I often get asked what the best places to travel alone are. You see, many travelers – especially females – find the thought of spending even just a few days alone overwhelming. They fear it may be unsafe; they worry they will be lonely; they think they may get bored.
Well, let me tell you: none of that is true. I have taken many trips by myself and all of them were amazing. I have never felt unsafe – though mind you: it is important to follow some safety tips. I have always met lots of interesting people, which means that I have never felt lonely and never got bored.
The hardest thing about solo traveling is to actually take that initial decision to do it. The second hardest thing is deciding where to go. Once you find yourself on the plane, heading somewhere exotic and new, you will be 100% excited and all your worries will be gone. And it won’t take you long to realize that you have been missing out!
But what are the best places to travel solo? I decided to ask my colleague and friends to share their tips.
The Best Places To Travel Alone
I have lost count of how many times I have been to Israel. This small country definitely deserves to be in the list of best places to travel alone. You see, I enjoyed it so much during my solo trips, made so many friends that it ended up my home away from home, my happy place.
Israel is an extremely easy place to travel. First of all, it is very safe: even the biggest cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are perfectly ok to walk around at night. Public transportation works well, and with the amount of start ups Israelis have created you won’t ever have an issue getting a ride.
If cities are not your thing, you can hop on the bus and reach the Golan Heights for a hike, or Galilee. You can go to the desert down south, or for a dive in the Red Sea near Eilat. Archeology junkies will enjoy Caesarea and the Masada.
Let me not get started with the food! Aside from the fabulous middle eastern cuisine, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have a plethora or international restaurants for all your cravings. And it’s also vegan paradise!
Everyone in Israel speaks English. People may appear quite rude, abrupt and direct but honestly, I find it refreshing never to have to read their mind and always knowing what to expect. Israelis are very friendly for sure. And if you are a single girl traveling alone, you shouldn’t miss on the opportunity of going on a date in Tel Aviv. You will quickly get why Israel is one of the best places to travel alone.
Have I convinced you? Then head over to my posts about Israel:
You can’t write a post about the best places to travel alone and not mention Italy. I am not just saying this because I am Italian, but mine is the most beautiful country in the world and no matter your taste in travel, you are bound to find what you are looking for here.
Gorgeous cities, quaint villages, archeological sites of any kind, mountains, hills, tropical looking beaches, hiking trails and all the food – of these are not good enough reasons to make Italy your next solo trip destination, add the fact that where Italian are lacking in language skills (though hey, this has changed a lot in recent years) they make it up being incredibly friendly, welcoming and generous. This is a country where you will never feel lonely.
Not convinced? Make sure to read my post “17 Reasons To Visit Italy As Soon As Possible.”
*Contributed by Rose of Where Goes Rose
India is definitely one of the best places to travel alone. Every day is an adventure, full of learning curves, challenges, and new experiences. While some people would recoil at the idea of traveling India solo, you will have incredible experiences traveling both north and south India as a solo female.
Indian people are very friendly and welcoming to foreign travelers and there are countless hostels where you can meet people. Most hostels run free walking tours, food crawls and other activities which also keeps the costs down by sharing fees. Hostel chains to stay at include Moustache, CrashPad and Zostel.
Best destinations in India for solo travelers include Jaipur, Pushkar, Agra and Rishikesh (the latter is a great place to take yoga courses). Down in the south of India, ideal destinations for solo travel include Goa, Kerala and Pondicherry.
Tips for traveling solo in India include staying with groups when walking alone at night, and booking 1st or 2nd class carriages on trains for more security and privacy. Stay confident and have a great time!
For more ideas for your trip to India, read the following posts:
The Czech Republic
*Contributed by Adriana of Czech The World
The Czech Republic ranks among the TOP 10 safest countries in the world, which makes one of the best places to travel alone even for solo female travelers. On the other hand – if you want to socialize, there is nothing easier than join some Prague pub crawl.
The Czech Republic is a land of history, castles and chateaus, ancient cities, awesome beer, and delicious wine. You will find here 14 UNESCO sites! Not only Prague but many other cities and towns have romantic cobblestone streets with Gothic and Renaissance buildings, where you can find lovely cafes or pubs with world-famous beer.
Czech beer isn’t just great, it’s also very cheap (less than 2 Euros for half a liter of draft beer or less than 1 Euro for a beer in a supermarket). In bigger cities like Prague or Brno, you can enjoy the great nightlife. Pubs, bars, and clubs are usually open until late at night.
