15 Safest Countries for Solo Female Travelers

by Rich Jones

So, you’ve decided to put life, love, and your career on hold for a while and head off on your own to explore the world around you.  Travel allows you breathing space and time out from your day-to-day routine. You can take time to see what’s going on in the world and gain a different perspective on how other people live and what makes them happy.  Now that you’ve made the decision to go, you’re suddenly excited about all the new experiences that await you, but you’re also a bit apprehensive about being on your own. That’s completely natural and understandable. It just means you need to pick the safest places for women to travel alone. Luckily for you, we’re here to help with that. Here’s a list of 15 of the best countries for solo female travelers across the world, along with some of the attractions and highlights of what makes them great!

#1 – The Netherlands

Amsterdam and the Netherlands have long been considered one of the best places to travel as a single woman.  The Netherlands is famous for Amsterdam, decriminalized personal use of pot, tulips, clogs, and its love of getting around by bicycle. At the same time, it might seem odd that Amsterdam would feature on a list of safe places for solo female travelers, given the reputation of its red-light district and popularity among bachelor/stag and bachelorette/hen parties, but it is one of the safest cities in the world. 

Many of the other cities in the Netherlands are also quite safe, and so it makes total sense to include on our list of safest countries for solo female travelers. When in Amsterdam, check out Ann Frank’s House and the Van Gogh Museum. Further afield, discover the maritime history of the city of Rotterdam and the beautiful blue and white pottery of Deft.

#2 – Canada  

Canada is world-famous for its friendly natives and their innate ability to say ‘sorry’ for just about everything they do. They’re literally the sweetest, most polite people you could hope to meet, and their country is stunning at every turn. It’s no wonder they’re such a happy bunch, and no wonder why we chose Canada for our list of safest countries for solo female travelers. From massive cities like Vancouver and its amazing Chinese food, to Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, to Ottawa’s stunning Parliament building, there’s history and modernity in equal measure.

Outside city life, Canada has some of the most incredible scenery on earth, including Banff National Park, the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Niagara Falls on the US border, and the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. If you get there, the food is also pretty good all across the country. Never miss an opportunity to eat the national dish, poutine, whenever it’s available – which is pretty much everywhere.

#3 – Australia

Australia is popular for its space, red center, animals, and the sense of humor of its locals. It is perhaps most famous for iconic attractions like Uluru and the Sydney Opera House. Australia’s history is well-known, as is its climate and plethora of incredibly dangerous creatures that have long been the focus of tales of terror from locals and visitors alike. Australia is not to be messed with – or underestimated – but scores highly on the list of safest countries for solo female travelers.

Most of Australia’s big cities sit on the coast, where they benefit from sea breezes and the other perks that come from being situated close to harbors and waterways. The middle of the nation is among the most inhospitable landscapes on Earth, but has some of the best wildlife and endless miles of red desert. It’s here you’ll find the sacred Aboriginal site of Uluru, which is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

#4 – Sweden

If you’re a fan of bridges, ABBA, royal palaces, and incredibly talented Swedish crime authors, then Stockholm will thrill you. It’s an easily walkable city, with more than 50 bridges and 14 islands to explore to your heart’s content. The burnt colors of the tall buildings of Gamla Stan and the sad story of the Vasa will immerse you in the city’s history and make you want to stay. The original Ice Bar is also housed in Stockholm, so it’s a must-see for solo girls who like drinking cocktails dressed in gloves and capes in sub-zero temperatures.

Stockholm aside, Sweden’s other major cities also have a style all of their own, and all are worth taking even the shortest trip to see. They all share one key trait in common however – safety – making Sweden an obvious choice for our list of the safest countries for solo female travelers. Helsingborg has its Neo-Gothic Town Hall, Gothenburg is Sweden’s foodie heaven, while Malmo’s Lilla Torg is the perfect place to chill out and forget about the world.  Sweden consistently ranks among the safest countries to visit for all travelers, but particularly for solo women. It’s also a place you won’t soon forget!

#5 – Finland

It will come as no surprise that some of the best places for solo female travelers to visit are Nordic and Scandinavian countries. We’ve already touched on a few. The northern European nations are some of the safest in the world, with low crime statistics and a distinct lack of gender discrimination. Finland is no exception to this trend.

In addition to being one of the safest countries for solo female travelers, Finland is also a very green nation, with some of the cleanest air in the world. Finland is famous for outdoor adventures, which comprise skiing, sledding, and hiking within the vast province of Arctic Lapland. City girls will relish the chance to shop at the famous Market Square and climb the steps to Helsinki’s iconic cathedral. Other cities worth visiting while in Finland include Tampere, Espoo, and Vantaa.

