We are heading into a new year and travel is beginning to open up once again and it’s time to start planning that long awaited getaway. One of the most difficult things about travelling solo is determining the best and safest destination for you, especially for a female solo traveller.
There is no need to panic yet. A few of my solo travel buddies and myself have collaborated to provide you with the best Winter destinations for the solo traveller.
Are you ready to get started?
24 OF THE BEST WINTER DESTINATIONS FOR THE SOLO TRAVELLER
Recommended by: Haley of Haley Blackall Travel
Antalya, nestled into the coastline of the Mediterranean coastline of Turkey, is the perfect spot for a solo trip. Offering mild winter weather with plenty of sunny days, the bustling city has a plethora of things to do, see, eat and experience for any individual flying solo. Plus, it’s a safe place to visit and explore.
The city of Antalya enjoys an international airport for easy transport to and from this Turkish coastal haven from Istanbul and beyond. Take a 25-minute taxi ride from the airport with one of the friendly and sincere drivers located just outside the airport. Make sure to ask for the taxi meter to be turned on.
Depending on your trip priorities and how long you plan to stay, there are two main recommended areas to book your accommodation.
Firstly, if historic architecture and quaint cafes are up-your-alley, stay in the old town centre of Antalya. Here, you will find a vibrant and safe nightlife, many hostels and guesthouses on offer and cafes and shops galore. Do note that because the old town centre is full of pubs, some areas will be loud until later into the evening. If this is a concern for you, make sure to read the comments of your prospective accommodation before booking.
Grab a coffee at the ever-so-cool Sudd Coffee, and peruse the streets of Kaleici (old town). In the evening, grab a window-side table at Karaf Bistro and sip wine while people-watching.
Secondly, Antalya is known for its famous Konyaalti Beach. Spanning a long distance of shoreline in the modern centre of Antalya, this neighbourhood offers walks along the beach, swimming and stunning sunsets. The Konyaalti area is much more built up and modern than the old town.
Make sure to bring a light jacket and sweater for when the sun goes down. While Antalya enjoys Mediterranean winter weather, it can get chilly at night.
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Recommended by: Lenore of The Nitty Gritty Travel OT
Are you looking to travel solo during the winter season but need a tip on where to go? I’ve got you covered! Aruba is my top destination for the solo traveler. I mean what could be better than sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, sun-kissed skin, hospitable people and delicious food? Nothing really. Read on to find out more about why I love this island.
Aruba is a safe destination that is perfect for solo travel and the island is very easy to commute and explore. There are many means of exploring the island whether you’d prefer to travel like a local through public transportation, take cabs throughout your stay (Uber and Lyft aren’t currently available yet), or rent a car and drive yourself (keep in mind in Aruba they drive on the right side).
Now that we have transportation covered, you’re probably wondering where you should stay. When going to this beautiful island I’d recommend staying close enough to downtown, but just far enough that you can have a little bit of tranquility as downtown can get pretty busy.
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about must sees on the island. A visit to Aruba wouldn’t be complete without lounging on one of the top rated beaches in the world, Eagle Beach. While you’re there make sure to visit the best dine in restaurant directly on the beach called Passions on the Beach.
An Insider Tip: Make sure you make dinner reservations to catch the views of the sunset while you dine in literal paradise.
Are you looking to try local food and skip the fancy dine-in setting? Try Zeerovers which offers delicious seafood and much more.
Wondering what to do while in Aruba? Aruba has many great excursions that you can partake in. If you’d like to see the flamingos you can take a quick trip to Renaissance Island, or visit the ostriches at the Ostrich Farm. Into water activities? How about taking a boat tour? Want to get to know the island better? You can always book a tour of the island. There are ample opportunities to shop if that’s your thing as well as going downtown and dancing the night away. The opportunities are endless and you’ll never run out of things to do.
Well, that concludes my spiel on why you should visit Aruba. I hope I enticed you to visit and consider it for your next vacation. You won’t regret it and you will have an absolute blast!
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Recommended by: Charu of Travel With CG
Bagan in Myanmar (Burma) is another beautiful winter destination for solo travelers. Commonly known as the land of pagodas, it is an ancient city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty to offer. Renowned for its thousands of stupas, temples, and pagodas spread throughout the city, it is a perfect place for solo travelers to get around on their own and explore as desired.
From e-bikes to bicycles to tuk-tuks, transportation in Bagan is both economical and convenient. With the rainy season gone, the dry weather during the winter months from November to February is pleasant for scootering around on a two-wheeler. This time of the year is also when hot air balloons fly over Bagan at sunrise, an experience worth adding to any bucket list.
If you are traveling on a flexible budget, then definitely consider going on a hot air balloon ride in Bagan. The incredibly vast landscape consisting of scattered Buddhist shrines is truly a sight to behold from up above. But if not, then at least wake up at dawn to catch the balloons fly by the pagodas from the ground.
The thrill of adventuring out when it is still dark to find a spot close to the balloon take-off site is unlike any other. You will probably meet several other travelers en route to the same mission. Sunsets in Bagan are also epic, so make sure to visit some viewpoints to admire them. Just hail a tuk-tuk and ask the driver to take you to a sunset point nearby.
Bagan has three main areas to consider basing yourself in, but Nyaung U is the best for solo travelers. This part of Bagan is home to plenty of hotels, hostels, and guest houses. There are also various restaurants and cafes within walking distance.
Some of the best places to eat in Bagan are Black Bamboo, Sanon Restaurant, Sharky’s, The Moon-Be Kind to Animals, and Weather Spoons.