There are also good hiking opportunities. Outdoor and nature lovers shouldn’t miss national parks and protected areas with mystical sandstone pillars, which created unique rock cities like Adršpach or Prachovské skály.
Make sure to read my post “The Coolest Things To Do In The Czech Republic In The Winter.”
White stretches of fine sand plays hide and seek beyond the sharp edges of palm leaves. Tropical sun shines atop the florid flame trees. The swanky nice resorts are abuzz with Sega tunes, and occasional Bollywood music. That is the usual portrayal of Mauritius, with super cool luxury resorts dotting picturesque Indian ocean.
However, there is a whole lot of history, culture and tangible urban living thriving beyond the coast line, where the real country lives. The real Mauritius, with its ever kind and hospitable people, always ready to open the door for you with a plate of Dhal Puri is not that difficult to find and will touch your heart at ease!
Beyond the beaches and snorkeling within the lagoon created by the ancient volcanic rim, Mauritius has a handful on offer. You will be intrigued by the capital city, Port Louis. As a solo female traveler, make sure to take to the streets of Port Louis, meander through the crowd to buy fresh litchi from the corner, chose your piece of potato in the Biryani, marvel at the saree mannequins on display at the shop houses.
Mauritius was an uninhabited island, with only a handful of African slaves that the French colonists brought in to serve at the sugar plantations. Later, slavery was abolished and the British brought in Indians in the name of indentured labors. Needless to say, like Creole language, Mauritius lives a blended cultural life!
Mauritius has a number of ethnic communities living in close quarters, say the Chinese, the Bohra Muslims and the Christians. All of them make it a point to hit the beach on a weekend and make merry. A robust public bus service connects the tips of the island with frequent routes, though be aware of the fact that traffic condition can be a challenge at times.
In short: the Mauritius is one of the best places to travel alone.
Naxos Island, Greece
The island of Naxos in the heart of the Cyclades is one of the larger Greek islands that is a favorite among solo travelers, couples and families alike. The reason it is such an ideal destination is that it features a charming chora (or main town) which is the first port of call when you get off the boat, and even if you don’t venture much further than this, you’ll still have a great Greek experience.
Naxos Town features winding cobblestone streets, a hilltop castle, the epic Temple of Apollo (or the Naxos Window) as well as a bustling shopping and nightlife scene. There are also a handful of stunning beaches that can be reached from the main town, so you don’t have to go far to have an all-encompassing trip.
Another factor that makes Naxos great for solo travelers, in particular, is that there is a safe, reliable public transport system that serves the island, so even if you don’t hire a car, you can still access sites such as the ancient Kouros, Byzantine churches and more remote beaches.
While the Greek islands aren’t known for having many hostels, Naxos does have a selection of studios and hotels with friendly staff and some social spaces which allow you to meet fellow travelers.
*Contributed by Slavi of GlobalCastaway
Indonesia is one of the best places to travel alone. The thing most people fear about solo travel is that they’re going to get bored. Well, you can’t get bored in Indonesia, there are just too many things to see and do. Greet the sunrise on an active volcano, sail trough the rivers of Borneo in search of the elusive orangutans, or simply hunt for the perfect Instagram photo in Bali. There are plenty of bucket list experiences to chose from.
It’s not only impossible to get bored in Indonesia, but it’s also impossible to get lonely. Swarmed with all kind of travelers, meeting like-minded souls and making new friends there is virtually effortless.
Another huge plus of Indonesia is that traveling there can fit every budget. Solo journeys often require you to spend extra for accommodation and transport but coming from a western country; even a moderate budget would be more than enough. Even in the world-famous Bali, living on a budget is not a hard thing to do.
Add to that a great tropical weather and a safe environment with kind and helpful locals, and you can see why Indonesia is a worthy contender for the title of Best Place to Travel Solo.
Check out these posts about Indonesia:
*Contributed by Kieren of Got My Backpack
When it comes to the best places to travel alone, there are few better places than Vietnam. From the bustling cities where motorbikes outnumber people, to the picturesque scenery where jagged limestone cliffs protrude from the ground, surrounded by luscious green paddy fields; the variety on offer in Vietnam is unrivaled. Not to mention how cheap it is as a westerner, a draft beer in Hanoi can be found for as little as 5,000 VND (£0.17 / €0.18).
The country’s naturally thin shape has resulted in a well-trodden backpacker trail with most itineraries following a similar route. This makes it incredibly easy to find other travelers heading in the same direction who you can buddy up with, or just have a friendly face to call on when you arrive.
