Whether you are new to solo travel or are a well seasoned solo globetrotter by now, finding perfect European cities for solo female travelers is practically an art. It must be safe, it must be easy to get around in and bonus points if the currency is easy for us Americans to use. Thank goodness I have friends all over the world that can make good recommendations. The cities on this list, check all of those required boxes. Most of them use euros and with the exception of small towns, the language barrier is almost non existent. Which city will you visit first?
Our first submission is via public land lover, Charli from The Break of Dawns. As an American that lived in Germany, Charli had plenty of European solo female travel under her belt. An avid hiker and camper, Charli’s travel tips are some of the best. Here’s her suggestion for best European cities for solo female travelers list.
Switzerland is a country of natural wonders. Characterized by the towering Alps, it’s a place with opportunity for tourists. Specifically, those looking to participate in outdoor activities. Interlaken, which is nestled in the Bernese Oberland between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, is a favorite destination of mine. It’s particularly suitable as a European city for solo female travelers.
Acting as a host for concerts and music festivals in the summer, staying in Interlaken allows you to dive deeper into Switzerland’s most majestic places. even as a solo traveler. While participating in a group excursion, I had the privilege of canyoning down the Grimsel Pass at over 7000 feet in elevation.
Along with the recreational advantages of this region, Switzerland itself is one of the safest places in Europe. Crime in the town of Interlaken is virtually nonexistent, supplying solo travelers with a peace of mind while vacationing here.
Interlaken also features a slew of hostels, pubs, bars and restaurants to allow for easy socialization. Accessible via plane or train from anywhere in the European region, it’s also an opportune home base for the nearby Swiss regions.
The uber talented, useful human Hannah Henderson provides the the details of the next city on our list. Hannah, a Kiwi transplant, resides in southern France with her husband and her dog Moose. She has a penchant for road trips, like me, and southern barbeque, also like me, Hannah always has some of the best travel tips anywhere. Here’s Hannah’s choice or the perfect European city for female travelers
Bordeaux is the 5th largest city in France, and capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It is mostly known for its wine and gastronomy, which makes it a popular tourist destination. Visiting Bordeaux as a solo female traveler is made easy by the relatively compact city center.
While the city is not small by any means, there are many pedestrian zones. It’s flat and very walkable. The exceptional tram system connects the outer reaches of the city center. It will also take you out to the Cité du Vin (the wine museum)!
I would recommend staying within the old city walls of Bordeaux, or near the Opera House (Hôtel des 4 Sœurs or Best Western Premier Hotel Bordeaux). These areas feel safe at night and are connected by public transport. Don’t miss Le miroir d’eau (reflecting pool), the Museum of Fine Arts, the city gates, or Rue Sainte-Catherine (one of the longest shopping streets in Europe). I recommend signing up for a group wine tour if you are travelling alone, because drinking in company is always more fun!
Claire, from The Detour Effect is no stranger to solo travel. Her life strategy is not about the plan, it’s about the excitement of a detour. Claire’s blog is full of tips and stories on hiking, backpacking, camping, hitchhiking, and of course the thing that makes us kindred spirits: road trips. Here’s Claire’s city pick for solo female travelers.
When Adria Airlines went bankrupt and cancelled my flight from Zurich to Ljubljana, I booked a ten hour overnight bus instead, arriving at 5am to a country I’d never been in before, with memories of seedy American Greyhound stations plaguing my mind.
Luckily, I was welcomed by the comforting glow of city lights. It illuminated the historic streets of Ljubljana. There were plenty of all-hour cafes where I could order a coffee while I waited for the city to awaken.
I ended up wandering around to take pictures in the night. I tried interesting Slovenian pastries (Moji Štruklji is the best!) and watched swans float along the gorgeous Ljubljanica river. Finally, I made my way to the Kva Hostel where they let me drop off my backpack prior to check-in so I could climb up to Ljubljana Castle unencumbered.
Over the next 24 hours I managed to join a food tour with other lovely tourists from New Zealand and Sweden, visit multiple museums, explore the Metelkova art center, and compare ice creams from the top-rated shops (Cacao and Vigo win my favor), all on foot!
The city is incredibly walkable and vibrant. I was in Slovenia to backpack the Soča River portion of the Alpe-Adria trail by myself. for the entire week I hiked alone in Slovenia’s backcountry. I dipped through villages along the way and never felt unsafe, or as if being solo hindered my experience.
Kemi, from Musings & Adventures definitely knows a few things about traveling solo. In fact, she has visited 5 continents and a slew of countries. When she’s not traveling, Kemi is eating and drinking her way around the Big Apple. Here’s her recommendation for a European city for the solo female traveler.
One of my favourite cities as a solo female traveller is Amsterdam. I completely adore this chill city and not for what you think! Lol. It is a great destination for solo female travellers. You’ll find it’s safe, full of history and attractions, has affordable transport accessibility for zipping between neighborhoods, walkability, diverse architecture, museums, eco-friendly nature, and of course, food.
