I firmly believe that everyone needs to solo travel in Europe at least once in their life. Exploring different cultures in such a small amount of space is simply mind-blowing.

But trust me, I know just how nerve-racking taking that leap is. That’s why I’ve put together the ultimate guide on European solo travel.

Travelling alone is more than just hopping from one hostel bed to another: it’s about finding out who you are and what the world has to offer. Travel is the best teacher life can give you – and the most fun.

From meeting people around the world to falling in love with your soulmate (more than once, oops…) and seeing some of the world’s best sights, solo travel will change your life.

And to be honest, Europe is the perfect place to start. Even though travelling through Europe is more expensive than Southeast Asia or Latin America, it also feels familiar for Westeners.

English is widely known, the public transport is immaculate, the food you recognize, and most places welcome solo travellers with open arms. So take a deep breath, and let’s plan the BEST freaking solo trip of your life!

Laura stood smiling on a canal bridge in Amsterdam on a sunny day
Let’s go to Europe!!!
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

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7 Things to Do in Europe When Traveling Solo

So obviously, Europe is a continent, and if we broke it down country by country, there are SO MANY things for solo travellers to do. But since that would take hours on end to read (and write), let’s focus on the top 7 things you absolutely cannot miss while solo travelling in Europe.

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    1. Join a Walking Tour

    I’ve yet to visit a good European city that didn’t have a walking tour to join, and usually, they’re free. (Big score for budget backpackers.)

    A person walking down a street in Rome, Italy
    Let’s go for a stroll 🙂
    Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Occasionally, they can be a drag, but I’ve found that if you book them through your hostel, the guides are usually enthusiastic while being equally informational. And best of all, you’ll be joined by other travelers making it one of the best ways to make friends.

    You’ll spend the morning getting a feel for the city, and I love doing this on my first day in a new place because the guides can give you some local tips on all the best places to eat, drink, and party. You’ll see all the must-do’s and have a good idea of how to get around the place.

    2. Check off Iconic Landmarks

    Whether you’re checking off the world’s wonders or just want to drink some wine under the Eiffel Tower, Europe is the perfect destination for travellers who love sightseeing. The continent is full of some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and will definitely keep you busy. (Get ready to be walking 20,000+ steps a day!)

    Looking out over the entire colosseum of Rome from a vantage point, Rome, Italy
    Iconic AF
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Travelling solo allows you to go to the ones that are high on your list without having to worry about someone else’s schedule. Plus, you can take as many pictures and selfies as your heart desires without being judged!

    3. Go on a Pub Crawl

    If you’re staying at a hostel, more often than not, someone will be hosting a pub crawl. And let me tell you, Europeans do it differently. There is a high possibility you’ll be out all night long and an even higher possibility of having an epic adventure through the city.

    Get drunk Dublin style on a backpacker-friendly pub crawl
    Who doesn’t love a pub?

    Since they’re organised through the hostels, you’ll be around other travellers about your age, and it’s the perfect way to loosen up and meet other people. Entry into the clubs and bars is usually free, and you might get a shitty shot of absinthe or bottom-shelf liquor on the house.

    (If you’re on a budget, drink up. If hangovers are the bain of your existence… well, buy something else. Ha!)

    4. Take a Cooking Class

    Some of the world’s best food comes out of Europe (and some of the worst, I’m looking at you, beans and toast). And while it might not be in your budget to eat out for every meal, taking a cooking class is one of the best ways to experience local culture and flavours.

    *Chef’s Kiss*

    Sometimes, you’ll get to go shopping at the local market or step into an old grandma’s home that smells like freshly baked bread. Not only will you learn how to make delicious dishes, but you’ll also get a glimpse into the daily life of locals. It’s one of my favourite ways to meet other travellers who are interested in the same things as me.

    5. Eat at Local Spots

    I can’t recommend eating at local spots enough. I know it can be difficult to break out of your comfort zone and dine alone, but after a few times, it’ll grow on you.

