While monuments should dictate your itinerary in Europe, it’s really how you take in the sights that will make your trip. And with the sheer amount of things to see and do, traveling in Europe, especially with a big group, can get overwhelming. That’s why it’s one of the best continents to visit alone, where you can really see everything at your own pace.
When choosing your ideal destination, think about whether you’d prefer a large city with a simple public transportation system to help you cover more ground, or a smaller town that’s easy to explore on foot. Also, consider whether you’re looking for an activity-filled city or one where you can kick back and relax. Watching your own back is always necessary, even in the most crime-free locations, but many European cities have safe reputations so that you can focus more on where you go than how you go.
Taking in all those considerations, here’s a list of cities that are most welcoming to solo female travelers — and where you can build your own ultimate Eurotrip.
The Swedish capital truly has it all: a cobblestoned old town with pedestrian-only roads, 57 bridges that stretch over its 14 islands, an amusement park dating back to 1880s, a bathhouse from 1904, and the most artistic subway stations, each decorated with its own theme. So it was no surprise that the free walking tours in town were dominated by solo travelers finding their own piece of the low-crime city.
You’ll love the freedom of being alone in the City of Music, where you can sip coffee and indulge in a sacher torte in a traditional café. Get lost on the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace, and take in a show at an opera house. With plenty of visitors and a burgeoning design scene, Austria’s capital is bursting with charm. So it’s no wonder it ranked the highest for quality of living in a Mercer study this year.
Berlin is young and old, historic and modern, and classic and cutting-edge — all at the same time. The city is still constantly changing, and there are so many sights that it’ll inevitably be difficult to fit it all into your schedule. Start your sprint at the Circus Hotel, which offers single rooms in both its hotel and hostel, and took off on city tour with them to get the lay of the land the first day. Once situated, you’ll be able to run between sights like the Berlin Wall’s East Side Gallery and the Brandenburg Gate, snacking on currywurst along the way.
With easy-to-navigate trains from its airports and 270 stations on the London Underground, you can get anywhere quickly in the British capital. Pub culture makes it easy to grab a pint at the bar among locals and the long stretches of shops in areas like Notting Hill and Knightsbridge can help you blend in with shoppers. Plus, you’ll get all the European charm without the foreign language anxiety.
Forget the romance: the City of Lights is just as magical for a party of one. First, check off the necessary Parisian requirements: strolling down the Champs-Élysées, wandering the winding paths of Montmartre, and exploring the halls of the Louvre. Don’t forget to visit the Sainte Chapelle — its stained glass is so dramatic you’ll be grateful for the opportunity to take it in at your own pace. And for a quirky and free place to stay, become a Tumbleweed at the English bookshop Shakespeare and Company, where you pay for your night’s stay by volunteering at the store for a few hours, reading a book a day, and writing a one-page autobiography.