Europe is a huge continent filled with history, culture, and amazing people, but it can be overwhelming to plan a route when there’s so much to see and do. This gets even harder when you’re thinking about travelling solo in Europe.
On the whole, Europe is a very solo backpacker friendly place to visit, especially for your first time travelling alone. The rail and bus network is really well worked and you can get multi-country rail passes to take you seamlessly from city to city, and you’ll find hundreds of solo travellers getting around the continent in this way.
A main cost when it comes to travelling is accommodation costs. Hotels are always priced based on two sharing, AirBnB rooms can seem a bit sketchy, and camping isn’t for everyone. Hostels are great for solo travellers because they’re affordable, offer the chance to meet new people, and they normally have a bar, tour desk and helpful staff who are also travellers ready with local tips.
There are tons of amazing hostels, and they are a great way for you to meet like minded people. If you’re looking for the best hostels to stay in for price, location and overall vibe, you can save money by buying our Hostel Card. With it you can save up to 20% off amazing hostels all across Europe.
So, with the basics out of the way, what are the best destinations for solo travel in Europe?
The Danish capital might not be the first destination that springs to mind for solo travellers who are coming to Europe but it should definitely be on the list. As one of the more southern Nordic capitals, it’s a lot easier to get to than Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm, making it a great addition to an existing trip.
The city centre is pretty compact so it’s easy to get around by foot, by bicycle or by using the city’s automated monorail system. Copenhagen is a laidback city with an old world charm. You can go from the Little Mermaid statue to the hippy, renegade vibe of Christiania, to the historic Carlsberg Museum and finish at the exciting and fun Tivoli Gardens. All things that are perfect for solo travellers or exploring with the new friends you’ve made at your nearby hostel.
This beautiful, artistic and delicious city has long been on the list of the best destinations for solo travel in Europe. It was even a key stop on the Grand Tour back in Victorian times – and with good reason. Florence is the calmer, more sophisticated cousin of neighbouring Rome, making it a perfect stop for solo travellers who don’t want to deal with too much hustle and bustle.
Of course, there is art and museums aplenty here – the Uffuzi and the Academy being two of the most famous museums in the world and honestly you could spend your entire holiday in either of them. If you’re looking for something away from the history side of things, check out Florence’s famous markets and pick up some delicious lunch and some high quality souvenirs – be prepared to haggle though!
The capital of Scotland has been overlooked at a European stop for far too long. Scotland itself is a beautiful, wild and historic place, entirely with its own culture and atmosphere. Edinburgh is a hive of activity, a thriving arts and bars scene, royal palaces, history and more.
If you time your trip during the summer months, you’ll be able to experience one of the biggest arts and comedy festivals in the world – the Edinburgh Fringe. As well as getting to see some up and coming, quality acts and plays, you can see some established comedians testing out their new material for a highly reduced rate.
You won’t be able to get here on a European interrailing pass, but Reykjavik is a great European destination for solo travellers. If you’re coming from the US, IcelandAir offer short stopover stays on the way to and from Europe for people to experience their beautiful country.
The major attractions in Iceland are based around the island’s natural wonders including geysers, waterfalls, the northern lights and the geothermal spas. All of these attractions are well served by a plethora of tour companies, removing the need to hire a car by yourself which can be pretty costly, especially in this part of the world. Also, the nightlife scene is surprisingly good with a happy hour app which tells you the best drinks deals across the city at any given time.
If you’re thinking of heading away from mainland Europe and towards the UK, your instinct might be to immediately head to London. Don’t get me wrong, London’s great, but if you want to really get a feel for the culture, history and people of England, then head up North. York is a charming city that dates back to the Romans and the Vikings.
Wander around cobbled streets, enjoy sitting with a cup of tea and a cake in Betty’s and watching the world go by, indulge in the history and architecture of the city by visiting York Minster and The Shambles. As a relatively walkable university city, it’s ideal for solo travellers and is connected by train to Edinburgh and London.
Portugal is another overlooked country on common European solo travelling routes, but it’s well worth a visit. Although many people visit Barcelona or Madrid in neighbouring Spain and forego Portugal altogether, the country as a whole and the capital, Lisbon in particular has a completely different vibe that will leave you wanting to stay forever.
Portugal is pretty easy and cheap to get to from all across Europe using low cost airlines and tickets can be as low as £20 without baggage. Once you’re there you can enjoy chilled out beach vibes, sipping on cheap but very, very good wine or port, and watch as the fisherman brings in the delicious, fresh seafood you’ll be eating later that evening. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it?
Save money on your stays in Lisbon with our Hostel Card! You can get 10% off at Sunset Destination Hostel and Lisbon Destination hostel, as well as 15% off at Selina Secret Garden Lisbon.
Now, Amsterdam featuring on this list will come as a surprise to no one. Due to its location and giant international airport, it’s the perfect place to either start or finish your solo European trip. From world class museums and galleries, to the amazing nightlife to exploring the surrounding area on two wheels like the locals, Amsterdam is a great, safe place for solo travellers to enjoy.
As it’s the jumping off point for many different adventures, there are always other solo travellers around if you want to explore with a new friend or want to split any costs. It’s a popular city with younger people so if you’re looking for a more upbeat leg to your trip, definitely consider visiting Amsterdam.
The Best Solo Travel Destinations in Europe…
So, there you have our best destinations for solo travel in Europe. Just because you’re travelling solo through Europe, it doesn’t mean that you have to limit your itinerary. Europe has been welcoming backpackers and solo adventurers for centuries for a reason – go ahead, book your flight!