Considering where to travel as a solo female traveller? Balancing epic adventures, solo-friendly prices and safety, here are 15 of the best destinations for solo female travellers in 2023 and beyond.
Solo travel is addictive. Take it from me, I spent one semester abroad when I was 19 and have since visited more than 40 countries as a solo female traveller! Whether your idea of solo travel is exploring a bustling city or chilling poolside at an island resort, travelling solo means doing what you want, when you want, where you want.
But as the saying goes, “with great freedom comes many decisions…” or something like that, anyway.
Planning a solo trip can sometimes be harder than travelling with your friends or family, because there are so many options out there and no one else to help guide your choices. The world is your oyster, you just have to know where to start.
I’ve thrown together 11 of my favourite solo female travel destinations around the globe, that I’ve personally travelled to solo, plus a few extras that are on my bucket list. I’ll let you know why you should visit there as well as things to be aware of as a solo female traveller to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip.
From the tropical beaches in the South Pacific to adventure hot spots to classic bucket list destinations, here are 15 of the best destinations for solo female travellers in 2023.
Cliché I know, but hear me out! Bali is an ideal location for first-time solo female travellers as well as those who are experienced explorers, and it’s somewhere I’ll always return to when I know I need to slow down and take a break from the chaos of full-time travel.
As one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads (thanks to reasonably easy visa processes and super low living costs), Bali is packed with other solo travellers for you to meet and mingle with. Prefer to enjoy your own company? No worries, book a villa and treat yourself to spa treatments, jungle walks, beach days and more.
It’s cheap and easy to get around via Grab, GoJek or taxi, there’s plenty of accommodation to cater to both budget travellers or splurgers, the food scene is brilliant, and there’s no shortage of activities to fill your time, from yoga retreats to beach clubs to island hopping nearby. My favourite thing about the island though is that you have the option to either travel independently by hiring a scooter (safety is key) or a driver for the day, or to find fellow travellers through Facebook or WhatsApp groups when you need some social connection.
Bali deals with similar safety issues as any popular tourist destination where the tourists tend to come from higher income countries but that shouldn’t necessarily put you off. I’ve never personally felt unsafe in Bali however one travel buddy had her phone and wallet pickpocketed on New Year’s Eve of 2019/2020, which resulted in us watching the fireworks from our hostel balcony while on the phone to her bank to cancel her cards. Looking back now, this seems like an omen telling us that the next year was going to suck!
Things to be aware of:
- Bag snatching and pickpocketing can be common in high traffic tourist areas. Always wear a cross-body bag with the zip closed, and avoid walking too close to the road holding your phone as snatchers sometimes reach out from motorbikes to grab your stuff.
- If you’re drinking while travelling solo (or even while travelling with friends!) keep an eye on your drinks, as you would in any other destination
Hoi An, Vietnam
This quaint, colourful little town on Vietnam’s central coast is one of my favourite places in the world, and it’s my top destination for solo female travellers who love shopping and/or getting amongst local food scenes.
With hostel beds starting from as little as $8USD (!!!), guesthouses from $12, restaurant meals from $5 and pushbike hire from $2 a day, budget travellers need to add this gem onto their solo travel bucket list.
The Ancient Town is easily explored by foot or by bike so it’s incredibly easy to get around without needing to spend money on transport for one person. In terms of things to do there’s local food and textile markets, monthly lantern festivals, cooking classes and plenty of history, culture and architecture to learn about while wandering around.
I’d highly recommend doing a food tour to try Hoi An’s best dishes, and if you need to update your wardrobe then the world-famous tailors can whip up some new outfits in a day or two.
I felt completely safe in Hoi An and had no issues as a solo female traveller, the main streets are well-lit at night and because the whole Ancient Town is pedestrianised it felt much safer walking home after dinner than it does in many other cities.
Read more: The ultimate three week Vietnam itinerary
My love affair with Melbourne began with my first solo trip to the city in 2012, and I’ve since been back more than 10 times. Yes, I’m a bit obsessed.
With all the best bits of a big city (a bustling entertainment scene, great dining options and loads of things to do) as well as being close to world-class beaches, wildlife experiences and must-do road trips, you can see why Melbourne constantly makes the list for most liveable cities in the world.
Accommodation in Australia is pricier than many other places but you can expect to pay anywhere from $18-$30USD for a hostel bed or from $45 for a private room. For hotels or apartments you’re probably looking at $80USD per night for the lower end of the scale.
