Have you ever dreamt of exploring your own self-defined destinations while indulging in adventures you have previously thought you’d never set foot on? Ever had that picturesque scene you saw somewhere on social media or a movie that your heart literally stopped and dropped in awe? Have you ever considered bushwhacking through exotic lush green forests rather than the piles of work files on your desk? Ever imagined canoeing through the rapids and narrow valleys rather than weaving through the subway traffic? Or, how about conquering a magnificent mountain that rewards you with unfounded, unspoken, incomparable breathtaking views and a lifetime achievement that has your friends and family cheering your name; rather than swearing at you from the bottom of a corporate ladder. Or maybe even learning history alive and embracing new cultures from another civilization or country somewhere out there.
To me, travelling solo has its perks and pitfalls, but then again so is it with life! Travelling solo helps rejuvenate the soul and invigorates new drive and ideas for the coming years and being out there opens more doors and opportunities anytime. But to travel solo, we ladies have to be weary of the criteria we decide on for the places that we deem are really ideal for solo female travels. As for me, accessibility is my highest priority. A city must be highly accessible and well connected, easy to get around with either by train or on foot by oneself. It must also be safe, have a good level of social security and is well known for its friendly local folks.
From east to the west, I have compiled a list of the best places for solo females to take on an epic life changing journey themselves. From tropical retreats in the lush green jungles of Asia to exotic beaches and lively ancient metropolises in Spain, these destinations are sure to make a beautiful story book full of memories that will last a lifetime.
The place where godly legends and heroic myths are very much inscribed in its very landscape and architecture. The city of Athens is built upon layers and layers of historic civilizations and are as remarkable as their great artistic and engineering feats of past.
Home to four of the seven Great Wonders of the Ancient World, Athens remains a symbol of freedom, democracy and peace from the tyranny of empires from both east and west of Europe. Athens is a fantastic place to learn about the interesting world history for history-buffs and yet a great place to re-learn how the definition of ‘grandeur’ really was back in the ancient days!
With so many historic monuments all over the city, it isn’t hard to navigate even with the help of a tourist guide map. Everything is situated closely around the city centre. Look out for the combo entrance tickets available at the ticketing booths that help you cover many of the must-see attractions in Athens. Do take note of each site’s opening and closing hours.
Food in Athens is a culinary culture pot of Greek, Italian, European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is hard not to be hungry unless you can’t make up your mind what to eat.
For more info, check out my previous blog on 3 Days In Athens – A Three Day Itinerary To Explore Ancient Athens.
The city where art meets architecture.
Inspired by many famous architects of its time, Barcelona restores its beauty within its buildings and designs. Almost everything famous in the city is inspired by Antoni Gaudí including his most accomplished and the world’s most sophisticated, oldest surviving, complex and intricately designed basilica, the Sagrada Familia.
Barcelona is a vibrant city without the hustle and bustle of traffic jams and towering skyscrapers. This city is designed for walking and having a good time strolling between its hidden gems and historical monuments. There are plenty of museums to explore and learn about the Catalans history all the way to Christopher Columbus’ voyages to the New World.
Iberian cuisine is a definite must try along with the delectable Catalunyan and Mediterranean delights that are sultry rich in spices. Barcelona is definitely a safe place for a solo female traveller looking for cultural heritages away from modern skyscrapers and mega shopping complexes.
Although most locals here speak a little English, they are still extremely friendly and delighted to help you on your way.
The capital of a pioneer European maritime nation that circumnavigated three continents to reach Asia for its spices.
Lisbon is revolutionizing its culture, architecture and art scenes (including street art) to influence the world all over again. Fast becoming a modern brightly lit medieval town with beautiful medieval structures and roads to lure enigmatic selfies and Instagram posts, Lisbon has loads of its untold history and culture waiting to be shared to the world.
The first European nation to stretch its empire half way across the globe, there has to be some Portuguese influence in us one way or another. It could be the pastry or even the port wine.
Lisbon is surrounded by friendly people, breathtaking landscapes and with its beautiful scenery and UNESCO World Heritage sites all easily accessible to commuters, makes this place a great and easy solo female travel spot.
Tired of living on a continent? Come to Malta and be surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Being one of the most important maritime ports of Europe a culture pot of many neighbouring countries, the island nation of Malta is always surrounded with private yachts, cruise liners, cargo ships, ferries and even recreation.
Getting around Malta is easy as you can walk or just hop on any buses heading towards your direction. The cuisine here is a good blend of old Maltese and Italian with some Mediterranean decent.
Malta is also a good place for entrepreneurs to form a business entity given the relaxed company laws and taxes compared to other EU region.
A new metropolis city voted as one of the most liveable city with good quality of life.
This city in Canada is the second most populous and yet the most urbanized with towering condominiums and office towers lining the waterfronts and shaping the city’s skyline.
Vancouver is opening up in the form of art and culture together with its street performances, music and lifestyle industries. Blessed with large open recreational parks and picturesque oceans, Vancouver is truly a great place for millennials like me to live, grow, and discover.
A rather expensive place to travel to and be in, Melbourne can yet be enjoyable and entertaining.
A city with four seasons in a day, Melbourne is every definition of modern contemporary. Within its city centre, there are well preserved historic Victorian-era buildings with modern interior fittings and finishes that sits right next to tall modern skyscraper residential buildings and offices.
