many regions of Asia and Latin America are just as safe but get unfair bad reps… But that’s a bit of a tangent!

The most common crime to affect women travelling alone in Europe is pickpocketing. This happens particularly in touristy places and especially in summer. I’ve had much worse experiences with this in Western Europe than East (particularly in Barcelona).

Read next: the ultimate guide to solo female travel

Is Europe ok for first-time solo travellers?

Yes, depending where you go. If you have never travelled alone before, you may choose to avoid more adventurous regions like the Balkans where you’ll rely on hot, slow buses that often drop you at the bottom of steep hills with no taxis to take you to your accommodation at the top!

Places with great public transport like Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany are ideal for first-time solo female travellers who want an easy logistical experience.

Barcelona cities for solo female travel europe

Places like the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Germany are easy for English speakers so make for an easy intro to solo female travel in Europe.

Taking all this into consideration, it’s places like Portugal and the Netherlands with great English AND public transport (and hostels) that are the ultimate first-timer destinations. Seriously, if you can manage your hometown, I promise you can do these!

Good things about solo female travel in Europe

  • Safe – aside from big cities like Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and London where you face the same threats as anywhere in the world (mainly pickpocketing), Europe is safe for female travellers. I find attitudes more old-fashioned as you head east but this won’t impact your safety
  • Lots of English spoken – although it’s mainly the UK and Ireland that speak English as a first language, you’ll find fantastic English from Portugal to Germany and the Balkans. The places you’ll most want to brush up on the local lingo are France and Spain in my opinion because these languages are more common for tourists to know at least some of, therefore there’s more expectation from you.
  • Great tourist infrastructure – in Lisbon there’s even a hostel designed for solo travellers!
Albania balkans travel
The Balkans provide an affordable and rewarding travel experience!

Bad things about solo female travel in Europe

  • Cost – after having travelled in Southeast Asia, the cost of European travel shocked me! But it’s only certain parts of Northern and Western Europe that are truly spenny. Parts of Eastern Europe are refreshingly affordable.
  • Seasonality – many destinations are packed and expensive in summer and abandoned in winter, for example Croatia which I’d only recommend visiting from April-June and September-October. Luckily, not every destination is this seasonal but you need to do your research.

Regions of Europe

What’s hard about writing this guide to solo female travel in Europe is that the various regions are completely different. To summarise…

  • Western Europe – the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain etc are the most popular travel destinations in Europe so therefore have some of the best infrastructure including trains and hostels, but also higher prices and crowds in summer. Although this region has developed attitudes toward women, I’ve experienced more crime (like pickpocketing) than I have in Eastern Europe.
  • Northern Europe – the safest but most expensive countries in the world include Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. The Baltic countries like Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are also often included in this definition.
  • The Balkans – I’ve loved travelling in these beautiful and cheap countries although backpacking is a little more adventurous as tourist infrastructure is still developing. But there are plenty of hostels these days. Countries include Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. I’ve sometimes found attitudes to women a little old-fashioned here, but I’ve always felt perfectly safe.
  • Eastern Europe – the definition of this region sometimes includes the Balkans as well as the Caucasus countries like Georgia and Armenia. Although I’m yet to go, I hear they’re safe and affordable.
  • Central Europe – places like Austria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have fantastic holiday and city break potential. Budapest and Prague are cheap with great hostels, nightlife and culture. Crime-wise, you’re mainly looking at pickpockets.

Best season to visit Europe

Summer (June-August): for island-hopping and beach breaks, this is the time. But beware this season can be a scorcher: Portugal had temperatures of 45°C in 2022! If crowded and expensive Western Europe doesn’t appeal, head to the Balkans. Swap spenny Croatia and popular Greek islands for lesser-visited ones or, better yet, Albania or Montenegro.

Spring (March-May)
: one of the best seasons to go almost anywhere in Europe! You escape the crowds and heat, plus prices are lower.