    Two very exciting travelled about to try Seafood Paella in Spain
    Best recommendation ever!
    Photo: @danielle_wyatt

    I’ve come to love heading out to a local spot and getting to interact with the staff and other guests, grabbing some food. Trust me, they can tell you’re a tourist. And for the most part, they will be super kind and help you if you’re confused about the menu or any other customs you aren’t familiar with.

    Plus, eating at local spots is typically much cheaper than eating at tourist hotspots. You’ll also get to taste authentic dishes that are so freaking delicious you’ll be dreaming of them for ages.

    6. Get Lost in the World’s Best Museums

    Museums are the perfect way for solo travellers to spend their day. And the ones in Europe are the BEST.

    Van Gogh Museum

    I seriously don’t think it gets better than the Louvre, the British Museum, or the Rijksmuseum. Not only are they a treasure trove of historical and cultural artefacts, but you also get to explore at your own pace and take in all the beauty without feeling rushed.

    7. Attend a Music Festival

    If you love music, then you’ve come to the right place. Europe is home to some of the best festivals in the world. I don’t know what it is or why they’re so much better than the rest of the world but prepare for the best vibes and the best shows (and the best drugs, if you’re trying to turn up.)

    wireless festival london
    Party time
    Photo: @joemiddlehurst

    I’ve definitely planned a solo trip to Europe solely around Tomorrowland, and it was one of my best travel experiences ever. Just make sure to research the festival beforehand and plan accordingly because some tickets sell out super fast.

    And don’t be afraid of going alone. You’ll meet loads of other travellers and locals. Plus, it’s a music festival, so everyone is there to have a good time.

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    5 Best Solo Destinations in Europe

    With 44 countries and hundreds of cities, how on earth are you supposed to choose where to go? Even with all the money in the world, there is just no way to hit all of the European destinations.

    I know. I find it tragic as well.

    But there are a few places that are just better suited for solo travellers in Europe, and here they are! The top 5 solo destinations in Europe.

    Prague

    Prague is a backpacker haven, making it the perfect destination in Europe for solo travellers. If you go to Prague and don’t make any friends… well, maybe the problem is you.

    Ha, just kidding. But seriously, the city has always been known for its amazing nightlife, cheap eats and drinks, and friendly locals.

    Looking out over the river from the Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
    Prague is preeeetty cool
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    The city is absolutely gorgeous, and whether you’re planning to stay in Prague in the summer or the winter, the city’s charm is breathtaking. You’ll find a little bit of everything while visiting the city, you can learn about the history on a walking tour (I recommend the ones in the old town.)

    Getting lost in the cobblestone streets is like a medieval fairytale. The Museum of Communism is also a great activity for solo travellers, as you’ll get to learn about a really interesting part of history, and you can even join a tour if you want to meet people.

    Fun fact: Prague is also one of the safest cities in Europe, making it the perfect destination for solo female travelers.

    The Prague Dream Hostel is one of my favourite stays in the city. It’s super warm and cosy in the common areas, so meeting friends is a breeze. It’s also located about a 20-minute walk from the old town, which is perfect for exploring on your own.

    Berlin

    History, culture, and nightlife collide in Berlin, making it a must-visit for solo travellers in Europe. Berlin was the first European city I ever visited, and I’m not sure that was the smartest idea, but it definitely prepared me for all the cities I would visit after it.

    As someone who grew up quite sheltered, the nightlife in Berlin had its way with me. It was a hell of a time. And if you’re into the techno scene, my god, you’re about to have the time of your life.

    But Berlin has so much more to offer than just its party scene. The city is filled with museums, galleries, and historic sites that are a must-see for any solo traveller interested in culture and history.

    One of my favourite things to do in Berlin was biking around the city, admiring the street art and architecture. Joining some sort of tour, whether it be biking or walking, is a must. While walking alone is fine, hearing the stories and learning more about the city and the war really adds to the experience.

    Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with sunset behind
    Berlin, you beauty
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    If you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodation in Berlin, I highly recommend checking out the Circus Hostel. It’s located in a great area with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby, and they offer a variety of room options, including dorms and privates. Plus, they host events like pub crawls and walking tours making it easy to meet other travelers.

    Amsterdam

    Everyone dreams of visiting Amsterdam on their European tour, and for good reason. The city is one of the coolest and most progressive destinations in Europe, making it perfect for solo travellers.

    The best way to explore Amsterdam is by bike. There is some crazy statistic that there are more bikes than people, and after visiting—I believe it.

    And one of my favourite things about visiting Amsterdam is literally everyone speaks English. So if you’re feeling a bit paranoid about being able to communicate, well, Amsterdam is the perfect choice for you.

    Sign on a bridge in Amsterdam warning of a fine for urinating in public.
    No pee pee, please
    Photo: @Lauramcblonde

    Just prepare for the bluntness. They don’t mean to be rude—they’re just honest.

    Unfortunately, loads of expats have moved to the city, pushing out a lot of the Dutchies. And in the summer, it’s pretty much a melting pot of travellers. This is sad because you miss out on a lot of the local culture that made Amsterdam so unique to begin with.

    But it’s still an epic destination in Europe, and make sure to stay at Flying Pig Downtown. The staff are amazing. And with all of the awesome common areas, you can hang out, drink a beer, smoke some green, and meet some other travellers.

    Lisbon

    For so long, Portugal was flying under the radar, and then, what seemed like out of nowhere, it became everyone’s go-to destination in Europe. And they weren’t wrong.

    Travelling to Portugal is awesome just about any time of year, and Lisbon is one of the best cities for solo travellers. Unless you don’t like hills… because Lisbon is all hills.

    trams crossing paths on a steep street in Lisbon, Portugal
    Lisbon is a wonderful city to explore on a budget
    Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

    The city has a chill vibe with lots of street art, great food, and plenty of opportunities to meet fellow travellers. Head to the famous Time Out Market for some food and drinks, or take a free walking tour to learn about the history and culture. You can also do some pretty sick day trips from Lisbon like visiting the beautiful beaches of Cascais or the gorgeous castles of Sintra.

    If you’re looking for a party place, stay at Yes! Lisbon. This hostel is full of social butterflies, and they put on one heck of a bar crawl every few nights.

    Barcelona

    Barcelona is one of the most iconic cities in all of Europe, so obviously, it landed a spot on this list. You can visit the ever-unfinished Sagrada Familia or roam the charming streets of the Gothic Quarter.

    Barcelona is also known for its delicious food scene and buzzing nightlife. And if you’re into beaches, there are plenty of those too!

    A person sitting on the beach at Barceloneta in Barcelona, Spain
    Barca, babyy
    Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Although Barcelona isn’t exactly the cheapest place in Europe, there is lots of opportunity here to bring the costs down. You’ll find cheap flights here from many corners of the world and public transport is easy-peasy.

    Barcelona is every solo traveller’s dream come true. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather or the blunt locals (well, most of them have moved to Barcelona, but we will still call them locals), but it’s just so easy to make friends here.

    Every morning, you’ll find the cafes full of people enjoying breakfast and a chat, and every night, the streets are packed with young people grabbing dinner on their way out to explore the nightlife. And from what I experienced, just about every night you can party.

    My favorite hostel was Onefam Paralelo. Every night, they have a family dinner, making it easy to meet other guests, and typically, everyone goes out together after.

    The Best Travel Apps for Solo Travel in Europe

    Here are a handful of my favourite travel apps that helped me backpack through Europe immensely. Having these apps in your arsenal will give you superpowers. Trust me.

