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Solo Female Travel in Europe: Everything You Need to Know

solo female travel europe

Ashley’s pick: Ireland is the perfect destination for first-time solo female travelers. It’s small, safe, English-speaking, and inexpensive compared to other European countries (except for Dublin, which can be a bit more expensive).

Irish people are kind and welcoming, and is there anything better than a cute guy with an Irish accent?
There’s also so much to do in Ireland. While in Ireland, visit cosmopolitan cities like Dublin and Cork, explore craggy, green Western Ireland, and drink as much Guinness as humanly possible.

Read Post  Flying On A One-Way Ticket: How To Avoid Problems

Recommended destinations: Dublin, Cork, Dingle, Galway, Aran Islands

2. Iceland

solo female travel europe

Kristin’s pick: Iceland will absolutely blow your mind with its natural beauty. Seriously, I saw so many waterfalls on my road trip along the Ring Road that I just stopped pointing them out.

It’s a great place for solo female travelers because it’s the safest country in the world, and it’s so popular with other travelers thanks to cheap flights and the way that images of it have exploded on Instagram, you can easily meet others in hostels in Reykjavik to have an adventure with around the island, or along the Golden Circle if you’re shorter on time.

Recommended destinations: Reykjavik, Vik, Blue Lagoon

3. Stuttgart, Germany

stuttgart christmas market

If you love road trips, Christmas markets and castles, Stuttgart is an amazing place to travel solo in. It’s gorgeous, especially in the fall; its central location makes it a great base to take day trips from. Some of the day trips from Stuttgart include Bad Urach Waterfall, Tübingen, which is an adorable university town, and the magical Lichtenstein Castle. Within Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg region is safe, clean and very easy to get around with public transportation. If you visit Stuttgart in the winter, you will find plenty of Christmas markets with dazzling lights that will warm up even the coldest winter nights.

4. Berlin, Germany

Berlin tends to draw a lot of other solo travelers who have heard about how hip the city is, which makes meeting others a breeze! I feel safe there (violent crime is rare though petty theft is common – unfortunately I know from experience. More on how to avoid that later in the post), there are a bunch of super cool, alternative things to do in hipster Berlin, which you can do so easily using the awesome public transport. It’s great year-round but especially so in the summer and winter. Plus, English is widely spoken there so getting around is easy.

5. Provence, France

lavender provence

Provence is one of those places that live up to the images in your mind. It’s whimsical, romantic, charming, warm, sunny, and delicious! It’s best explored via a road trip, so if you have been thinking about renting a car and just go, Provence might just be the perfect destination for you. Of course, if you are into gorgeous lavender fields as much as I do, go in the summer.

6. Lapland, Finland

Snowman World

Finland is so stunning in the winter, and the Finns are a friendly bunch, with a killer sense of style and amazingly good English skills. Finland is one of the safest countries in the world. You can go for a walk or hike alone at night in Lapland without worrying about your safety – I did that a few times myself. I loved skiing in the Finnish Lapland, above all of the other awesome winter activities available, such as throwing boiling water into the air and watch it turn to vapor (it’s totally a thing).

7. England

solo female travel europe

Ashley’s pick: As Bill Bryson wrote, England is “the world’s largest park, its most perfect accidental garden.”

Although England’s small, it packs a punch. From the winding medieval alleyways of York, to the diverse and delicious food markets of London, England has something for everyone and it tends to draw a lot of solo travelers, particularly those from English-speaking countries. Stay in any hostel and you’ll meet others easily. Plus, it’s got great public transport!

While in England, visit bustling cities like London, Manchester, and Brighton. If you’re in need of nature, rent a car and explore the Lake District or the Peak District.

Recommended destinations: London, Brighton, Manchester, York, The Lake District, The Peak District

8. Belgium

solo female travel europe

Ashley’s pick: Belgium is a country full of different languages, cultures, and of course, delicious chocolate. In particular, Brussels is great for solo travel because it’s centrally located, and has lots of things to do. And like most major European cities, Brussels has lots of youth hostels, making it easy to meet people.

While in Brussels, don’t miss out on the food – be sure to sample the fries, waffles, mussels, and world-famous Belgian beer.