Escape the touristy and crowded Centraal Station, Dam Square and De Wallen (Red light District) areas for quieter and green Oost. There you can lounge in Oosterpark, pop into Tropenmuseum or amble by the many canals in the area. You can buy from locals at Dappermarkt street market, or take a selfie by De Gooyer windmill. Which I was told is now an apartment. How cool!
Other Amsterdam highlights I enjoy are Amsterdam Noord, NDSM Wharf and De Pijp. Jump on the free ferry from Centraal station and sail across the river to A’Dam Lookout. It’s a former Shell building that is now home to rooftop restaurant & bar, a panoramic view of the city, the highest swing in the world, co-work spaces and offices.
From there, exit and turn the corner to the Filmmuseum for the most amazing 5D flying experience of the Netherlands! Seriously, you feel every sensation from the mist of the sea to almost being grazed by a windmill. It is exhilarating!
Another must do is NDSM Wharf with its throwback to Amsterdam’s shipping past– free ferry from Centraal Station too – dotted with repurposed boats, containers and ships that are now bars, a hotel (called BOTEL), event spaces and more.
The area hosts a large flea market, tech events and spaces, numerous murals, and a whole lot more. It’s definitely one of those repurposed, Millennial areas that doesn’t seek to erase the history of its surroundings.
Lastly, is De Pijp – a lovely ‘hood of bars, cafes, Heineken brewery, and the popular Albert Cuyp street market with everything from cardamon to wafels. I copped a Turkish scarf, some lockets, and Indonesian spices here.
Traveler, life coach and an American ex-pat living in Germany, Andrea has traveled to plenty of European countries solo. However, her pick is a unique one that she describes as a “peaceful little gem of a solo seaside getaway” . Keep reading for her suggestion.
Herceg Novi, Montenegro
Herceg Novi is a quiet seaside village. A peaceful little gem of a solo seaside getaway nestled in the mountainous region of Montenegro’s Adriatic coast. It is certainly not the place for bustling nightlife or constant activity and excitement –and that’s exactly the point.
The little pebble beach with gorgeous azure waters is perfect for relaxation away from the crowds; the friendly English-speaking locals make this place a welcomed retreat for a few days away on your own to read and catch up on some people watching. Whether enjoying a swim, exploring the winding paths, or enjoying a wine and watching the sunset, Herceg Novi is a great spot for a long weekend.
This beautiful little Adriatic gem is accessible by bus from Budva, Bar, Podgorica and Kotor, or international destinations such as Sarajevo or Dubrovnik. Since Montenegro is on the euro, it’s convenient in terms of money exchange. Plus, Herceg Novi gives you more bang for your buck in terms of super quality cuisine, including fresh seafood and delicious wine.
There is a reasonable assortment of restaurants both down by the water and also above in the old town on top of the hill. For affordable accommodation, check out the family run guesthouses along the lovely winding paths of the town overlooking the water below. During high season, it might be good to book ahead online given the size of the village and its popularity.
My pal Steph from A Nomad’s Passport, is a writer, photographer and a solo female traveler adventurer. Her travel stories are full of road trips and adventure. She shares a favorite solo female destination in her home country of Germany in our next submission.
Munich is a perfect destination for solo female travelers looking to explore Europe. This vibrant and historic city in Southern Germany is a safe and beautiful place for city break and nature lovers alike. With its charm and a vast array of things to do in Munich, it is perfect for extended weekend getaways in Europe or longer trips. You could stay there for months without running out of new things to do.
Some of the highlights in the city center include the Frauenkirche with its iconic towers and the New City Hall at the Marienplatz. If you take the elevator up to the roof of the New City Hall, you will be rewarded with a stunning view over the city and the Alps in the distance. The nearby Toy Museum located in the Old City Hall and the Viktualienmarkt with its food permanent food booths are further must-sees.
Afterwards you can stroll down the Kaufingerstraße down to the Stachus Fountain before visiting one of the many famous beer halls. Obviously, the Octoberfest that takes place every year in September is a fall highlight and something solo travelers should not miss either.
Summer Fun in Munich
If you explore Munich in summer, you should add some local favorites to your itinerary. Visit the Tollwood Festival in the Olympiapark or one of the other lake festivals that happen in the area. Most do not have a specific time frame, but if you look at the advertisements in subway stations, you are bound to find at least on bigger event that is happening while you are in Munich.
If you happen to befriend locals in the English Garden, you might just be lucky enough to do one of Munich’s best summer activities. Swimming in the local Eisbach is amazing and a lot of fun, but it should never be done without someone that knows that course of the stream and what to look out for to avoid danger.
Fancy a trip into nature? The nearby lakes Starnbergersee and Tegernsee are a great option. Here you can swim, go on a boat cruise or hike. To make the most of the day, you should also visit the nearby village Bad Tölz when visiting the later lake. Located right at the Isar and close to the mountains, it has this old Bavarian charm and is a great place for a relaxed time.
Jackie from Fish Out of Malbec has been tastefully traveling for years. In fact, she lived on 3 different continents before her 30th birthday! Now she lives in NYC, enjoys luxury travel, good wine and good food. Here’s Jackie’s European recommendation.
