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Are you planning to do a solo journey? But you need to know where you can start.
It would help if you had tips about packing ideas, safety tips and advice to explore cities. Here is the shortlist of the best solo travel tips and solo European destinations.
1. New to solo travel? If you haven't travelled alone before, start with a short weekend trip to get used to being in your own company before you dive into more extended trips. This will also help you to figure out what kind of travel experience you enjoy, helping you to decide what you want to do and where you want to go when you take longer trips. Start by taking a weekend break to a nearby city or take a quick getaway on your own and build it up from there to get an idea of what suits you.
2. Be courageous, and do it! Travelling alone is fabulous as we can make 'friends' and be self-indulgent.
3. Take the time to meet the locals and learn about their culture. It's better than any Google search, and you will make memories you will never forget.
4. Another way to start your travel alone is to select something you like to do in your home city in one day and do that.
5. I am mindful of giving myself ample time before and after a trip. Before, to dream/plan/pack and get excited about the upcoming adventure. And after having solid time to decompress, unpack, and absorb. Building this time in as part of the adventure keeps the stress low.
6. I did a one-page health summary listing my doctor, meds, allergies, and contact info for people with my POAs. I keep it folded up in my wallet just in case something happens, which it has, but at home.
7. I bought a RoadID years ago when I started travelling solo. I have the "interactive" one. I go to my page on their website and can add/delete/modify information.
8. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
9. Asking for help on a solo trip can take many forms. During the planning phase, ask family and friends for advice they have about the destination. Along the way, ask hotel staff for tips on favourite places to visit, and consult social media for the best homes for photos. And, on images, don't be afraid to ask a stranger to snap your picture at different points of interest. Usually, people are happy to help, and there's no reason to be shy.
10. Also, offer to take photos for people if you notice someone will be left out. It makes them so happy! Spreading good vibes is one of the ways we can contribute positively to a location.
SOLO TRAVEL DESTINATIONS IN EUROPE
Here are the ten best destinations in Europe for solo travellers.
BEST SOLO TRAVEL DESTINATION FOR: ART
Forget the Dutch capital's reputation for stoner tourism and stag do's. For solo travellers searching for a European city break, Amsterdam ticks all the boxes as a cultured, safe, progressive and friendly city. Start by wandering the elaborate canal network, lined with narrow, pleasingly wonky townhouses with gabled facades, a legacy of Amsterdam's 17th-century golden age. Or take off on two wheels, joining the locals on the city's comprehensive network of well-marked and off-road cycle paths. You'll find Rembrandts and Vermeers at the Rijksmuseum, Jackson Pollocks and Andy Warhols at the Stedelijk Modern and contemporary art museum, and get your fill of Van Goghs at the Van Gogh Museum, all housed within the museum district. The city's sizeable freelance population makes for friendly, buzzy cafés and bars like CT Coffee & Coconuts, and surprisingly affordable accommodation comes courtesy of hip hotels like the Hoxton and pushed-up hostel, Generator. And now Londoners can get there in under four hours on the Eurostar.
Tresco, Scilly Isles
BEST SOLO TRAVEL DESTINATION FOR: SECLUSION
For island life without the hefty price tag and carbon footprint, the Scilly Isles are fast earning a reputation as a subtropical paradise with a village's friendliness. Tresco is an excellent choice, with affordable cottage rentals or the 16-room New Inn for pub grub with a pool. Apart from the spectacular white sand beach, there's plenty to do solo on this island, most of it best navigated by bike. The main sight is Tresco Abbey Garden, a horticultural gem established in the 1830s that now houses over 20,000 exotic plants from around the globe. The Valhalla Collection, within the grounds, displays ornate figureheads salvaged from ships wrecked around the island. The windswept, rugged north of the island offers dramatic hikes, or you can hire a kayak from Tresco Sailing Club and explore rocky coves by sea. Round off a perfect day by dining on Mediterranean dishes like crab linguine at the beachfront Ruin Beach Café.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
BEST SOLO TRAVEL DESTINATION FOR: AN ADRENALIN RUSH
Mountain resorts don't come much more photogenic than Lake Bled, a pristine aquamarine lake accessorised with a tiny island that, in turn, is artfully decorated with a medieval castle. Throw in the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, and it's no surprise that Lake Bled is Slovenia's most popular resort. But providing you avoid the busy peak months of July and August, Bled makes for a dream destination for solo adventurers, with abundant adrenalin-spiking activities like kayaking, canyoning, skiing, mountain biking, climbing and more. A short two-hour bus trip from the capital, Ljubljana (itself brilliant city-break material if you want to stir some culture and cuisine into your action-packed adventure, Bled particularly shines for its independent and family-run restaurants and hotels. Stay at chic Vila Mia in a restored period mansion, or go for the grande dame Vila Bled, spend your days out on the lake or in the forest, and round it all off with a seafood platter at the informal local favourite, Oštarija Peglez'n.
BEST SOLO TRAVEL DESTINATION FOR: A FOOD ODYSSEY
For food-obsessed solo travellers, the lively historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy offers all the riches of other Italian cities with fewer of the hassles. Bologna, nicknamed 'the fat one' thanks to its status as a culinary heavyweight, is more affordable and walkable than Florence or Rome, and a large university population keeps it grounded and free-spirited. This is a place to wander medieval streets and marvel at arched colonnades, Renaissance fountains and inviting piazzas all over town, and then pilgrimage to the wineries and farm-to-table restaurants in the surrounding countryside. The family-run Art Hotel Commercianti, housed in an 11th-century building, places you close to Bologna Cathedral, Piazza Maggiore, Via dell'Indipendenza and, best of all, the food markets of the centro storico, particularly the Quadrilatero. The most spectacular dining in Bologna is generally found at informal shared-tables osterias, like local hangout Osteria dell'Orsa, which is another blessing for lone travellers, because nobody knows (or cares) if you're dining solo.
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I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.