Travelling alone is great and once you start to travel solo you may find it hard to stop. For one thing, there’s no compromise on travel dates or itineraries, you simply go whenever and wherever you want. Travelling along can also be intimidating however.
Rather than jumping in at the deep end with a backpacking trip around the world, start you solo travel adventures small and book a shorter holiday to somewhere you’ve never been. City breaks are a great intro to travelling alone: spending a day alone in a city, even if it’s our hometown, is something we’ve all done. So take a few days off and explore one of these brilliant European destinations to dip your toe in the world of solo travel.
The Hungarian capital on the River Danube can be as chill or as fast-paced as you like it. For those who want a quiet, relaxing holiday, head to some of the city’s famous thermal baths. The best known are the Gellert and the Széchenyi baths, that latter of which has a large outdoor space where you can relax in the thermal waters, sun bathe, or read a book with a cold beer. All without anyone interrupting you.
For night owls, Budapest has no shortage of bars, so you’re bound to find one that you like. Head to the VII district, the old Jewish quarter which has become something of a hipster spot in recent years. Treat yourself with a nice cocktail in Pharma Bar, a former pharmacy turned bar on Kacinczy Utca, or for something wilder, head to nearby Dob Utca, a pedestrianised laneway that’s choc-full of late night bars. Our favourite is Spíler.
Image courtesy of Eoin Gardiner.
Voted in 2015 as the friendliest city in the city in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine, Galway, on Ireland’s west coast is a quirky, tourist-friendly city and gateway to the Wild Atlantic Way. Anyone with a love of the outdoors will have no shortage of things to do in Galway: located on the coast, there are plenty of surf schools, swimming spots and day trips to the remote regions of Connemara for hill walking, cycling, trekking and history tours. Further afield Ireland’s famous Cliffs of Moher are around an hour and half’s drive as is the karst landscape of The Burren in neighbouring Co. Clare.
Within Galway city itself, there is a vibrant food and music scene and the hubbub from the nearby university means that there are plenty of evening activities that won’t break the bank. Try Róisín Dubh on Lower Dominick Street for live music and comedy gigs or Tig Cóilí just off Shop Street for traditional Irish music every evening.
Munich is of course best known for the Oktoberfest beer festival that takes place every autumn but really the city is better experienced without the throngs of beer tours crowding the streets. The beerhalls of Munich can be visited throughout the year and have long benches for customers that make it easy to strike up a conversation with strangers. The Hofbräuhaus is the most famous but try the others such as Augustiner Bräustuben, or Max Emanuel Brauerei close to the city’s university.
Drinks aside, Munich is a city that’s steeped in history and signing up to a walking tour there is a great way to find out more about Germany’s past and the importance of the city. If walking is not for you, then pack a bag, grab a book and hang out on the English Garden – the Central Park of Munich. The Seehaus beerhall there has a lovely beer garden to soak up the sun, while the Japanese Tea Garden has scheduled tea ceremonies throughout the warmer months.
Amsterdam is one of those brilliant cities where you can find something new to do, no matter what time of the year. Make like a Dutchman and rent a bike (some of our hosts may even have a spare one that you could borrow) to find your way around the city and experience the sights and sounds as a local would.
Amsterdam is a great city for art lovers with masterpieces of the Dutch Old Masters on display at the Rijksmusuem, although if you’re looking for something a bit more compact, the Museum Van Loon is a great look into life and society on Amsterdam’s famous canals in the seventeenth century. The FOAM Photography Museum on Keizersgracht attracts some impressive names as does the avant garde Huis Marseilles Photography Museum on the same street.
When you’re done you can head to one of Amsterdam’s brown cafes to enjoy a glass of the local brew in style.
Image courtesy of Guillaume Baviere.
The Nordic nations can have a reputation for being a somewhat austere, introverted sort, but the stereotype seems a little unfair. Copenhagen is a compact, creative city that is ideal for someone travelling for their first time alone. By day the city’s quaint, cobbled shopping district is easily navigated and a joy to explore while by night, Copenhagen’s many bars and cafes come alive.
Rent a bike to explore the city’s distinctive neighbourhoods or join a tour group to meet other travellers in the city. The restaurant and food scene in the Danish capital is particularly strong so foodies can delight in the cuisine on offer: try OTTO on Store Kongensgade in Nyhavn for a modern take on some Danish classics or the Paludan Bogcafe on Fiolstræde, a bookshop come café near the city’s university and famous Rundetaarn.
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