Once upon a time, when you mentioned “solo travel,” visions of Julia Roberts pedaling through Ubud’s greenery or Diane Lane trudging towards a Tuscan villa likely danced in minds. This cinematic, albeit somewhat idealistic, portrayal of solitary adventures is fading. Today, solo travel isn’t a spectacle but rather a common choice.
There’s a unique liberation in traveling alone—complete autonomy, a flexible (or rigid, if preferred) schedule, and the chance for profound self-discovery that group trips often lack. Whether it’s to heal from a life-changing event like loss or divorce, or simply to reconnect with oneself amidst stunning landscapes, solo journeys cater to diverse motivations.
Several factors come into play when selecting a solo travel destination. Firstly, consider whether you prefer crafting your own itinerary or relying on a travel agency (each has its advantages and drawbacks). Secondly, prioritize destinations with knowledgeable guides who can offer insights into local customs while respecting them. Accessible transportation systems, such as trains, ferries, and buses, are also essential, especially if you’re hesitant about renting a car. Lastly, prioritize countries known for their hospitality, as they often embrace travelers and offer a sense of community.
Taking these factors into account, we’ve compiled a list of top solo travel destinations for 2024. From culturally rich locations to sun-drenched destinations perfect for outdoor adventures, and even secluded retreats tailored for solo travelers, there’s something for everyone seeking solitary exploration.
Indulge in Wellness Retreats on the Shores of Thailand
Embark on a journey to the serene Gulf of Thailand, specifically to the captivating island of Koh Samui. With its verdant rainforests, secluded waterfalls, and pristine coastlines, this destination offers a sensory paradise. At Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa, a new women’s health program caters to holistic well-being across all life stages, from fertility to menopause. Guests immersing themselves in the Radiant Bliss package will experience a comprehensive wellness regimen guided by a team of naturopaths, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, massage therapists, meditation guides, and other experts. Spend your days luxuriating in treatments such as Ayurvedic massage and acupressure facials, all amidst the breathtaking beauty of Eden-like surroundings.
Unique Gastronomic Experiences Await in Japan
Renowned for its exquisite culinary offerings, Japan beckons solo travelers eager to explore new flavors. “In cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, dining alone is quite common,” notes Elizabeth Harvey of Indagare, who recently embarked on a solo adventure in Japan. Beyond its food scene, Japan boasts a culture of hospitality, essential for a rewarding solo journey. “There’s a profound sense of mutual respect and responsibility woven into the fabric of daily life in Japan, ensuring solo travelers feel secure and cared for,” she explains. With unparalleled public transportation facilitating easy exploration, Harvey recommends venturing beyond the well-trodden path to discover hidden gems like Hokkaido, Nara, Nikko, Kobe, Kanazawa, Yamaguchi, and the enchanting southern islands.
Immersive Sound Healing Experiences in Mexico
Nestled within Mexico’s enchanting Yucatán Peninsula lies a realm of natural beauty and ancient lore. Here, the rich tapestry of Mayan culture forms the foundation of Chablé Yucatan’s Solo Retreat. Spanning four to six nights, this transformative program guides travelers on a journey of self-discovery, featuring serene sound healing sessions within limestone cenotes, intimate Temazcal ceremonies led by spiritual guides, and explorations of archaeological wonders. Tucked away amidst the verdant Yucatan jungle, just a short drive from Mérida, the property offers a secluded sanctuary perfect for those seeking a rejuvenating escape without the hassle.
Picturesque Train Journeys Across Portugal
Efficient transportation can alleviate solo travel concerns, making Portugal—an easily navigable country—a perfect destination for independent exploration. “Portugal’s excellent train network removes the need for a car,” advises Joan Roca, Founder and CEO of Essentialist, suggesting a journey from Porto to Lisbon via train, followed by a ferry to the tranquil beaches of Comporta. “Solo travelers will find ample dining options, city tours, and cultural experiences,” Roca adds. The country’s main rail operator, Comboios de Portugal, offers scenic routes like the Douro Line, renowned for its stunning views of the river and valley. Simplify your travel arrangements by booking train tickets through Omio, a user-friendly platform that consolidates all your bookings in one place.
Exploring the Philippine Archipelago through Island Hopping
Spanning thousands of islands in the Pacific Ocean, the tropical paradise of the Philippines offers a seamless experience for solo travelers embarking on an island-hopping adventure. A well-connected network of ferries and flights facilitates easy navigation between destinations. “The Philippines is known for its safety, hospitality, and widespread English proficiency,” notes Roca. Dive into underwater caves, snorkel in pristine turquoise reefs, trek through ancient rice terraces, or hike up an active volcano—adventure thrives in every corner. And let’s not forget the culinary delights! From the beloved Lumpia and Adobo to the rich flavors of Kare-Kare, Filipino cuisine is a vibrant expression of culture, often enjoyed in lively communal settings.