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BANFF, Alberta, Canada
Recommended by: Kelly of Just One Passport
When planning our Winter travel destinations, most of us think hot, sunny and sandy. Am I right? There are times when my adventurous side begins to get restless and this was the case when I decided to make Banff, Alberta my Winter destination.
Banff is a small tourist town with an estimated population of 7,850 and is located in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Western Canada.
If you are an adventure seeker then Banff is the perfect spot to visit if you are seeking a plethora of Winter activities. With so many activities to choose from you will never be bored. From Winter hiking, to ice-skating to snow mobiling, skiing, and dog sledding, snow shoeing, and ice climbing, there is an activity for everyone. There is even the perfect spot to warm up after a chilling day full of adventures. A visit to Banff Upper Hot Springs needs to be a must on your list of things to do while visiting Banff.
JUST ONE TIP: Unlike many vacation destinations, Winter is not considered off-season in Banff. It is peak season and prices are high. For off-season or shoulder season rates, the best time to visit Banff is May, June, September and October.
To easiest way to reach Banff, is to fly into Calgary, which is a 150 kilometers (93.20 miles)away from Banff. When travelling this route during the Winter months, the route is treacherous, so I HIGHLY recommend that you book a either the airport shuttle or a private shuttle before your arrival.
When staying in Banff, a car is not necessary. There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the downtown core and for most of the hotels located away from the downtown core, free shuttles to and from town are provided. Banff is completely safe and I wouldn’t hesitate to wander around town (even at night) alone making it the perfect Winter destination for the solo traveller.
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Recommended by: Aimee of Snap Happy Travel
Belize is a great place to visit as a solo traveller. Firstly it is the only English-speaking country in Central America so you ,won’t have to deal with a language barrier; and secondly, the weather in Belize in Winter is awesome, averaging 28 Celsius (82 Fahrenheit)!
Belize is home to many amazing beaches, the best beach on the island is Placencia, but during the wet season there is lots of seaweed on the shore. So be sure to visit from May to October for the pristine white sand beaches Placencia is known for. A great place to stay in Placencia is Lydia’s Guesthouse which is right on the beach!
For the adventurous solo traveler– Belize is heaven. There is lots to do for the solo traveler in Belize, from diving the Hol Chan Marine Reserve to swimming with Whale Sharks to exploring the ATM caves.
The ATM caves is a 7km cave system and a Mayan burial site. It is worth noting that you have to book a tour with a registered tour guide. You are unable to enter the caves on your own. Most of the cave system is filled with really deep water and you have to swim most of the way through, so, being water-confident is highly recommended. There are different chambers inside the cave system with skulls and bones and Mayan treasures. The ATM Caves are located near the town of San Ignacio and are a must-do for any traveler to Belize.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve off of Caye Caulker is often compared to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – whether you choose to dive or snorkel in the reserve you are likely to spot dozens of colorful fish, reef sharks and even a manatee if you’re lucky.
I highly recommend staying a couple of days on Caye Caulker, it is solo traveler friendly and there are lots of hostels dotted throughout the island. A top recommendation is Sandbar Beachfront hostel. There are also lots of yummy restaurants on Caye Caulker, such as Little Kitchen restaurant for dinner, and Chef Kareem’s for lunch.
Top Tip For Belize: Did you know that you can spend the night at Belize Zoo? It is an unforgettable experience and includes a behind-the-scene night tour of the zoo and the exotic animals, including jaguars and leopards.
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CAHUITA, Costa Rica
Recommended by: Annalies of Travelers and Dreamers
If you are longing for cloud forests, volcanoes, the ocean, and beaches during wintertime then Costa Rica is the perfect destination for you!
Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Thanks to its excellent environmental efforts it is the top destination for eco-minded travelers who enjoy spending time in beautiful natural surroundings. Costa Rica has 28 national parks and three of them are Unesco -protected. Because of the countries efforts, biodiversity is thriving and wildlife encounters are guaranteed when visiting Costa Rica. What do you think about seeing turtles hatch on the black sand beaches of Tortuguero, go to sleep with howler monkeys hanging around your cabin in Uvita, or spot sleepy sloths in Cahuita National Park?
As a solo traveler, Costa Rica is an easy-to-navigate country, and, depending on your wishes, it is not hard to meet other people if you are longing for some company. Nice hostels to meet new friends are abound and, if hostels are not your style, you can choose one of the many eco-lodges to meet like-minded travelers or a cute homestay to connect with the local Ticos and Ticas and immerse yourself in the “Pura Vida” culture.
My favorite places in Costa Rica are the sleepy town of Cahuita by the Caribbean coast and the mountain town of El Castillo that sits on the slopes of the Arenal volcano. Both are very different from each other so it’s the perfect combination to get both of the best worlds in Costa Rica. Cahuita is a laid-back town with beautiful black and white sand beaches, a national park, and a sloth sanctuary. It has a bit of a reggae vibe going on and also the snorkeling is great which is organized by ethical tour companies to protect the reef. El Castillo, on the other hand, is great for mountain walks, volcano hikes, and hot springs. There are many expensive wellness resorts around the Arenal volcano but, there’s also a free hot spring you can visit where the local people go called “Rio Chollin”. An amazing place to stay in El Castillo is “Essence Arenal”, a hilltop jungle retreat with a yoga deck, lake view jacuzzi, and permaculture garden.
Lastly, these tips will mainly appeal to the solo traveler who likes to explore off-the-beaten-path locations. If you like to stay on the tourist trail then Puerto Viejo and La Fortuna are good alternatives! Enjoy!
