Top 5 Must-Visit European Destinations – The Ultimate Bucket List

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I cherish solo travel for the freedom it grants me – the ability to chart my course, explore at my own pace, and savor every moment without the constraints of others’ agendas. While traveling with friends and family in European destinations can be delightful, it presents unique challenges. When visiting a destination like Vienna, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the liberty to craft your itinerary is genuinely priceless. You can sleep in as you please and choose every dinner spot, all without compromises or missing out on cherished experiences due to varying interests.

However, solo travel does come with added responsibilities. If planning a solo trip, selecting your destination wisely and exercising prudence throughout your journey is crucial. So, which European cities are optimal for solo travelers? We sought cities in tranquil nations with exceptional quality of life. We also assessed their public transportation, English proficiency, and the allure of their attractions.

For those planning a solo European adventure, we recommend considering one or more of the following cities.

Zürich, Switzerland-European cities

Why Zürich Stands Out as a Top Choice for Solo Travelers

  • Switzerland secures the seventh spot on the esteemed Global Peace Index, underscoring its tranquility and safety.
  • Zürich claims the remarkable second position worldwide in Mercer’s quality of life rankings, reflecting its exceptional living standards.
  • In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global rankings of safest cities, Zürich impressively secures the seventh position and ranks a commendable third among European cities.
  • Navigating Zürich is a breeze, with the city frequently appearing on lists of cities with exceptional public transit and pedestrian-friendly environments.
  • Moreover, Zürich boasts a population with remarkable English proficiency, ensuring seamless communication for travelers.
Zürich, Switzerland, European Destinations

What to go see

If you like art: Kunsthaus Zürich

 This renowned art museum welcomes visitors from Tuesday to Sunday. Inside, you can admire Picasso’s cubist masterpieces, Monet’s enchanting impressionist landscapes, and the vibrant paintings of Chagall. The museum also contains medieval sculptures and artworks from talented local Zürich artists. Exploring art museums is a personal preference of mine when I’m solo; I find them to be welcoming spaces where I can immerse myself in the art that captivates me without feeling out of place or rushed.

If you like the outdoors: Üetliberg

From the summit of this mountain, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of the city and Lake Zürich. You can reach Üetliberg by taking a train from Zürich’s central train station or an hour-long hike. Upon reaching the peak, you can take in the expansive views, bike on the Triemli and Höckler bike trails, explore the renowned Path of the Planets hiking trail, or savor traditional cuisine and seasonal delicacies at one of the nearby restaurants.

If you like shopping, Bahnhofstrasse

This renowned shopping destination offers diverse options, from upscale boutiques and chocolate emporiums to thrift stores and local markets. If you have a passion for fashion, you can explore many stores, including those featuring brands like Louis Vuitton and Tommy Hilfiger. On the other hand, if you have a craving for sweets, you can indulge in the offerings of specialty chocolate shops like Teuscher and Läderach.

Vienna, Austria-European cities

  • Vienna ranks first globally on the Mercer Quality of Life Index, ensuring an exceptional quality of life.
  • Austria secures the third spot worldwide on the Global Peace Index, emphasizing its commitment to Peace and stability.
  • Locals exhibit high proficiency in English, easing communication for visitors.
  • An efficient public transportation system simplifies access to various tourist attractions across the city.
  • Vienna offers numerous captivating museums and historical landmarks for exploration.
Vienna, Austria , european place

What to go see

If you like history, Schönbrunn Palace

One of Vienna’s most prominent attractions is this UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can explore a magnificent palace and the history of notable individuals like Maria Theresa, the Bavarian princess. While the adjacent park is free to visit, it’s highly recommended to consider a slight additional fee for access to the palace’s enchanting gardens. Some ticket choices for the palace tour also grant you admission to these splendid gardens.

If you like architecture, St. Stephen’s Cathedral

This cathedral is among Vienna’s most renowned landmarks. Whether you admire it from afar or embark on a guided tour of the cathedral and its accompanying catacombs, the building’s beauty is truly captivating.

If you like art, Kunsthistorisches Museum

Visiting this museum is a treat for its stunning historic architecture and an absolute must for art enthusiasts and history aficionados. Inside, you can marvel at Vermeer, Raphael, Velásquez, and Rembrandt masterpieces. Additionally, your ticket grants you access to the Collection of Ancient Instruments and Arms and Armor housed in the Neue Burg.

Copenhagen, Denmark-European cities

Why Copenhagen is our top choice for solo travelers:

 Denmark ranks second globally on the Global Peace Index. Copenhagen secures the ninth spot on the Mercer Quality of Life Index worldwide. The residents boast exceptional English proficiency.

What to go see

If you want to enjoy city culture, Nyhavn

This part of the city is situated alongside the canal, offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy a canal boat tour, unwind with a beer at a nearby café, and marvel at the vibrant buildings, some of which once housed the renowned fairy-tale author Hans Christian Andersen.

Nyhavn

If you like art: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

At this renowned museum, you’ll have the chance to admire masterpieces by some of the world’s most esteemed artists. Its vast collection encompasses antique scu, sculptures, and works by renowned painters like Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Monet. Whether you have just a few hours to spare or plan to dedicate an entire day, you can even savor a delightful coffee and lunch experience at the museum’s charming Winter Garden café.

If you like history, Rosenborg Castle

The renowned castle boasts a treasury housing crown jewels, portraits of illustrious monarchs, antique furnishings with historical significance, and exquisite surrounding grounds.