Check out the striking Grand-Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once the meeting place of Flemish guilds.

Brussels also has incredible street art, with gigantic and colorful street art murals around every corner.

9. Switzerland

solo female travel europe

We both pick: Switzerland is a great destination for solo female travelers in summer or winter. In summer, go hiking, paragliding, or mountain-climbing in adrenaline-obsessed Interlaken or hike around the Matterhorn in Zermatt.

In winter, enjoy winter sports in ski towns like Davos Klosters, Grindelwald, or Gstaad. Lift tickets are cheap compared to North American prices, and the Alpine ambiance is lovely. (Fondue, anyone?)

Snowshoeing and tobogganing on an old-fashioned sled are also great winter activities in Switzerland.

Recommended destinations: Gimmelwald, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Zermatt, Davos Klosters

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these are a few of our favorite places in Europe for when we’re solo. However there are tons of places worth checking out all over Western and Eastern Europe which can be safe, fun, and great places to meet others. Get out there and explore (then comment and tell us your favorites!).

How to Get Around:

  • Budget airlines: Flights in and out of Europe can be pretty pricey in the summer, but flying within Europe itself can be ridiculously cheap! Check comparison sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights to see the deals. If you are flexible with your travel schedule, you can grab last minute deals to fly around Europe for cheap. Norwegian Airlines and WOW are also cheap options for getting to and from the continent.
  • Trains: Europe has one of the world’s most extensive train systems. They are more eco-friendly than budget airlines, and more comfortable than buses. There are all kinds of passes so be sure to check online and plan your route beforehand. If you are traveling to multiple countries in Europe for an extensive period of time, consider getting the Eurail pass, which, if planned properly, can save you hundreds of dollars. Most international airports have trains that will get you to the city center in no time.
  • Buses: Companies like Flixbus and Megabus are cheap and reliable.
  • Taxis: They tend to be very expensive in Europe so I’d only take it when I have a lot of luggage with me, or when public transportation is not an option. Uber is a slightly cheaper alternative. You can also look into BlaBlaCar, which is a car-sharing system that’s popular in Europe.
  • Walk: Be prepared to walk on cobblestones a lot! Bring a pair of good walking shoes with you. I love walking in Europe, it’s often how I stumble upon the cutest neighborhoods or authentic local restaurants.

How to Meet Others While Traveling Solo in Europe:

Europe draws a lot of solo travelers because of the reasons we’ve pointed out before: It’s compact, easy to get around, and famous all over the world for its amazing art, cathedrals, food, and mix of cultures. It’s also generally an easy place to travel through and has a great hostel culture.

  • If you are traveling by yourself, strangers will ask, “Are you traveling alone?”, followed by an invitation to the pub/cafe/party. Because you’re alone, locals will be more likely to take you under their wing and offer to show you around. Plus, it’s much easier to accommodate one guest than it is two or three.
  • Stay in hostels or couch surf. You will save money And meet people. Before staying in a hostel, I check on sites like to see if it has a common area or throws parties, both of which bode well for meeting others. As for couch surfing, pick people with lots of reviews, or attend the meetings without actually staying with anyone first. Keep in mind that the European backpacking crowd tends to skew younger. If you’re staying in hostels, prepare to meet a lot of study abroad students.
  • Some solo female travelers I know used Tinder to meet up with others, even platonically. Just be upfront about exactly what you’re looking for before meeting up.

How to Stay Safe While Traveling Solo in Europe:

Overall, Europe is very safe but it’s important to take some safety precautions. In general, places in Europe can even be safer than big cities in the US since most countries have outlawed guns and generally, assaults are few and far between, especially as they pertain to tourists (you can find stats by country here).