Winter (December-February)
: this is a good time for city breaks and winter markets. Budapest, Prague and many German cities are atmospherically cold with mulled wine to warm you up! To chase the sun, visit Spain and Portugal and benefit from off-season prices.

Autumn (September-November)
: like the spring, this is another ideal time to go almost anywhere. Catch the tail end of island season in Croatia and Greece as prices drop, or enjoy pleasant temperatures in cities across Europe.

Portugal in winter
Portugal in winter isn’t too cold

Cost of female solo travel in Europe

Since costs vary so much between countries, I would highly recommend researching your chosen countries individually. Here’s the best summary I can give…

Hostels: approx €15-45 a night in Western Europe (with Portugal on the low end and Italy on the high end), between €10-20 in Balkan countries and €20-45 in the Nordic countries.

Food: How long is a piece of string? In Albania, I could get a 3-course restaurant meal for €10 while in Copenhagen this wouldn’t get me a starter… So you’re going to have to research your countries individually!

Transport: even in more expensive regions you can get a Flixbus across the country for €10! Transport is really efficient and affordable across Europe. At the time of writing, I live in Mexico where coach travel is much more expensive!

Pizza in italy must for solo female travel in europe
Pizza slices are affordable in Venice

How to get around Europe

Getting around with all your valuables in tow is understandably a concern for many travellers. Here’s how I recommend you get around during solo female travel in Europe…

Travel by train: in Western and Central Europe, the trains are fantastic. I use Trainline or Raileasy to buy tickets which is often necessary in peak season. As you go west, there are very few trains (apart from in Romania but they’re slower than buses).

Travel by bus: these operate all over Europe. Around Western and Central Europe, the Flixbus is unbelievably cheap (although not always the most organised). Around the Balkans, you’ll rely on local operators that your hostels can usually advise on (and rarely need to be booked in advance).

Bus in croatia
There’s always a trusty bus in Europe

Travel by car: lots of travellers visiting Europe hire cars but, for solo travellers, this is rarely going to be the cheapest or most relaxing option. But if you’re keen, you can use Rentalcars.com to compare prices.

Travel by air: Europe has affordable budget carriers like Ryanair and Easyjet and you can get especially affordable fares off-season. I’ve flown to Poland and Zagreb from the UK for €10 before. But obviously, intercountry air travel should be avoided for environmental reasons and several European countries have banned short-haul flights now.

Travel by boat: island hopping is popular in summery destinations like Greece and Croatia. I had a great time taking day trips from Split (Croatia) when I lived there to islands like Vis, Brac, Hvar and Korcula. You can opt for public ferries or island-hopping tours, usually on smaller boats (or catamarans) run by private companies.

Likewise, from Athens, you’re well-connected to countless Greek islands.

Boat trip
Summer boat trips in Croatia

Safety tips for solo female travellers in Europe

Wear a secure bag: consider the kind of day bag you bring. A shoulder bag or tote is fine for non-valuable items but not things like your phone, money, bank cards or keys to your accommodation. For these, I recommend a cross-body bag that can’t easily be snatched.

Backup bank cards: if your bank card is lost or stolen, ensure you have at least one backup stored safely at your accommodation. I prefer to travel with bank cards connected to an app that I can quickly pause or cancel if necessary. I like Monzo and Starling (for UK travellers) and Revolut and Wise (available for various nationalities).

Keep someone informed of your whereabouts:
I recommend this everywhere, not just solo female travel in Europe. Sharing your itinerary or hotel booking with family or friends is a good idea, or consider sharing your live location with someone via your phone.

Carry Euros in non-Euro countries: in the Balkans, I always carried some spare Euros; you never know when they’ll come in handy. In this region, there are often surprise charges at bus stations like platform fees and luggage fees. This is stressful if you’re leaving the country and have spent the last of your currency, so Euros might save the day.

