How To Solo Travel Through Europe: Your Comprehensive Guide from Independent Explorers

Lady sitting on beach in italy with cliff full of buildings in background

6min read

Published 22 February 2024


Picture this. You're on holiday in Italy and you're hungry. Sounds like a dream situation, right? Now imagine you're travelling with a group of friends or your family. You love them dearly, but one is vegetarian, one is lactose intolerant, one already ate while waiting for everyone else to finish up in the museum and one doesn't like pasta.

Suddenly, it's a waking nightmare. You daydream about how easy this would be if you were alone...

All jokes aside, we know most of the reasons for people to solo travel in Europe aren't food-related. From schedules that refuse to coordinate to unaligned budgets or a simple desire for solo soul searching.

But just because you've decided to travel by yourself, it doesn't mean you're alone.

Last year 25% of our customers were solo female travellers, so we know a thing or two about booking a ticket for one. Keep reading for solo travel tips and tricks that will have you Eat, Pray, Love-ing your way around Europe in no time!

Man with backpack looking out at Lisbon city and river
Man with backpack looking out at Lisbon city and river
Man with backpack looking out at Lisbon city and river

The good, the bad and the beautiful of travelling solo

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to travelling solo. If you ask us, the positives far outweigh the negatives, but it still helps to know what you're getting yourself in to before jetting off into the sunset alone.

The PROs

  • Solo travel is a control freak's dream! If you want to do something, you can do it. If you've had enough of something, you can skip it. You get to pick the pace, activities, food, destinations and literally everything else.

  • It's easier to stick to your budget with a travel party of one. If an activity or destination is too expensive, you can find a cheaper alternative without feeling like a spoilt sport.

  • Total flexibility with travel dates and holiday length. It's not hard to find dates that work when the only schedule that matters is yours.

  • Ironically, travelling alone is a great way to meet like-minded people.

  • Travelling solo forces you to become more self-reliant, independent and comfortable in your own company.

The CONs

  • It can get lonely after a while, especially when you're having all these incredible experiences without being able to share them.

  • No one to watch your stuff when you go to the bathroom at the airport.

  • Single supplements - the ultimate enemy of the solo traveller.

  • If anything goes wrong along the way you'll have to sort it out on your own which can be overwhelming. Unless, of course, you booked with a travel agent...

Lady looking out at snowy mountains
Lady looking out at snowy mountains
Lady looking out at snowy mountains

Balancing spontaneity with solid planning

Flying by the seat of your pants can be fun, but there are some things you really don't want to try and organise on the fly while trying to connect to the free Wi-Fi in a random Spanish McDonald's.

Trust us, we've been there so you don't have to.

Before you head to the airport, make sure the following things are all sorted.


Good accommodation in European countries can get snapped up months in advance, especially for the summer season, so it's always a good idea to lock this in early.

On top of having more accommodation options to choose from, it's also likely that you'll save some serious money by booking in advance. And with the cost of living being what it is, anything that can save a few dollars here and there is definitely worth doing in our books.


Even though travelling between European countries is super easy, we'd still recommend booking your major flights, buses and trains before you leave. You'll generally be able to lock in a much better deal and more convenient travel times by organising this in advance.

It also makes it easier to plan activities and accommodation when you know exactly when you're going to arrive.

Of course, this doesn't mean you shouldn't still book spontaneous day trips while staying in major cities! If you have a free day in Milan, why not jump on a train to Lake Como? Or trade the UK for a day spent in France by catching the Eurostar from London to Paris.

Once you've got your tickets sorted, it's also a good idea to work out how you're going to get from the airport or station to your accommodation. Is it within walking distance? Can you jump on public transport? Do you need to get an Uber or taxi?

By planning it out in advance you'll avoid having to work it out while lugging your suitcase down a very beautiful, but narrow and uneven, European street.

Train on side of mountain in italy
Train on side of mountain in italy
Train on side of mountain in italy

Visas, money and internet coverage

Travelling on an Australian passport? If your trip is less than three months, you'll probably be able to visit most European countries without a visa thanks to the free movement allowed within the Schengen Area. Not all European countries are a part of the Schengen Area, so it's always important to check each country's specific entry and exit requirements before you travel.

And if you're heading to Europe next year, you'll also want to keep an eye on the new ETIAS requirements. The new system (similar to the USA's ESTA) is currently expected to kick off in mid-2025.

After you've double-checked your visa requirements, it's time to organise your international spending money and mobile plan so you're ready to go as soon as you land.

If using a credit or debit card from home, let your bank know you're going overseas so they don't freeze your card once you start using it. It also doesn't hurt to have a backup spending option and a little bit of local cash when you travel solo, just in case.