If you consider yourself a bit of a foodie then you’re going to be in heaven here, Melbourne’s melting pot of cultures come together to offer a huge variety of cuisines to suit any taste buds. My absolute favourite restaurant (if you can call it that!) is Milk the Cow, a licensed cheese bar that serves up cheeses from all over the globe perfectly paired with boutique wines and accompaniments. Divine, I would spend all day here if I could.
But if you’re a normal person who requires actual food rather than just cheese, I recommend visiting Chin Chin for Southeast Asian fusion, Osteria Ilaria for Italian, Palermo for hearty meat dishes and Embla for tapas-style share plates.
Things to be aware of:
- Melbourne is one of the safest cities in the world so this is a great option for your first solo trip
- Solo travel in Australia can be pricey because you aren’t splitting hotel, Uber and petrol costs with a friend. To save money use public transport where possible and consider staying at a hostel to keep costs down.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, so it’s the perfect destination for solo female travellers who love a bit of an adrenaline rush.
Though Queenstown might be known as more of a romantic, luxurious destination, it’s definitely possible to experience it solo, even if you’re on a tight budget. There’s hostel beds from about $20USD ($30NZD) per night and the cheapest private accomm starts from around $75USD ($110NZD).
Activities are what can take your trip over budget, but there’s plenty of options for your Queenstown itinerary regardless of whether you’re pinching pennies or happy to splurge.
To keep things cheap and cheerful, consider trying out the hiking trails like Queenstown Hill (short walk) or Ben Lomond (day hike), watch sunset while eating an iconic Fergburger down by Lake Wakatipu, or hit the bars for happy hour. If you hire a car, there’s loads to see within a few hours’ drive, like the world-famous drive to Glenorchy, stunning Lake Wanaka and historical Arrowtown.
If you don’t mind spending a bit of money, some of the most popular things to do in Queenstown are skydiving, bungy jumping, paragliding, ziplining and skiing. For a more relaxing experience, Onsen Hot Pools is the perfect way to treat yourself on your solo adventure.
Things to be aware of:
- Queenstown is super safe in terms of crime so the main danger here is probably solo hiking. If you’re heading out to do a walk by yourself always let someone know where you’re going and be prepared if the conditions change suddenly.
One of the happiest nations in the world, Fiji is an ideal solo travel destination if you need a bit of an escape from reality.
While there are island resorts that range from backpacker-style through to world-class luxury, the cost of transport, food and activities can all add up quickly so Fiji is more suited to those that aren’t too strict on what they spend.
Island hopping is a brilliant way for solo female travellers to see some of the best parts of this South Pacific paradise, while having the chance to meet other young travellers. Awesome Adventures runs epic island hopping tours in the stunning Yasawa Islands, where you can choose your level of accommodation and add on your selected activities.
For a less complicated holiday, book a room at one of the country’s many luxury resorts and enjoy your solo travel freedom by hitting the pool, the buffet, the spa and the cocktail bar whenever you please!
I’m sure you’ve probably heard horror stories about solo female travel in Rome gone wrong, but that’s not to say it should be totally written off as a solo travel destination. My experience in Rome as a solo female traveller was not much different to how I felt in other major European cities, and for the history, the culture and the food, Rome is well worth a visit.
There is so much to do in Rome as a solo traveller that you could honestly spend a month here and still not get bored! I’d recommend going on a free walking tour to see some of the major sights and get your bearings, and as an added bonus you’ll meet other travellers new to the city too. If you want to explore at night, consider booking a food tour or similar to experience the Eternal City after dark without worrying about your safety.
One thing to keep in mind is that Italian men are certainly not afraid of public flirting, so you can expect to hear “ciao bella!” being shouted at you across the street if you’re walking alone. It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where women have to put up with this, and it can be really scary and uncomfortable to receive unwanted attention, but this is definitely a cultural thing and is *usually* not malicious in any way. As always though, if you get a bad vibe about anyone or any situation then leave immediately.
Things to be aware of:
- As a solo female traveller, you will probably get catcalled. I generally just ignore and keep walking, and have never had this escalate from someone talking to me. If you ever get into a situation where you feel unsafe, call the police.
- Pickpocketing is rife in Rome as it is in many European cities, so wear a cross-body bag and keep your valuables hidden.
Ahh, my second home! I lived in London for a couple of years on a working holiday visa and it has firmly secured itself as one of my all-time favourite destinations.
London is a fantastic destination for solo female travel because there’s such a variety of things to see and do, and with no language barrier for English-speaking tourists it is super easy to explore.