Read next: more solo female travel safety tips

tips for female solo travel europe
I usually have a cross-body bag and a tote

SIM cards for Europe travel

If you’re from the EU, you’re existing data package will work as usual. Everyone else (including UK travellers who this devastatingly used to work for and now doesn’t) will want to rely on Wi-Fi and download offline maps in advance… Or try to source a local SIM!

I don’t have too much experience with getting SIM cards for this region in-person, however, I’ve recently discovered a fantastic new e-SIM platform called Airalo that lets you download online SIMs in advance for 200+ regions and countries. You can browse packages for European countries or get the Eurolink SIM that covers 39 countries. Connect as soon as you land!

Travel insurance for solo women travellers in Europe

Although Europe is safe for women travelling alone, I always advise getting travel insurance. It could save your life!

Available to UK and European travellers, True Traveller offer 24-hour emergency assistance. You can buy cover when you’re already travelling and don’t need a return flight booked. I’ve used them for years and received my money back within days of submitting a claim. They’re fantastic! Get a quote.

For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.

Visas & Schengen zone stays

For those without an EU passport, there are certain restrictions in place based on how long you can stay in the Schengen Zone which comprises 27 European countries.

The limit is 90 days in a 180-day period. Be sure to calculate your days carefully (using a Schengen calculator if you wish) because you can get in trouble for overstaying. Many nationalities require a short-stay visa to enter; check if this is required for you.

However, not every country in Europe is in the Schengen zone. Some that sit outside the zone (therefore not counting towards your limit) include the UK and most Balkan countries; see here for a full list.

Best places for solo female travel in Europe

To be honest, there are very few places in Europe you CAN’T travel solo. However, there are some that I believe are especially good, based on their impressive safety rating, decent infrastructure and abundance of budget accommodation where you’re likely to meet other travellers. These include…

Portugal: Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve

There are few better places in the world for solo female travel than Portugal! Lisbon and Porto are wonderful cities; it’s worth visiting both. Then, the Algarve is your beach paradise with opportunities to kayak and hike, or simply relax on the beach.

Good things about solo travel in Portugal include the fact it’s super safe (and has been voted the 6th safest country in the world!) and has world-class hostels including some in Lisbon specifically designed for those travelling alone! It’s also easy to get around by train or bus.

What to do in Lisbon (I suggest a 3 day Lisbon itinerary):

  • Visit historic attractions like São Jorge Castle and Carmo Convent
  • Wander the cobbled streets, catch intimate fado shows and enjoy the nightlife in Barrio Alto
  • Explore hilly streets in Alfama
  • Take a half-day trip to Belem district for Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries and Pastéis de Belém, the birthplace of egg custard tarts!
  • Soak up views from the many miradouros (viewpoints)
  • Take a day trip to Sintra for the iconic Sintra Palace.
  • Read next: the ultimate guide to solo female travel in Lisbon
LISBON where to travel solo in europe for women
View over Lisbon rooftops

What to do in Porto (I suggest a 3 day Porto itinerary):

  • Go port wine tasting in Vila Nova de Gaia, easily reached by walking across the bridge. Plenty of port houses offer samplings and tours, or do your own tasting at any waterfront bar
  • Tour blue azulejos (tiles) on buildings like Sao Bento station
  • Watch sunset at Jardim de Morro amongst other places
  • Soak up city views from the Clerigos Tower and Porto Cathedral rooftop
  • Take a day trip to the Douro Valley known for striking scenery and delicious wine.
Douro valley day trip
Douro Valley near Porto

What to do in the Algarve:

  • Hop between Lagos beaches like Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Caniçal and admire the views from Ponta da Piedade
  • Hike the Fisherman’s Trail to Praia da Luz
  • Take a guided kayaking adventure from Lagos through caves and around headlands
  • Take a 3-island boat trip from Faro
  • Go inside Benagil Cave with an open roof
  • Visit the adorable seaside town of Carvoeiro
  • Surf in Sagres, a cute port town
  • Visit Marinha Beach, sometimes called the most beautiful in the region
  • Eat amazing seafood!