EXPERT TIP: Go digital and buy an eSIM for your next Europe trip. Easy to install and top-up as you jump from country to country, they're a great way to stay connected. And you'll never have to use those tiny SIM remover tools again!

Solo travel should be fun and spontaneous, not stressful. If you're a happy-go-lucky sort of traveller and the idea of all this planning is giving you a headache, our Travel Experts are here to help with the nitty gritty!

How to budget when you can't split the bills

One of the biggest downsides to solo travel in Europe is that you don't have anyone to split expenses with. But while this does make certain things (like accommodation) more pricey, it doesn't mean your budget has to go out the window.

On top of setting your own pace, solo travel allows you to set the budget without having to consider anyone else's financial situation.

Here are some of the best ways to cut costs...

  • Stay at hostels rather than hotels. And if bunking in a room of 12 randoms isn't something you're keen on, some hostels also offer private rooms which might be a good compromise.

  • Book accommodation, tours, flights, train travel etc. in advance for better rates.

  • Look for affordable activities like free walking tours, museums and galleries, local parks, etc.

  • Major cities like Paris and London will always cause more stress to your wallet than smaller cities like Lyon or Birmingham, for example. Scandinavian countries like Iceland and Norway in Northern Europe are also notoriously expensive, so swapping them for cheaper destinations in Eastern Europe like Budapest or Bucharest can also help your money stretch further.

  • Save on cheaper food options like street food or local markets. And if your accommodation includes breakfast, make the most of it!

  • Booking a small group tour will typically include necessities like food, transport and accommodation which can make this one of the best ways to save money when planning a solo trip. Plus, it's common for a small group tour to let you bunk with another single traveller for a reduced fee, giving you the chance to make a new friend AND avoid the dreaded single supplement at the same time! A win-win if you're trying to experience Europe solo travel while sticking to your budget.

Lady buying flowers at market in europe
Lady buying flowers at market in europe
Lady buying flowers at market in europe

The importance of travelling light

If ever there was a time to travel light, it's when visiting Europe by yourself.

Solo travel is all about independence and self-reliance. If you can't lift your luggage onto a bag rack or up flights of stairs without help you're in for a difficult experience. Let's imagine your accommodation doesn't have an elevator and your room is on the top floor. Will you be able to make it up there on your own?

Packing for your first solo trip can be hard, but just remember that you probably need less than you think. You'll also want to make sure you leave enough room for a souvenir or two.

Solo, but not alone - how to meet people while travelling

Just because you've chosen to travel solo, it doesn't mean that you have to spend your entire trip practising quiet introspection.

Here are some sure-fire ways to make friends with other solo travellers.

Book a walking tour

Not only are they the perfect way to get your bearings in a new city, walking tours are a great way to meet other travellers from all over the world.

Strike up a conversation with your fellow tour-goers, swap travel stories, offer to take each other's pictures in front of famous landmarks and you might even find a new friend to explore the city with afterwards.

Walking tours are often free across Europe, with travellers tipping their tour guide an amount of their choosing at the end of the experience. As a general guide, it's usually somewhere between €10 and €20 depending on the guide and the length of the tour.

Stay at hostels for an instant community

Hostels are more than just budget-friendly alternatives to hotels. They're often vibrant community hubs and staying in one is the perfect way to meet new people as you travel Europe solo.

Some hostels organise social activities for guests, and you can always head to the communal kitchen area to share a meal with other travellers or bond over drinks at the hostel bar.

Four young people with backpacks entering room in hostel
Four young people with backpacks entering room in hostel
Four young people with backpacks entering room in hostel

Small group tours and activities

We've saved the best for last because one of the easiest ways to meet new people on a solo journey is to book a small group tour or activity.

From delicious food tours and cooking classes to multi-day small group trips that jump from one European country to another, it's hard not to bond with your fellow travellers after sharing such incredible experiences.

Safety tips for solo travellers

While solo travel in Europe is generally pretty safe, there are some things you can do to look after yourself. After all, the only person you can 100% rely on is yourself.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings and never walk around with your head buried in your phone (not even for Google Maps) or music blasting in your ear.

  • Trust your gut (particularly if you're a solo female traveller) and never feel bad for abandoning a situation that doesn't sit well with you.

  • Keep valuables out of sight and avoid bags and backpacks that are easy targets for pickpockets.

  • Stay connected to friends and family back home and give someone you trust a copy of important documents like your passport, travel insurance and itinerary so they knows where you'll be.

  • Keep an eye on local news so you're aware of any planned protests, transport strikes, etc. and can plan accordingly.

  • Arrive in a new destination during the day. There's a reason that flight landing in Berlin at midnight is half the price of the flight landing at midday. Do you really want to be trying to make your way from the airport to your accommodation with your suitcase in the dead of night?

