Two Is Not Always Better Than One: We’re Exploring Some of the Best Solo Travel Destinations for Your Next Independent Journey

posted on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 4:52:17 PM

Amsterdam Canal with Bicycles

There’s nothing quite like traveling with friends and family, right? You get to make wonderful memories and there’s always that one person in the group who hates photos enough to volunteer as the delegated photographer. However, while the company can be fun – there is also something to say about the enriching independence of traveling alone. Waking up and creating your own schedule is unmatched. The freedom that comes at the end of a spell of fear is what traveling alone brings to someone who has either done it a million times before or is braving it for the first time.

No matter if you’re a seasoned solo-traveler, or you’re new in going at it alone – there’s no harm in having a little reference to start. While the middle-of-nowhere could be fun, these fine cities below offer an oasis for the solo roamer. Let’s get you started, shall we?

Barcelona, Spain

There’s already reason enough to head to this flavorful Spanish city. Home to the language of love, this city beams with romance on every street – but that doesn’t mean you need to keep much company. From rich architecture to the aromatic Spanish dishes that waft from the kitchens of restaurant owners and apartment dwellers, this place is just enough for the solo traveler. Barcelona offers the most beautiful sensations for the eyes, nose and heart. When you’re not moving your hips to the late-night sounds that hum from musicians on the streets, you could be exploring must-see destinations. Visit La Sagrada Família, the unfinished Roman Catholic Church from Antoni Gaudí. For more of Gaudí’s work, head to Casa Batlló, a modernist museum located in the heart of Barcelona. You can also experience vibrant, bulging towers at La Pedrera – Casa Milá, just another one of Gaudí’s masterpieces. To get your final dose of gorgeous buildings that just won’t quit, indulge in Gothic architecture when you head to Catedral de Barcelona. Now that your trip has been filled with the admiration of some of Barcelona’s most prized buildings, it’s time to stop and smell the Catalan cuisine. You can find food just about anywhere in this savory, fragrant city. Lunch is the most popular time to eat and is served in two or three different courses. From paella to tapas and all the sangria, you’re not going to know when to stop. But once the food has settled, get ready for some late-night raving in Las Ramblas, described as “the one street in the world I didn’t want to end,” by poet Federico García. However, no trip to Spain is complete without catching a fútbol game with the locals at Parc de La Ciutadella.

Toronto, Canada

Keeping with its reputation of friendly and safe, Toronto is a great hub for the solo traveler. It’s super easy to navigate, especially if you’re staying in downtown, a tip that is highly recommended. When traveling solo, the downtown area will allow you to appreciate immediate access to all of the exciting things to do in this Canadian city. For our art connoisseur, museums are always a great place to start with solo travel. You can browse at your own pace, and there’s no one there to make you feel like a newb if you don’t know the latest works. The Royal Ontario Museum, a comprehensive museum that displays the best of culture, art and nature with a collection of over 13 million pieces is a day-long excursion in and of itself. Do you really need to plan much else for the rest of the day? For a museum experience that’s fitting to your size, head to Bata Shoe Museum. To catch stunning views of Lake Ontario and the rest of Toronto, purchase tickets to visit the CN Tower. If nature fancies you, explore the Toronto Islands, a chain of small islands in Lake Ontario, or head to Niagara Falls on a Greyhound. On a casual stroll through the city, hop on a streetcar – a popular mode of transportation for Toronto locals and tourists. Make your way to Kensington Market for a heavy dose of Toronto’s best, then explore Chinatown and Little Italy for a cultural experience that makes you feel like you’ve left Toronto for just a bit. For something a more unique, visit Casa Loma, a Gothic Revival style mansion and garden in midtown Toronto. Or, explore the signature touch from various artists at Graffiti Alley and Underpass Park. Complete a marvelous day in Toronto with the beloved Poutini’s House of Poutine and get ready to do it all over again.

Cape Town, South Africa

Known as the “Mother City” of South Africa, Cape Town creates a world of wonder for the solo traveler. From the beautiful surfaces of The Atlantis dunes to the vibrant neighborhoods, this city in South Africa provides everything you need for the perfect solo adventure. Start your stay with a stroke of art when you traverse down Iziko Museum Mile, a sanctuary of museums that holds tightly to South African heritage. Develop a better understanding of South African history at the Castle of Good Hope and District Six Museum. If you’re an avid people watcher, dine at any counter in the city. Most cafes and restaurants have countertops that overlook the streets, so you can pull up and enjoy a meal, without the wait. This is perfect for the solo traveler and a great way to stop and plan the rest of your day. Restaurants such as the Pot Luck Club and Chef’s Warehouse are wonderful places to find refuge for your appetite, while Long Street also offers an array of dining to satisfy your taste buds and front-row seats to the bustling streets of Cape Town. Adventure is big in Cape Town. With a gorgeous landscape like that, how could it not be. While you’re there, lace up your sneakers and rent a bike. If you’re eager to meet fellow travelers, join the African Eagle Day Tours to discover rich and multicultural histories of the area. During this journey, you can travel along the picturesque Garden Route up the east coast. And if you’re struggling to make it to nearby water, just head to Two Oceans Aquarium for the best of both worlds. Before it’s time to say farewell, be sure to take on the city fervent one last time at The Labia Theatre and Greenmarket Square. No matter what kind of adventure your travel bug yearns for, Cape Town is ready to give you everything it’s got.