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest european cities for solo female travel

Budapest is a fantastic city because it blends historic and cultural attractions with cool and quirky neighbourhoods and bars so you don’t have to pick between historic and modern.

Better yet, Budapest is affordable making it a good solo female travel destination in Europe for those who don’t want to do the hostel thing. The great public transport also means you never need to get taxis for one.

Musts for your Budapest itinerary include a free walking tour, Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion, crossing the Chain Bridge, a dip in Széchenyi Spa Baths (or one of the other spas), a river boat cruise, lunch at Central Hall Market (learn what to eat in Budapest here), views from the turrets of St Stephen’s Basilica and admiring Dohány Street Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. You’ll need at least 3 days.

For the evenings, head to quirky Ruin Bars in repurposed venues. If you don’t fancy going solo, stay in a hostel to meet other solo travellers or sign up for a bar crawl.

Prague, Czechia

Prague is such a cool and diverse city! Since I’d ticked off the tourist attractions on previous trips, my recent visit involved drinking at a quirky train bar where a toy train brings over your cocktails, playing video games in a retro arcade/bar, eating amazing Vietnamese food thanks to the big diaspora, and drinking Czech wine at the top of the Metronome with sunset city views.

Things that make Prague – and the Czech Republic generally – a great solo travel destination include low prices (especially if you get away from the main tourist drag), efficient public transport and highly-rated hostels. Given how many tourists visit, there are countless bar crawls, free walking tours and other group activities that you can join.

Also, this is a very safe country. Crime is almost nonexistent outside of the capital and usually limited to pickpocketing in Prague. The trams are great and cheap but just watch your belongings on crowded ones as well as busy public places. Navigating the country is easy and affordable by train or Flixbus.

Although many people just visit Prague, I can also vouch for the second city, Brno, as a great destination with history and culture (and a great boutique hostel, Wake up Wellness), and Cesky Krumlov (pictured above) as an idyllic UNESCO town straight outta a fairytale!

Amsterdam, Netherlands

amsterdam

The downside to Amsterdam for solo female travel in Europe is that it’s undeniably expensive. However, if you can cover the costs (or find a budget travel solution like Couchsurfing, housesitting or volunteering with Workaway or Worldpackers), you have a safe destination that’s world-famous and rightly so!

Things to do during solo travel in Amsterdam include top-name attractions like the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and cycling the canals, plus you can enjoy tranquil neighbourhoods like Jordaan known for its coffee shops and quality food. Browse at Albert Cuyp, a vibey local market, and unwind with a walk through Vondelpark.

Overall, Amsterdam blends the vibrant and modern (the Netherlands has made great efforts towards gender equality and LGBT rights) with history, museums and outdoor spaces. A couple of days is enough to see the sights.

Slovenia

Slovenia is known for its amazing nature and I can safely say it doesn’t disappoint! Although Lake Bled steals the show, there’s plenty to do in Ljubljana (the capital city) and lots of great restaurants. This is one of the safest cities in Europe for women travelling alone so it’s easy even for beginner travellers.

Lake Bled has hostels where you can meet other travellers to explore the lake with. Just be mindful of when you plan a trip because accommodation books out and gets very expensive over the summer. Although nearby Lake Bohinj wasn’t such a social destination, I loved visiting this less crowded lake town.

Another destination is Piran on the north of the Istrian peninsular connecting Croatia. This idyllic town has wonderful scenery and amazing restaurants serving truffle pasta!

Italy – almost everywhere!

Solo travel in Italy is something you won’t regret! It may not be the biggest country in Europe but there are SO many places to go that you’ll want to plan your itinerary carefully.

Highlights for a North Italy itinerary include Venice, Verona, and Milan while central highlights include Florence, Rome, Tuscany, Bologna and Cinque Terre. In the South, you have the Almfali Coast, Salerno and Naples. And this is just scratching the surface!

It’s easy to get around Italy with trains and the Flixbus although you may struggle without a car in countryside areas like Tuscany and the Dolomites. Cinque Terre and the Almalfi Coast are notoriously expensive in summer so you may want to stay elsewhere (like Salerno) and visit on a day trip.

