Thinking of traveling alone? Well, perhaps now’s the time to take your first solo trip. Exploring the world alone will make you present in a way you never really are when you travel with other people – you’ll soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the destinations you’re exploring, and you might even be more inclined to make friends or try new things. If you like the sound of that, here’s why your first solo trip should be Europe:
Europe is easy to get around
If you’ve never been on a solo trip before, you might not want to not venture too far right away. This makes Europe the perfect place to head to, with short plane journeys making numerous destinations feel far enough away to feel like an adventure, but close enough to home to feel a little bit safe and familiar.
Also, countries border one another, so it’s easy to move between cities and entire countries on the train – without the need for visas – and when you’re exploring a city itself, bicycle hire is often cheap and plenty of fun. In fact, Amsterdam has more bicycles than people, Oslo has started banning cars from its city centre, Hamburg is starting to implement plans for pedestrian and bike-only areas, and over half of Copenhagen’s workers cycle to work every day – so you’ll be in good company if you fancy exploring beautiful cities on two wheels.
Europe is pretty affordable
European travel is cheap – or at least, it can be cheaper than choosing long-haul destinations. Low-cost airlines are plentiful across Europe, and if you’re good at finding flights at low prices, you’ll easily snap up a good deal. You don’t have to spend much money while you’re traveling in Europe either: eat locally (European cuisine is varied and delicious), travel in the low season, book your flights and accommodation online if you want to make your money stretch a bit further.
English is widely spoken in Europe
Is your Spanish a little bit rusty? Don’t worry – Europeans are generally very good at speaking English, which means you’ll get by perfectly well in all major European cities without needing to take a phrase book.
But if you want to have a go at learning another language, Europe is the perfect place to do it: European languages tend to be easier for native easier speakers than Asian languages, for example, and you can use a combination of English, local phrases and even words from neighboring countries and be understood. If in doubt? Miming and doodling will get you a long way!
So, where should you go if Europe is top of your bucket list? Well, there are beautiful cities to explore (Rome, Monaco, Venice, and Barcelona, for example), and certainly no shortage of beautiful beaches – sunbathing in the Algarve or enjoying lazy afternoons on the Amalfi coast is sure to see you feeling relaxed and sun-kissed in no time. Here are few more ideas to get you started:
Amsterdam (and its lesser-known cousin, Rotterdam): bustling with bicycles, and streaked with canals and cobbled streets, the Netherlands is the perfect place for your first solo trip.
Iceland: separate from the European continent, but undoubtedly worth the effort flying there, Iceland is home to some of the most breath-taking scenery you’ll ever see and the perfect place for solo travel. Explore waterfalls, lagoons, volcanoes, and glaciers, and if you’re brave enough, try a scuba diving expedition through sections of the mid-Atlantic ridge.
Paris: while it’s known as the city for lovers, there’s a good chance you’ll fall head over heels for it while you’re traveling solo. It’s the perfect place to do some shopping, or simply pull up a chair for pain au chocolate and coffee. While away afternoons in the Louvre, see the Mona Lisa and climb the steps of Montmartre.
So, if you want to do whatever you please, at your own place, consider making Europe the first destination for your solo travels.