While traveling alone in Europe, take the same safety precautions you would anywhere else:

  • Don’t walk home alone at night (especially not with headphones!),
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol, especially alone
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport (or have a digital copy).
  • Carry photocopies of your credit cards (or have a digital copy).
  • Travel with at least two credit or debit cards (and at least one of each), and also keep an emergency stash of money in your backpack (no more than $100-200).
  • Leave your passport at the front desk of the hostel or lock it up in their security deposit boxes.
  • Don’t be too trusting of fellow travelers at a hostel. If there is a locker available, pay to lock your valuables.
  • Make sure the taxi driver has the meter on and is a marked, legal taxi. He or she can’t legally charge you if the meter has not been turned on, but it’s better to request it up front than risk a confrontation.
  • Use a theft proof bag and purse. A cross-body purse is not only harder for thieves to pull off of your body but is also great when you’re carrying a backpack, and locking zippers are a wallet-saver as well. Thieves in Europe are super quick and tend to be able to do their worst before you even notice, so beat them to it by bringing bags that they can’t infiltrate.
  • Don’t give to beggars even though it’s tempting. In doing so you reveal the location of your wallet, which can lead to trouble.

What to Pack:

Generally, what you wear and love at home will also work for you in Europe, as long as you consider the time of year. Also, unless you’re at a beach, flip-flops are generally not a good choice on those cobblestone streets. Closed-toed, comfortable shoes are your friend in Europe! Many larger hostels have coin laundry service, but even if they don’t, it’s easy to track one down in the city, so I wouldn’t worry about not packing enough clothes.

Here are a few of my packing lists to help you prepare for some of the types of weather you might encounter:

Where to Find the Best Food:

  • A general rule: Find restaurants that do not have an English menu, and chances are good that you will end up with some of the best local food on your plate. I know that can be scary if you don’t know what you’re ordering, but I like to look at the plates of those next to me to make my ordering decisions.
  • Forget about calories for a minute – enjoy that pasta in Italy, try all the food in Greece, eat chocolate in Switzerland. Europeans take their food seriously and you ought to embrace that!
  • Ask your hostels or hotels where the nearest food market is. I love exploring street food in all of Europe (here’s a Berlin guide for example). It can be interesting, delicious and way cheaper than restaurants.
  • If your accommodation has a kitchen, I highly recommend exploring the local morning markets and cooking your own meals. Not only are they cheaper than eating out, but you will also get to try out local fresh produce and have fun experimenting.
  • Make sure you know the hours of operation for the country. For instance, Spaniards tend to eat late – think dinners at 8:30pm; in Italy, many restaurants are closed between lunch and dinner.
  • Tipping is always appreciated but not necessary. This site has pretty comprehensive information on tipping in Europe, which varies from country to country.

Long-term Living and Working Abroad in Europe:

  • Americans, Canadians, Australians, Kiwis, and many others get a 90-day Schengen visa upon arrival in Europe. Some nationalities are also able to get working holiday visas and even longer term visas in Europe (like my German freelancer visa).
  • Au pairing is an excellent way to explore Europe. For reference, an au pair is a young woman (or man!) who takes care of a family’s children in exchange for room and board. Au pair duties usually include childcare, cooking, and tidying up. Ashley was an au pair in France four times and absolutely loved it. Because the family paid for the flight, her room and board, and most of her expenses, she was able to travel much of Europe in her time off. If you are interested in learning how to become an au pair, check out Ashley’s book about au pairing, with information on how you can do the same, earn money, and live the life in Europe!

Those are a few of our best tips for solo female travelers in Europe – one of the friendliest destinations for ladies adventuring alone.

The best part is, you’ll never actually be alone as long as you follow our tips above, remain friendly and open, and ever-curious and excited. You can also stay safe and come back with beautiful memories of your trip by following our simple steps and doing exactly what you do at home – being cautious but still having a blast.

For more information on how to save up for your trip, how to get over the fears of traveling alone, how to break your decision of traveling solo to your worried family and friends, and how to make time away look awesome on your resume (plus a ton of other tips and case studies from over a dozen other solo female travelers), check out my comprehensive guide to fearless solo female travel.

10 Safest Cities In Europe For Solo Female Travelers (2022)

10 Safest Cities In Europe For Solo Female Travelers

When traveling Europe as a solo female, it’s important to know which destinations are safe. We’ve gathered the safest cities in Europe for solo female travelers!

The mainstream media plays a big part in convincing people (especially parents) that traveling as a solo female is automatically dangerous, lonely or generally a potentially bad idea, but this negative stereotyping couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’ve traveled all over the world as a solo female and can vouch for all the beautiful destinations where I never once felt out of place or in danger. While I always recommend staying aware of your surroundings and not walking around alone at night in questionable neighborhoods, traveling alone builds confidence, personality and I’m grateful to say it has gifted me with countless treasured friends made on the road.