The hostel scene in Vietnam is thriving which is ideal for those traveling alone and looking to meet others. Those who prefer a party atmosphere will feel at home in one of the Vietnam Backpackers Hostels, whilst those who prefer more of a chilled out atmosphere will find plenty of friendly, family-run hostels.
Make sure to read my posts about Vietnam:
*Contributed by Inma of A World to Travel
easily qualifies as one of the best places to travel alone.
Located in Northwest Spain, this region could not be more different from the typical image one – that has not visited Spain – could have. Far from stereotypes like paella, sangria, siesta or flamenco; we only keep fiesta as one of our cornerstones. Other than that, this region is as tranquil as it comes, green as Ireland, rainy as Scotland, and beautiful enough to be highlighted time over time by many world-known travel magazines.
With 7 cities among 50K and 300K people, the best way to explore Galicia is to walk some of the Caminos that crisscross it. Since the middle ages, pilgrims have come from all corners of Europe (and beyond) moved by their faith and a handful of other great reasons. Great for introspection, you’ll never be fully alone if you don’t want to as the Camino is walked by several thousands yearly. And every night, in every ‘albergue’, you will find a friendly face to share a meal with. Enjoy!
*Contributed by Heather of RaulersonGirlsTravel
Scotland is a beautiful country and one of the best places to travel alone. Public Transportation is excellent. Whether it is on trains or buses, you can enjoy visiting major cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness easily. If you want to explore more of the Highlands, you can always rent a vehicle.
English is spoken readily, although you might run into a few that have strong Scottish accents and that is always a good time.
There are plenty of sites to see in Scotland such as all the amazing architecture, spooky graveyards, standing stone circles, battlefield memorials and castles everywhere you look.
If you don’t want to travel too much, you can choose to spend all your time in one place. Edinburgh would be an excellent location because it has plenty to keep you occupied (castle, palace, hiking, haunted tours, pubs, and great food). If you want to be around more people you can always take a day trip from Edinburgh to Loch Ness or go an Outlander Tour. With the ease to get around and the multitude of fun things to do, Scotland is the perfect country to travel solo.
*Contributed by Kylee Nelson of Passports and Preemies
Solo travel can be a scary and stress-inducing experience or an exhilarating adventure. Thailand remains one of the best places to travel alone. From meeting other solo travelers throughout the country to the sheer amount of things to do, this cheap and lively country is best experienced solo.
Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is known for its white-sand beaches and party atmosphere. The country is diverse and welcoming, which makes it a perfect fit for a solo traveler.
The best way to experience Thailand is to experience each of its different regions. Head north towards Chiang Mai to visit elephant sanctuaries and climb waterfalls. The Bua Tong Waterfall, or the “sticky waterfall”, is a unique experience I urge you to have. When you’re done relaxing in the north head to the bustling city of Bangkok.
Here you can temple hop throughout the day, visit the Rot Fai Train Night Market to eat cheap food and meet other travelers, and end the night partying on one of the many rooftop bars overlooking the city. Finish your Thai vacation by heading south to beach hop your way through Southern Thailand. Each region a different experience, and each region suited for solo travelers.
Traveling to Thailand? Make sure to read my posts:
*Contributed by Lindsey of Have Clothes, Will Travel
Japan is the total travel package for any traveler and one of the best places to travel alone. It’s easy to navigate, it is rich in history, it has exceptional public transport, the best food in the world, and wonderfully preserved culture. This beautiful country will embrace you with kindness yet offer unique adventures at every turn. It’s the perfect country to travel alone, especially if it’s your first international solo journey.
Japan is remarkably safe, and repeatedly makes the top 10 list for the safest countries in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. You will always be surprised to see people leaving their expensive handbags and various belongings in their bike baskets as they run into a grocery store – because theft and crime are not an issue!
While Japan has beautiful natural wonders, such as Mount Fuji (highly recommend climbing it if you have the time!), to dazzling temples and shrines, such as Fushimi Inari Taisha and Kinkaku-ji, the highlight of Japan is without a doubt its food. Tokyo alone has 230 Michelin star restaurants! (The next closest city is Paris with 113.) A few favorite Japanese foods are Ramen, Soba, Gyoza, Tempura, Dango, Mochi, Tamagoyaki and, of course, sushi and sashimi.
Check out these posts about Japan:
*Contributed by Roshni of The Wanderlust Within
Bolivia is one of the best places to travel alone. Upon arriving, you will quickly fall in love with the mountains and the faint sound of traditional Bolivian music in the air. No matter how long you plan to stay, if your schedule is flexible you will end up extending your stay.