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Recommended by: Linda of Muy Linda Travels
Cambodia is a popular destination in South East Asia and a great winter destination. The warm weather, ancient temples, beautiful palaces and palm-fringed beaches draw millions of visitors each year. You can shop at colourful markets and see Buddhist monks walking the streets barefoot and wearing saffron robes. A Buddhist Kingdom, Cambodia is a fascinating place to visit. It’s also an affordable destination and generally safe for women and solo travellers.
Majestic Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s main attraction and should be at the top of your list of places to see. UNESCO world heritage listed, Angkor Wat dates back to the 9th century and is the largest religious monument in the world. Its massive size is awe-inspiring. Bayon is another temple within the huge complex at Angkor. Bayon’s many serene faces of the Buddha carved in stone welcome people from all directions to the temple. And the atmospheric jungle temple Ta Prohm is also very popular. Made famous by the film Tomb Raiders, Ta Prohm is slowly being reclaimed by the jungle. Huge trees grow out of the stonework and tower above the temple ruins, their roots growing through the cracks in the crumbling walls.
There are more highlights on offer in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda have stunning Khmer architecture and perfectly manicured gardens. Next door to the palace, the National Museum of Cambodia holds ancient relics and has a café in a lovely courtyard. It’s a great place to stop for a coffee before heading to the war memorials at the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Here you’ll learn about the suffering of the Cambodian people during the civil war and the brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime. It will move you to tears but honouring Cambodia’s history is important.
Before you leave Cambodia, make your way to the coast to relax on the beautiful palm-fringed beaches of Sihanoukville or Kep. The white sandy beaches, perfect sunsets and tropical islands offshore are ideal for a winter escape. Take a day trip to the islands or spend a few days getting away from it all in a tropical paradise. West of Sihanoukville, the forested islands of Koh Rong are known for their pristine beaches, clear water and coral reefs. They are ideal for snorkelling and diving. Cambodia has so much to offer and is a perfect winter destination for solo travellers.
Recommended by: Jackie of Jou Jou Travels
Colmar is located in the Alsace region of France and it is a real-life fairytale! It is the perfect winter destination for solo travelers because every Christmas there are incredible Christmas Markets. You won’t be lost for entertainment on your own because you can peruse the festive place with a mulled wine in hand. Colmar has 5 outdoor markets which include Place des Dominicains, Place Jeanne d’Arc, Place de l’Ancienne Douane, and La Petit Venise. In addition, there is a gourmet food market located at Place de la Cathedrale and an indoor market with arts and crafts at Koifhus.
The best food to try in Alsace is Bretzel which are freshly baked pretzels, Choucroûte Garnie which is a very traditional dish with sauerkraut and a variety of meats, and Tarte flambée which is the Alsatian equivalent to a pizza covered with crème fraîche, cheese, onions, and bacon. Many of these foods can be found at the Christmas Markets which is perfect since you can eat on the go and not have to feel awkward alone at a sit-down restaurant. However, if you do want to treat yourself to a nice dinner, try Le Fleur de Sel for some traditional Alsatian food.
When visiting Colmar, don’t miss going to La Petit Venise where you will find the colorful style houses alongside a canal. Next to it, you should walk along Quai de la Poissonnerie to see more unique architecture. Another spot you can’t miss is the pink gingerbread house (located at Maison dite ‘Au pèlerin’) which has become famous and has a Christmas tree in front during the winter season.
Colmar Hotel is a good option to stay overnight. It is located near the train station where bus service also exists taking you to other neighboring markets in the Alsace region like Strasbourg, Kayersberg, or Riquewihr. To get to Colmar, you can fly into the Basel Airport or Strasbourg Airport and the train ride is under an hour to Colmar.
Jou Jou Travels is full of hidden gems that are great for solo travellers on her instagram page. Check it out!
CULEBRA, Puerto Rico
Recommended by: Nikki of She Saves She Travels
One of the best winter destinations for solo traveller is definitely Culebra, Puerto Rico.
Located off of the mainland Puerto Rico, it requires a ferry or small plane ride to get there, and it is completely worth it.
Culebra is a small, 10-square mile island that’s largely undeveloped. There are no large swanky hotels here, instead you will find villas and vacation rentals for every budget. As a solo traveller, a great spot to stay is the Aleli Cottages on the hilltop. They are the perfect size for one person, and offer phenomenal views of the coast.
Visitors to Culebra will need to rent a Jeep (recommended) or golf cart to get around the island. The roads are really rough and hilly, so biking isn’t realistic. There are no ride share’s, taxi’s or public transportation on the island.
Perhaps the highlight of the island – and the one that draws most visitors to Culebra – is the world-famous Flamenco Beach. This crescent shaped beach has stunning white sand and the most turquoise water you have ever seen. The coastline is natural, with flowing palm trees and a picturesque hillside creating the most beautiful backdrop for a perfect afternoon at the beach.
When you’ve had enough relaxing, take a snorkeling tour, explore the island on a Jeep, go to the bay and watch for manatees or head into town for delicious tacos or shopping. And if you’re up for adventure, go hiking to a secluded beach. Carlos Rosario Beach, Playa Resaca and Brava Beach are all less than 30 minutes hike from the trail head, and worth the extra effort.
Be sure to pack all the island essentials: water shoes (which double for hiking), snorkeling gear and reef-safe sunscreen. There aren’t a lot of stores on the island, so come prepared.
This island is easy to fall in love with, and it is quite a difficult spot to leave!
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DENVER, Colorado, U.S.A.
Recommended by: Krystianna of Volumes & Voyages
One of the best winter destinations for the solo traveler is Denver, Colorado. This city is often overlooked as a great place to visit, as many people visit other places in the state like Vail, Aspen, and Telluride once winter hits in Colorado!