If you’re thinking about planning a trip, don’t hold yourself back — just go! To give you some inspiration, here are a few of my favorite cities in Europe — perfect for women traveling alone!

10 Safest Cities In Europe For Solo Female Travelers

Table of Contents

Solo Travel In Europe: The Safest European Cities For Solo Female Travelers

Dublin, Ireland

The Irish capital is an incredibly fun place to visit thanks to the Irish’s famous hospitality and amicable nature. The men (and women) have a contagious zest for life and you can easily get swept along and enjoy yourself in the company of friendly locals.

Try staying in a hostel to meet some travel buddies. The best hostels will be around the center, close to where the action is, so it’ll never be a long walk home unaccompanied at night. Dublin is great for variety too — it’s not all just pubs and cobbled streets! Just a short distance from the city are incredible sights like the Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher, both a must-see.

Solo Travel In Europe: The Safest European Cities For Solo Female Travelers

Rome, Italy

Whether you’re going to visit for the world-class food, or to marvel at the gorgeous sights, Rome is a city filled with travelers, locals and students alike. With such a mix of people, you can easily forget you’re traveling alone.

There are hostels around every corner, but if you’re looking to stay in luxury, then stay in the garden-filled Via Veneto District. Common sense applies here just like in every city, so look out for pickpockets, especially on public transport and in busy tourist spots like the Colosseum.

10 Safest Cities In Europe For Solo Female Travelers

Paris, France

Now we all know Paris’s reputation as a romantic couple’s destination, but let’s be honest, there’s more to it than that! The iconic city is full of beauty, charm and historical intrigue. The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées are all within walking distance of each other and the Metro is perfectly safe during daylight and early evening.

For a real feel of Paris, stay in the beautiful Montmartre District, filled with Parisian delights around every corner — and walk into the center each day for sightseeing.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik has adopted the best elements of Croatia’s laidback Mediterranean vibe which makes it an amazing place to travel on your own as a female. Also known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic”, this city is a popular tourist destination where you can spend hours wandering stone streets, enjoying world class seafood or people watching in outdoor cafes.

Staying in the center and visiting casual restaurants is a great way to meet people or, if you’d rather go it alone, there’s an abundance of historical landmarks and museums around town that will keep you entertained.

10 European Cities For Solo Female Travelers

Berlin, Germany

A city full of artists and history in equal measure, Berlin is an electrifying trip that will leave you inspired and wanting to come back for more. The socially progressive attitude that’s been around for decades means that there are a lot of locals and solo travelers in Berlin.

The city is spread out, so it doesn’t feel crowded and going on a walking art or museum tour will give you the chance to get to know some new people and give you a feel for the popular areas like Mitte, Tiergarten or Kreuzberg.

Bruges, Belgium

The impossibly charming city of Bruges is small enough to walk absolutely everywhere, giving you the chance to get to know the gorgeous canals, towers and gardens it’s famous for. If you’re looking to relax, then it’s the perfect destination for a solo traveler as the pace of life is slow and there’s not a lot of action after dark. Enjoy Belgian chocolate and beer and wander the cobbled streets to your heart’s content in this quiet Belgian gem.

10 Safest Cities In Europe For Solo Female Travelers

Vienna, Austria

Filled with breathtaking architecture, coffee taverns and one of the best historic centers in Europe, Vienna is surprisingly easy to navigate considering how much there is packed into it. Between Baroque castles and Imperial palaces there’s no shortage of sights to see that will also be filled with fellow travelers if you’re after some company.

Bergen, Norway

This beautiful waterfront city is built at the foot of some of Norway’s most spectacular mountains and is right on the edge of the water, making you feel like you’re really in the heart of Scandinavia.

As one of the most developed countries in the world, Norway is one of the best places for solo female travel — and the pastel colored fishing town of Bergen is well-removed from any big city potential dangers. The biggest threat is to your budget — it’s a notoriously expensive country!