For a classic London experience you can spend your days ticking off the palaces, wandering through the markets and hitting the flagship stores, world-famous musicals or fancy restaurants in the city, or for a longer visit consider setting up shop in an Airbnb or sublet in one of the suburbs and live like a London local.
Visit in summer to make the most of warm, long days, perfect for Pimm’s in the park, or if you’re a bit of a Christmas fiend then you can’t miss the iconic Winter Wonderland which runs from 19 November through to the start of January.
Things to be aware of:
- Like many cities, London has bag snatchers and pickpockets.
- I lived in London for two years, using public transport and walking at night (always in lit areas) and never had to deal with a scary situation, however there have been a number of recent attacks on women so it is something to be aware of. Get a taxi or an Uber if you don’t feel comfortable at night.
With a historic city centre, easy access to wineries, a buzzing gastronomic scene and beaches within a short drive or tram ride, Porto offers a variety of things to do for solo female travellers.
If you want to meet people, there are a bunch of boutique hostels catering to everyone from party animals to digital nomads. I loved Selina Porto, who offer dorm beds from €23 and private rooms from €75. For a nice hotel you can expect to spend anywhere between €70 to €200.
The co-working scene is growing in Porto so it’s a great option for digital nomads, or if you want somewhere a little more bustling then head down to Lisbon.
Portugal is one of the safest European countries for solo female travellers and both violent crime and petty crime rates are much lower than other major tourist destinations. As always, keep your wits about you when you’re travelling solo, but you’re unlikely to encounter any danger in Portugal as a solo female traveller.
Things to be aware of:
- If you want to hit the famous wineries in the Douro Valley, consider taking a tour that offers pick up and drop off from your hotel. This way you don’t need to worry about finding your way home after copious amounts of wine.
Another one that might surprise you, Turkey is one of my absolute favourite countries in the world and I highly recommend it for confident and experienced solo female travellers.
When I tell people how much I love Turkey, I always get asked if I felt safe in the country and if I had any issues as a solo female traveller. The answer is yes, I felt safe on both of my Turkey trips and no, I had no issues as a solo female traveller. My first visit was in a tour group and I loved it so much that I went back for ten days split between Istanbul and Cappadocia, and had an equally impressive experience.
To be honest I’m not sure where Turkey’s bad reputation comes from, maybe I’m just being naïve, maybe it’s from what it was like many years ago or maybe it’s a classic example of where different cultural norms can be mistaken for something sinister. There were terrorist attacks throughout the 2000s and a spate of bombings in Istanbul in 2016, but since then there has been constant police and military presence in the main tourist centres of the city and there’s a dedicated Tourist Police force who can help you with any concerns or situations you encounter.
In my experience, Turkish people are incredibly friendly and I had countless conversations with lovely locals, shop owners and restaurant staff. The country is also packed to the brim with fascinating history, architecture and culture, and it’s a budget-friendly option where your money goes far. There’s loads of things to do in Turkey to keep you busy so I’d recommend staying for at least a week if you can.
There are some cultural differences that can be a bit disconcerting, particularly if you’re new to solo female travel, which is why I recommend Turkey for those of you who are confident while travelling alone. Expect to receive attention from men, especially in shops or markets, but if it’s getting too much to ignore then I’d recommend being firm and asking them to stop before trying to get away from them. Personally I wear sunglasses and headphones while wandering through the market so I can ignore any attention I get and I’ve never had an issue!
Things to be aware of:
- In Istanbul the main tourist areas are the safest as these are heavily policed
- Stay in a hotel in a well-lit street and avoid walking at night if you can
- You’ll probably receive attention from men at market stalls and restaurants, it will generally be harmless but don’t be afraid to be firm if you are getting bad vibes from any situation
One of the more expensive options on this list, Iceland is the perfect place for solo female travellers who love getting amongst nature.
Best experienced by road trip, this is one you’ll need to save for! Accommodation, rental car and food can cost a pretty penny but on the plus side, many of Iceland’s must-sees are totally free if you’re comfortable with driving in the conditions.
Summer visitors will be able to enjoy very long days for maximum exploring (midsummer brings 24 hour sunlight!) and if you head there between September to March you have a chance of seeing the otherworldly Northern Lights.
Iceland is incredibly safe for solo female travellers, the country is lightyears ahead of most other countries in terms of gender equality and I’ve never heard of any female traveller having an issue while visiting.
