At Not In The Guidebooks, we are huge advocates for solo travel. And whilst travelling alone can be one of the most liberating, thrilling experiences of a lifetime as you discover destinations at your own pace and rhythm, solo travel doesn’t necessarily mean travelling alone.
A solo travel experience could be anything ranging from trekking a remote mountain range alone in Kyrgyzstan, to joining a bunch of adventurous, like minded travellers on a surfing holiday in Spain. All that matters is that you expand your horizons, meet new people and travel on your own time, doing the things you want to do and visiting the places you want to see.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some of our top destinations for solo travel in 2023, to give you some inspiration for your next unforgettable adventure.
Solo Travel in Europe
For many, the easiest continent to hope from country to country is also the easiest to set off on a solo travel expedition.
Whether you decide you’re going to interrail from city to city, settle on one country and explore the off the beaten track towns and villages that lie in rural heartlands, or join a group of other travellers to discover a new corner of the continent, wherever you look there are wonderful solo travel opportunities in Europe.
1. Granada, Spain
Situated at the foot of the might Sierra Nevada mountain range in the southern Spanish region of Andalucía, Granada is the perfect city for anyone on the hunt for a solo holiday in Spain that gets them to the very heart of authentic Spanish culture.
With an incredible history and beautiful architecture, it’s a treat to explore on your own as you wander the narrow alleyways and lanes, but there’s also a bohemian buzz to the city in its many bars and cafes that lend a real energy to the city.
Combine learning Spanish to truly integrate yourself into the culture of the city with hiking in the stunning mountains, flamenco workshops with professional dancers, or learning to cook truly authentic Spanish food, all with other travellers who share your passion for the new.
2. Lake Garda, Italy
There’s something undeniably alluring about Lake Garda in Italy, perched as it is in the spectacular setting of Alpine greenery with snow-capped mountains glistening in the distance. For those who want to be truly alone when they travel, the lake itself can offer an escape on kayaking trips, or you can head into the mountains for some breath-taking hikes.
And for those who want to experience a thrill and a buzz in a more cosmopolitan sense, there are jaw-droppingly beautiful towns situated all around this lakeside paradise serving up some of the best food and wine in the country at every turn.
To really immerse yourself in this culinary culture, meet other food-obsessed travellers on a cooking holiday in Lake Garda, where you can master authentic Italian cooking whilst enjoying this most beautiful of natural settings.
3. Lisbon, Portugal
Setting aside the fact that the Portuguese capital is one of the most compelling travel destinations on earth as it is, the life and vibrancy you’ll find on the cobbled streets and winding stairways of Lisbon makes it the perfect place to visit if you’re a solo traveller ready to mingle with the locals.
With so much to explore by day, with fresh seafood restaurants by the harbour and panoramic views over the city from any of the seven hills the city sprawls over, and then a maze of fado houses, wine bars and bustling dives to explore by night, Lisbon is ready-made for solo adventures.
Its proximity to the coast also makes it the ideal city from which to enjoy a surfing holiday in Portugal, where you can spend your days learning to master the waves, and your evenings enjoying Lisbon’s legendary nightlife with other, like minded travellers.
Popular Solo Traveller Holidays
Solo Travel in Latin America and Africa
If Europe is your first consideration for a solo travel adventure then that makes complete sense, but for those looking to get a little further afield, there are destinations ready-made to provide the perfect experience for independent travellers.
From golden sand beaches in Central America to white-washed towns on the Atlantic coast of Africa, there is a treasure trove of destinations out there to discover, but we’ve tried to narrow that exhaustive list down to just three of our favourites for 2023.
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
There are few cities on earth that can live up to Buenos Aires when it comes to just how much of a good time you can have within a set of city limits. It’s a city that crackles with energy in a haze of smoke from parilla cooking succulent steaks and the blinding flares of fanatical football fans, where you can find an untold number of hidden gems like quiet, dusty bookshops, and covered markets serving up a huge variety of Argentinian culinary treats.
Of course, all this makes Buenos Aires perfect for a solo holiday. Whether you spend your time seeking out late night jazz clubs, joining in the breathless pace of Buenos Aires club culture, or deep-diving into the chequered and fascinating history the city boasts, you are never short on options.
For those looking for other people to share their experience of the city with, one of the best ways we believe it can be done is by throwing yourself into tango culture, a dance that defines the locals personality and identity – and there are plenty of options for solo travellers to do just that on their Argentinian adventure.
2. Essaouira, Morocco
An ancient, unspoilt port town on the west coast of Morocco, Essaouira has retained its delicate blend of Berber, Chiadma and colonial influences for centuries now, and a visit to this beautiful, blue-trimmed collection of ancient medinas and narrow lanes.
It makes a wonderful base for anyone on the hunt for authentic Moroccan culture, whether you stroll along the harbour engulfed in the scents of grilling seafood, or wander the spice-scented lanes that lie in the maze of alleys, you’re sure to find the very best of the slow-paced, coastal Moroccan lifestyle here.
And whether you want to hit the waves on a surf holiday, learn to master classic Moroccan dishes on a cooking holiday, explore the region on horseback or even simply learn to capture your surroundings like a pro on a photography holiday, Not In The Guidebooks will be able to point you in the right direction to find people that share your passion.
3. Puntarenas, Costa Rica
This isn’t exactly one single destination (the actual town Puntarenas doesn’t have a huge amount to shout about), but as a region, this stretch of Pacific coastline along the west coast of Costa Rica is a seemingly endless stretch of palm-fringed beaches, jungles alive with wildlife and small, fishing villages set against blood-red sunsets across the ocean.
Here you could easily explore for as long as you wished, enjoying a Costa Rican wildlife holiday in the twisted mangrove forests, seeking out thrills at any of the numerous high rope courses, or simply lazing each day away and drinking in the slow, easy pace of life afforded to you by a tropical climate and a simple way of life.
If you want to push the boundaries with other travellers who have made it to Puntarenas, then a surfing holiday is the perfect way to do it, or learn to enjoy every moment with yoga sessions in a natural setting that create that perfect zen moment, where you can really feel as if you’ve properly got away from it all.
Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we scour the globe for incredible experiences and itineraries that help you have the most memorable holidays of your life. Whether that’s going on a family adventure with your older kids to somewhere like Thailand, Namibia or even Greenland, or heading on a solo adventure to surf and learn Spanish with a group of like-minded travellers, what ties all our experiences together is that they aren’t your typical tourist trip.
With Not In The Guidebooks, we show you the local, authentic side to a destination by putting you in touch with the people who know best – the locals. With them as your guides, you know that you are spending your time enjoying the very best that their home has to offer, and will leave having not just seen a place, but experienced it.