-This post was written by Sydney! Check out all of Sydney’s guest posts here! Or learn how to write for World Embark!
Europe is a dream destination for many travelers, and it’s pretty difficult to think of such a small and condensed area that contains a little bit of everything. From Paris to Istanbul, the Greek Islands to the Caucuses, you could spent years in Europe and never get bored.
It might be the smallest of the seven continents, but Europe is very diverse in size of countries, languages, cultures, climates, and cuisine.
Now, many European countries are perfect destinations for first-time solo female travelers. But let’s be honest, it can be difficult for so many choices.
So, why should you trust me? Well, I lived here and attended college here!
The majority of the pieces in this article are going to focus on good, solo female travel destinations, and the countries in the first half won’t disappoint. (Albeit, they are pretty crowded.)
However, if you consider yourself a more experienced traveler, take a look towards the end where I suggest a few more “advanced” destinations. I call them advanced not due to safety concerns, but rather there might be less traditional tourist infrastructure (For example, you won’t use Uber in Ukraine. Instead, it will be an app called Bolt.) Also, some countries have a much more pronounced language barrier, and with it being less popular, you might have to spend extra time researching the destination.
Travel Budgets in Europe
Additionally, you will see the approximate budget you can expect for each destination.
(This information was provided by Kyle based on his research in 2023 and first-hand experience of traveling during through Europe. At this time, he does not expect prices to go down, ever. $75 is the new $50, etc.)
Of course, the amount of money you spend depends on your travel style (hostel vs hotel; eating out at the best restaurants versus grocery shopping). However, the $ rating should provide a benchmark relative to other destinations in Europe.
$$$ — Expensive and be prepared to spend premium amounts. ($150+)
$$ — Mid-range. In the mid-range of cost, I have often found that the accommodations are cheap. However, it’s the restaurants that often cost a lot more. For a nice meal, expect $15 a plate. ($75-150)
$ — Budget, the cheapest destinations. ($75 and below)
Table of Contents
12 Solo Female Traveler Destinations in Europe for Everyone
In this first section, there are going to be twelve different countries in Europe that I’d recommend for any solo female traveler, whether it was your first time abroad alone, or if you have been traveling for years.
These countries are safe, have great tourist and transit infrastructure, and won’t throw too many curveballs outside of the normal travel hiccups. (Delays, etc.)
Iceland is breathtaking. (Literally and figuratively.)
As you traverse the island formed from volcanic explosions, the terrain resembles another planet. Within the span of just a few miles, you can see black sand beaches set against giant glaciers, and rolling green mountains with waterfalls that abound.
Honestly, Iceland is an adventure and outdoor lover’s paradise. And even if you’re not too big into the outdoors, the country has numerous hot springs or you can take in the landscapes on a road trip.
English is spoken in Iceland (and most people are fluent), and with a big push to reorient the economy towards tourism, the infrastructure is excellent. (Although, there is not a lot of public transportation outside of the capital. Many people will rent vehicles or hitch-hike!)
Iceland Air Stop-Over Program
Iceland Air offers a unique program called a stop-over. (Turkish Airlines offers a similar one in Istanbul, too.)
With the Icelandair stopover program, this will allow you to visit between one to seven days in Iceland with no extra cost. Icelandair is not known for being the cheapest airline, but the cost will offset it.
Now, when it comes to Iceland, it’s important to note that Iceland is in the EU and Schengen Zone, but the currency is the Icelandic Krona. The prices are going to be quite expensive, and I would say it is one of the most expensive places to visit in the world!
Finally, I think it’s important to note that Iceland is safe for solo travelers. It’s actually one of the safest countries in the world…. But the most dangerous part of Iceland is the weather.
If you rent a car, you need to purchase the extra insurance. If you need to stop whenever you are driving, do so. And please check the 40 items you need for Iceland. Seriously, waterproof clothing is a must.
Iceland Budget: $$$ ($150+ per day)
Pros: Easy to navigate, infrastructure, stop-over program through Icelandair
Cons: Expensive; Unpredictable weather. (And sometimes expensive unpredictable weather)
Home to some of the friendliest people in Europe, the Emerald Isle holds a special place in my heart.