Things to be aware of:
- Iceland is pricey, but you can reduce costs by staying in hostels in the cities, or at least choosing accommodation with self-catering facilities so you can cook your own food rather than eating at restaurants
- Driving in Iceland during winter is no joke! If you’re road tripping, only drive in conditions you feel comfortable and confident in.
With buzzing cities, bucket list road trips, plenty of adventure activities and natural landscapes that will blow your mind, Canada has something for every type of solo female traveller.
The country has brilliant infrastructure for such a huge land mass, with flights, buses, trains and roads to get you from A to B easily, and there are campsite, hostel and hotel options in most towns and cities to fit any budget.
Safety-wise Canada is up there with the best, the big cities have their issues like any big city but overall there’s no major crime issues. The people are incredibly friendly and the police are trustworthy so always ask for help if you need it.
The most dangerous thing in Canada is also one of the best: nature itself. If you plan on hitting the mountains or going for a hike solo then make sure someone knows where you’re going, get clued up on any local info (like track closures or bear sightings) and be prepared for the weather.
Things to be aware of:
- Bears. Yikes!
New York City, USA
New York City was my first true solo travel experience back in 2011, so it will forever be on my list as one of the best cities in the USA for solo female travellers.
The city boasts super efficient public transport, accommodation ranging from budget-friendly (in NY terms anyway!) backpacker hostels through to verrrry expensive hotels, and an endless list of activities and events to fill any itinerary no matter the time of year that you visit.
For your first NYC solo trip I’d recommend staying in Midtown so you can access the major tourist spots as easily as possible, but for a second visit or longer NYC stay then consider spending some time in Tribeca for foodies, East Village for art lovers or the Meatpacking District if you want to go out on the town and make friends with other travellers.
Things to be aware of:
- New York is EXPENSIVE, as in dorm beds at a decent hostel start from $50USD a night, or private rooms somewhere rated above 8/10 start from $200USD a night. Budget accordingly!
The next three options are destinations I haven’t been able to make it to yet, but that are high on my list for my upcoming round the world solo trip.
One for the avid adventurers, Patagonia is one of the safest regions in South America and offers endless hiking opportunities and mind-blowing natural landscapes.
I don’t agree with the overgeneralisation that South America is dangerous for solo female travellers because it would be totally wrong to write off an entire continent, but there’s no doubt that many of the major cities have pockets of crime and political tension that make it less desirable for someone travelling solo. In any case, if you want to head to this part of the planet without worrying about your safety, Patagonia is perfect.
If you’re keen to meet other travellers to hike with then consider staying at a backpacker hostel or join Facebook groups like Girls Love Travel or Patagonia Trekking. If you want to hike solo then always do your research, make sure you have the right gear, or consider booking a hiking guide if you’re not totally confident.
Things to be aware of:
- Crime rates are very low in Patagonia but Mother Nature can be harsh, so always be prepared for changing conditions
This jungle paradise has long been on my wanderlist and my dream of visiting was almost a reality, until a pandemic shut everything down! Hopefully 2023 is the year I make it and get to experience la pura vida a.k.a. the pure life.
Costa Rica is a really easy option for solo female travellers in the USA or Canada, flights will be much cheaper than Europe or Asia and you’ll get to experience a totally different way of life without having to go too far from home. There’s a thriving expat community which makes it super simple to meet other travellers if you want to.
What sets Costa Rica apart from many of its neighbours is the brilliant infrastructure that tourists can take advantage of, with simple transport options between hot spots, adrenaline activities to get your heart pumping, fascinating cultural tours and more. From an accommodation perspective there’s everything from funky beachfront hostels to live-in wildlife conservation projects to yoga retreats in the rainforest.
Last but certainly not least, Japan’s capital city is another excellent destination for solo female travellers.
One of the best things about Tokyo (and Japan in general) is that it is totally normal for people to be in the city by themselves. Restaurants are used to serving solo diners, there are plenty of pod hotels with private single beds for a pretty low price, and you won’t get any funny looks going to a theme park or visiting a museum alone.
While there are some areas of Tokyo you may want to avoid after dark, overall it’s one of the safest cities in the world in terms of crime rates.
In Japanese culture there’s a lot of importance placed on respecting other people and their belongings, so if you happen to lose a wallet or a phone, chances are it’ll be handed in to one of the many lost & found stations around the city. A friend of mine left his wallet on a train in Japan and went back the next day and it had been handed in by a stranger!
I hope these 15 destinations for solo female travellers have inspired you to start planning your own solo adventure! Want more? Check out my dedicated solo female travel hub for more tips and tricks.