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We’re not suggesting signing up with a group of 30-somethings bemoaning their relationship status because a) we can’t think of anything worse and b) you don’t have to be single to go on a solo holiday. Taking a bit of “me” time is important whoever you are – who doesn’t want to revel in selfish bliss every once in a while? We’ve picked out a few places that we think cater to lone travellers wanting to make new friends or be left in total peace. And if you are looking for love on the road, whatever you do don’t Google “singles holidays” (and definitely not on a Sunday evening), because it makes for particularly grim reading.
1. Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is sometimes described as “India light”. Plainly put, it’s easier to navigate, less hectic and trains (almost) leave on time – so you won’t be left twiddling your thumbs on the platform. While most start in Colombo, make sure to venture beyond the confines of the capital – in the north and the east of the island you’ll find some of the best spots. Travel by train from Colombo to Jaffna or, better still, take a seaplane from the teeming capital to the country’s lush interior and the ocean-lapped jungles. With sparsely populated beaches, ancient ruins and endless hoppers to gorge on, we can think of few places better to have some “me” time.
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
For a happiness fix, head to Copenhagen. Consistently one of the top five countries in the annual World Happiness Report, the city also leads the way in the style stakes. The epitome of Scandi cool, a few years back Copenhagen birthed a sub-group of bloggers and designers keen to ruffle many a French girl’s feathers. Since then, the city has grown into something of a fashion mecca, developing at an exponential pace. From Ganni – Copenhagen’s coolest export – to umpteen conceptual design stores and a killer food scene, this is an ideal choice for a weekend away to tester solo travelling.
3. Rome, Italy
For those hopeless at navigating, Rome is a good place to go. Sure, hitting up those key sites is a big NB but in having no timekeeper, and no real sense of direction, you’re free to discover the endless marvels of the city at your leisure. Head down one street and you’ll happen upon a sculpture by Bernini or take the second left instead of the third and you’ll find yourself in the quaintest of quarters. Rome is robust with history, art and character – a city made to get lost in. Make like Julia (Roberts) in Eat, Pray, Love and learn some Italian, eat some pasta, buy some bigger jeans and have a bloody good time.
4. North Island, New Zealand
Less daunting than Oz, New Zealand’s manageable size, nature-focused culture and chilled-out vibe makes a great case for those looking to travel a little further afield tout seul. English speaking, free-thinking and almost unbelievably easy on the eyes, it’s is also a great starting point for exploring other parts of Indonesia and Asia. On the North Island, the best things to discover are outdoors and entirely free, meaning that (flights aside) you don’t need to abuse your overdraft too much to have a great time. UK passport holders don’t require a visa to travel to New Zealand (and can stay up to six months.)
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
With an air of conviviality, it’s unlikely you’ll ever feel lonely in this cosy city. From the clustered museum district and masterpieces every few paces to a wealth of up-and-coming neighbourhoods, idleness (or loneliness) is not on the cards here. With a distinctly international crowd, it’s a great spot for creatives seeking inspiration (and possibly an in-depth chat after a couple of rounds of jenever). Tilting gabled buildings, labyrinthine canals and picture-perfect scenes at every corner make this walkable city a real magnet for budding photographers.
6. Montreux, Switzerland
We know, a wellness spa, how cliché of us. But nutritional advice, wellbeing consultations, daily workouts and plenty of pampering is sometimes exactly what Number One needs, particularly if you’re burnt out and looking to reset. Known for their “rejuvenation therapy” – which claims to boost your immune system – Swiss maverick Clinique La Prairie combines a state-of-the-art medical spa with a holistic approach. From detox programmes to sleep management, the clinic is best experienced solo, allowing you to leave your everyday reality behind. Located on Lake Geneva’s shoreline, Montreux is also an idyllic spot to spend a few reflective days post-clinic.
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