Denver, compared to other larger cities, is quite safe for solo travelers, especially if you use common sense while traveling. This can also all come down to where you decide to stay in the city. For reference, the best place to stay, at least if you’re planning on using lots of public transportation while you visit, is in LoDo or RiNo. These neighborhoods are right by Union Station which is where you can catch the train to the Denver International Airport.
There are so many incredible things to do during a trip to Denver as well. If you plan on staying just within the city, then you’ll want to stop by the Denver Christkindl Market, which is hosted the entire month of December. This German Christmas market is filled with fun holiday spirit, great jingles, and even better food.
Other great things to do in the city include stopping by some of Denver’s affordable restaurants, which are perfect if you’re traveling the city on a budget. One of the best-hidden gems of the city that mostly only locals know about when it comes to food is a little place called D’Corozan. It’s located right off 16th Street, but it serves the best burritos that you can have in the entire city.
If you’re traveling with a car, there are many other great places to visit right within the Denver area, especially if you’re looking to get outside. You can take a quick trip to Idaho Springs (which is home to the popular Beau Jo’s Pizza) or spend the day in Boulder hiking the Flatirons. No matter where you choose to go, Denver is the perfect winter destination for a solo traveler.
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Recommended by: Ronja of Ronja Goes Abroad
Finland, the home country of Santa Claus, a winter wonderland is the perfect travel destination for winter.
Finland, especially the capital Helsinki and Rovaniemi which is the biggest city in Lapland, are very nomad-friendly. Finns are taught English in school which means most of the Finns (82% according to a study) speak and understand English, so any traveller who speaks English will have no trouble at all.
What to see in Finland during the winter season? The obvious answer is Lapland. Lapland is a winter wonderland with snow and cold weather. You can go skiing, snowboarding, reindeer sledding, and so much more. But the best place to visit during the winter season, more specifically the Christmas season is Rovaniemi. Why? Rovaniemi is Santa’s home town. Here you can visit Santa Claus’s Village (which is free to visit), take a photo with Santa, send a postcard from Santa’s Post Office, drink mulled wine in a tipi-like building, and pet reindeer. To end the day you should stay at a glass igloo hotel. Is there anything better than sleeping under the stars and possibly seeing the northern lights? No, there is not! But if you are not a fan of glass igloo, you should look into staying at a snow hotel. Yes, a hotel built of snow and ice. Sleeping on an ice bed (in a warm sleeping bag of course) is an experience you can’t get everywhere. There is so much to do in Rovaniemi.
If you do not feel like taking a step into the deep snow and want to have a weekend trip to Christmas, visit Helsinki. Helsinki thrives during winter, once again especially during Christmas time with Christmas lights and the moody vibe due to early sunset. If you worry about not seeing any snow, you might be in luck. The weather might be on your side and you might find a white Helsinki. Southern Finland doesn’t see snow every year, so it can’t be promised but there is a huge chance that there will be snow.
Finland is a must-see during the winter season! So if you want a full winter experience don’t hesitate. Finland is waiting for you!
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HOLBOX ISLAND, Mexico
Recommended by Shelley of Travel Mexico Solo
Mexico’s Isla Holbox (pronounced hole-bosh) is one of the best winter destinations for solo travelers. You’ll love visiting in winter because the weather will be perfect, but Holbox is also a safe, popular place for backpackers, making it easy to meet other travelers.
It is located in the Yucatan Peninsula, about three hours from Cancun although it feels like a completely different world compared to Cancun! Holbox Island is a small town, and is as charming as any other pueblos in Mexico.
The island sits right on the Caribbean Sea, with its crystal-clear blue waters and whitesand beaches. The Holbox streets are paved with beach sand, and you’ll use a bike or golf cart to get around because cars aren’t allowed on Holbox Island.
Though it’s one of the most beautiful places in Mexico, Holbox Island has retained a humble, local vibe. Everything on the island is run by its 2,000 residents; there’s no big name all-inclusive resorts in Holbox, no chain restaurants, and no tourist trap shops.
There are so many great things to do in Holbox, and of course, the majority of them revolve around being in, on or near the Caribbean Sea.
Punta Cocos is among the best Holbox Island beaches, with colorful hammocks in the water to enjoy during the day. By night, you can see bioluminescence on Holbox at this beach; a natural phenomenon that is caused by microscopic phytoplankton that emit light and cause a twinkling effect.
Head to the opposite side of the island to the more posh side of Holbox. If you want a solo spa getaway, rent one of the gorgeous bungalows on Playa Holbox, the island’s main beach. Besides boutique resorts, there’s great restaurants and rooftop bars on Playa Holbox.
Nature lovers will enjoy the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, a protected natural area on the island and in the waters surrounding it. This reserve, one of the most popular places for birdwatching in Mexico, is home to a large flock of wild flamingos and other birds.
To get to Holbox Island, you’ll fly into Cancun International Airport (code: CUN). You then have to make your way to the small town of Chiquila, Mexico, where you’ll catch the 30-minute ferry to Isla Holbox.
From Cancun, you can take a bus for the three-hour drive to Chiquila, or rent a car and drive yourself. If you come by rental car, you must leave it in a paid parking lot next to the ferry dock, at a cost of about $5-10USD per day.
The serenity of Holbox Island makes it the perfect Winter destination for the solo traveler wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
You can find Travel Mexico Solo on instagram. Shoot her a message for all of your questions regarding “must see” or “must do” when visiting Mexico.