Ireland: Dublin and Galway

solo female travel destinations europe

The only downside to Ireland is that it’s a VERY expensive country in Europe for solo female travel. If you can cope with the costs, you’ll have great craic, as the Irish would say!

Dublin should be high on your Ireland bucket list but don’t overlook other destinations like small but colourful Galway where you can visit the Cliffs of Moher as a day trip.

Ireland is a great year-round destination because, although it’s cold in the winter, there are so many cosy pubs with live music and hearty pub food awaiting. There are tons of hostels and bar crawls making it a social destination with great nightlife.

London, England

Although there are so many places to visit in the UK, many travellers just drop in to visit London. And that’s fair enough: as Brit, I’d say it’s an expensive country and not the most ‘backpackey’ or social. London is one of the most fantastic cities in the world so you can’t go wrong spending all your time there!

The museums in London are world-class and mostly free! So are the galleries. There are also fantastic parks and green spaces, plus countless markets selling trinkets, crafts, antiques and food. There’s a great restaurant, pub and bar scene… Not to mention cool neighbourhoods, famous streets and big-name tourist attractions.

You’d need years in London to explore it properly but you can pack in the highlights in five days or so.

If you have the chance to head up to Scotland, you shouldn’t skip Edinburgh which is one of the most beautiful cities ever. I also loved spending a weekend in up-and-coming Glasgow! Inverness and Loch Ness are other obvious highlights.

Berlin, Germany

Actually, there are countless places to visit in Germany. I love scenic Bavaria with places like Nuremberg and Wurzburg although it’s hardly a backpacker destination so it depends how much you like your own company.

However, Berlin is one of Europe’s best cities for solo female travel. There are so many hostels and great nightlife if you want to partake. If not, there are museums covering war history, including the quirky open-air East Side Gallery, displayed on remaining sections of the Berlin Wall.

The quirky attractions in Berlin never end, plus there’s unique regional food and, of course, great beer. Almost everyone speaks English and there’s efficient, affordable public transport.

Another northern city in Germany I quite like is Hamburg.

Paris, France

Paris france woman eiffel tower

There are few cities in the world more famous and iconic than Paris so of course it’s a must for solo female travel in Europe!

Beyond the iconic attractions like the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral which of course you can’t miss, there are cool neighbourhoods and elegant libraries and cafes. Like London, you’ll never complete Paris without living there for decades, but you can certainly give it a try!

It hardly needs to be said but the food is phenomenal in Paris. The bread, cheese and pastries are unrivalled (don’t miss the eclairs, croissants and macaroons) and there are classic dishes to try like duck confit, croque monsieur, onion soup and, if you’re feeling adventurous, escargot (snails!). There are casual bakeries and cafes if you feel awkward dining at a candlelit restaurant alone.

Albania

Nature and culture: Albania is a destination that has it all… At affordable prices! You can stay in fantastic hostels for less than €20 a night and eat in restaurants for less than €10. And with influences from Italy and Greece (as well as decent veggie options), the food is great!

Read next: is solo travel in Albania safe?

Best places to visit in Albania:

  • Tirana – a decent base to start your trip (read about the best things to do in Tirana here)
  • Himare – I love this lesser-known beach town on the Albanian Riviera
  • Sarande and Ksamil – this beach region wasn’t my favourite (I preferred low-key Himare) but many will enjoy the chance to splash out and relax on gorgeous beaches
  • Berat – a beautiful UNESCO heritage town and base to explore waterfalls, canyons and wineries in the countryside
  • Gjirokaster – my favourite place in Albania! A picturesque town with crafts markets, wonderful regional food and fantastic views from the castle
  • Theth mountains – this incredible region is great for hiking. The Theth-Valbona trail takes a day with an overnight stay either side in Theth and Valbona villages. You can organise your hike in the city of Shkoder and leave the majority of your luggage there (I recommend Wanderers Hostel; they’ll organise your accommodation and transport into the mountains).