Reykjavik, Iceland

Abundant in natural beauty in every direction and officially the safest country in the world (and one of the safest countries for women to travel) Iceland is a strong contender for one of the best solo female travel destinations. Staying in Reykjavik will give you the chance to experience Icelandic life in the city and see some incredible sights like the Hallgrímskirkja Church.

You’ll find waterfalls, icy-blue fjords and black sand beaches on popular routes like the Ring Road — and if you want some travel buddies for the trip, the sociable hostels around Reykjavik are the perfect places to find fellow adventurers.

10 European Cities For Solo Female Travelers

London, England

Traveling as a solo female in London really couldn’t be easier. The polite and accommodating nature of many local people combined with the breakneck pace of ever-evolving and multinational culture means you’ll feel welcome while always having something to do.

To see why London is championed as a foodie capital, lose yourself in the markets of Shoreditch, Brick Lane or Camden Town — or for theatre and nightlife, try the buzzing West End. Walking around London can be tricky thanks to its sprawling layout, so ask around if you’re unsure about public transport routes and know how to get back to your place to avoid paying a hefty taxi fare.

Solo Travel Europe: 32+ Tips You Need To Know

solo travel venice grand canal

Paris, Rome, Vienna, Barcelona–there are so many wonderful cities in Europe to explore.

Porto, Gerona, Arles, Assisi–there are many smaller cities and towns worth exploring solo too.

And while the European Union, with its common currency and no borders, makes travel easier than it was in the past, it’s still a challenge in terms of language, cost, accommodation, and getting around.

Here, you will find my top tips for traveling solo in Europe as well as tips (in italics) from members of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook . The result is another in our 32 Tips Series that you can find peppered around the site. Here are the ones on European Destinations.

Now, on to the general tips for solo travel in Europe.

solo travel europe, greeter program

Table of Contents

Europe Fast or Slow?

If it’s your first time to Europe you may be inclined to cover as much ground as possible. The continent is diverse and everything seems so close – at least to those of us who live in North America or Australia. But in fact, Europe is a big place. Whether your plan is to go fast or slow, it’s good to focus on a few destinations.

Taking it Fast? Here Are Some Tips:

  • How far, how fast? Consider how much time you have. If you plan to travel in the day you will need at least three nights per destination. This will give you about 2 1/2 days in each city before moving on, assuming that your travel time takes at least half a day. Another option is to plan just one day in some places and longer in others. It will work out to about the same pace which, I have found, is about perfect. If you plan to use night trains you can expect to cover more territory in the same amount of time. So, for a 14-day trip, with a travel day on both ends, you could make four stops.
  • Getting around efficiently. Trains are an ideal way to get around in Europe as they are frequent, fast, go to just about any destination and land you in the city center. Consider a Eurail Pass and using the night trains so that you spend most of your travel time sleeping and saving money. When traveling solo and sleeping on a train it is important to keep your valuables close at hand. Use a money belt, passport pouch or bra stash. I like the latter two. I stash large items either behind my head stuffed into a makeshift pillow or snuggled under my arm. Read Train Travel: Best Way to Book Tickets – Europe
  • Take time to breathe in the city. Even though you want to cover a lot of ground, take a couple of hours to visit a market and chat with vendors or enjoy a park and watch how locals experience it. These are the perfect occasions for you, as a solo traveler, to connect with locals. Travel is not all about major attractions like the Eiffel Tower.

Reader Tips

Julie – Consider Eastern Europe (Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, Bosnia). Don’t listen to North American news views. They are safe and beautiful.

Ilona – Never leave out the smaller, hidden treasures. I realize when people come to Germany, they focus on the big, famous cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Munich, but the smaller and middle-sized ones are the real “typical” German towns: Bamberg, Nürnberg, Heidelberg, Speyer, Trier etc. T hey are full of history and local and traditional food and beverages. Don’t only focus on the stuff you have heard about before. Try to dig deeper.