I spent two months traveling as a solo female traveler through Ireland and had a fantastic time. Despite its limited space, the island has a lot to offer. Vibrant cities like Dublin, Galway and Cork, expansive bog roads out west that lead to nowhere, and the international wonders like the Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher!
The best way to explore Ireland is to rent a car. However, there are two tricky things to remember.
In Ireland, you will drive on the left AND many roads in the western portion will exclusively be in Irish. Now, generally you will be able to understand the writing if you speak English, but it’s worth it to have a SIM card, just in case. (They cost about $15. Note, Iceland is widely spoken and an official language, but Irish (Gaelic) is the native language and many Irish are quite protective of it.
Budget: $$ ($75-150 per day)
Pros: English is widely spoke, natural beauty, and very friendly people
Cons: A car is almost a necessity; the weather is not known for being the best (rain and wind)
Often overlooked by solo female travelers for more popular destinations such as France, Italy, and Spain, Belgium just might surprise you.
Belgium is officially trilingual (French, Dutch [Flemish], and German), but many Belgians also speak English. The only place within Belgium I noticed English to be slightly less common was the Francophone south, but you should be fine.
So, this all being said, what’s there to do in Belgium? Well, you could hire a car and go hike through the Ardennes. Maybe you want to sample some of the beers, chocolates, and fries in the world. Or maybe even just go tour through the EU headquarters in Brussels.
It has enough just for a quick getaway!
Budget: $$ ($75-150 per day)
Pros: English is widely spoke, public transportation, less crowded
Cons: Smaller Country
One of the most popular countries in Europe for the fashion-oriented, religious tourism, and jaw-dropping views along the Amalfi Coast, Italy is one of the most popular solo female travel destinations in Europe.
Food, languages, and scenery are going to change rapidly as you travel from North to South. (As is the cost)
If you wish to travel to just one country and feel like you are visiting numerous, start in the North. Especially amongst the further Northern cities, there will be a considerable French influence. But there are cities like Milan, Venice, and Florence.
From there, go down to Rome, Naples, Bari, and Sicily. Along with becoming cheaper, the southern portion of Italy has a stronger Mediterranean influence.
A Note: Travel accessibility is much easier in Northern Italy. As you go further south beyond Rome (an unofficial divide of the country), there are less trains and sadly worse road conditions.
Budget: $$ ($75-150) in the North $ ($75) in the South
Pros: History, Jaw-Dropping views such as Amalfi and Lake Como, Snow resorts up in the North
Cons: Large crowds and massive price inflation during peak times, Pickpockets and Petty Crime, Surprisingly large country makes it difficult to navigate
Just next to Belgium, the Netherlands and Amsterdam are renowned. Now, the beautiful canaled city is worth biking through and visiting, but the rest of the country is quite different and worth exploring!
There is the Hague, beaches on the “Zeeland Riveria, and even small charming towns like Utrecht, Maastricht, and Groningen. You’ll never be bored in the Netherlands!
Budget: $$ ($75-150) Although trains are noticeably more expensive, everything else balances out
Pros — English is widely spoken, good public transport
Cons — Crowds in Amsterdam and overall mediocre weather
Most people don’t know quite what Germany offers outside of Berlin and the small, quaint German villages. That does make sense, as Germany is seen much more of an economic powerhouse than numerous other countries. (Germany is the strongest member of the EU.)
However, there are numerous things you can do. Explore the Black Forest and bathe in the Hot Springs of the southwest, maybe go skiing in the German Alps, or explore the northwest part of Germany and all of the universities that exist up there!
Budget: $$ ($75-150)
Pros: Easy to navigate without a car, Stunning beauty
Cons: Things are sometimes far away from each other, numerous places only accept cash, stores/activities are closed on Sunday
Portugal has rapidly been increasing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why.
With delicious food, beautiful beaches, colorful cities, who wouldn’t want to spend some time there? The weather is good during most months, and the country is generally safe, making it a great destination for solo female travelers.