Tapping into Ancient Wisdom in Greece
While Greece’s famed islands draw travelers with their sun-drenched landscapes and crystal-clear waters, those seeking a quieter, more authentic experience may find solace in the Peloponnese peninsula. This hidden gem boasts abundant natural beauty and is home to Euphoria Retreat, a luxurious wellness haven nestled within the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mystras. Solo travelers in search of healing and personal growth can immerse themselves in the Inner Emotional Harmony program, designed to address recent traumas or life transitions. From sound healing and chakra balancing to rejuvenating massages and transformational consultations, expect a holistic approach to well-being amidst the timeless wisdom of Greece.
Fostering Community Connections in Morocco
Morocco’s rich cultural tapestry and tight-knit communities offer a profound sense of belonging. Navigating this diverse landscape, from remote regions to vibrant medinas, is a seamless experience. “One day, you might find yourself hiking through the Agafay desert towards a Berber village, and the next, kitesurfing alongside locals in Essaouira, embraced by the famous Atlantic breeze. The sense of community is palpable,” notes Marchant, who recently organized a company retreat in the country. Reflecting on their experience, he highlights a day spent volunteering in the Atlas Mountains with Al Foulki pour les Femmes, a charity aiding earthquake recovery efforts in remote communities. Such meaningful engagements resonate deeply with solo travelers seeking to immerse themselves in a destination’s culture.
Canada’s Rapids: White Water Rafting Adventure
Adventure into the Heart of Canada with Flash Pack, a tour agency specializing in group adventures for solo explorers. This expedition to Western Canada unveils some of the nation’s most awe-inspiring landscapes, including Banff National Park, where you’ll embark on hiking and caving adventures, and iconic Canadian Rockies landmarks like Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Experience a quintessential Canadian twilight canoe excursion on the Bow River, thrilling white water rafting culminating in a night’s stay in Anishinabe-style tepees, scenic float plane excursions, and even a day of wine tasting in the Okanagan Valley.
Befriending The Waves: Surfing Adventures in Costa Rica
Embarking on a solo journey centered around acquiring a new skill can profoundly enhance your travel experience. If you’ve longed to ride the waves, set your sights on Costa Rica’s renowned surf spots, particularly Peninsula Papagayo. The mesmerizing beauty of this region is best experienced from the ocean, and guests at Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo can learn to surf with a program developed exclusively for the property by SurfX, led by some of the world’s top-ranked surfers. After exhilarating days on the water, indulge in the hotel’s “wipeout massage,” expertly designed to soothe post-surf muscles.
Exploring the Depths: Scuba Diving Adventures in the Bahamas
Nestled amid the Bahamas’ famed pink sand beaches and charming seaside communities, Harbour Island offers a serene retreat where roosters roam and playful pigs frolic along the shore. Solo adventurers seeking to immerse themselves in the island’s natural splendor can find sanctuary at Bahama House, an 1800s-era property managed by Eleven, a luxury adventure company. The expert team will craft a personalized itinerary of seaside escapades, including unforgettable scuba diving experiences. Beginners can partake in a PADI instructional resort course, mastering the art of diving in just one day.
Immersive Retreats in New Zealand
New Zealand’s surreal landscapes and welcoming locals beckon solo travelers seeking transformative experiences. “The country boasts some of the world’s most unforgettable adventure lodges,” notes Harvey, emphasizing their unique blend of solitude and camaraderie with fellow guests and staff. For those eager to explore the renowned adventure offerings of the South Island, Blanket Bay presents an ideal choice. Nestled along the shores of the secluded Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown, this lodge offers jet boat safaris, backcountry hiking, and horseback riding amidst breathtaking surroundings.
Exploring Argentina’s Wine Country by Bike
Merge your passion for travel and cycling on a Backroads adventure through Mendoza’s wine country, where solo travelers are embraced. Nestled at the base of the majestic Andes, this region boasts some of today’s most thrilling wine offerings. Traverse vineyard-draped trails amidst snow-capped peaks, pausing to savor flavors from the vibrant local gastronomy scene. Each evening, indulge in well-deserved luxury at handpicked premier hotels, such as the iconic Vines Resort & Spa.
Soulful Reflection in Bhutan
Seeking introspection is a common motivation for planning a solo journey, with the environment often playing a pivotal role in its transformative potential. “While Bhutan may be more challenging to reach, it’s widely acknowledged as a serene and joyful sanctuary for solo retreats,” remarks Roca. Moreover, its breathtaking landscapes add to the allure. Bhutan, boasting over 70 percent forest cover and the distinction of being the world’s first carbon-negative country, invites daily pursuits like hiking and wildlife observation. “Travelers seeking not only to explore a destination but also to delve deeper into themselves find Bhutan to be a rewarding sanctuary,” adds Marchant.