Whether you are embarking on your first solo female trip or are going for round 2 (or 10), this list will be your best friend when planning out where to explore. Generally speaking, Europe is one of the safest continents to travel, whether you are going solo or not. Most European countries have an integrated transport system, meaning border crosses are a rare occurrence and English is spoken widely, regardless of it not always being the native tongue. However, this doesn’t mean it’s always a walk in the park, so, travel blogger Sophie Spencer is breaking it all down for you.
Planning a European adventure? Check out St Christopher's Inns hostels across the continent
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
The Venice of the North and a travel hub for everybody and everyone. It’s not hard to see why Amsterdam is up there as one of the top destinations in not only Europe, but in the world. In saying that, it also ranks highly with solo travellers, boasting a lively nightlife and a user-friendly transport system – say hello to travelling by two wheels. A lot of travellers use Amsterdam as a quick getaway from neighbouring countries as well as a starting point for their Eurotrip. Either way, it’s guaranteed that you will meet plenty of new, friendly faces. Who knows, you could very much be up for a new travel buddy for part of your trip.
Often forgotten because of its notable neighbours, Bratislava is just as special, if not more. The city resembles the qualities of the most beautiful European towns – wide, communal streets, an impressive castle, under-the-stars dining, and of course, gelato shops on almost every corner. It’s safe, welcoming and definitely feels more like a small town than a busy capital city.
Budapest has recently become a hotspot for youthful and culturally mindful travellers. Combined by two different cities ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’, the capital of Hungary is captivating in both its rich history and unrivalled nightlife. Whether you want to spend your time learning about Eastern Europe’s dark past, completely zoning out in the thermal baths or grooving the night away at a ruin bar, Budapest is set to have a lasting impression on you.
It wouldn’t be a list complete, without a mention of the ultimate European city destination – London. It is the true example of having everything you need, in the one place. If you are a social butterfly, then see yourself out in one of the swanky bars or nightclubs scattered around the city, or if you want some me time, throw out your towel in one of the beautiful, green parks that are just a step away from the city hustle. Although the price of everything seems to climb significantly, there are plenty of ways to enjoy London without sacrificing your budget. At both of the London St. Christopher’s Inn hostels, there are free walking tours daily, bar nights and other great sociable events that you can get amongst.
If you are chasing the Italian dream, I mean, of course you are, Florence is the place to be. Perch yourself at one of the café bars, with an Aperol spritz in one hand, and a forkful of pasta in the other and watch the world slowly go by. This quaint Italian city is far from pretentious, and unlike its big brother, Rome, Florence can be explored in a matter of a day or two. Although, that doesn’t mean you will want to leave after two days, or in all honesty, ever. Don’t expect any late, alcohol infused nights in Florence – it’s more the destination where early morning river side strolls and getting lost in your diary are encouraged.
Ghent? I know, I know, it’s probably not what you were expecting, but let me fill you in on just how incredible it is, not only as a destination, but as a solo female traveller. Situated in Northern Belgium, Ghent is a riverside city, buzzing with University students. With a more youthful crowd, there is a heightened nightlife compared to the nearby Bruges and Brussels, making it more solo traveller friendly. Bars and pubs also stay open a lot later and the streets are lively to the early hours of the morning. Putting the nightlife aside, Ghent is incredibly easy on the eye, with a happy medium between old and new.
If a handsome French man doesn’t sweep you off your feet (a girl can dream, right?), then there is no doubt about it, that the beautiful sights of Paris will. Some might say that being in the city of love is far from a solo traveller’s paradise, but Paris is definitely an exception to this. Wander in and out of art galleries, marvel at the French Gothic architecture and of course pack a typically French picnic, to devour under the Eiffel tower. Paris is one place you don’t want to rush, with dozens of sights to see and plenty of room to explore off the beaten track making it a prime city destination for a little ‘me, myself and I’ time.
Vienna is a city that you could marvel at for the rest of your life and be absolutely content with everything you’ve been able to see. This makes it a wonderful destination to just slow things down and what better way to do so, then by yourself. When you are ready to socialise, there are plenty of bars and pubs loaded with locals, students and other travellers that would be more than happy to welcome you into their little group.
The best part about traveling alone is knowing that even though you are taking this adventure solo, you will never actually never be alone, that is, if you don’t want to be. Hostels make for an amazing space to meet people from all walks of life and in an avid travellers view, cities are best explored when you’ve got nothing and nobody holding you back. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Article and photography by Sophie Spencer
Sophie Spencer is an Australian travel blogger who lives for adventure and thrives off breaking out of that pesky comfort zone. She created her blog Adventures of Soph to inspire travellers to live their boldest life, full of courage, change and a whole lot of colour. But with the good, she also shares the ugly realities of travel, talking openly about mental health, her travel mishaps and hardest times both on and off the road. Check out her Instagram feed for even more travel inspiration.