Taking it Slow? Here Are Some Tips:

  • Carve out a smaller territory to cover. Rather than trying to cover too much of Europe, go to Italy or France or Germany: just choose one. You can also choose to stay for a time in a particular area of one of those countries. To travel slow, keep the scope of your travels under control.
  • Stay in one of the smaller cities. It is easier to experience the local culture in smaller cities and towns where it isn’t drowned out by a tourist culture. It is also less expensive. Consider hub and spoke travel, where you stay in one place but visit others. For example, from Bologna I visited a number of small towns in the region as well as Florence and Venice.
  • Travel between small cities. Rather than booking a Eurail Pass, buy tickets and travel on the less expensive regional trains. There’s no need to book these in advance but if you plan to use the faster, intercity trains, booking in advance makes good sense.

Reader Tips

Shelly – I slow travel and rent a flat for two weeks as a home base. I have used Homeaway, WaytoStay and am using AirBnB this fall. I have a complete apartment to myself and can economize by eating breakfast and some dinners at home. I research using TripAdvisor and other travel sites to find out about great inexpensive places to dine and grocery shop. I also take trains and buses to nearby locations as day trips. Being in one place for two weeks guarantees you will see the same local merchants day after day and get to know them. (Wine drinker tip: see if there is a wine barrel store in the area and fill up your water/soda bottles with some of the local wines. Delicious and inexpensive.)

The gorgeous São Bento Railway Station in Porto.

Getting Around Europe Solo

As usual, to get around Europe you have the choice of trains, planes, buses, or automobiles.

  • By train. According to Price of Travel, the pricing strategy of trains in Europe is now similar to that of airlines, so book early. You’ll save money.
    • Get the RailPlanner App. This train travel app for Europe is easy to use and has the train schedules for all of Europe. It also features a trip planner and discounts for restaurants and tourist services by country that are available thanks to your Eurail Pass.
    • Flitting around Europe by air? Travel light. This is when the choice to travel light is really important. Yes, you can save yourself hours at check-in and in carousel lines by traveling with only carry-on luggage, but if you are using a discount airline you will also need to be very careful about the weight of your carry-on. You’ll be charged extra if it weighs too much. You can always wear heavy items or put them in your purse.
    • Auto Europe’s rates include all fees so the price you see is the price you get. That’s not always the case with every company and can result in surprises.
    • Online you pay in advance and can cancel up to 48 hours in advance of pick-up. If you cancel less than 48 hours before pick-up there is a $75 cancellation fee. If you book over the phone, you can cancel right up to the day you are scheduled to pick up the car.
    • In some cases it can be less expensive to pay for 14 days than 13 days. There is no charge for returning the car early, but also no refund for doing so.
    • There are a number of countries outside of Western Europe that are not covered by rental car companies. Call to get these details before booking. On a recent trip, I found that Budget Rent-a-Car did not allow any Eastern European destinations yet Avis did. If your trip will include Eastern Europe, check the fine print of the car rental carefully.

    Reader Tips

    Jenell – MegaBus. I took it to travel from Paris to Brussels and Amsterdam. They also go to London. Price is about €10 if you get it early.

    Toby – I just spent 3 months traveling alone through Europe. If you don’t buy a Eurail pass, book your train tickets in advance if possible as they get significantly more expensive as the departure date approaches.

    Lauren – My favorite tool for getting around in Europe (well, anywhere, really) is There’s nothing like it.

    Steve – I think as a solo traveler, just go and get lost and find your way. Pick a handful of places and wander. I have had no issues ever finding a place to stay solo. Trains, boats, and long walks. That is the part of the adventure I enjoy most. You have the advantage of walking into any restaurant or hotel and being able to see if it feels right for you. If not, keep moving.

    Alejandro – My advice is to just go because Europe is quite easy (and more fun) to explore without planning too much ahead. In fact, a good way to meet locals will be by asking them what to do in their city.

    solo travel europe, where to stay

    Where to Stay in Europe

    Accommodation can be a big-ticket item in travel. And while it may not be an issue for those who can share the cost, it is for solo travelers – we carry the entire cost of accommodation ourselves. B&Bs and hostels are my go-to forms of accommodation. They tend to be affordable and friendly. However, you’ll see in the reader tips below that many solo travelers love renting apartments when they travel. I’ve done this as well and found that I’m most successful with Check out:

    Reader tips…

    Lauren – The most economical way to live (and meet locals) is to rent a room though AirBnB where you’ll have access to a shared kitchen. I can eat for a week on the same amount I’d spend on a single restaurant meal in Europe if I cook, and renting a room in someone’s home is a great way to make friends and is usually much cheaper than a hotel or even a hostel. I’ve been living in mostly AirBnB lodging for over a year now. I average about $750/month, and mostly live in full apartments. In Europe, though, I wind up renting just one bedroom usually, as prices are high here.

