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As the world opens up from a long, strange period of lockdown, it feels like a time to get out there and explore, meet new people, and see the world beyond your walk to the shops and back. That’s why here at Not In The Guidebooks, we’re huge advocates of solo travel in Europe in 2021, as this type of travel allows you to enjoy all these benefits and more.

Plus, most European countries aren’t currently imposing too many restrictions on travellers, meaning you can almost imagine the world is entirely back to normal as you explore countries on activity holidays in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and more.

So what are the benefits of solo travel in Europe? Why should you consider it for what remains of 2021 and looking ahead to 2022?

In this blog, we’ll inspect the reasons why solo travel can be such a good way to explore, and try to give you some inspiration for holiday ideas for the rest of the summer, and for next year.

What is solo travel?

person travelling solo in oslo

Solo travel is, as the name suggests, simply travelling to another country or holiday destination on your own. However, it certainly doesn’t mean spending all your time alone.

Travelling solo can mean joining a group of other, likeminded travellers who share in a hobby, interest, or simply in your passion for exploring new places and experiencing other cultures.

It could be joining a group on a cooking holiday in Italy to get to grips with one of the world’s most addictive cuisines and discover life in the untouched medieval villages of Tuscany, or it could be capturing the beautiful vistas of Andalucía with a group of other budding artists on a painting holiday in Spain.

The point is, travelling solo doesn’t mean travelling alone, it simply means enjoying travel on your own terms, potentially with other travellers who can become lifelong friends.

What are the benefits of solo travel?

What with much of Europe allowing travel from the UK again, solo travel is a chance for you to really make the most of what has recently become a more open continent.

It is a chance for you to remember what it was like to meet new people, try new food, see new places and get under the skin of another culture. But why exactly should you choose solo travel in 2021?

1.      You will meet new, likeminded people

solo travellers around a campfire

Our first reason for travelling solo is a pretty obvious one. By either heading out on your own adventure or by travelling with us on one of our solo holidays around Europe, the chances of meeting new, likeminded people with a passion for travel rises dramatically.

When with a travel companion, it’s much easier to get ‘stuck’ just spending time with them or with your group, which, while it can also be a good thing, can limit your time spent meeting new people.

On our trips in Europe designed specifically for solo travellers, you are guaranteed to meet new people, and not only that, but people that share in your interests and enthusiasm for travel.

To us, one of the great aspects of travel is meeting new people, often making friends for life through shared experiences as you explore the world, and travelling solo is the best way of making this happen in 2021, particularly after a year and a half where meeting new people has been especially difficult.

2.      You can do things on your own time

travel planning maps

When travelling solo, there is no need to stick to another’s schedule, worry about what someone else might want to do next, or wrack your brains thinking about how you’ll fit the things they want to do into your day.

To us, travelling solo represents ultimate freedom. No responsibilities, no need to plan around others, just a chance to wake up each day and concern yourself with how to get the best out of your day – for you.

Many of our solo holidays in Europe build free time into their schedules around the tours or activities they include, so that you can enjoy this sense of freedom either as you explore alone, or with another traveller in your group who happens to want to do the same thing.

3.      You are more likely to experience a place like a local

travelling with locals in vietnam

As you explore on your own, the chances of you discovering a city or a town like a local increase, as you aren’t swayed by decisions from other tourists or commercial tour guides.

We said earlier that you are more likely to meet new people as you travel alone, and this goes for locals as well as other travellers. Simply asking a local for recommendations on places to eat or drink can get you on the right path to experiencing the true, local side to a destination, meaning you’ll come away having had a richer, more authentic experience.

On our singles activity holidays, we actually put you in touch with these local people who know their homes more intimately than anyone, and the combination of this expertise and their warm hospitality can create memories that last a lifetime.

Yoga & Meditation Retreat

Portugal, Lisbon

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Cooking and Wine-Tasting in Tuscany

Italy, Tuscany

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Painting Holiday in Gascony

France, Gascony

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Spanish & Surf Holiday in Fuerteventura

Spain, Fuerteventura

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Solo Travel Holiday Ideas for 2021 & 2022

So where should you head on your next solo adventure? To get you inspired, here are just a few of our most compelling solo travel holidays that will get you off the beaten track and exploring the world like a local in 2021 and in 2022.

1.      Yoga and Meditation Retreat in Sintra, Portugal

houses in sintra portugal

Situated close to one of Portugal’s most stunning national parks, as well as a beautiful coastline and a host of medieval gems dotting the countryside, this Portuguese yoga and meditation retreat offers you the perfect opportunity to switch off, escape the bustle of everyday life and enjoy some quality ‘you’ time.

With daily yoga sessions and lots of free time to explore, hit the beach, have a massage or catch up with the other likeminded travellers on your retreat, you’ll leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and with new friends you’ve made whilst exploring this beautiful little corner of Portugal.

And with local hosts who know all the best beaches, walks, restaurants and villages to explore, you’ll be able to really get under the skin of Portuguese culture, and understand what it’s like to live just a little of the standard Portuguese tourist trail.

2.      Cooking and Wine Tasting in Tuscany

hilltop city of siena

There are few places more well-renowned for food and wine on earth than the Italian region of Tuscany, and on this one-of-a-kind cooking and wine holiday, you will take a deep dive into Tuscan cuisine and leave with as much skill and knowledge as a local.

Of course, you’ll also get to taste some of the most iconic local dishes and some of the best regional wines, as you craft your own rustic Italian meals and head out on visits to local wineries, vineyards, and markets to get a flavour of local life.

Your local host, Rita, is incredibly accommodation to your wishes, meaning you have the freedom to enjoy your solo adventure as you wish, whether it’s exploring the cobbled medieval streets of Barga, getting stuck in in the kitchen, learning about and cooking Italian cuisine, or simply relaxing with a glass of beautiful wine with your fellow travellers.

3.      Painting Holiday in Gascony

hills and vineyards in france

When it comes to finding inspiration for your next masterpiece, or even just kindling a passion in picking up the paintbrush, the rolling hills, lush forests and quiet, picturesque rivers of Gascony are a pretty good place to start.

On this French painting holiday, join a group of other art enthusiasts, ranging from total beginners to long-time obsessives, and learn to capture this incredible region of France under the expert guidance of your local hosts at a beautiful old farmhouse, situated far off the beaten track in the southern France countryside.

As well as painting, spend your time making the most of the stunning local cuisine at local restaurants or at the farmhouse, explore markets and small rural villages, and relax in the evening with a glass of wine at the end of another day of experiencing Gascony like a local.

4.      Spanish and Surf Holiday in Fuerteventura

surfer rides the waves in Fuerteventura

For solo travellers looking for something a little more active that also gets them immersed in the culture of a new destination, they need look no further than this surfing and Spanish holiday on the island paradise of Fuerteventura.

Spend time  getting to grips with the Spanish language, so that you can live like a local when you go out in the evenings for dinner and drinks with your fellow travellers, and get to know an essential local activity as you learn to surf the waves of the very best surf spots, known only by the locals.

A genuinely sociable and lively holiday, you’re sure to get a taste of local culture and enjoy seeing progression in both your Spanish and surfing, and you’re also sure to come away with new friends after a week that will last long in the memory.


Here at Not In The Guidebooks, we offer a wide range of singles activity holidays and solo travel experiences, ranging as far as France, Costa Rica Vietnam and beyond. We believe that by travelling solo, you can create some of the most enduring memories as you explore the world, and by meeting locals and truly understanding a way of life that is different to yours back home, you can return a more well-rounded person.

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