The 9 Safest Places in Europe for Women to Travel Alone
The world is changing very fast, and in many countries and cultures, gender differences no longer exist.
Generally said, the more socially and economically developed a country is, the safer it is for women, whether it comes to a place to live or a tourist destination.
Unfortunately, there are still many places around the world that are not recommended for women who want to travel alone.
In many countries, it is still considered to be risky and dangerous for a woman to travel solo and, unfortunately, the Middle East is just one of the places where women’s rights as a whole are a serious problem.
- 25 Best Things to Do in Prague (Czechia)
- 10 Cheap European Destinations for 2019 (and Beach Season)
- 17 Best Beaches in North Europe
If you are a woman and want to spend a long and exciting vacation alone, if you want to enjoy beautiful scenery, good food, architectural landmarks, museums or just want to get rid of the stress, the safest destinations in Europe and in the world are the following countries:
Air Balloon Auster Skaftafellssysla, Iceland by Andrés Nieto Porras/Flickr
Iceland is considered one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world, whether we are talking about traveling or living.
It has a population of only 323,000 people and is considered to be an extremely safe place for women wishing to travel solo.
The country offers not only a high level of security but also excellent opportunities for spa tourism thanks to its numerous mineral springs.
This is one more reason that makes Iceland a favorite holiday spot for women from different generations.
Street of Stockholm, Sweden by Pedro Szekely/Flickr
Sweden is a country that can serve as an absolute echelon when it come to the attitude towards women and gender equality.
This highly developed Scandinavian nation, a member of the European Union, has been repeatedly pointed as an example of good practices by numerous non-governmental organizations from around the world.
Sweden is one of the leaders in the world as a number of women in the government.
This country is also one of the leading nations in Europe when it comes to the level of democracy.
Sand Dune along the North Sea Coast, Denmark by magnetismus/Flickr
Denmark is one of the safest countries in the world, and every woman who travels alone will appreciate this fact.
Even in larger cities such as the capital Copenhagen, the feeling of being safe does not leave the ladies who have chosen to travel solo.
The same applies to the Danish province, which, by the way, is considered perhaps the best place to travel by bicycle in the world.
Horse Carriage in Kuopio, Finland by Visit Lakeland/Flickr
Scandinavian countries are definitely the best place for single women travelers, and Finland is no an exception.
Considered by many as one of the most beautiful countries in the world because of its thousands of crystal clear lakes, Finland is an excellent place for those ladies who are in love with the beauty of the wild nature.
If you are looking for a place to relax with a book in hand on the veranda of a wooden forest house while enjoying the mirror surface of the nearby lake, Finland is the perfect place for you.
The Naeroyfjord in Norway by Juan Antonio Segal/Flickr
If you are a woman who love adventurers into the wild, kayaking, climbing steep gorges and other similar, if you are the type of woman who loves the risk in the wild, Norway is the perfect place for you.
In addition, Norway is considered the second safest and most peaceful country in the world as a whole.
St. John Church, Luxembourg by bvi4092/Flickr
Besides being like a fairy tale decor, Luxembourg is also a really safe place to visit.
If you are looking for a spot to feel the rich culture of Europe, you should definitely consider to spend your next vacation there.
If you are a woman who prefer to travel alone, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is an ideal solution because it offers many opportunities for entertainment and at the same time, you will be safe everywhere.
Cliffs of Moher Liscannor, Ireland by Giuseppe Milo/Flickr
When a woman decides to travel alone, she must carefully choose the places to go, and if she travels with other women, this makes the range of possibilities much wider.
If you want to travel without your friends, however, then you should look for a really safe place to go.
One of of the places in your list must be Ireland.
The country has an extremely rich culture and excellent opportunities for entertainment.
Mountainside – Tirol, Austria by Waldemar Merger/Flickr
The quiet and aristocratic alpine country is considered one of the safest places in the world.
The capital city of Vienna regularly heads the list of the best cities to live in the world, surpassing even the world famous cities in neighboring Switzerland.
Vienna combines an amazing cultural atmosphere, very high level of safety, clean streets, wide green areas and very good opportunities for personal development.
The Alpine country is among the best places in the world for women who want to travel alone or even for women looking for a good place to live.
Sao Jorge Castle – Lisbon, Portugal by Maria Eklind/Flickr
Whether you want to feel the cultural atmosphere of Porto, or want to become part of the cosmopolitan spirit of the capital Lisbon, or just want to relax yourself on the golden beaches of the Algarve, Portugal is considered one of the safest places to travel alone.
Tolerant and peaceful, Portugal is a real small paradise in the south westernmost corner of Europe.
10 Safest Cities In Europe For Solo Female Travelers (2022)
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!
Table of Contents
Solo Travel In Europe: The Safest European Cities For Solo Female Travelers
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 Female Travel in Europe: Everything You Need to Know
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.
Recommended destinations: Dublin, Cork, Dingle, Galway, Aran Islands
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
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
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
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).
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
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.
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 hostelworld.com 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.