#6 – Republic of Ireland

Everyone knows that the Irish Republic is famous for music, sport, Guinness, and literary greats. For a small nation, it more than punches above its weight. The Republic, although joined to Northern Ireland, does not form part of the United Kingdom, like its neighbor (that’s a touchy subject with a lot of history). And although everyone on the island is Irish, the cultures and people are very different in many respects.

The friendliness of the Irish is often quoted as one of the best things about visiting, and it’s this hospitality and caring nature that makes the nation a safe place to travel alone. While one of the safest countries for solo female travelers, many a lass has found herself succumbing to that charming Irish brogue, and many not end up solo for long! Dublin will delight you with its craic (amusing chat), its bars, and its history.  Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Kilkenny all share the personality and so-called Luck of the Irish, but each offers something a little bit different from the others.

#7 – Denmark

Yes, it’s another Northern European gem with clean air, safe streets, attractive cities, and stunning scenery. That should come as no surprise given what we’ve already said about the region being home to some of the safest countries for solo female travelers. Welcome to Denmark, solo female travelers of the world!

Here, you can visit the gorgeous Nyhavn Harbor of Copenhagen, or explore the open-air Den Gamble By in Aarhus. Odense offers the hometown of legendary children’s author Hans Christian Andersen, and a trip to Aalborg can be made unforgettable by attending the Opera or checking out the art at Kunsten Museum. 

Denmark has given the world hygge, which explains why it’s such a stress-free and happy place to be. Hygge is a lifestyle trend that focuses on the smaller things in life and encourages you to make tiny changes to your life and home to increase your sense of well-being. You’ll definitely feel it when you visit Denmark and enjoy all that it has to offer.

#8 – New Zealand

New Zealand constantly features on the list of the best places to travel for solo females, and with good reason. It’s famous for its scenery and its amazing mix of massive caves, rugged mountain ranges, hot springs, and freezing glaciers.  For outdoor enthusiasts, it really does have a bit of everything.

However, even in the nation’s cities, there’s plenty to see and do to keep you busy. Auckland serves at the nation’s capital and is located on the North Island. It’s famous for its Sky Tower, Harbor Bridge, and its diverse culture. Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world, and it shines bright in every area of the city.  On the South Island, the city of Christchurch is a highlight, along with the incredible beauty of Fiordland National Park and Aoraki Mount Cook.

#9 – Norway

The beauty of Norway, its fjords, iceberg-like Opera House, its smart crime novelists, and the general calm way of life is something that solo female travelers shouldn’t miss. While we may sound like a broken record, it is yet another popular, clean, low-crime, and welcoming country, giving it a clear spot on our list of the safest countries for solo female travelers.

City life is fun, and the air is fresh in Oslo, with the Nobel Peace Museum, the stunning Opera House, and the dizzyingly-high Holmenkollen Ski Jump as must-see sights. Bergen offers rows of colorful water-front homes, surrounded by fjords and mountains, while Stavanger has a 12th century cathedral to explore.

Norway also offers the chance to undertake some more unusual activities. It’s here you can kayak a fjord, island-hop on Atlantic Road’s bridges, and hike on glaciers. Don’t forget to try the lutefisk, if you dare!

#10 – Switzerland

It’s absolutely no surprise that a nation with some of the most livable cities in the world and ranking among the richest on Earth would be a safe place to travel alone. Switzerland has the highest longevity rates in the world – where women live a good deal longer than men. Who doesn’t want a part of that? It’s just one of many reasons why Switzerland earns a spot on our short list of the safest countries for solo female travelers.

With the backdrop of the Swiss Alps and the fame associated with excellent chocolate and *that* very useful knife, Swiss cities and the surrounding countryside have been drawing solo female travelers for many years. Major cities in Switzerland include Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Lausanne, and Bern, and each is different in its own wonderful way, while still being charmingly Swiss.

#11 – Austria

Austria ticks all the boxes as a solo travel destination for women, as it has low rates of crime and is considered safe to walk alone at night in most major cities.  The nation is completely landlocked and sits in the Alps mountain range. It’s a popular country to partake in winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, but it has way more to offer than just adrenaline-producing activities.

Austria is home to beautiful cities, such as the capital, Vienna, as well and Salzburg, Graz, and Innsbruck. With a reputation for clean air, musical genius, and fabulously talented architects, Austria has a great mix of city culture and country escapes.

#12 – Iceland

Iceland might seem cold and uninviting, but it’s the complete opposite. The nation is one of the best places to travel as a solo female, and it seems to hit the mark year after year.  The Nordic country is one of the least populated nations in Europe, and has long been famous for its volcanic landscapes and views of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. 

