The Best Destinations for Solo Travellers
So, you're doing it solo, eh? Well, good for you! Whoever said you needed to wait for that perfect travel partner to come your way, or for those procrastinating mates to get their act together? Na, we prefer living in the moment – carpe diem and all that jazz…
In fact, you'll be happy to know that there are plenty of benefits to travelling solo. Aside from being able to manage your own trip, do the things you want to do, get up when you want, and budget for the activities that interest you, you're also more approachable and might just find it easier to meet other, like-minded folk on the road.
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Okay, so this point might be a little partisan, seeing as we at LBW have just realized our dreams of setting up a co-working space in this surfer town on Nica's Pacific coast. It all has to do with the laid-back vibes and the positive energy, which rebounds off San Juan's pretty Victorian barrios and palm-dotted promenades. With atmospheres ranging from relaxing days surfing and lazing on the beach, to nights of excitement at the (in)famous Sunday Funday Pool Crawl. Solo or not, everyone will fit in here!
There really is nothing quite like Croatia: soaring limestone peaks; Byzantine-style villages that cascade to the sea; turquoise shore waters to rival even the Caribbean. And that's not even talking about the gorgeous inland wonders, which go from the aquamarine hues of the Plitvice Lakes to the roaring waterfalls of Krka. However, the best way to tour this country as a lone traveller has to be on the seas. Join a boating odyssey, like our own YachtLife Croatia, and you can flit between the shimmering coves of Dalmatia, see wondrous ancient towns like Split, sip cocktails in Hvar, and more – all in the company of a new band of seafaring adventurers!
The Catalans are a fiery bunch, no question. But they are also darn welcoming; and very easy to get along with. From our years of experience guiding travellers on our Spanish Fiesta tour, some of the best stories begin after a jug or two of sangria down that tree-shaded La Rambla. And with wonders like the great Sagrada Familia, the Picasso Museum, and Park Guell, this regional gem is a fine place for solo travellers to meet other wandering nomads.
The Gili Islands, Indonesia
Indo's piece de resistance is, for many a lone backpacker, this trio of sparkling islands, nestled out in the straits between Bali and Lombok. Laid-back, free of traffic, and always ready to party (at least on Gili Trawangan, one of the fan favourite destinations on our Indonesian itineraries), they are certainly one of the top places to mingle and mix with other solo travellers. Sign up for a PADI course and spend the week meeting like-minded people – not to mention sea turtles. Head down to Sama Sama Reggae bars in the evenings and chat with Aussies and Brits over a cold Bingtang. Or, just relax on the pearly-white beaches and watch the sun go by!
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Forever contending with the globe for the title of top surfer town, this ramshackle conglomeration of beach shacks and guesthouses, homestays and hostels, spilling out from the Central American jungles to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, is one darn fine spot for solo travellers to find themselves. You can either opt to hit the roaring breaks around Salsa Brava (not for beginners!) to take a surf lesson, or rent some bicycles and scope out the town. Even more possible activities are listed on our Caribbean Dream itinerary!
The Thai Islands
Go west, or go east, we don't care! So long as you hit the shimmering isles of southern Thailand, you're bound to meet every type of traveler. And it's bound to be easy too! In our experience, no one has ever went solo for long in one of those wild Full Moon Parties on the beaches of Koh Phangan. No one sits and sips cocktails in Koh Phi Phi's Reggae Bar without striking up a conversation sooner or later, and solo travellers can't help but band together between the go-go clubs and gorgeous beaches of Phuket. There's definitely something in the air in these tropical reaches of the Land of Smiles; something that keeps everyone together and the good vibes a-flowin'.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The classic European city of hedonism and fun is arguably the best place on the continent to meet and mix with fellow travellers. With famous hostels that run their own raucous pub crawls through the red-lit streets and Dam Square at night, buzzing parks, and a huge crowd of resident students from all over the globe, you'll find meeting people between the coffee shops and rattling trams is a breeze. In the summer, consider making a beeline for the beaches, which fringe Bloemendaal and Zandvoort, and offer sunbathing, swimming, and daytime cocktails to boot.
Okay, this one's on the more daring side, that's true. But India's changing, and Rajasthan is changing too. Once, the subcontinent was considered a trail for solo travellers (especially female ones), and it's never going to be a walk in the park. However, if it's a challenge and an adventure you're after, the dusty climes of this northern state promise frenetic bazaars and mysterious Mughal forts. You can go from the romantic city of Udaipur to the Pink City of Jaipur on the rattling Indian trains, meeting locals and other backpackers as you go. Throw in a couple of elephant rides, the odd Maharaja encounter, and some of the world's tastiest (and spiciest) food, and you've got yourself a chart topper fo sho'.
Are you a solo traveler? Can you think of any other top destinations on the menu for those going it alone? We'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments below…
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