Greece

Greece

For islands, beaches, history and food, there are few better destinations for solo female travel in Europe than Greece! Many islands can be affordable and many are sociable with great hostels… So, depending on what you’re looking for, you just need to find the sweet spot of places that are both!

If you’re the kind of solo traveller who likes to stay busy, Rhodes is a great option for solo female travel in Greece. For a sleepy paradise, don’t overlook Symi (2.5 hours from Kos) although note that it’s best explored by car. Paxos is another quiet island for me-time.

Meanwhile, Mykonos is mega popular but only if you like to party! Santorini is iconic but very expensive and upscale. Corfu offers city pleasures AND island life but it’s best flown to (as geographically it’s beside Albania not the Greek mainland).

The Greek capital of Athens is safe for solo female travellers not to mention a fantastic destination for history buffs due to the UNESCO Acropolis. Now, the city also has a modern scene from third-wave coffee shops to street art and nightlife. Although some areas are a little gritty, it’s easy to stick to the good ones.  

Croatia: Split & Dubrovnik

The best European cities for solo female travel in Croatia are Split and Dubrovnik because there are countless hostels to meet others and readily available island hopping tours.

Read next: solo travel in Croatia

Split boasts a preserved Roman Old Town and the wonderful Marjan peninsular with beaches and hilltop hikes. Island hopping destinations include Vis, Korcula, Hvar and Brac; take public ferries for day trips (or stay overnight) or book a boat tour visiting multiple islands in one day. Other Split day trips to Krka Falls and Klis Fortress are also essential!

Dubrovnik has some island hopping of its own (Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep can be visited as part of an Elaphiti Island boat cruise or you can take the ferry to Lokrum for the day) but the main highlights are walking the City Walls for fantastic views and hiking or taking the cable car up Srd Hill for even better views!

Both cities are expensive and crowded in the summer (and basically shut down in winter – especially Dubrovnik) so it’s best to visit in spring or autumn if you can.

Srd Hill
The top of Srd Hill

Although these are the most popular places in Croatia to visit, I’ve loved backpacking the country solo in greater depth. Zadar is another favourite coastal city with unique day trips, while the Istrian peninsular has charming towns like Rovinj, Pula and Opatija plus copious opportunities to eat truffle pasta (although not as many hostels for solo backpackers).

See my Croatia itinerary to plan a trip and all my Zagreb blogs if you find yourself in the pleasant capital!

Best experiences for solo female travellers in Europe

Now we’ve covered places, here are some ‘bucket list’ experiences that are bound to be memorable.

Hiking in the Alps – from Italy to Albania, this incredible mountainous region will take your breath away in more ways than one! Although hiking can be challenging, it’s worth it for the views.

Outdoor spas in Budapest – with centuries of history, these baths are just as popular today as they were during Turkish occupation in the 16th century. Although backpackers visit Szechenyi in flocks for ‘sparties’ (spa parties), there are plenty of quieter bathhouses for a tranquil solo visit.

Hot air balloon over Cappadocia, Turkey – look down over the world-famous rock formations and fairy chimneys. Flights start from €150.

Kayaking in Portugal’s Algarve – this excursion from Lagos is a lot of fun and only costs about €30. Paddle through caves with open roofs looking up to the sky.

Visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland – these unique bubbling pools of geothermal seawater are nourishing on the skin and unique to visit… like this whole magical island! Another incredible experience in Iceland is catching the Northern Lights.

Island hopping in Greece or Croatia – whether you stay overnight on yachts on organised island excursions or DIY it by catching local ferries, a summer on these idyllic islands will be one to remember!

Christmas markets in Germany – eat classic dishes like bratwurst and käsespätzle (cheesy pasta) and warm up with gluhwein (mulled wine).