Malta has become much more popular in the last few years. For good reason: this relatively inexpensive country has a lot going for it! English is an official language (having been under British rule until the 1970s) and it’s easy to get around.
The weather is sublime with plenty of sunshine. It also has some of the oldest man-made structures in the world with a fascinating history. This former stronghold of the Knights Templar is a melting pot of many conquering cultures.
Stay at the Hilton Malta in nearby St. Julians’s and splurge for the concierge level. It comes with afternoon tea and cocktail hour. With several pools and a fabulous Thai restaurant, Blue Elephant, this centrally located hotel is a perfect home base.
Don’t miss Mdina for a stroll through its ancient streets. pretend you’re in King’s Landing (Game of Thrones was filmed here!). Have an indulgent dinner at The Medina Restaurant or La Maltija.
Explore the UNESCO 2018 Capital of Culture, Valletta. Don’t miss a day trip to Ħaġar Qim, a prehistoric monument complex millennia older than Stonehenge. Whether you want to lounge on the sandy beaches of Mellieħa, or dance the night away in Paceville nightclubs, Malta has something for the solo female traveler to enjoy.
Our next submission comes from Kelly who is a lifestyle writer with a focus on retail, tech, fitness, health and of course travel. Kelly’s old soul can often be found looking for lost treasures or attending a sporting event in event in cities around the globe. When she’s not traveling, Kelly lives in Dallas, Texas.
I was in Europe on business when I had some free time open up. Since I had always wanted to visit Denmark, I booked a flight to Copenhagen and off I went. I was traveling solo and had no real plans, but to wing it. It was May, which I was told was a good time to visit as it wasn’t too cold and the sun was shining.
The minute I got to the airport, I felt very safe. I stayed at the Tivoli Hotel & Congress center. It was very clean and the staff was very friendly and everyone spoke English. It also has an amazing rooftop sushi bar that overlooks the city. After I got settled, I wandered to the food hall to find something to eat and check out what was happening in the city. I grabbed a map and went walking.
Getting Around Copenhagen
The entire city is walkable and you will see most people walking or riding bikes. The Danes are big on community so many people share vehicles and there was more bike traffic than cars. There also is a local train that takes you around the city if you don’t want to ride or walk.
I walked around the entire city my first day there. There are cute little shops and restaurants to see. Along with the famous Nyhaven (central) area of town with the canal and colored buildings. Lots of boats to watch as well.
There are several different neighborhoods to see. Each with their own feel. Norrebro is trendy with many small boutiques, cute shops and restaurants. Fredriksburg is mostly a family neighborhood. Stroget is the main shopping district. Meatpacking is full of restaurants and bars. Notice that most people enjoy the grass for a picnic. You can read a book or just enjoy the weather with the community.
While I was in town the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation championship was going on. I bought a ticket and went to the Royal Arena for a few hockey games. Keep in mind they love hockey in this part of the world! I easily made friends with everyone I met. The people were extremely welcoming.
As far as food, there is every type of cuisine. You must have an obligatory Danish pastry at a coffee shop. The Italian food and the seafood, seemed to be the best that I had on my trip. At night I wandered into a few pubs and felt absolutely safe. Overall, I would highly recommend Copenhagen as a solo travel destination even as a female.
Last but not least, is my pick for what I think is one of the best European cities for solo female travelers. I visited this Lisbon on a multi-day European trip that included London and Madrid: (which are also excellent choices for a solo trip). Lisbon stole my heart and I can’t wait to go back and explore more of this beautiful and welcoming country.
If you are looking for a big city experience in a small package, then Lisbon is the city for you. Lisbon is ideally one of the most perfect European cities for female travelers. Especially for a first time solo traveler. Not only is it safe and easy to get around to the various neighborhoods by bus and the city’s metro system, but I also found accommodations so affordable, I didn’t even need to stay in hostel to offset the cost of a single room.
While there weren’t as many people that spoke English as I had anticipated, it still wasn’t complicated to communicate and in a pinch, you can just point to what you want. Lisboans also really appreciate any effort made to speak Portuguese.
There is so much to do in Lisbon but I enjoyed the ability to take a tour or just wander around with no real agenda. It’s the perfect city for getting lost. With plenty of steps to climb, alleyways to explore and street art to see, you’ll see what I mean. And the food and coffee. Oh my! The entire culture has been built on espresso and pasteles de nata.
Walk through the famous Alfama neighborhood. Drink Portuguese wine and dance the night away in the Barrio Alto. Listen to fado, the hauntingly melancholic music of Portugal. You may not understand the words but you’ll understand the sentiment. Visit the Torre de Belen, the Mosteiro de Jeronimos and the Museo Nacional de Azulejo. Lisbon has more than enough to keep you busy on your solo trip.
Which City is Your Fav?
So there you have it, our favorite European cities for solo female travelers. With so many countries in Europe, there are plenty of other hidden gems. If you think you have the perfect city for a solo female traveler that I should know about. please let me know in the comments.
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