Following two years of travel restrictions, we are more than ready to get out there and explore the world. And with a growing number of people booking solo trips, it seems many don’t want to wait around for others to explore the countries on their bucket list.
According to tour specialists Explore, around 60 per cent of bookings in 2022 are for solo travellers so far – up 27 per cent from pre-pandemic levels. The number of people joining small group trips has risen sharply over the last two years.
But if you are looking to go abroad by yourself, there are more things to consider. To help guide those looking for the perfect destination, price comparison website Uswitch looked at a whole host of factors to judge which were the top cities for solo travellers.
From the most thrilling activities you can take part in, to LGBTQ+ friendliness and even crime ratings, the company ranked places across the globe to find out which came out on top for lone backpackers.
Top cities for solo tourists
7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
With an average temperature of 28C, Dubai has year-round sunshine and is the warmest destination on the list. It’s one to consider if you are looking to get away from Europe’s cold, wet winters.
There is also a whole range of things to do in this bustling city with 2,579 different activities to take up your time while travelling alone. From gorgeous beaches and futuristic skyscrapers to malls and giant aquariums, it has enough attractions to keep you busy whether you are staying for a few days or a couple of weeks.
If you are planning a visit then it is worth checking out a Dubai Explorer Pass. This will allow you pre-paid access to 48 of the city’s attractions.
6. Athens, Greece
Athens is a good choice if you are looking for a solo backpacking destination a bit closer to home. Keeping in touch with friends and family while you are away is easy here with fast average internet speeds.
But, with thousands of attractions from the famous Acropolis to the ancient district of Plaka, you might be too busy to stay on top of news from back home. Athens has more than 1,800 different activities to choose from when looking for things to fill up your time in the city.
Average temperatures in the city are around 14C but, if you want to escape the heat of summer and have a peak cultural experience, then Easter is the best time to visit. Celebrations are often bigger than Christmas – with candle-lit services, food and processions throughout the city.
5. Jaipur, India
Jaipur has the cheapest public transport on the list costing as little as 24 cents. Perfect if you are backpacking on a budget. There are lots of low-cost street food and restaurant options too so no need to worry about feeding yourself when on a solo trip.
It’s also pretty warm in this Indian city. Average temperatures of 25C mean you can explore the city’s impressive architecture without getting cold.
Painted to impress Prince Albert during his tour of India in 1876, Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’. Now, 140 years later, there is still a law in place making it illegal to change the shade of its buildings. With hundreds of historical sites from palaces and forts to opulent gardens, you won’t be short of things to do as a solo traveller.
4. Istanbul, Turkey
There are tons of places to choose from when looking for accommodation in Istanbul. Uswitch’s index found 5,611 options for solo travellers to take their pick. The district of Sultanahmet is a great location for first-time visitors with lots of hostels.
This massive city hub at the crossroad of Europe and Asia is also cheap to travel around. Transport costs can be as low as 25 cents so you can easily plan a route around the nearly 2,000 attractions.
Full of cultural and historic experiences, probably one of the most iconic places to visit in Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia. Built in the 6th century, the monument reflects its changing religious history with minarets and Islamic inscriptions alongside Christian mosaics.
3. Bangkok, Thailand
The capital city of Thailand takes the third spot in the rankings. Known for its street life and cultural landmarks, it perhaps isn’t surprising that Bangkok is a top destination for solo travellers.
With more than 4,000 options for places to stay, you won’t struggle to find somewhere to rest your head. The Banglamphu area of the city is particularly aimed at backpackers travelling on a tight budget but if you are looking for a more luxurious experience then check out Silom.
Getting around the city also won’t break the bank. Transport can cost as little as €1 with the business district well served by a subway and sky train network, a rapid transport system that is elevated above the streets. Other parts of Bangkok are covered by an extended bus network and famous tuk-tuks are available almost everywhere.
2. New Delhi, India
Transport in New Delhi costs as little as 50 cents making it the perfect place to explore on your own.
There are an impressive 5,269 tours and sightseeing opportunities and 5,830 activities for tourists in the city. Highlights include the two square kilometres Red Fort, or Lal Qila, built in 1648. It is a stunning architectural gem with crescent-shaped red sandstone walls that are surrounded by a moat.
If you’ve packed light then don’t worry about a jacket. The average temperature in the city is a balmy 27C.
1. Rome, Italy
Rome came out as the top place to visit for solo backpackers. With the highest number of places to stay and most activities to choose from, it’s unlikely you’ll get bored in Italy’s capital city.
On top of that, the accommodation in this city had some of the highest ratings of any destination in the index. With an average hostel costing around €20 a night, it’s reasonably priced too.
Rome is a huge city full of history, culture and food so there is plenty for you to discover. To keep travel costs low, look at purchasing a pass for public transport to make your way around this metropolitan centre.