Recommended by: Pamela of Directionally Challenged
One of the best winter destinations in Europe for solo travellers is the breathtaking country of Iceland. While most would skip over Iceland because of the weather, all you have to do is layer up! The most important thing to remember when visiting Iceland is that daytime can be limited. Plan ahead to make sure you see what you need to see during the day is crucial. Whether it is the Sólheimasandur plane in the south, making your way around the Golden Circle near Reykjavik, or exploring the beautiful waterfalls in Iceland, there are plenty of things to see during the day. You’ll find fewer crowds visiting, meaning more room on hiking trails. Hiking to the top of Skogafoss waterfall provides a gorgeous 360-degree view of the Icelandic countryside.
If you’re driving yourself around, not all roads will be open during winter. However, if you stick to the Ring Road with All Wheel Drive, you’ll be able to see a lot of the country. It encircles all of Iceland and has plenty of amazing destinations within walking distance of the road. If there are all these roadblocks for visiting in winter, then why is Iceland such a great place to visit in winter? It’s the best time of the year for viewing the Northern Lights. This natural phenomenon happens from November through February. The green-blue dance among the sky is truly a bucket list experience.
Winter also brings with it beautiful blankets of snow and ice. The glaciers around Iceland have a fresh set of precipitation frozen, providing a new glisten not seen in the warmer months. One such place is the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Diamond beach nearby. The small icebergs cover the black sand beach to look like diamonds. In winter, there are more icebergs in the water, making it a photographer’s dream.
Even though you may be bundled up, Iceland’s natural beauty is worth it. Be sure to put Iceland on your winter destination bucket list.
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Recommended by: Cristina of My Little World of Travelling
Malaga, located in Southern Spain, is an incredible city to visit all year round, but there are many reasons why you will love visiting Malaga in the Winter.
If you are craving the sun, Malaga has many sunny days and temperatures can reach up to 20 degrees during the day in winter.
It is known for its beaches, but Malaga offers a wide range of activities for all types of travellers.
If you love history and culture, a must-see attraction is La Alcazaba, a beautiful Moorish fortress-palace from where you can get incredible views of the city and port and learn about the Muslim period in Malaga.
Next to La Alcazaba, you can visit the Roman Theatre, and at the top of the hill is Gibralfaro Castle too. Make sure to stop at Gibralfaro viewpoint for an outstanding view of the port or enjoy the sunset (it is a magical place).
The city also has very well-known museums such as Picasso Museum Malaga home to important artwork from the artist Pablo Picasso, and the Centre Pompidou Malaga, a branch of the contemporary art museum.
When visiting Malaga, you must try the local cuisine and there is no better place to have some traditional dishes than El Pimpi Bodega Bar.
Here not only will you find tourists, but locals too. The food is delicious and if you eat on their outdoor terrace, you can enjoy incredible views of the Alcazaba and Roman Theatre.
Some unique activities you can do in Malaga in winter are watching the Christmas lights event in Calle Larios, attending the Three Kings parade and enjoying the carnival in February.
In addition to all the activities you can do in Malaga, it is a very safe destination for solo travellers, especially when you stay somewhere central.
If you are looking for accommodation, Room Mate Valeria is a great boutique hotel in the heart of the city with good communal areas and a rooftop where you can meet other travellers.
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Recommended by: Shelley of Travel to Merida
Merida, Mexico is located in the Yucatan Peninsula, only about three hours from Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen — though it provides a completely different type of travel experience.
Nicknamed La Ciudad Blanca (The White City), Merida is considered the safest city in Mexico, so it’s popular with solo travelers. It is also considered the Cultural Capital of Yucatan, making Merida the ideal place for those seeking Mayan cultural experiences.
There are so many things to do in Merida that allow you to experience the ancient Maya culture. One of the most popular is visiting the numerous Mayan Ruins located within 1-2 hours of the city. These include Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and Uxmal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For those who don’t make it to see the actual ruins, there’s the Mayan World Museum of Merida located in town. It houses Merida’s largest collection of Mayan and pre-columbian artifacts. There are also outdoor festivals all year long, like Merida en Domingo (Merida Sundays), with traditional dancing, street food and Mayan craft vendors.
Winter is actually the best time to visit Merida and attend one of its outdoor festivals. Merida has a tropical climate, meaning it’s hot all year-long, but for the most pleasant weather, the cooler months of November to March are ideal.
Merida is a very walkable city, though as mentioned, it’s really only pleasant to be walking all over town when there’s nice weather in the winter! Visitors will alway want to stay on Paseo de Montejo (Montejo Street) or in Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), renowned for their colorful colonial architecture, historic buildings, great restaurants, and walkability.
To get out into nature, you can take a 45 minute bus ride to Puerto Progreso Beach, the closest beach to Merida. There are also numerous cenotes, freshwater jungle pools, located within 1-2 hours of Merida. About three hours away, you’ll find Las Coloradas, the Mexico pink lakes.
Located in the center of the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida makes a great homebase to explore the surrounding areas. There’s also plenty to do in the city itself that a solo traveler will feel safe doing.
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MILOS, Greek Islands
Recommended by: Mal of Raw Mal Roams
The Greek Island of Milos is the perfect winter destination for a solo traveller. It boasts a mild climate, affordable prices, and the island is jam-packed with activities and beautiful scenery perfect for a solo adventure.
Milos belongs to the Cycladic group of Greek islands with the more famous islands such as Santorini and Mykonos. If you rather avoid the mainstream tourist crowds and enjoy travelling to slightly more off-beaten track destinations, you’ll love Milos. Winter is off-season on the island which means lesser crowds and cheaper hotels with day temperatures between 18 and 13 degrees Celsius.