I have found that the Portuguese generally speak English throughout the countries, but similar to France, Spain, and Italy, it is advisable to learn basic Portuguese if you intend to focus on rural areas and small towns.
Transportation is extensive, whether it be train, bus, and ferry. However, there is one caveat. If you intend to indulge in wine country or want to hike, it’s best to rent a car.
Budget: $$ ($75-150)
A note about budget in Portugal. About a decade ago, you could survive in Portugal with less than $30 per day. However, the country’s popularity have resulted in increased prices and visitors. While I do not believe it will reach Icelandic or Swiss prices, it’s not accurate to assume you can visit Portugal on a budget, anymore.
Pros: Good weather year-round, food, wine country, festive nightlife!
Cons: Larger and growing crowds despite limited space.
France and Paris have been popular for decades. The country and capital city rank amongst the most-visited in their respective categories. And they are often at the top of mind when people plan time to visit places in Europe.
Now, I think Paris is a wonderful solo female traveler destination but France has a lot to offer, too.
You can ski and hike in the Alps or Pyrenees and lounge on the beach in the Cote d’Azur. Beautiful cities like Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, and Toulouse await you, as do wine countries in Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, and the Rhone. And all of this is very well-connected with numerous trains and buses.
But… the only possible cons to this traveling is that it is mandatory to have basic French. Now, the French have improved on this over the years, and I speak much more English than when I first visited the country. Major international high-speed train routes (such as Luxembourg to Paris, which I used to frequent), they will even make announcements in English. However, it’s best to learn the basics.
Budget: $$ ($75-150) and $$$ ($150)
A note about budget in France. France is a country that you get what you pay for. If you expect the French cuisine and the southern coast, it will cost you.
Pros: Food, wine country, dream destination.
Cons: Can be pricey in major tourist hubs, grasp of the French language is essential for the best experience, It’s like Disney Land for adults.
Game of Thrones made Dubrovnik a must-see in Europe, and travel bloggers made the islands better known. But Croatia is a wonderful destination for solo travelers, solo female travelers, and even more experienced ones! There are wine bars in Zagreb, Zadar and Pula. Or you can sail the islands and hike the beautiful national parks.
English is widely spoken, which is great as the Croatian language is not easy to learn. And even though trains are not very common in Croatia (or most of the Balkans), the bus and ferry system are decent! There is only one not on navigating the country, highway tolls can be very, very expensive.
Budget: $$ ($75-150)
Like Portugal, the rise in popularity has led to a steady increase of prices. However, they are still more affordable than the Southern French Coast or Spain. It’s important to note that as of 2023, they use the Euro!
Pros: Diverse and good country to have a roadtrip in
Cons: Price and starting to lack public transportation within cities
The land of mountains, lakes, and cozy chalets, Switzerland puts the Blue Ridge Mountains to shame. (Sorry, John Denver)
You can hike in the Alps, swim in the frigid Lake Geneva, and enjoy fondue and Swiss chocolate in a mountain resort. There’s plenty of safe and family friendly activities. The only thing that’s not safe is your wallet, as this country’s notoriously expensive!
Gondolas, Trains, and Bus combinations will often exceed $80 per day for the passes!
Navigating Switzerland is quite easy, as there are officially four languages. (French, Italian, German depending on the region, as well as the native Romansh) but almost everyone will speak English, too.
Budget: $$$ ($150)
This is one of the most expensive countries in the world, and it’s very easy to spend $200 per night on a hotel, $40-50 per person for food, and $80 per person for a bus/train/gondola pass.
Pros: Beautiful, ultra-safe for solo female travelers, cheese and chocolate lover’s dream
Cons: Cities are very quiet, much more rural than you would imagine, probably too expensive for many to enjoy
Croatia and Slovenia are great beginner Balkan destinations, as they do not contain the same logistical or linguistic hurdles as Albania and Montenegro. But it’s also different from the rest of the region, as it looks much more similar to Austria or Germany.
The famous Lake Bled is a complete fairytale, there is the hip capital of Ljubljana, and you can sample black wine.
Finally, the tourism infrastructure is good. But if you want to see the entire country, a roadtrip is recommended. (Despite the drivers that follow-you at 80+ mph/ 130 km/h!)