From a female positive perspective, it’s illegal for men to be paid more for doing the same jobs as women in Iceland. They’re completely committed to equality. And if that doesn’t make you want to visit as a solo girl, nothing will. It’s a very affirming step that shows the respect that the nation has for its women.

Reykjavik is the nation’s capital, and it’s a cool and laid-back city, if not a little on the expensive side. For outdoor girls, it’s a great capital – and a great country – to visit as there’s plenty of open space and lots of adventures to be experienced.

#13 – Spain

Spain is at the top of the pile of solo female travel destinations, which is brilliant news because it has SO much to offer.  Madrid is one of the main draws, with its myriad of world-class art galleries in its Golden Triangle of Art. The three most prominent galleries in the city, which are home to some of the greatest works of art in the world, are the Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofia, and Thyssen-Bornemisza. 

On the northeast coast lies Barcelona, which is famous as the home of the weirdly wonderful architecture of Antoni Gaudi. From the jaw-dropping Sagrada Familia, to Park Guell, to La Pedrera, the city streets are full of his incredible vision. 

At the northernmost point sits Bilboa. The city is known for its Guggenheim Museum, which is one of the most important designs of the 20th Century. The city is also characterized by its fresh seafood and relaxed pace of life. 

As you head south, you can visit the home of paella in Valencia, and the gorgeous orange trees of historic Sevilla. There’s truly an endless amount to explore in Spain, and you can rest easy and do so safely, as it’s one of the safest countries for solo female travelers.

#14 – Portugal

Sitting alongside its Spanish neighbor, it’s no real surprise that Portugal makes it to the list of safest countries for solo female travelers to visit.  It’s much smaller than Spain, but is crammed with just as much history and culture. Major cities, such as the capital, Lisbon, offer a safe, clean space for solo girls to let their hair down and immerse themselves in the Portuguese way of life. Lisbon is famous for Vasco da Gama, who set sail from the city to India and the Cape of Good Hope. 

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and a colorful and beautiful area by the banks of the River Douro. Known for its Port distilleries and its amazing Francesinha sandwiches, it’s also a great base for exploring nearby Braga and the incredible sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte.  If you like fairytale castles, a trip to Sintra is an unforgettable experience to include on your Portuguese tour.

#15 – Singapore

Singapore might surprise you for its inclusion on the list of safest countries for solo female travelers, but it’s one of the safest countries in the world, full stop.  The island has so many well-maintained spaces and beautiful views that it’s impossible not to fall in love with it as soon as you arrive. It’s the perfect spot to do some walking, and where could be better than at the Gardens by the Bay, or Singapore Zoo, or the Botanic Gardens? The food is also very much worth spending a good deal of time and appetite exploring, and the night markets and the range of amazing dishes are not to be missed.

Where is the best place to travel alone?

We’re going to opt for Amsterdam as a European city and Portland, Oregon in the United States. Chang Mai in Thailand is considered very safe, and Melbourne tops the list for down under. (Read more about Thailand in our guide to the Top 10 Places to Visit in Thailand, including several attractions in Chang Mai).

Is it safe for a woman to travel alone?

Of course! However, it does depend on where in the world you go to. Many places are very safe, and many are equally unsafe. For attitudes and violence against women, South Africa is extremely dangerous, while Spain comes out on top. We’ve tried to take crime rates, equality, culture, gender discrimination (or lack thereof), and other similar factors into account in developing this list of the safest countries for solo female travelers.

Where are the safest countries for solo female travelers to relax alone?

It’s really up to you! If you want a beach resort, then Chang Mai in Thailand or Bali are safe bets. If a city is more your thing, then head to Madrid, Amsterdam, Vienna or Lisbon. The only thing holding you back is your imagination!

How do you travel alone for the first time?

It’s best to use caution and travel alone with care, especially if it’s something new for you. It’s essential to ensure someone back home knows your movements, and you check in with them frequently. Having technology on hand and doing a MASSIVE amount of research about your destinations is the best way to start planning.

How can I travel alone safely?

Be prepared, let friends and family know your movements, always have back up cash and cards, and keep your wits about you at all times. Always, always have a Plan B.

Conclusion

Traveling on your own as a solo female can be a pretty scary thought, but it’s one of the most liberating experiences that you can have. Fear can be useful, but it shouldn’t hold you back from living your life, either. The idea of being completely in control of where you go, what you see, and what you do can be very empowering. Although women tend to have a few more eventualities to consider, it’s great to know that there are so many wonderful safe destinations for solo female travelers. In many of the safest countries for solo female travelers, you’re likely to meet like-minded people and have freedom to explore without additional worry. We hope we’ve convinced you to pack your case and head off into the world for a solo girl adventure!

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