Melbourne is ideal for the young party-frenzy generations and those passionate of modern art, graffiti art and cultural performances.
Shanghai is an eccentric city that is born a hybrid of both east and west cultures. Hence westerners visiting here would feel almost like home in an Asian town.
Most buildings of the main “Bund” area are western influenced including the tall radio tower and other newly constructed skyscrapers. There is actually very little ancient Chinese architecture in and around Shanghai making it a relatively ‘young’ modern city with a lot of European styled buildings and manors.
The people here in Shanghai are actually more friendly and hospitable than if they can speak English. But with easy translation apps and tools these days, communication isn’t a challenge anymore.
The food here is cheap but a tad blanched as it is their culture to eat less salty foods. Shanghai is relatively safe for solo female travelers however getting adequate internet access is quite a challenge. Perfect for those looking to escape the Facebook and Instagram radar as the infamous Great Firewall of China blocks all access to those apps.
The Pearl of the Orient. A real ‘pearl’ especially so for us female shopaholic travellers!
Hong Kong is known for its cheap retail goods of popular branded products as they are a regional entreport for all major shipping lines carrying wholesale goods from east to west. In some major malls, there’s even tourist tax refunds available which makes Hong Kong a shopping paradise for many.
Besides shopping, Hong Kong is also known for a great many other things… especially its Chinese cuisine. Hong Kong has always been revered as the ‘food heaven’ for authentic Cantonese style Chinese cuisines. Food in Hong Kong is cheap and delicious and is always abundant and literally available at every corner of the street. Please don’t blame me if you gained a few extra pounds!
Despite the small island size and jammed packed roads, Hong Kong’s buses are almost always on time making it easy to commute from one place to another. With grand casinos to fill the night life both in Hong Kong and Macau, this city really never sleeps.
Just try to keep up with the fast walking pace and crammed lifestyle of people here.
Two words to describe Taiwan’s Taipei city; Young and Fun.
Being a city dweller like myself, it is always easy to explore cities with cheap and well connected commuter trains that help you zip around really fast and effortlessly.
The city of Taipei is full of youngsters and is always hip with latest fashion and beauty products. Perfect for every female traveller like me to get your annual major hairdo or your manicure and pedicure fix.
To help keep your energy levels up all night, Taipei has lots of night street food markets that open way into the night offering hues of all kinds of renditions of cooked food displayed before you and ready to pack-and-go.
Taiwan has many other beautiful locations outside of its major city Taipei for those looking for more outdoor adventures and breathtaking scenery. Taiwan is perfectly safe for all solo female travellers. Hostel and hotel hosts often give you plenty of travel and shopping advise to make your stay even more comfortable.
Some taxi drivers would even offer to take you on a day tour around the whole city for a small fee and they would even take you to the better establishments enjoyed by the locals away from those touristy traps.
Once the center of the world where all great empires rose and fell, Rome is full of ancient buildings, monasteries and historic structures.
Winding through these streets is a never ending journey of discovery of history and culture. Not to mention their knack for eating good food. Their pizzas boasts fresh dough topped with farm cheese, grated olives and fresh Italian tomatoes all baked over a roaring wood fire brick kiln. A taste not easily found anywhere else in the world just like their iconic ancient monuments and all that history we had in our history books.
Rome is a great city of adventure with a history that is still very much alive. Every corner, monastery, stair step, statue and cornerstone around the city has a rich historic story behind them. Good for solo female travelers seeking romantic ideas or inspiration… besides going shopping for famous Italian branded luxury products.
Bali is the eponymous of island fun.
Blessed with wide stretches of pristine beaches and tall rolling waves set amidst the tropical sun of the equator all year round, Bali is host to the world’s major beachfront resorts and is the benchmark for island paradise-like lifestyle.
Bali has always been my ‘hot-spot’ to recharge and seek inspiration given its lush mix of beach, forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls. Not to mention the cost of living is also very affordable and the only limitation is the maximum days of stay per visa entry for foreigners (depending on their country of nationality).
Definitely a great place to learn yoga or some meditation to help you home your skills for the coming years. Even for those trying to relive their own Eat-Pray-Love series.
The throne of the icy north with hard to pronounce location names. If we were ever to trace our viking ancestry, Iceland’s Reykjavik would be the best place to start.
Located far away in the north of Europe just before the Arctic, Reykjavik isn’t easy to get to with limited flights available to that island. But getting there makes the trip all worth while. The ice cold landscape of pristine nature trapped beneath its icy glaciers and snow caps simply psychs us with pure mystic and wonder. If Santa Claus had a Santa Village, I would say it would be right here.
The timeless beauty of this city stuck in time under the Arctic snow is so picturesque and captivating you’d paint it yourself again if you knew how to paint. In the night, let the Northern lights dance away for you endlessly in the clear night sky as you dream away in perfect slumber to the tunes of silent night.
This city is small and has a concession card (City Card) that covers transport fares all the way to entrance tickets to some museums and facilities. And what better way for us ladies to recharge ourselves after all that adventure than by soaking ourselves in one of many thermal pools at Laugardalslaug.
Reykjavik is a beautiful place to see and immerse yourself in their passion for arts, natural wonder and life. The folks here are always happy to see new faces, possibly because of how secluded they are!
Note: Some of the photos used herein are under the CC0 Public Domain and I have the permission and rights to post these photos for sharing within this blog.
Next Read: The Ultimate Guide To Solo Female Travel
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