Traveling solo as a female can be a rather scary prospect. Safety is clearly the upmost concern as who can enjoy taking in a new cultural experience with the imminent fear or assault looming over one’s shoulder.To be fair, safety is subjective. One woman more be immune to catcalling while another may feel angry or downright scared by a group of gawking men.
However, with a bit of advanced preparation and practical caution, there’s no limit to where you can go! In the end, safety is a judgment call only you can make for yourself. Although this list can’t guarantee your safety, it can point you towards places many women travelers consider as safe as possible. I can personally vouch for almost this entire list.
Greek men have a marked reputation for being macho but that is probably the most worry you’ll ever have. The Greek isles like Mykonos and Santorini are heavenly retreats. Enjoy their beautiful beaches and meandering pebble-stone laid streets riddled with quaint shops and restaurants.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
A beautiful and vibrant city known for its liberal lifestyle and chill vibe, Amsterdam will not disappoint. with its remarkable canal scenery and cultural resources. Enjoy its many museums (including the renowned Anne Frank & Van Gogh) and discover the unique culture and nightlife of the city. Rent a bike and run chat it up with some friendly and laid back Dutch locals.
3. Costa Rica
La pura vida awaits you in this tropical retreat. As a country with no standing army, Costa Rica is muy friendly with lots of opportunity for outdoor adventure. Zipline through forest canopies, hike a volcano or enjoy a surf safari…Costa Rica has it all. Concerned that you don’t know Spanish? There’s no need to worry; the locals are warm and welcoming, and will help you find your way around if your Spanish is lacking. No matter what, there’s something magical awaiting here for every type of solo female traveler.
4. Scandanavia: Sweden, Norway, Finland
Northern Europe is easily the safest region on the globe. Enjoy the amazing art and architecture with numerous Art Nouveau style buildings; stunning landscape (especially the Norweigan fjords); and eco-friendly shopping choices (with environmentally friendly clothing) and restaurant choices. Beautiful, clean, and modern, the citizens here generally enjoy comfortable a life and are kind and helpful to tourists.
China is massive and absolutely beautiful. The country offers a plethora of travel experiences from big cities, to beaches, to laid back small towns. The cities of Beijing, Xian, Chengdu and Hong Kong will all offer an unforgettable adventure. Visit the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven all in Beijing. The renowned Terracotta Warriors are in Xian and the incredible Panda Sanctuary is located in Chengdu. What to do in Hong Kong? Ride the trolley to the top of Victoria Peak, take a ferry around the bay and shop at the city’s multiple markets. Oh yeah, the food is amazing.
6. Ho Chi Min, Vietnam
Travel to Vietnam just for the food and you’ll be completely fulfilled. A bonus: the South-east Asian nation is home to cheerful locals who will be glad to point you in the right direction or to recommend their favorite dish. Like its neighbor Thailand, (and ignoring its pricey visa) it’s a quite inexpensive place to visit. Enjoy a popular Vespa tour around the city and don’t forget – a visit to the War Remnants Museum is a must.
Thailand remains a universal destination for tourists across the globe for obvious reasons. It’s a Buddhist country with thousands of visually stunning temples scattered throughout the mainland and neighboring islands; and lush greenery that nestles unique animal reserves like its Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai and Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. There are also many opportunities to explore its beautiful beaches and enjoy delicious street food (like Thai banana pancakes). It’s also the perfect destination for both budget and luxury travelers.
8. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, is one of the loveliest cities I’ve ever visited. It boasts a creative, chic-vibe similar to New York and San Francisco. Enjoy a quick ferry ride and explore the public market on Granville island. Another must-do? Overcome your vertigo and walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge – the oldest tourist attraction in the city and just 15 minutes outside of downtown. Lastly, a visit to Stanley Park is a must. This nearly 1,000-acre park sits on the tip of Vancouver’s “thumb” is home to some of the city’s favorite, most-visited attractions. You can walk, cycle or jog around the nearly 14-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver’s waterfront and end at popular Kitsilano Beach Park.
Easily one of the safest cities as boasted by locals I encountered and from my romp throughout the city/country at night, Singapore’s futuristic, sleek, clean and vibrant cityscape will make you feel alive. You’ll encounter Chinese immigrants and expats everywhere giving you the sense of being immersed in an international metropolis.
10. Seoul, South Korea
This bustling city has a lot to offer the first-time solo visitor. From its diversely delicious cuisine (from Korean BBQ and fried chicken to ) to numerous historical centers like Gyeongbok- Korea’s most famous royal palace, Seoul will dazzle. Go up top Seoul Tower and enjoy the breathtaking view of the enormous city below. Also check out Itaewon, its gritty expat-friendly neighborhood with tons of bars, clubs, restaurants and shops. A visit to the DMZ- the world’s most fortified border is also in order. With a full itinerary, you’ll never have to worry about getting around town with a super easy transit system and lots of English speaking nationals.
While this is a pretty solid list, even in the safest places, there are areas to absolutely avoid. Every locale has its share of “neighborhoods:” deserted streets/roads, countryside, parks after dark etc. So be vigilant, do your research and have an awesome time.