One of the best places to stay in Milos is its biggest townhome to the island’s port – Adamas. The town offers excellent and affordable accommodation options and a superb selection of restaurants and bars. Adamas is also well connected to other parts of the island with a local bus line and car and scooter rentals.
If you plan to awaken the history buff inside, why not make your way to one of the oldest places on the island – Plaka dating back to the 18th century. The town is perched on a hill and boasts fantastic views over the island. Head to the Archaeological Museum to learn more about the Cycladic heritage. Other places worth checking out include Plaka Castle and Catacombs of Milos.
A visit to Milos would not be complete without seeing Serakiniko Beach. Even if winter is nowhere near ideal for a beach day, visit Serakiniko for its unique moo-like landscape dominated by peculiar white rock formations. Get your camera ready as Serakiniko is an excellent location for snapping some cool shots.
Milos is also famous for traditional fishing villages. One of the most picturesque is Klima, with the iconic colourfully painted doors and windows of boathouses. If you love staying in unique accommodation, book a night in one of the boathouses for an ultimate Cycladic experience.
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MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada
Recommended by: Mary of BucketList Places
Montreal in the winter is a cold, cold destination but don’t let that stop you from discovering the magic of this bucket list place. There is such a wide variety of activities to experience, and solo travelers will be glad to follow their heart (and their stomach) to whatever catches their fancy, without worrying about others’ preferences.
Notre-Dame Basilica is the perfect first stop for a solo traveler. Not only is it illuminated by stunning stained-glass windows, it’s a church, so you’re really supposed to avoid talking too loudly with a big group of travel companions.
Next head to the Place d’Armes, filled with Art-Deco buildings and public art; of course, it is especially bewitching when covered in snow. Then for a little retail therapy, wander down Saint Laurent Boulevard to explore the boutiques Montreal has to offer. Don’t miss the most quirky vintage store you’ve ever seen (no, really) at Eva B Vintage Store. You can even grab something to eat from the Eva B cafe inside.
If you’re bold, you can set off to play in the snow on your own. Snow tubing, cross-country-skiing, and sledding are all popular pastimes in Montreal’s winter. You could even practice your French skills (or stick to English) and meet some locals on the slopes.
Of course, the quintessential winter activity is ice skating, and what better time to practice than when you’re in a new city traveling solo? No one you know can see if you fall on your bum. The Old Port Skating Rink is a classic option, but for a more magical setting, head to the frozen pond in Parc La Fontaine. Castle-like homes, fairy-lights, and nearby hot chocolate turn the park into a winter wonderland.
Basing yourself near Old Town ensures easy access to some of the most picturesque attractions and the city’s top restaurants. Plus, since winter is the off-season for tourism, your stay will likely be cheaper than usual! For a hearty meal after a day in the cold, head to Montreal Poutine in Old Montreal to enjoy the iconic dish of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds.
It’s even easy to reach Montreal without a car. A bus from NYC to Montreal costs less than $100, and the city is extremely walkable. If you’re intimidated by the freezing temperatures, fear not. Montreal’s Underground city is a subterranean network of tunnels connecting shopping malls and metro stations, to allow pedestrian access to downtown without braving the biting winds. Bundle up and head north for a winter getaway in this Canadian gem of a city.
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Recommended by: Melinda of Mel on the Go
Situated 11 degrees north of the Equator, Nicaragua is perfect for a winter getaway. With vibrant cities, beautiful beaches, outdoor adventures, and lush coffee farms, you can’t get bored in Nica! Add bustling ex-pat communities, friendly locals, and an excellent exchange rate, you may not want to leave. Read why Nicaragua is a top winter destination for solo travelers.
For a solo traveler, Nicaragua offers a multitude of affordable tours to do almost anything! You can join a group driving to the top of Masaya, hiking on Ometepe Island, or visiting a coffee farm in Matagalpa. On a tour you’ll have company, see the sights, and learn about this remarkable place from locals trained in sharing their knowledge.
While Nicaragua is known for its lakes and volcanoes, it also has beaches and parks to see. Choose from hiking, kayaking, surfing, volcano boarding, or basking on a beach: you can do any or all in Central America’s largest country. Wildlife also abounds: on any given day, you can see sloths, monkeys, and a large variety of exotic birds.
This is one of the few places in the world to experience the natural energy of an active volcano. Nicaragua has 19 active volcanoes, many open to tourists, most with a guide. Volcano visits range from all-day treks to short sunset hikes, plus adventures like volcano boarding or an easy car ride straight to the top.
Pro Tip: If you pick only one volcano to visit, choose Masaya Volcano to see the most dramatic boiling lava. If you have more time, add a trip to Leon and get your adrenaline flowing by volcano boarding!
One of the most charming cities in Central America, Granada is Nicaragua’s cultural hub and a must see. With the largest ex-pat community, it offers a lot of services and sights for visitors. Dine in the restaurants along cobblestone streets and be entertained by the street performers. Walk the squares and be impressed with the Neoclassical and Colonial architecture of its cathedral and other heritage buildings. And don’t forget to sample local chocolate at the Chocolate museum.
Want to learn Spanish in an immersive setting? Visit Granada or San Juan del Sur for excellent and affordable one-on-one language courses with living opportunities. As a solo traveler, it’s a great way to meet people and engage with a community. San Juan del Sur also offers multiple surfing schools, offering individual and group sessions in a laid-back Pacific beach town.
Nicaragua is a diverse country with lots of natural beauty, and winter is a the perfect time for a solo traveler to enjoy its charms.