    Toby – I used couchsurfing once and it was great. No matter your age, hostels are fine, just get ear plugs and an eye mask.

    Lunch in Paris.

    Europe, Food and Fun

    Is it fair to say that Europeans love their food?

    I’d say yes. In my experience, they love quality food. Simple food using local ingredients. They often use recipes that have been in the family for generations. Europe is a place that can be explored through its food.

    But they also love their history, art, architecture, hiking trails and city walks. Many people start with food as their focal point. I start with history. What’s your interest? Find it and center your explorations around it.

    • Do a bit of research.
      • Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door. It’s a fabulous resource. You can also get his books for specific countries and for some cities.
      • I love the Wallpaper Guides. They really reveal the unique culture of a city. I tested it for Toronto and they were spot on.
      • Google the local culture magazine that reviews restaurants and promotes upcoming events. Check Time Out which has sites for many cities.
      • Go to the local library. Even if the books are not in your language the librarians may speak English and are usually a good resource of local information.

      Reader Tips

      Toby – Eat outside of tourist areas for the best prices or make your own food. Eat the local food. Ask other travelers what they recommend. On my trips, some of the best things I’ve seen and tasted I learned about from fellow travelers – things that books, websites, and information desks may be unaware of.

      solo travel Europe, budget travel

      Solo Travel Europe on a Budget

      Europe can be expensive, but with a bit of research and planning you’ll find many ways to cut costs and enjoy.

      • Go to Global Greeter Network and arrange for a free greeter to introduce you to their city.
      • Going to a museum? Check their websites for the days that they may be free or reduced rates after a certain hour.
      • Depending on the focus of your travels, it may be worthwhile to pick up a city pass that gives you discounts on tours, museums, and more. Here are a few for the more popular cities in Europe: London, Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Rome and Barcelona.
      • Don’t change money at airport or train exchange kiosks. They tend to have the worst rates. ATMs at banks are your better option.
      • Libraries often have computers you can use for free.
      • Get free WiFi with your coffee and go online to do research or connect with family and friends at home.
      • Walk or take local transit.
      • Read Save Money on Travel: 32+ Tips.

      Reader Tips

      Jasmine – Subscribe to a cheap coupon site like Groupon for the cities you’re visiting. You can get cheap tickets to sights, experiences and restaurants that you might not normally be able to afford.

      Cristina – Most big cities have a free walking tour. SANDEMANs Europe tours are the best I’ve experienced. They are free but donations are appreciated. Free tours help you save and learn about the city at the same time.

      Daavid – I travel for a minimum of 90 days at a time in Germany and sublet a room in a private apartment. I never spend more than 250 Euros for each month which leaves me plenty of money to do everything that I want to do. Get to know people of little means and learn from them how to get by wherever you are. They have no choice but to know how to get by on a small budget and you will learn a lot from them.

      Lauren – I use to find volunteer opportunities. Mostly I end up using my marketing background to help small tourism businesses with their websites and marketing, in exchange for free room and board, but there are all kinds of opportunities, from organic farming to helping in the kitchen or front desk of a hostel. is supposed to be a good one, too, but I haven’t used it yet.

      Karo – Use inexpensive cities as bases, then use the train to visit the expensive cities.

      Toby – Get a SIM card in each country for your phone – fantastic!

      A Last Piece of Advice on Traveling Solo to Europe

      Charles – Spend wisely. Travel lightly. Communicate effectively. Keep cash on you at all times, but don’t be flashy with it. Have a backup plan for emergency funds, but do NOT use it unless it’s an emergency. People are friendly, don’t be afraid to socialize. Take part in the culture, don’t be a normal tourist, snapping photos every second. Immerse yourself in the experience, you’ll forever hold the memories in your head. Far better than a photo. Pre-plan and stay organized.




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