Since taking my first solo trip over a decade ago, I can’t imagine another way to travel. From the freedom to do what you want to unforgettable moments of self-discovery, there are so many benefits to female solo travel.
I’ve been fortunate to travel to over 57 countries, mostly solo, and am continuously surprised about how welcoming the world has been. Here are some of my favorite destinations for solo female travel to inspire your trips in 2020.
8 Countries Solo Female Travelers Should Visit in 2020
Ireland was the country that initially sparked my love for travel. I moved there on a working holiday when I was only 19 years old. I recently returned to the country, almost a decade later, and was reminded about why it’s such a good place for solo female travelers.
Ireland is a relatively small country, making it easy to see the main highlights without having to travel long distances. It also has an excellent transportation network of bus and rail options. This will get you around the country without the need to rent a car, which can be expensive as a solo traveler.
It’s easy to make friends in Ireland since the locals are so warm and welcoming. Walk into any bar, and you won’t have trouble finding someone to swap stories with over a pint of Guinness.
While safety is always a concern for female travelers, you can feel good knowing that Ireland is one of the safest countries in the world. Ireland is currently ranked 12th on the global peace index, with millions of visitors each year. More to that, 14 towns in Ireland have been awarded the Purple Flag, which means they are recognized for their vibrant but safe nightlife.
As far as hiking destinations go, it doesn’t get better than Patagonia. Split between Chile and Argentina, the amount of beauty in this region is unlike anywhere else in the world.
Patagonia is the perfect place for female solo travelers looking to connect with nature. It has endless opportunities for multi-day treks as well as shorter day hikes. With well-marked trails, equipment rentals readily available, and enough hikers on the trail, you can feel safe here even as a solo female traveler.
Much of the region can be remote, but El Chalten is Argentina’s trekking capital, and as such there are plenty of hostels there. It draws in other solo travelers who you can swap stories with and even find hiking buddies. If you love nature, there’s no better place to enjoy it fully then in Patagonia.
I heard mixed reviews about traveling in Sri Lanka as a solo female traveler before going, but ended up having an absolutely fantastic experience. I liked it so much I decided to spend a month in the country solo.
Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country and is very welcoming and safe for women traveling alone. It’s budget-friendly, full of friendly locals, and home to incredible landscapes, including world-class beaches found all throughout the countries coastline.
Since the island is small in size, it’s easy to get from place to place without having to worry about traveling long distances. The country is well connected with bus and train networks, which also happen to be incredibly scenic. The backpacking scene is well-established in Sri Lanka, with many fantastic hostels available where you can meet other travelers.
Although small in size, Sri Lanka has a lot to offer. From world-class surfing, wildlife encounters, ancient cities, and lush hiking trails, it’s easy to fill up your Sri Lanka Itinerary. With so much to do, you won’t find yourself getting bored in Sri Lanka even as a solo traveler.
Malawi is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa, known as the “warm heart of Africa” because of the friendly nature of the locals. Although tiny in size, Malawi has a lot to offer including a wide diversity of African wildlife, national parks for camping, and active adventures such as trekking and diving. Plus, all the backpackers and campsites have pools and other common areas, making it easy to meet others if you’re traveling solo.
The hub of tourism is around Lake Malawi, a massive body of water that separates the country from neighboring Mozambique. Lake Malawi is one of the largest lakes in the world and has ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, including swimming, kayaking, SUP, and diving/snorkeling to see the colorful cichlid fish. Nkata Bay and Cape McClear are two popular towns on Lake Malawi, where you can find other solo travelers to enjoy the beauty of Malawi with.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
There’s no place in the world I felt more in-tune with nature than the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of mainland Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands are one of the last untouched parts of the planet, where the wildlife isn’t afraid to come and say hello.
The Galapagos Islands are perfect for female solo travel because with so much nature and wildlife to see, you’ll never feel alone with all the friendly resident animals. You won’t find yourself getting bored on the islands, with plenty of free activities, from snorkeling with sea lions to bird-watching on one of the island’s many hikes. More to that, day tours are readily available to take you to the best spots in the Galapagos that you can’t access on your own. Day tours are also a great way to meet other travelers!
It’s easy to get around the islands as a solo traveler since the islands’ main towns are small enough that you can walk anywhere, and there are daily ferries to take you between the islands. There’s no better place to fully enjoy the remarkable wildlife on this planet than the Galapagos Islands.
I wasn’t sure what to expect before visiting Turkey as a solo female traveler since it’s a relatively conservative Muslim country. However, after spending a month traveling throughout Turkey, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcomed and at ease I felt.
The people in Turkey are wonderful. Time after time locals would go out of their way to help me find my way around, and ensure I was OK. I found it easy to travel around Turkey as a solo traveler, as they have with a well-connected bus network between most cities. Turkey is a large country so the distances can be vast, but the overnight buses are comfy and felt secure even traveling alone at night.
Turkey is a massive country with a lot to offer those who visit. From the bustling markets of Istanbul, the breathtaking landscapes of Cappadocia, and ancient cities of Pamukkale and Ephesus, you could spend months traveling through the country. Plus, Turkey has an established backpacking scene with hostels readily available throughout the country where you can meet other travelers and exchange travel tips. If you have some experience traveling solo, Turkey is the perfect country to push your boundaries further and explore an amazing part of the world.
Costa Rica was the first country I traveled solo in Latin America, and it made me fall in love with that region of the world. With access to incredible nature and wildlife, Costa Rica is the perfect destination for outdoor lovers. From zip-lining through the cloud forests of Monteverde to relaxing in the volcanic hot springs of La Fortuna, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventure in Costa Rica.
‘Pura Vida’ is a saying you will commonly hear throughout Costa Rica, which simply translates to pure life, but its meaning is more than that. Pura Vida represents Costa Rican’s way of life. It means that people need to be grateful for what they have in life and not dwell on the negative.
Not surprisingly, Costa Rica has been named one of the happiest countries in the world and is also one of the safest countries in Central America. A vacation to Costa Rica is the perfect destination for solo travelers looking to relax and recharge.
Iceland is well-known as a safe destination for solo female travel and this hasn’t changed even with the influx of tourism. In fact, it’s been named the safest country in the world for over 11 years according to the Global Peace Index.
Iceland also happens to be home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. I don’t know many countries where you can drive from volcanoes to glaciers in a matter of hours, but in Iceland it’s possible. Not to mention all the waterfalls, geysers, and opportunities to see the Northern Lights.
With such a safe reputation, many solo female travelers have comfortably hitchhiked their way around the country. But if you aren’t on a strict budget, the easiest way to explore Iceland is to rent a car and plan your own itinerary. Iceland has one main road, highway one, which is also known as the ring road. It’s recommended to spend at least one week driving the ring road, as with so much beauty along the way, you’ll be wanting to stop the car for a photo every few minutes.
With such abundant beauty and high safety standards, Iceland is a perfect destination for your first solo trip.
About The Author:
Lora is a solo female adventure travel blogger living nomadically around the world. Raised on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she has a deep love for nature and wildlife. Lora has traveled to over 57 countries and is on a quest to visit them all, seeking out the best adventures each one has to offer. For more travel inspiration and solo female travel tips, visit her blog at Explore with Lora, or follow on Instagram and Facebook.