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Recommended by: Daria of The Discovery Nut
Oaxaca is the center of culture in Mexico thanks to its rich heritage, delicious cuisine and wonderful culture. One of the safest destinations in Mexico, Oaxaca is a popular stop for solo travelers thanks to many activities, great restaurants and a vibrant art scene.
The city boasts wonderful architecture and colorful streets with bright walls and amazing murals. Oaxaca is a hub of culture and gastronomy of Mexico, where you can try everything from various soups to mole, a signature Oaxaca sauce and other local delicacies.
Don’t forget to stop at one of local cafes to try signature Oaxaca hot chocolate – this hot drink is unlike anything you have ever tried in your life!
There are many historic and natural landmarks within 1-2 hours of Oaxaca such as archeological area Mitla, stunning natural area Hierve El Agua as well as many artisan villages where you can see local artisans produce colorful textiles.
One of the places that you can easily visit on a half-day trip from Oaxaca is Monte Albán, a wonderful archeological area about 25 minutes from the center of Oaxaca by colectivo. Located on the hill above the Oaxaca Valley, Monte Albán is a former center of Zapotec culture, and one of the most studied ruins in the Americas.
Oaxaca is a perfect place to visit during winter, as the dry season in this part of Mexico lasts from November through May. During this time you can expect plenty of sunshine and excellent weather for spending time outside.
Many visitors who come to Oaxaca in winter also take a trip to the beautiful Oaxaca Coast – here you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, learn to surf and even see the whales.
Winter is the migrating season for humpback whales who come can be seen splashing in the waters off the coast of Mazunte, Puerto Escondido and San Agustinillo, some of the towns along the Oaxaca Coast.
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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, Canada
Recommended by: Sarah of In Search of Sarah
When most people think of a winter escape, a snowy, freezing cold island isn’t what usually first comes to mind!
Prince Edward Island is one of the best winter destinations for solo travellers, especially those who love outdoor activities! It’s easy to travel to, safe, inexpensive, welcoming, you can’t get lost, there’s an abundance of amazing restaurants and so many scenic places to visit. Best of all, visiting PEI during the winter means it’s the off season, which means you’ll have these places to yourself!
While most tourist attractions like museums are closed during the winter, as well as many restaurants, there are still plenty of things to do while visiting as a solo traveller during the winter. From lighthouse hunting, visiting the island’s beaches and parks, hiking, and eating some of the best seafood in Canada, there are limitless activities to take part in.
There are also a lot of fun winter festivals in Charlottetown, PEI’s capital, like the Icy City Festival, WinterDine (where you can indulge in three course meals at amazing restaurants for a fraction of the price it would normally cost!), and the Winter Woodlot tour, where you can learn all about logging, learn about the island’s birds, see how maple syrup is made, and go snowshoeing through a forest!
Staying in Charlottetown is the perfect central location for getting to any point on the island. It’s also the best place for great restaurants and hotels. From cozy pubs like Hunter’s Ale House and the Olde Dublin Pub with an extensive menu to more upscale dining at the Brickhouse or Sims Corner Steakhouse & Oyster House, you won’t go hungry in this charming town! Seafood not your thing? Try the beef – one of the most underrated food items on the island.
There are a number of fabulous places to stay in downtown Charlottetown. Get comfortable in The Holman Grand Hotel, The Great George (free breakfast!), Sydney Boutique Inn (also comes with free breakfast), or indulge with a suite at Slaymaker & Nichol and enjoy some rest and relaxation!
No matter your choice of adventure as a solo traveller in Prince Edward Island during the wintertime, you’ll leave with a sense of yearning to return and appreciation of what this tiny island in Canada has to offer.
Sarah’s Tip: You will need a vehicle to get around the island. Choose something with winter tires and get an SUV if you can – a lot of adventures are off dirt roads and you will want something with ground clearance to help navigate any slick or muddy sections!
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Recommended By: Carley of Fearless Female Travels
Almost every year, I take a solo trip to Roatan, Honduras during the winter. It’s one of my favorite destinations for escaping the cold, Canadian winter, since it’s just a short flight away from Canada and the USA, and it’s a totally under-the-radar Caribbean island. Because Roatan is situated on the Meso-American Reef (the second largest in the world!) it has beautiful beaches, along with great opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Whenever I travel to the island, I base myself in West End, Roatan. This is a charming beachfront town centered around the warm, shallow Half Moon Bay. You can snorkel right from the beach in this protected bay (expect to see colorful fish and maybe even a turtle or two) or you can jump in a water taxi and head along the shore to the beach and reef at West Bay, where the coral comes right up to the sand. West End has the island’s best dive shops, all of which are conveniently located within easy walking distance of hotels and local restaurants. After a long day of diving, I like to stop for a baleada (a tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese, veggies and/or meat, as you like it) and the island’s signature banana-chocolate cocktail, a Monkey La-La. The beach bars are a great place to connect with other solo travelers and meet people to dive or snorkel with.
If you’re not into diving, Roatan also has some easy jungle hikes (check out Carambola Gardens), kayaking along the shore, wild dolphin encounters (I would never recommend seeing dolphins in captivity!) and opportunities to learn about the indigenous Garifuna community. One of my favorite days was spent with other solo travelers on a full-day excursion to the nearby Cayos Cochinos, a group of islands where the Garifuna residents (numbering about 100 or so) share their traditional cooking methods and even offer overnight visits in their rustic huts.