Prague, Czech Republic-European cities

Why we recommend Prague for solo travelers

  • Prague ranks high in quality of life, according to Mercer.
  • The Czech Republic is the sixth-ranked country on the Global Peace Index.
  • Walking is a convenient way to reach many of Prague’s attractions from centrally located hotels.
  • Prague offers a more affordable cost of living than several other European cities, with lower coffee prices.

What to go see

If you like architecture, Charles Bridge

Visiting Prague without experiencing the iconic Charles Bridge would be a missed opportunity. This historic bridge provides a scenic passage from the old town area to Prague Castle, making it a convenient stop during your sightseeing itinerary. Additionally, the bridge often hosts local artists, musicians, and performers, allowing you to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture as you stroll across it, whether en route to Prague Castle or exploring the city in the evening while savoring delicious local Trdelnik pastries.

Prague, Czech Republic

If you like history, Prague Castle

This castle comprises a captivating complex of historical structures. You can wander through the royal garden, admire the grandeur of St. Vitus Cathedral, and explore Golden Lane, where smaller buildings once housed servants, sharpshooters, and goldsmiths.

If you like local culture, Old Town Square

If you’re seeking a delightful evening destination, consider Old Town Square. Here, you can enjoy dinner at an al fresco café on pleasant evenings, indulge in local pastries or gelato for dessert, witness captivating street performances, or marvel at the renowned astronomical clock.

If you like parks, Letná Park

Occasionally, it’s enjoyable to meander through a stunning outdoor oasis away from the bustling tourist hubs. Letná Park provides a serene setting for strolls and engaging with amiable locals. Moreover, the park boasts stunning vistas that overlook the city and Prague Castle. It is an ideal spot to conclude your day as the sun sets and the city comes to life with twinkling lights.

Dublin, Ireland-European cities

Why we recommend Dublin for solo travelers

  • Ireland ranks 12th on the Global Peace.
  • English is the primary language in Ireland, making it easy for English-speaking visitors to navigate, order food, make reservations, and interact with locals.
  • Tourists can effortlessly explore Dublin on foot and discover its top attractions.
  • Dublin consistently receives high rankings as one of the friendliest cities in the world.

Dublin is conveniently located for day trips to stunning destinations, like Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher.

What to go see

If you like history and books, Trinity College and the Long Room

Trinity College is one of the world’s most renowned ancient educational institutions. Take a stroll through its picturesque grounds and explore its historic edifices. Alternatively, if you have a passion for literature, take advantage of the opportunity to tour the renowned Long Room at the Old Library, which houses the Book of Kells and an extensive collection of antique books.

Dublin, Ireland

If you like parks, St. Stephen’s Green

This park is located in the city’s center, offering an ideal spot to unwind in the open air and immerse yourself in the local culture, all while being close to shops and restaurants.

If you like alcohol, Teeling Distillery

Ireland is renowned worldwide for its alcoholic beverages. If interested, you can explore the well-known Guinness Storehouse or Jameson Distillery. Additionally, we recommend visiting the lesser-known but active Teeling Distillery to witness the whiskey-making process and savor its flavors firsthand.

Guidelines for ensuring your safety while traveling alone in European destinations

The places we’ve recommended are notably secure, but regardless of your destination, it’s crucial to consider certain precautions when traveling solo.

  1. Pack Wisely: We advise packing essential items such as a concealed money belt, a power converter, a secure bag, a luggage lock, printed maps of your destination, and a portable charger.
  2. Stay Connected: Inform a trusted person back home about your whereabouts and provide them with a loose itinerary detailing when you’ll be in specific areas. Arrange regular check-ins via phone calls, emails, or messages to ensure they know your well-being.
  3. Research Your Destination: Conduct thorough research on your destination before your trip. This entails getting to know the local laws and customs, researching public transportation choices, recognizing popular attractions, reviewing weather forecasts, and staying updated on current events in the region.
  4. Keep Digital and Physical Copies: Create digital copies of physical documents like your passport and driver’s license by taking photos. Additionally, print out necessary documentation such as hotel reservations, car rental agreements, airline tickets, and any other essential information in case your phone becomes inaccessible.
  5. Plan Generously: Allocate a sufficient budget that allows for flexibility. Never feel compelled to compromise your safety due to financial concerns. Ensure your budget includes extra funds for contingencies like taking a taxi in areas where you don’t feel secure, upgrading to a more secure hotel if necessary, or purchasing a last-minute plane ticket if your plans change unexpectedly.
  6. Keep the essentials on your person: You may carry a purse or backpack while exploring a new city. However, it’s crucial to remember to store specific requirements in your pockets or a money belt. This precaution ensures that you will only find yourself in a challenging situation with access to your hotel key or phone if your bag or cash is misplaced or stolen.

Alternative European cities suitable for solo travelers

Munich, Germany, European cities

The subsequent cities did not secure a spot in our top five list, but they all represent excellent choices for intelligent solo travelers seeking safety:

  1. Munich, Germany
  2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. Stockholm, Sweden
  4. Ljubljana, Slovenia
  5. Bruges, Belgium
  6. Reykjavik, Iceland
  7. Helsinki, Finland

Rest assured, these cities offer a secure and enjoyable experience for solo travelers.

Traveling solo empowers you to establish your itinerary and emphasize the sights and experiences that most matter to you. It also provides a unique opportunity for self-discovery and a deeper connection with a new location, distinct from the experience of traveling with companions. Make thoughtful destination choices and exercise prudent judgment during your journey to ensure a fulfilling exploration of a new locale while maintaining your safety. Click here for more about travel destinations.

Which European cities are on your wish list? Are there any you’re eager to explore independently? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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