    • Google Maps – Do I need to explain this one?
    • Booking.com – Easily the best app for accommodation.
    • Hostelworld – This app is perfect for finding the best hostels in Europe.
    • Google Translate – Such an easy way to speak every language.
    • Couchsurfing – Backpacking Europe isn’t always the cheapest, and downloading the couch surfing app will help you save some money and meet locals.
    • Interrail Planner App – If you’re planning on travelling by train in Europe, this app will be your best friend. It helps you plan out your route, shows you the different train options and schedules, and even lets you book tickets.
    • Flixbus – But if you plan to travel by bus to save some money, Flixbus is a great option. Their app makes it easy to book tickets and navigate different routes.
    • Rick Stevens Audio Europe – This audio guide app offers guided walking tours in different European cities. You’ll get insider tips and historical background information while exploring independently.
    • Holafly – An e-SIM application that allows you to download a data-only SIM card without installing a physical card.

    Facebook groups are also a great shout for solo backpackers, and so is the Hostelworld chat for your location. My best tip though? Get off yo’ phone and go chat to people!

    Stay connected when travelling through Europe!
    photo of a person holding a smartphone with Holafly logo

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    Safety Tips for Solo Travellers in Europe

    So this is where it gets tricky lumping all of Europe together into safety tips. Each country definitely varies when it comes to levels of crime. So make sure to look up the countries you’re headed to before and do some research on their travel warnings. With that said, here are a few tips to help keep you safe while exploring solo in Europe.

    Pickpockets are in just about every city, so just be smart about your belongings. Don’t wear fancy jewellery. Zip your bags and keep them in front of you, and maybe even get a necklace thing for your phone to make sure it doesn’t get snatched.

    Ice Climbing in Iceland

    If you’re going out or bar hopping, don’t get hammered. I know it feels a bit like a theme park as you travel from city to city. But you aren’t untouchable, and creeps exist everywhere.

    So don’t drink too much. If you are a female solo traveller, try to go with a group of friends and don’t wander off alone. Like anywhere, Europe is safe to travel alone but you must keep your wits about you.

    Tips for Solo Travelling in Europe

    If this is your first big solo trip, don’t worry, these tips will help you have a killer time in Europe and could also save your ass.

    • Travel light, and pick a trusty backpack over a rolling suitcase.
    • Book hostels. It’s the BEST way to travel solo. You’ll meet awesome people and they’re often nicer than hotels.
    • If you’re travelling on a tight budget, you can get cheap transport tickets if you book in advance.
    • Free walking tours are a must! They’re a great way to meet people and explore the local areas and, well, they’re free!
    • Leave your heels at home. Good travel shoes are essential.
    • Always have some Euros on hand. Cash is still king.
    • Don’t just visit cities… please. Countries are more than just their tourist hotspots and Instagram-famous locations.
    • With that being said—do the touristy things. There is a reason everyone loves going to the Eiffel Tower or seeing the Colosseum. Don’t leave wanting more.
    • Get European travel insurance. You never know what can happen, and we want you safe, not hundreds of dollars in debt and unable to get home safely.

    My final tip would be to just go for it and also to go with the flow. Nothing ever unfolds exactly how you imagined it, but this is the beauty of travel. We love the mystery of surprises, don’t we?

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    Final Words for Your Solo Europe Trip

    All that’s left to say is get ready for a trip of a lifetime. My first solo trip to Europe was more than I could have ever imagined, from getting kicked out of a club in Barcelona to jumping on the back of a Vespa to ride around Rome with a stranger. Travelling solo brings opportunities to your front door that you would never even think possible.

    Not that getting kicked out of the club was fun, but it definitely makes for a great story to tell. And you’re about to have all of that and more. You’ll learn more about yourself and honestly see more churches than you ever need to in your whole life—but, hey, that’s Europe.

    So regardless if you’re visiting one country or are on an epic solo backpacking journey through Europe, you’re about to eat, dance, and live your life to the fullest. So double-check your travel packing list, and get ready to say hola, merci, ciao, and cheers as you embark on your solo adventure in Europe.

    a girl smiling in front of scenic cliffs and the ocean of lagos,portugal
    Go discover Europe solo, you got this.
    Photo: @amandaadraper

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