Santiago, Chile

A dynamic destination indeed, Santiago, Chile welcomes the solo traveler with open arms. Located just one and a half hours from the beach and one hour from the ski slopes, you can get the best of both worlds during your adventures in Chile’s capital. Capture your favorite selfie with the Andes Mountains in the background after enjoying a dish from the neighborhood of Barrio Lastarria, located in Bohemian Santiago. When it’s time to go out, Barrio Bellavista calls for a good time mixed up in the Santiago nightlife. While you’re here, you can head to Pio Nono Street to check out the home of Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. When the day begins, fill your itinerary with sites including the vibrant neighborhood of Barrio Bellas Artes, the Chilean National Fine Arts Museum, Cerro Santa Lucía, El Museo de la Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos and Parque Forestal. If you have a weakness for spray painted architecture, head to Barrio Brasil to explore the city’s best graffiti art. When it’s time to eat, stop at La Vega Central – an iconic produce market that features Chilean food such as Cazuela. When you’re ready to feel on top of the world, take your solo adventure to Cerro San Cristóbal, home to a large statue of the Virgin Mary. When it’s time to pack your bags, make sure to stop at Plaza de Armas one last time to stock up on authentic Chilean garb, stones made of lapis lazuli and the last bit of Santiago charm before your trip comes to an end.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Solo travel is made especially easy in Amsterdam. If you know how to ride a bike, well you’re in luck. Grab a bike, throw your bag in the basket and get ready to conquer this impeccable city. Amsterdam can be a bit overwhelming because it offers a world of culture unlike any other. The perfect place to start your quest would be the Museumplein. Featuring notable institutes such as the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk and Van Gogh Museum, this is your one-stop spot for a spoon full of inspiring art. Get a little more out of it when you stop at Vincent on Friday at the Van Gogh Museum, an event featuring entertainment, bites and of course, art. When you’re not perusing the museums, fill up on caffeine at one of the vibrant shops in the cities. The Bulldog Palace is just one place on the list that offers a friendly vibe that contradicts Amsterdam’s more independent mantra. Lastly, Amsterdam has a nightlife unlike any other. Hit the bars in Leidseplein for a hip night out. No matter what your MO is, keep it trendy when you head to Café Pollux in Prins Hendrikkade or the charming and quaint Café Belgique in Garvenstraat. Other places to add to your itinerary include roaming the Dam Square, paying a visit to the Anne Frank House and filling up on the Heineken Experience at the historic Heineken Brewery. End each day with a stroll through prominent areas like Jordaan – filled with glorious homes – and Albert Cuypmarkt to end a perfect day in Amsterdam.

Munich, Germany

When you hear about the city of Munich, Oktoberfest is typically what circulates all the buzz. However, this place is rich in history with landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus. This lies in Marienplatz and features a glockenspiel show that chimes and reenacts stories from the 16th century. And while you’re in the colorful plaza of Marienplatz, you can get started on a day full of solo adventures with ease. Heavy in outdoor culture, Marienplatz is the perfect place to start because of its markets and vibrant population of locals and tourists. Once you’re done exploring the area, you can make your way to Viktualienmarkt. This place is perfect for grabbing lunch and keeping your eye open to the locals. The list of things to do never ends. You can take pleasure in the Opera at Wiener Staatsoper, rebuilt after its destruction in World War II. Mosey to a nearby neighborhood such as Schwabing, stocked with shopping, food and night-time entertainment. You’ll find compelling firsthand narratives at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. To catch the beauty of the Alps, head to the top of the Church of St. Peter’s. Nothing says solo self-exploration quite like time alone at the top of this ancient city. If you’re in search of something more relaxing, retreat to Englischer Garten – home to sunbathers, bikers, trees and endless green. End each day with your fill of schnitzel and Kaiserschmarrn in restaurants such as Goerreshof and Steinheil 16. Es gibt nichts Vergleichbares – There’s nothing like it.

Are you ready for your solo excursion around the world? Reserve a stay in one of these cities with Vacations by Marriott and discover exclusive savings when you book your accommodations, airfare and transportation all in one place!

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