There are many factors to consider when deciding on your next solo travel destination.
How expensive is it? Is it safe? Will I be able to get around okay?
One factor that is perhaps less considered but is certainly important is how friendly a country is in general.
To help you pick a welcoming destination, Condé Nast Traveller recently revealed the friendliest countries in Europe as voted for by its readers in its annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
While friendliness is not the only thing to consider when traveling alone, we happen to agree that the top five are countries with a good reputation for solo travelers.
A long-time favorite with American travelers, it’s probably no surprise to those who have been there that Ireland came out on top in a vote on friendliness.
From the bustling bars of Temple Bar in Dublin to riverside walks in Cork – the Irish are known for their warm welcomes and their sense of humor (often referred to as craic).
You will always find a friendly face and a helping hand wherever you roam in the ‘Emerald Isle’, but this country is not just great because of its people, it is also home to some truly remarkable natural beauty.
The west of Ireland is a rich tapestry of craggy cliffs, mysterious loughs, and rolling green landscapes, which are best explored by taking in some of the 1,500-mile Wild Atlantic Way.
Slovenia has definitely been gaining traction with solo travelers for a few years now thanks to its beautiful scenery, affordable prices, and safe reputation.
The country regularly ranks inside the top 10 safest destinations in the world according to the Global Peace Index and is a welcoming place.
Packed with enchanting forests, imposing mountains, historic cities, and a unique cuisine, Slovenia has a lot to like, not least the fact it is a relatively small country, so you can realistically sample all these things in a single day.
You can fly to the capital city Ljubljana in just a couple of hours from London, English is widely spoken, and the currency they use is the Euro – all things that increase its overall appeal to solo travelers.
When a country’s capital city has previously held the nickname ‘Little Paris’, you know it’s one you should probably add to your bucket list.
While Romania is probably a little lesser known to American travelers, it has a lot to see, starting in the capital, Bucharest.
The country is generally regarded as safe, with a tourism market that has been developing steadily in recent years.
One of the main benefits for solo travelers is the fact that it’s very affordable – hotel prices can average as little as $50 a night, and local transport is also very cheap.
One additional thing Romania has in its favor for solo travelers is a solid digital nomad visa.
Having recently taken a three-week trip around the Highlands of Scotland this summer myself, I can confirm that the country is incredibly friendly and perfectly suited to solo travel.
Whether it’s a warm country tavern you’re stumbling into for a ‘wee dram’ (single serving of whisky), or a guided tour around some of the haunted historical places of the capital city, Edinburgh, you are sure to be made to feel at home.
Away from the cities, even remote places like the Isle of Skye are used to welcoming tourists from all over the world and have a wide range of accommodation and tours to choose from.
A country that is ‘impossible not to fall in love with’ according to our solo travel experts, Iceland is a year-round destination.
This small and easy-to-navigate country has some of the most dramatic views you will ever lay eyes on, thanks to its volcanic landscape.
Enjoy the smart cafés and restaurants of the capital Reykjavik, or rest your weary bones in one of the country’s hot springs. Whatever you choose, Iceland is a home from home.
Iceland has a good selection of hotels and hostels that are welcoming to solo adventurers, while English is widely spoken among its population.
It is also one of the safest countries you can visit, ranking number one in the Global Peace Index for consecutive years, and known for having no dangerous animal predators in its vast wilderness.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com