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Top Safest Cities for Solo Travellers

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

Travelling solo is a rewarding experience, but it can also be quite daunting for first-timers, so where do you go to meet like-minded individuals where you can have fun, explore and feel safe at the same time? Here are a few safer options in each continent and what you can see while you’re there.

Europe - Ljubljana, Slovenia

There are many cities in Europe popular with solo travellers including Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Budapest, but one of the most recent tourist hotspots is Ljubljana in Slovenia. The vibrant capital is a great place to explore on your own with colourful outdoor markets, a Dragon bridge, verdant parks and a historic hilltop castle. In addition, Ljubljana is dedicated to green and sustainable tourism, meaning you can get around on foot and using bikes and urban electric trains without the need for a car! 

If you want to experience life like a local you can go paddle-boarding on the city’s river, meet new friends and sample traditional dishes on a Ljubljana food tour or even take a day trip to beautiful Lake Bled!

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Credit: Photo Fires

North America - Vancouver, Canada

Although there are many safe cities for solo travellers all over North America including Denver, Montreal and Boston - Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada tops this list. It doesn’t matter what time of year you travel to Vancouver, there’s always something unique to see and do.

Get your bearings of the city on a free walking tour, exploring historic Granville Street and Gastown. You’ll learn how the area transformed from a rough and ready 1860s timber town to the bustling metropolis it is today. Then rent a bike and cycle through picturesque Stanley Park. The waterfront paradise contains beaches, botanical gardens and an aquarium. If you sit by the water’s edge for a while, you may even catch a glimpse of whales in the bay. You could combine an afternoon of shopping, art, history and fine dining at Granville Island or if you prefer your adventures action-packed, head for Grouse Mountain. The Peak of Vancouver offers a variety of hiking and zip-line tours in summer and during winter months you can ski, ice skate or snowshoe! 

Stanley Park, Coal Harbor and Vancouver

Credit: Russ Heinl

Central and South America - Mérida, Mexico

Mérida in Mexico’s Yucatán is a dream city for solo travellers. It’s awash with colourful colonial buildings, museums and parks, plus it offers easy access to beaches, natural reserves and ancient sites. If you’re travelling alone, take your camera and spend a day exploring flamingo colonies of Celestún. Admire the coral plumage of these majestic wading birds from a boat as you glide through mangrove forests of the lagoon. There are over 225 mammal species in the Biosphere reserve, therefore plenty to view during your trip!

If you enjoy delving into local history, the ancient city of Uxmal just over an hour away will appeal. One of the region’s most impressive Mayan sites, it’s home to the well-preserved Adivino Pyramid and Governor’s Palace. Arrive at sunrise to really appreciate these mysterious structures and imagine life when Uxmal was a bustling Mayan city.

Back in Mérida, foodies will delight in the city’s culinary offerings. Sample delicious Yucatán dishes including Poc Chuc – marinated citrus pork or Salbutes, a street food staple of tortilla with turkey and pickled jalapeños! 

Santa Ana church, Merida, Mexico

Credit: Florian Augustin

Asia - Singapore

Singapore is one of the safest places to visit in Asia. With futuristic gardens, world-class shopping, temples and museums, there’s plenty to occupy solo travellers. Take time to explore Gardens by the Bay. Towering wire trees illuminate at night, creating a fairytale waterfront wonderland and its botanical gardens house over 800 plant species, waterfall cascades and even a Cloud Forest Dome! If shopping is on your agenda, Orchard Road ticks all the boxes with a range of department stores, designer shops and malls. However, if it’s independent local designers you seek, you’re sure to find a one-off accessory or clothing item in Haji Lane.

At the crossroads of Asia, Singapore is a melting pot of cultures which can be seen in the city’s Hindu and Buddhist temples, mosques and in streets of Chinatown. If you wish to learn more about its unique heritage, National Museum of Singapore brings it all to life with living galleries which explore the city’s culture through the medium of food, fashion, film and photography. 

Singapore city skyline at dusk

Credit: Patrick Foto

Africa – Gaborone, Botswana

If you wish to visit Africa alone but aren’t sure where to go, the country of Botswana is seen as a safer destination for solo travellers. This is primarily because the country has a more stable democracy than many others on the continent. Botswana’s capital, Gaborone or ‘Gabs’ as it’s affectionately known, has several museums, historic monuments and shopping areas, but the real places of interest are outside the capital. Nature is the main star of Botswana.

If it’s your first trip to the country a good place to start is at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, 25 minutes outside Gaborone. The untamed land is home to giraffes, leopards, cheetahs and elephants, plus it has a sanctuary for orphaned or injured birds and mammals.

Back in the city, discover local artists at Thapong Visual Arts Centre. Established in 1998, the centre promotes unity and creativity throughout local communities. You can chat with the artists, quizzing them about their inspiration whilst watching them create their masterpieces. However, if you feel more adventurous, take a plane ride to the Okavango Delta - a meandering body of water in the Kalahari Desert. This UNESCO Heritage Site is teeming with wildlife and a must-see during a stay in Botswana. You can fly from Gaborone to Maun and transfer from there to the Okavango Delta.

Elephants in Moremi National Park, Botswana

Credit: Radek Borova

Oceania – Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington sits to the south of North Island, New Zealand. It’s usually a stop-off point for those travelling across the Cook Straits by ferry to the South Island. However, as Wellington is known to be one of the safest cities in the world, you should spend time here and explore.

Movie enthusiasts could take a tour of the Weta Studio in Miramar. The creative Weta Cave Workshop is home to props, special effects and costumes from iconic films and TV shows such as Lord of the Rings, Avatar and King Kong. You’ll learn how costumes and props are made and even have your photo taken with life-size sculptures. A trip on Wellington cable car affords you the best views over New Zealand’s capital and the harbour and if you enjoy a spot of bird watching, Zealandia Eco-Sanctuary with its verdant scenery and lakes feature over 20 species of native wildlife.

Wellington, New Zealand

Credit: Thom the fan Thom

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