For many of us, the beginning of a new year is marked by the desire for a fresh start—the breaking of old routines and mindsets, the commitment to healthier, more productive habits and the hope that the months ahead promise joy and fulfillment. Some of us choose to channel this desire by writing lists of resolutions—including books to read, miles to run and journals to keep—but here at Indagare, we chart our personal growth by journeys taken, borders crossed and people met along the way. One of the best ways to experience the transformative power of travel is to step outside of your comfort zone by venturing out into the world alone. Traveling solo, be it to a far-flung destination or to one of your all-time favorite cities, can be an intensely exhilarating and liberating experience; as Pico Iyer wrote in The Open Road, “When I travel alone, I find myself having one-on-one encounters with people and places that leave my heart shaking and my sense of direction turned around.” We’ve rounded up the best places to travel solo around the world—from Norway to Namibia—for all levels of experience, so you can try solo travel for yourself in 2020.
Our expert team of trip designers can help you choose the best places to travel solo for your goals and recommend the best hotels, restaurants and activities. Contact Indagare to start planning your solo travel journey today.
Best Places to Travel Solo: For the Curious Beginner
If you’re new to solo travel, we recommend that you start by visiting friendly, culture-rich cities that are easy to navigate and offer robust touring options.
A haven for solo travelers, Paris offers endless entertainments to enjoy by yourself, including shopping the Marais, relaxing with a book and café crème along the Seine and people-watching in a local bistro. If you’re looking for some time to yourself but are concerned about being lonely, Paris is the place for you: within this bustling metropolis, you can go about your day independently. Read Indagare’s Paris destination report.
Barcelona delights all of the senses with its vibrant art, fascinating history, delicious tapas and lively mood. A solo visit here is a treat for any traveler, as you can fill your days with the city’s rich culture—without compromise—and spend your nights tucked away in an intimate restaurant, before an evening stroll along the buzzing, wide boulevards. The city is clean and easy to get around, and the locals are warm and welcoming. Read Indagare’s Barcelona destination report.
Those who are looking for an approachable solo adventure should head to the capital of hygge, the Nordic concept for coziness and contentment. From your home base at one of the city’s stylish boutique hotels, you can recharge and reconnect with inspiration by exploring Copenhagen’s many groundbreaking farm-to-table restaurants and innovative design galleries. Read Indagare’s Copenhagen destination report.
The Irish are known for their hospitality, and a solo traveler in Dublin will never feel truly alone. The city’s wealth of pubs offer great opportunities to meet other travelers and locals, while the rich musical and literary history and burgeoning culinary scene beg to be explored in depth. Read Indagare’s Dublin destination report.
This charming city offers a Parisian-style solo experience—within a two-hour flight of New York City. Full of delicious restaurants, vibrant artistic neighborhoods like Mile End and Griffintown and several lush parks to explore, travelers to Montreal can be as busy or relaxed as they’d like. Read Indagare’s Montreal destination report.
An easy flight or train ride away from most major U.S. cities, Washington D.C. has become a culture and foodie hotspot in recent years, with much more to explore outside of Capitol Hill. Solo travelers can fill their days here exploring artwork in the Phillips Collection and the Renwick Gallery, confronting history at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, shopping in Georgetown and eating and drinking in up-and-coming areas like the Navy Yard—and relaxing at one of the city’s many wonderful hotels. Read Indagare’s Washington D.C. destination report.
Best Places to Travel Solo: For the Solitude and Wellness Seeker
Traveling on your own is one of the best ways to make time to check in with yourself for reflection, peace and restoration. For the wellness seeker, we recommend off-the-beaten-path retreats and spa centers that specialize in caring for the whole self.
With just five luxury tented suites built into a rainforest-covered mountain that has uninterrupted views of Costa Rica’s wildlife-rich Papagayo Gulf, Kasiiya Papagayo is the ultimate getaway for sun, sea and serenity. Communal dining spaces and amazing guides offer solo travelers the chance to socialize, while the über-private accommodations allow for a completely intimate experience. Additionally, the retreat’s focus on sustainability, yoga and meditation will help you to reach your wellness goals; after all, the national motto of Costa Rica is “Pura Vida,” or “pure life!” Read Indagare’s Kasiiya Papagayo review.