  • With every incredible tourist attraction in Europe comes a not-so-incredible tourist scam. Look up common scams before you travel so you know what to look for.

EXPERT TIP: Keep a photocopy of important documents like your passport, visas and travel insurance somewhere safe and separate from the original documents while you travel.

For more tips on safety for solo travellers, visit Smartraveller.

Lady in europe holding phone
Lady in europe holding phone
Lady in europe holding phone

Our top 10 solo travel destinations in Europe

Now for the fun part: choosing a destination.

From small towns and breathtaking views to vibrant big cities - solo travel in Europe has plenty to offer. Here are 10 of our favourite European travel destinations for your next solo adventure.

1. Italy

Immerse yourself in la dolce vita with a solo trip to Italy! From sampling authentic pasta dishes in charming trattorias to incredible cathedrals and ancient ruins bursting with history.

Activities for solo travellers: Take a cooking class in Rome, spend a museum day at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence or explore the small sun-soaked villages of Cinque Terre.

2. Spain

Feast on tapas in bustling local bars, take in the incredible architecture and soak up the sun with beach days spent along the Mediterranean when you travel solo in Spain.

Activities for solo travellers: Take part in the famous La Tomatina festival in Buñol, visit the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell in Barcelona or attend a flamenco show in Seville.

3. France

Take a solo sojourn around France and experience joie de vivre first-hand. Walk along the Seine in Paris, sip champagne in Champagne and explore the many grand châteaux up and down the country.

Activities for solo travellers: Climb the Eiffel Tower and visit the Louvre in Paris, book a wine-tasting tour in Bordeaux or escape into the mountains and explore the hiking trails of the French Alps.

4. Greece

From sweet baklava and mouthwatering souvlaki at local eateries to iconic cliffside villages set against the striking blue of the Aegean, a holiday to Greece is never a bad idea. The country's interesting history and exciting nightlife make it the perfect destination for those travelling solo in Europe!

Activities for solo travellers: Dance the night away on Mykonos or Corfu; island hop around Santorini, Naxos and Paros; or visit the historic Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens.

lady with backpack walking through town in greece touching flowers
lady with backpack walking through town in greece touching flowers
lady with backpack walking through town in greece touching flowers

5. Türkiye

Visit bustling bazaars and beautiful mosques steeped in history as you enjoy the rich blend of Eastern and Western Europe that exists in Türkiye.

Activities for solo travellers: Explore the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, take a solo balloon ride over Cappadocia or spend a few hours relaxing in the famous hot springs of Pamukkale.

6. The Netherlands

From world-class museums featuring Dutch Masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer to tulip fields in full bloom and delicious poffertjes - you'll never run out of things to experience in the Netherlands.

Activities for solo travellers: Hire a bike in Amsterdam and immerse yourself in the sombre history of the Anne Frank House, admire the iconic windmills at Zaanse Schans or visit the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in spring.

7. Iceland

You'll struggle to find a more magical holiday destination than Iceland. Brimming with otherworldly landscapes, friendly locals and small picturesque cities, it's perfect for solo travellers looking to get off the beaten path.

Activities for solo travellers: Admire the view from the top of the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík, book a northern lights and Golden Circle tour or go scuba diving between tectonic plates in Þingvellir National Park.

8. The Czech Republic

Visit famous Prague landmarks like the Charles Bridge and Astronomical Clock or sample authentic Czech beers in local pubs. Plus, with neighbouring countries like Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland, there's plenty to explore around the Czech Republic while solo in Europe.

Activities for solo travellers: Join a walking tour around Prague's Old Town or relax in the thermal springs of Karlovy Vary.

9. Germany

Fairytale castles, beer and pretzels - what more could you want from a European holiday destination? Visit Germany around September/October time and you can even experience the famous Oktoberfest in Munich!

Activities for solo travellers: Join a tour to Neuschwanstein Castle, visit the historic Berlin Wall Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin or enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many biergartens (beer gardens) in Munich.

10. The UK

Though famously no longer a part of the European Union, the UK is still one of our favourite destinations for solo travel in Europe. Home to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, there's something for every traveller in the UK.

Even though it's widely spoken across Europe, the UK is the only destination on our list with English as its local language making it a good option for first-time solo travellers.

Activities for solo travellers: Get lost in the history of Edinburgh Castle, nurture your artistic side at the V&A museum in London or plan a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath.

Ready to pack your bags and see Europe solo?

Flight Centre

Flight Centre acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia.

© Flight Centre Travel Group Limited. ATAS Accreditation No. A10412.

*Travel restrictions & conditions apply. Review any specific conditions stated and our general terms at Terms and Conditions. Prices & taxes are correct as at the date of publication & are subject to availability and change without notice. Prices quoted are on sale until the dates specified unless otherwise stated or sold out prior. Prices are per person.