Foodie highlights

  • Pizza in Naples – often called the birthplace of pizza, there are some restaurants where you’ll queue half the day to get in. Luckily there’s fantastic pizza to be found around the city. (Side note, Southern Italy is better known for its cuisine than Northern Italy although I did a fantastic pasta-making class in Milan!)
  • Greek food – from souvlaki in Athens to fresh Greek salads found on every island, this is surely one of Europe’s most heavenly cuisines.
  • Tapas and paella in Spain – you’ll find paella-making classes and tapas tours aplenty which can be useful for solo travellers to try numerous dishes without getting too full.
  • Pastel de natas in Lisbon and Porto – not only did I write a guide to the best pastel de natas in Porto, but I made my own during a class. Obsessed!
  • Wine tasting in so many places! France and Italy will always steal the show when it comes to wine but I’ve had amazing experiences all over. Memorable destinations include wine tasting in Slovenia (it was here I was introduced to delish orange wine!), Croatia (don’t miss Korcula Island) and Albania (the countryside vineyards near Berat are wonderful with homegrown olive and figs).
  • Doner and falafel in Berlin – immigrants to Germany have enriched the food culture with delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • Truffle hunting in Istria – this peninsular comprising Slovenia and Croatia is known for truffles, usually sniffed out by pigs and dogs. If, like me, you find the tours a bit spenny, know you can eat amazing truffle pasta in restaurants for less than €10.
  • Fish ‘n’ chips in London – I have to say British food gets a bad rep that’s not entirely fair… Have ya HAD an afternoon tea or English breakfast?
  • Beer, chocolate, waffles and fries in Belgium! No more needs to be said.
  • Whisky tasting in Scotland – if you like whisky, this is the OG place to become a whisky snob.

How to meet new people on a solo Europe trip

  • Stay in hostels – there are so many incredible hostels in Europe! Use Hostelworld to browse and book
  • Take free walking tours – these are a great way to learn about destinations on a budget but also meet other people who are visiting the city and likely want to enjoy it together
  • Join a bar crawl – especially in cities with great nightlife like Lisbon, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, Barcelona etc
  • Organised day trips to specific attractions – to out-of-town attractions like waterfalls, national parks and even islands, there’s usually a budget public transport option. But if you value meeting other travellers, companies like GetYourGuide and Viator are great
  • Group activities – whether it’s cooking classes, dance classes etc, use your hobbies to meet like-minded people.

FAQs

What’s the deal with tipping in Europe? I hear that travellers from the US often find service in Europe slow but given the lack of tipping culture, it makes sense. After a good meal, 10% is obviously appreciated but you rarely feel pressured to tip. Tipping bartenders isn’t expected.

Can you drink the tap water in Europe? It varies. In most of Western Europe, yes you can. In some of the Balkan countries, it’s not recommended. It’s best to Google it for each place you visit.

If you’re visiting places where you can’t drink the water, it’s best to bring a reusable water bottle as likely your accommodation has a filtered reserve to fill up from. Alternatively, bring a filtering water bottle that makes any water safe to drink. Of course, you can always buy bottled but this is not the sustainable option.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you feel better informed about solo female travel in Europe.

Solo Asia travel guides:

Solo Americas guides:

TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING EUROPE

Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner and search by month to see the cheapest dates.

Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).

For trains, I use RailEurope. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website.

For buses, I use FlixBus. Find journeys between European countries from €1! 

Use Omio to compare trains and buses in one search. It’s so handy!

For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com.

To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.

Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide.

To stay connected, download an e-SIM with Airalo and connect when you land. Browse their packages for individual countries or get their Eurolink card for 39 countries.

Need travel insurance? I use True Traveller (for UK & Europe residents) since it’s affordable but covers everything you’d need including various activities, valuables and pre-existing conditions. Unlike some companies, they insure you if you’re already travelling / don’t yet have your flight home booked. Get a quote.

For travel insurance for other nationalities, I recommend Hey Mundo and for long-term digital nomad travellers, I suggest Safety Wing.

Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!



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