Rosewood’s new luxury encampment in Laos combines the meditative peace of being in lush, virtually untouched forests, amid winding rivers and waterfalls, with prime access to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. Solo travelers can choose to sleep in luxe hilltop tents for a more immersive retreat, or indulge in a private villa, complete with a pool, for total solitude. Alternatively, the main house offers traditional rooms and suites that are conveniently located near the main pool, restaurant and bar. Guests can choose from a variety of experiences, like visiting an elephant sanctuary or the Sense spa, for meaningful interaction with the ancient surrounding landscape, without sacrificing modern comforts. Read Indagare’s Luang Prabang destination report.
Although its spa facilities are limited to a wood-burning sauna, the Sápmi Nature Camp in the Swedish Lapland hosts a glamping getaway that offers truly unparalleled solitude (positioned in the middle of the UNESCO-protected Sjávnjá Nature Reserve, the camp has only five tents). With no electricity or WiFi, solo travelers here can truly disconnect in the dazzling Arctic wilderness through such outdoor activities as Northern Lights viewing, skiing and learning from the indigenous Sámi people about regional traditions, including foraging and reindeer herding. Read Indagare’s Sápmi Nature Camp review.
Fogo Island sits off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and is home to one of our favorite retreats, the Fogo Island Inn. Described as “far away from far away,” the retreat combines personal attention and relaxation with the opportunity to marvel at such natural wonders as icebergs and the Northern Lights. Read Indagare’s Fogo Island Inn review.
Tucked away in the red rocks of Sedona, Mii amo is an intimate spa that nourishes the mind, body and soul. A favorite of Indagare founder Melissa Biggs Bradley, the exquisite property offers a wide variety of restorative activities and treatments, including meditation sessions with spiritual healers, hiking and relaxing facials. Unlike many other wellness destinations, Mii amo offers solo travelers the freedom to craft their own experience and participate in as many or as few programs as they wish. Read Indagare’s Mii amo review.
Not far from San Diego, the Cal-a-Vie spa retreat in the California mountains provides a warm and supportive environment for solo travelers to rejuvenate and refresh. The spa, which is decorated with a lovely array of the owner’s antique furniture, offers an extensive menu of massages, skin treatments, hikes, walks and exercise classes in a beautiful setting. Less spiritual than Mii amo, Cal-a-Vie is another ideal destination if you are looking to live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Read Indagare’s Cal-a-Vie review.
Related: The 18 Best Wellness Retreats
Best Places to Travel Solo: For the Intrepid Explorer
If you’re excited by the prospect of solo travel and want to test your boundaries, we recommend visiting untapped cultural hotspots and locales with more difficult terrains.
As one of the largest, most dynamic and culture-packed cities in the world, Mexico City is a challenging destination for the solo traveler who wants to dive into an overwhelming number of top-notch museums, galleries, restaurants and bars, which can be harder to navigate with companions in tow. In addition to classic hotels like the Four Seasons and the St. Regis, Mexico City is full of chic boutique hotels and apartment accommodations that provide an intimate setting for solo travelers to interact with fellow guests and locals alike. Read Indagare’s Mexico City destination report.
Alaska is a mind-blowing ecological wonderland bordering the Arctic Circle and three bodies of ocean. Though not a pampering destination, the 49th state wows with spectacularly wild landscapes and diverse marine and wildlife, making it one of the world’s great adventure destinations for the rugged solo traveler. Read Indagare’s Alaska destination report.
Next to other Eastern European capitals like Prague and Budapest, Estonia’s Tallinn is often overlooked. This lack of tourism keeps price points low, which can be helpful if you want to travel alone without splurging. Within the quaint cobblestone streets of the city, a young art and culture scene is booming—and begging to be explored. Read a member postcard about a trip to Estonia.
Thanks to its dramatic, untouched fjords and the city of Oslo, Europe’s fastest-growing capital, Norway is the perfect destination for the solo traveler in search of energy and inspiration. With stunning natural features—like the Norwegian Fjords—unique history and up-and-coming creative centers, this country will fascinate the solo traveler looking to head north. Read Indagare’s Norwegian Fjords destination report.
