Taking in the iconic sights of Europe as a solo traveller is an enriching and liberating experience, allowing you the opportunity to explore the continent’s historic towns and cities at a pace that suits you.
Lose yourself in the elegance of Vienna, or pick your way through the cobblestones of Nuremberg. Seek out the lesser-known in Prague and Budapest, or lounge in the peaceful Luxemburg Gardens of Paris. Discover the immersive museums and galleries of Cologne, or marvel at the imposing architecture of St Petersburg. Sample the gourmet offering of Lyon, or hike the sun-drenched vineyards of the Douro Valley. The choice is yours.
As a single traveller, the wonders of Europe promise inspiring moments of adventure and discovery, helping satisfy your desire to travel. Here, we explore 10 of the best places across Europe which are perfect for single travellers.
The city of light may have a reputation for romance, but don’t let that discourage you from exploring its timeless boulevards on your own. From the Latin Quarter to Montmartre, Paris begs to be explored by those curious enough to take its alleys and byways, searching for those quiet hidden corners steeped in nostalgia. Check off the essential sights first — Champs-Élysées, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower — before making like a local and seeking out its lesser-known highlights. Trace the footsteps of Hemingway and Stein in the Jardin de Luxembourg; enjoy authentic French cabaret at Au Lapin Agile; or drink in the vistas at the Meudon Observatoire. With iconic sights around every corner, you’ll be far too distracted to miss a travelling companion.
Few superlatives do justice to the exquisite medieval city of Bruges, the capital of West Flanders on Belgium’s North Sea coast. With its World Heritage-listed city centre, this enchanting Flemish city has retained more historic architecture than its European counterparts, promising fascinating heritage in abundance. Sights not to miss include the Basilica of Holy Blood, Groeningmuseum, Church of Our Lady and the Markt, where you can sit and enjoy the city’s bustle over a refreshing Belgian Trappist beer. The great thing about Bruges is that it’s very walkable, so you won’t need to decipher a complex transport map to start discovering its wonderful heritage.
Elegant, timeless and alive with culture; the Austrian capital of Vienna is one of Europe’s must-visit destinations, and its reliable transport network makes it easy for solo travellers to get around. Start at the Ringstraße, where you can discover sights like the Vienna State Opera, Academy of Fine Arts, Spanish Riding School and the Burgtheater — marvelling at the showcase of historic architectural styles. Then, dip your feet into Vienna’s world-renowned café culture with a visit to Café Schwarzenberg, where you can sample Austrian favourites like Tafelspitz and apple strudel.
Be swept away by the timeless beauty of Prague, arguably one of Europe’s most handsome cities. With its orange-roofed Renaissance palaces and Gothic churches, the Czech Republic’s historic capital boasts a distinct skyline, best observed from the summit of the Petřín funicular railway, which offers far-reaching views across the city. On ground level, stroll the banks of the Vltava River to cross the Charles Bridge, before spending an hour or two within the spectacular walls of Prague Castle. Afterwards, the quaint Jewish Quarter beckons, and from here you can easily walk through to admire the astronomical clock in the Old Town Square.
The concept of time and place will seem lost as you gaze at the ornate steeples of Cologne Cathedral, which soar 474ft above the city. Standing tall over this historic German city for over 800 years, the cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, and Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting some 20,000 visitors a day. Once you’ve taken in every aspect of this incredible building, make for Museum Ludwig, which houses one of Europe’s finest collections of modern art, including extensive works by Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol.
Sprawling and enigmatic, St Petersburg is certainly a city to lose yourself in. The second city of Russia, St Petersburg boasts broad canals and sweeping avenues, attributes which have led it to be dubbed one of the most beautiful cities of the continent. Heritage and culture are easy to stumble upon in this mighty city, and we’d recommend a visit to the legendary Hermitage gallery, which boasts some of the world’s most iconic artistic works. No visit to St Petersburg would be complete without seeing a Russian ballet, and there’s no place better than the Mariinsky Theatre, which has played host to some of Petipa’s most famous works, including Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.
Bordeaux promises a captivating visit for the discerning solo traveller, particularly if you plan to mix city sightseeing with a spot of indulgent wine tasting. Begin your visit at the Musée D’Aquitaine, which showcases the history of Bordeaux from the Romans to the present-day. Next, soak up the architectural opulence of the Triangle d’Or, an arresting trio of elegant boulevards boasting bags of neo-classical charm. As you’d expect, the city is rich with wine bars serving up delicious examples from some of the surrounding vineyards, and we’d recommend Le Bois dit Vin and Verre o Vin.
With its canal-side footpaths and world-renowned visitor attractions, Amsterdam will forever be one of the best places for solo travellers to journey off the tourist trail and experience the city like a local. Whether you choose to walk or cycle, the city is wonderfully easy to navigate, with many of the main sights being located within the immediate centre. Make sure you allocate enough time to explore the impressive works of the Rijksmuseum and pay a visit to Anne Frank’s house, before heading further out of town to visit the cultural melting pot of De Pijp, where you can relax in the beautiful Vondelpark — one of the most popular public parks of the Netherlands.
If you’re an impassioned foodie who yearns to sample regional tastes and flavours, the gourmet capital of Europe, Lyon, is sure to tick your travel boxes. From its wonderful cafes and patisseries to its time-honoured bouchons — where you can sample everything from fromage de tête to Boudin Noir — the city offers a plethora of culinary distractions to appease even the greatest appetites. Aside from food, Lyon boasts cultural highlights aplenty, from the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviére to the Musée des Confluences.
Spend but an hour in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, and you’ll soon see why the queen of the Danube is regularly lauded as Europe’s most beautiful city. From the baroque grandeur of the former city of Pest, where you can marvel at such sights as the Hungarian State Opera, St Stephen’s Basilica and The Great Synagogue, to the colourful and winding streets of Buda — you’ll relish every minute spent exploring this iconic European capital. And should you grow tired of the sightseeing, there’s always the option of relaxing in one of the city’s delightful natural thermal baths — the perfect way to while away an afternoon.
As a single traveller, Scenic bids you a warm welcome on board our fleet of luxury Space-Ships — helping you enjoy the wonders of Europe with like-minded people who share your passion for travel. From 2017, our solo guests can now travel on a selection of our award-winning river cruises without paying a single traveller supplement, so you can enjoy all the comforts of our spacious twin suites without paying anything extra.
A Scenic river cruise really does offer a wonderful way for single travellers to experience the icons of Europe, with a captivating array of destinations included in a single, hassle-free journey. If you’re considering joining us on the waters of Europe, take a look at our helpful single traveller’s guide to river cruises, which offers helpful tips and advice for those hoping to venture forth on their own unforgettable journey of discovery.
Already made your mind up about travelling solo with Scenic? Visit our homepage to browse our complete collection of upcoming river cruises, or call us today on 0808 301 4831 for further help and assistance.