Budget: $$ ($75-150)
Pros: Beautiful nature and mountains (without Croatian or Swiss crowds, delicious food
Cons: Very difficult to actually get to (limited flights, buses, and trains per day)
I debated on which category to place Greece. It was the first place in Europe I ever visited, so I felt like a hypocrite to not recommend it to beginners.
On the other hand, I spent only a few days solo, and felt overwhelmed before joining a group. So, I placed it at the end. It’s probably a good destination for beginners and experienced solo female travelers alike, depending on both how and where you visit.
Navigating Greece is a unique opportunity for travelers, as the Greek Islands (aka your old roommates pictures on Instagram) are going to be split up into island groups. (Read more about it here in the 8 Things to Know Before Visiting Greece).
If you are sticking towards the mainland, buses will be the main route of transportation. And the only time I would recommend a train route is when venturing towards the monasteries of Meteora. But you’ve been warned, sometimes the train and bus schedules are at the whim of the driver!
Budget: $$ ($75-150)
The price of a Greek vacation is getting to be expensive. The islands such as Mykonos and Santorini are even more.
Pros: Amazing islands and beaches, still deals to be found, relatively safe.
Cons: Travel throughout the country can take longer than expected, prices shoot up in the high season (July/August), and low season means many destinations close down.
Solo Female Traveler Destinations in Europe Experienced Travelers
Finally, I am going to round this out with three additional destinations I highly recommend for solo female travelers, with one additional caveat. The countries below might be more enjoyable if you have some solo travel experience under your belt.
These destinations typically have a much more pronounced language barrier, and often have less tourist infrastructure. This can be overwhelming for any new traveler, but it’s important to note that those characteristics often mean they are cheaper.
I recently visited this beautiful country for the first time, and I loved it! But… I am glad I was not traveling by myself. (And I have years of solo female travel experience.)
It was reassuring that somebody was able to help navigate the aggressive driving, beautiful beaches, amazing food and coffee, stark difference between high/low seasons, and frustrations when things took linger then expected.
Albania is an up-and-coming destination for sure.
Budget: $ ($75 and below!)
A dream destination for many, and for a good reason!
(So much so, World Embark has an entire page with numerous posts on Turkey!)
While the State Department and other government entities warn about traveling this far east, if you have a bit of experience, you should have a great trip as a solo female traveler. But Is Turkey Safe?
Just to give you an idea of what to expect if you travel to Turkey, you will have Istanbul aka, the city where East meets the West. The ancient west coast, where ruins fill up the landscape. And so much to do, you could easily spend a month alone here!
Budget: $ ($75 and below!)
Pros: Very affordable, Medical Tourism for half-price, fantastic food, coffee
Cons: Less common for women to travel alone, sprawling country and it can take a long time to travel between destinations
Finally, let’s talk about the biggest country in Europe. Yes, there was the Russia – Ukrainian War. But there is nothing quite like visiting the former USSR.
So, what can you expect from Ukraine? How about world-renowned opera houses, architecture that rivals Paris, history sites such as Chernobyl, and Odessa? It’s got just a bit for everyone.
The most difficult part about Ukraine is traveling through. The trains have awkward times, and it seems like you are always leaving at midnight. The bus station is always a bit far away from the city center. And you will need to know the alternative local transportation methods. (Blah Blah Car for long distances/ride sharing and Bolt is used instead of Uber.)
Budget: $ ($75 and below!)
Pros: Cheapest country on this list, changing constantly, newer internet infrastructure making it a surprisingly good place for digital nomads
Cons: Significant Language Barrier
My Final Note on Solo Female Travel in Europe
No matter where you go, the great thing about Europe is it’s a fairly common destination for women to be traveling around. You won’t warrant too many glances for taking a train or walking around by yourself.
Just take basic safety precautions, but you should feel (hopefully) comfortable traveling on your own!
Solo Female Travel Destinations in Europe
-This post was written by Sydney! Check out all of Sydney’s guest posts here! Or learn how to write for World Embark! Europe is a dream
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