A haven for contemporary art lovers, the ghost-town-meets-hipster-enclave of Marfa, Texas is highly unique. Home to such art institutions as the Chinati and Judd Foundations, as well as the iconic Prada Marfa building and the mysterious Marfa lights, this edgy destination is rich with innovation for the solo traveler to explore. It can be hard to get to, but Indagare can arrange seamless access and transport. Contact our Bookings Team to learn more.
From the charming colonial streets of Cartagena to the creative spirit of Bogotá and Medellín, with adventures in the remote coffee region, Colombia promises a dynamic cultural immersion for adventurous solo travelers at the northern tip of South America. The country as a whole is still emerging as a top travel destination—but it won’t be long before the crowds spread, thanks to the richness of its offerings, which are equally thrilling for history and politics buffs, foodies and art and design lovers. For those who want to be on the cutting-edge of travel trends, the time to go is now. Read more about Indagare’s Insider Journey to Colombia.
Best Places to Travel Solo: For the Advanced Solo Sojourner
Those who are confident in their ability to travel alone will discover a whole new solo experience through longer, more intense trips to larger-than-life locales far from home. A journey to one of these destinations will change the way that you understand yourself and your place in the world.
The world’s last frontier was once only traversed by pathfinders and scientists willing to risk their lives, but now solo travelers can sail through Antarctic waters for once-in-a-lifetime wildlife and nature-viewing and adventure activities, with responsible tour operators like Quark, whose newest vessel, the World Explorer, began sailing earlier in the fall of 2019 (a second luxury boat will set sail later in 2020). In the words of Indagare Trip Designer Colin Heinrich, who just returned from scouting in Antarctica earlier this year: “It was my favorite trip I’ve ever been on. Antarctica is the most gorgeous place you can possibly visit on this planet; it is the most pristine natural environment we have left. At the same time, it is critically threatened by climate change. Travel here is completely regulated to avoid overtourism, so explorers can feel good about going. It’s a destination that needs support and tourism more than anywhere else, and it needs it right now.”
In the words of Indagare COO Eliza Harris: “For as long as I can remember, the Himalayas have pulled at my imagination: the highest and most majestic mountain range on earth, formed by two continents crashing together, a spiritual home for seekers across the millennia. Ten years ago, when I heard about Shakti Himalaya, which offers the chance to live in rural villages in houses equipped with Western comforts, I thought: there’s my way in. I set my sights on the Ladakh region of northern India, a high-altitude (10,000-plus feet) landscape of fierce contrasts, with jagged peaks and lunar desert cut through by rivers that make possible fertile green valleys and orchards.” For solo travelers passionate about Buddhism, hiking, untouched natural landscapes and ancient culture, the Shakti Himalaya experience is sure to be a home-run. Read Eliza’s Shakti report.
Profoundly moving and dizzyingly complex, Israel promises a rewarding, spiritual experience that can be uniquely enjoyed when you are traveling alone. In the words of Indagare member Emma Pierce: “There is so much to see and do in Israel that travelers must design an itinerary tailored to their individual interests. There is an Israel for foodies, history buffs, adventure-seekers and the religiously devout, and they’re all wildly different. But no matter their interests, visitors from all walks of life agree on one thing: Jerusalem is one of the most magical places in the world.” Read Indagare’s Israel destination report.
For years, the surreal landscapes, authentic experiences and natural wonders of Bolivia were reserved for backpackers willing to forego creature comforts. Now, Bolivia is pulsing with the energy of a country on the verge—and it’s accessible to the solo traveler, thanks to new, sophisticated hotels that provide a base for touring sites like the Laguna Colorada and Uyuni salt flats. Read more about Bolivia.
Often described as southern Africa’s final frontier, Namibia is known for its stretches of open desert and great swaths of silence. As you hike the striking edges of the sand dunes, meet with nomadic tribes and fly over shipwrecks on the Skeleton Coast, you will challenge the boundaries of your own existence within this wondrous place. Read Indagare’s Namibia destination report.
New Zealand is a land of fantasy and fairytale, where active volcanoes, icy glaciers and geothermal springs provide a window into the earth’s past. Traveling to New Zealand solo, without distractions, will allow you to soak in this vast, raw beauty and fully marvel in the power of nature. Read Indagare’s New Zealand destination report.