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SAN DIEGO, California
Recommended by: Denise of Chef Denise
If you are a solo traveler looking for a U.S. winter destination to escape the cold weather, head to San Diego, California. While you may not be swimming in the ocean without a wetsuit, sunny days in the high 60’s are pretty much the daily norm. It’s perfect weather for touring San Diego’s most popular neighborhoods! La Jolla is one of the safest and most scenic areas in San Diego. The coastline and the town itself are gorgeous. Stay at one of the Boutique hotels in La Jolla, and you can walk to restaurants, shops, and beaches. Sugar and Scribe serves scrumptious gourmet breakfasts, and try Cody’s for a casual lunch with a view.
Stroll the paved path along the cliffs from the Cave Shop past Ellen browning Scripps Park to see seals and sea lions sunbathing on the rocks and playing in the Pacific. Best of all, winter is seal pupping season, so look for the little ones with their mothers!
To the North of La Jolla, the Torrey Pines area has something unique for those looking for adventure, the Torrey Pines Gliderport. And the picturesque trails of Torrey Pines State Park are a must for nature lovers.
To the southeast, spend a day in Balboa Park. Home to 16 museums, the 1,200 acre park also houses the world-famous San Diego Zoo. However, the architecture of the buildings and the landscape of the grounds is reason enough to visit.
Nearby you’ll find San Diego’s Old Town. Dating back to 1769, Old Town is considered not only the birthplace of San Diego, but also of California. Today it is filled with historic buildings, shops, and restaurants.
In downtown San Diego, the best places for solo travelers are Little Italy and the Gas Lamp District. Both offer lively atmospheres, plenty of shopping experiences, and many delicious outdoor dining options which are great for people watching.
For great views of downtown from the water, take the ferry to Coronado Island. It’s a lovely half hour ride with plenty of Instagrammable moments. When you get to Coronado you can have lunch at the port, or tour the Island and see the landmark Hotel del Coronado.
With so many attractions and activities, it is the perfect Winter destination for the solo traveler. San Diego truly has something for everyone, especially if you enjoy being outdoors. You can do them all or just relax and take in the views and the stunning winter sunsets.
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Recommended by: Bea of Bea Adventurous
Whatever your holiday style is, Thailand has you covered. With an enthralling mix of dense jungles, homestays, wildlife, ancient temples, palm-fringed beaches, and delicious food, it is no wonder that Thailand is at the top of so many people’s bucket lists. In fact, Thailand is a great stepping stone into Asia and a straightforward country to navigate solo. Furthermore, Thailand is a safe country to visit, with serious crime against foreigners rare and the chances of petty theft no higher than anywhere else in the world, and mainly avoidable by using common sense!
The best time to visit Thailand is during the winter months when the weather is dry, and temperatures range between a comfortable 29°C and 34°C. It is worth noting that the weather does differ across the country, especially between the West and East in the South. Snorkelling and diving will be at their best on the West Coast during the winter months. Meanwhile, the East coast remains pretty good all year round; however, you can expect heavy rainfall during November.
If you are looking to step off the well-trodden tourist hamster wheel and explore an area of Thailand less frequented by fellow compatriots, then consider visiting Khao Yai National Park. Established in 1961, it is Thailand’s oldest National Park and home to over 200 wild elephants, gibbons, macaques, sambar and barking deer, gaur, bats, and wild pigs.
Most people are focused on seeing elephants when they visit Khao Yai National Park, and rightly so, spotting them in the wild is a treat like no other. However, one of the most surprising highlights of a trip to this park is the mass emergence of bats every twilight as they set off in search of their evening feast. Thousands upon thousands of bats emerge from the nearby caves like a cloud of smoke that zig-zags its way across the sky. The sound of their fervently flapping wings obscures all other sound while you are guaranteed to be left mesmerized by the sheer volume of bats flying overhead.
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YUCATAN REGION, MEXICO
Recommended by: Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler
The natural beauty, sunny weather, and friendly people make the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico a perfect winter escape for a solo traveler. From the island of Isla Mujeres to the beaches of Tulum, the Caribbean coast of the Mayan Riviera is understandably popular. Add in the historic colonial towns of Valladolid and Merida and the Mayan ruins throughout the area, and you will never run out of things to do.
The Yucatan is a safe and convenient place to visit for the solo traveler. For example, the city of Merida is touted as the safest city in Mexico. There is a clean, comfortable, and efficient bus system to get around. However, renting a car is the best way to get to some of the more remote natural beauty. But don’t worry, driving in Mexico is easy. With good roads and predictable, courteous Mexican drivers a solo traveler can find the hidden gems of the Yucatan.
Certainly, cenotes are one of those gems. A cenote is a sinkhole that results from the collapse of limestone to create an accessible swimming and diving area in the underground water system. Some cenotes are open while others are more cave like. All have gorgeous aqua blue water, often with long roots and cave formations cascading into the water. Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum and Cenote Zaci in Valladolid are amazing cenotes not to be missed.
Mayan ruins provide the rich history and current culture of the Mayan inhabitants of the Yucatan. Besides the world famous ancient city of Chichen Itza, ruins in Tulum, Coba, and Uxmal are sites of Mayan architectural marvels as well. A guided tour at any of the ruin’s sites will expand your understanding of Mayan civilization.
Finally, the pace of Mexico has a way of letting you just relax. The white sand beaches beckon with comfy lounge chairs to enjoy a margarita and a good book. Or stay in a jungle eco-lodge and wake to the sounds of tropical birds. You will forget all about cold weather and dark days in the sunny warmth found on the Yucatan Peninsula.
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What is the Best Destination for the Solo Traveller?
Well, the answer to this question is completely up to you to decide. With all of these recommendations, you can tell that there certainly is no shortage of destinations that are safe and suitable for the solo traveller. Which destination would you choose for your first solo trip?
SAFE SOLO TRAVELS 🙂
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