The Safest Destinations for Solo Travellers
This article was written in 2019. The current list of safest countries is here.
There are many incredible destinations around the world that are safe to travel around solo — from cultural hotspots in Europe to the varied landscapes of the Far East.
Here is our list of the safest countries around the world for solo travellers to visit.
Which is the best country to travel around on your own?
According to the 2022 Global Peace Index (GPI), which is curated by the independent Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), these are the safest countries in which to travel alone.
Crime rates in Iceland are low and its healthcare system is one of the best in the world. With this added reassurance, it's no surprise that Iceland is a popular destination for solo travel.
Travelling alone gives you the freedom to move at your own pace — with 130 active and inactive volcanoes to explore, a large variety of museums in Reykjavik (including the Perlan, with its ice cave) Iceland is the perfect place for solo travellers who like a packed itinerary.
If you do need some time to slow down, relax in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, or join an organised guided tour for the chance to witness the famous Northern Lights.
2. New Zealand
New Zealand ranks second on the GPI’s list of safest countries. Around 200,000 British travellers visit New Zealand each year, and the large majority have a trouble-free experience.
New Zealand is brimming with opportunities for outdoor adventure, from hiking through the country’s rolling hills to hopping in a canoe and traversing the blue waters of Abel Tasman National Park. Immerse yourself in the fascinating Maori culture and visit famous sites such as the Hobbiton Movie Set and the geothermal Wai-O-Tapu waters.
There's a great online community of backpackers you can join to share advice and get to know people before you set off. But, when meeting in person anyone you've previously only met online, do make sure it's in a public place.
In 2018, crime rates dropped in the Algarve — one of the most popular locations for tourists to Portugal.
Its growing hostel culture is affordable for solo travellers and provides an opportunity to meet new people. The country’s excellent public transport links also mean you’ll be able to navigate around its fantastic cities with ease.
Visitors to Portugal could take a food and drink tour to sample delicious port wine in Porto or creamy pasteis de nata in Lisbon, and spend time with fellow solo travellers along the way.
Austria is one of the safest countries to visit, ranking fourth on the GPI; its capital, Vienna, was ranked sixth in the world for personal safety.
While in the capital, there’s plenty to see and do. You could plan a trip to Hofburg Palace or or venture into the mountains further southwest to take a solo hike in the Gesäuse National Park.
Approximately 62% of the country is covered by the Austrian Alps. With such an extensive mountain range, skiing is an activity many solo visitors enjoy. Take the cable car up to the summit of Kitzbüheler Horn, which is nearly 2000 metres high, to enjoy dramatic scenes across the valley.
Denmark is often regarded as one of the happiest countries in the world. It usually hovers in the top five on the World Happiness Report, even though Covid.
There are plenty of things to do when travelling alone in Denmark, including hiking to the partially buried Rubjerg Knude lighthouse on the northwest coast or enjoying the world's oldest amusement park, Bakken in Klampenborg.
With a relatively flat landscape, one of the best ways to get around its capital, Copenhagen, is by taking a guided group cycling tour of the city. Afterwards, you can experience the feeling of hygge in a cosy pub with some of your fellow cyclists.
Ranking sixth on the Global Peace Index, Canada is one of the safest locations to visit alone, as well as being a dream for the outdoorsy solo traveller.
You can explore the abundance of nature in the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta at your own pace. Admire the beauty of Moraine Lake and go whale watching off the coast of Vancouver Island.
Alternatively, you could spend some time in Toronto, where you can visit art galleries, sample craft beer from some of the many microbreweries and grab tickets for a Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey game.
Crime in Singapore is heavily policed, with strong punishments for those who break the law. This contributes to a crime rate lower than in many other countries.
Foodies will love Singapore's diverse and innovative cuisine. In 2021 alone, 69 eateries were awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand award for their high standard of cuisine at an affordable price. And, with all the hustle and bustle of the open-air food markets, solo travellers will never feel completely alone in Singapore.
At eighth place on the list, Slovenia is rich in culture and offers an incredible range of activities that are ideal for the solo traveller.
Join a group tour to have the travel taken care of as you see some of Slovenia's fantastic sites. You can visit the country’s charming capital, Ljubljana, take in scenic views of Lake Bled (and visit the island in the middle of the lake), venture into Postojna Cave to discover its incredible 16-metre-high stalagmite, and bask in the thermal waters of the Dolenjska region.
According to the GPI, Japan is one of the world's safest countries. In 2018, its crime rates hit a record low, particularly in the number of thefts. Japan’s cities have widened the use of security cameras, and an increased police presence has improved the safety for locals and tourists.
As well as hotels and hostels, capsule accommodation is an affordable choice for solo travellers. This is where you sleep in cosy single pods, which are perfect if you just need a bed for the night.
For a fascinating glimpse into local life in Japan, take the unique opportunity to join a family in their home for a traditional home-cooked meal and a chat.
In 2018, the crime rate in Czechia (the Czech Republic) dropped by 5%. Plan a trip to Prague, a top city-break destination with a Medieval Gothic skyline of towering cathedral spires and preserved castles. Alternatively, you could skip the crowds and visit the pretty spa town of Karlovy Vary to unwind with a treatment at one of the establishments in the riverside spa district.
If you want to travel but are not sure if going solo is right for you, an escorted tour can help you meet people as you explore new destinations.
Is it safe to travel alone as a woman?
Yes, it is safe to travel alone as a woman, as long as you prepare and do your research on your desired destination. Take some time to read guides and reviews on the countries you’re considering visiting to help you travel with confidence.