Travelling solo through Bolivia will feel like a breath of fresh air after tackling the pick pockets in Buenos Aires and the general safety concerns in Brazil. Bolivia is safe to roam as a solo female traveler and you will never feel uneasy. The highlights of any trip to Bolivia will likely include the Uyuni Salt Flats, seeing flamingos in the wild, searching for anacondas in the Bolivian Amazon and learning Spanish in Sucre.
*Contributed by Rhonda of Travel? Yes Please!
Ireland is one of the best places to travel alone primarily because of its friendly atmosphere. Throughout the country, many of the locals you will meet will be quick to start up conversations, share stories, and offer suggestions of places to visit. Visiting pubs and staying in bed and breakfasts will make it easy to meet people and socialize so loneliness isn’t an issue.
On the flip side, if you cherish your alone time, Ireland has plenty of places you can escape to and leave the crowds behind. A road trip around the country reveals lovely small towns, deserted ancient ruins, empty country roads, and quiet landscapes for enjoying a hike or bike ride. You will definitely enjoy exploring old churches, castles, forts, and cycling around a remote island.
Even when you travel alone, the Irish culture of hospitality means you will never feel lonely. This generally welcoming and easygoing nature makes it easy to feel confident navigating the country solo.
*Contributed by Michele of Adventures Abound
Not only is Costa Rica an excellent choice for a solo adventure, but it is also an incredible place to start your international travel experience and one of the best places to travel alone
. While the native language is Spanish, Costa Ricans are known for their warmth and hospitality, so travelers coming alone are sure to be welcomed regardless of their Spanish abilities or travel experience. The country also has a lively expat and backpackers scene, so whether you are looking to stay solo or meet other travelers on your journey, there is never an issue finding what you are looking for.
What makes Costa Rica especially unique is that it holds nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity. This means you can be ziplining through the jungle in a misty cloud forest in the morning after a cup of world class coffee grown on volcanic soil, and end your day surfing while the sun sets on some of the most beautiful beaches you have ever seen. The country is incredibly affordable and easy to navigate, so it is friendly to budget travelers and luxury connoisseurs alike. As a solo traveler, Costa Rica has everything you need for an adventure, so what are you waiting for?
Before going to Costa Rica, make sure to read these posts:
Taiwan is, without doubt, one of the best places to travel alone – it’s incredibly safe, easy to get around, and there’s plenty to keep you busy for a few days.
Despite being a relatively small island in East Asia, Taiwan offers solo travelers an array of activities, no matter your interests. Whether you’re looking to marvel at the diverse landscapes, hike the serene mountain retreats, explore the vibrant cities, or dive right into the culture – Taiwan has it all!
While there’s plenty to do in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei, spending a few days exploring Taiwan’s 9 National Parks and more remote areas is also highly encouraged. Taroko Gorge and Alishan are among Taiwan’s most famous tourist attractions and a huge must on any Taiwan trip. Further afield, Kenting is a firm favorite among beachgoers while Kaohsiung is revered as Taiwan’s art mecca.
Before you jet off on a solo trip to Taiwan, though, make sure to download Google Translate on your cell phone. Language barriers aren’t uncommon in rural areas. Grabbing an Easy Card (Taiwan’s transit card) is also highly encouraged for a stress-free trip.
*Contributed by Monika of Frank about Croatia
When you think about Croatia, you probably think of family vacations with kids, but what if it could be the total opposite. Croatia offers so many relaxing as well as adventurous places that wait to be discovered and experienced on your own and that make it one of the best places to travel alone.
If you are traveling by plane and want to visit as many places as possible, you definitely should rent a car – explore the coast and the beautiful cities on the road. Visit National Parks such as Plitvice Lakes and Krka, where you can also take a swim in the summer. For the brave ones – Bungee jumping on the Maslenica bridge, skydiving near the city of Split as well as zip lines over the Pazin cave in Istria and the River Cetina in south Dalmatia.
The locals here are very friendly and most of them speak English, German or Italian. Also they are willing to help you with tips and suggestions. Croatia really is full of breathtaking nature and historical cities so you better hurry up if you want to see everything!
New Zealand definitely deserves to be mentioned among the best places to travel alone.
New Zealand is a stunning country, and no matter what kind of holiday you are looking for there is something for you. Epic scenery will delight photographers with volcanic landscapes on the North Island and Glacial on the South. Adventurers will find plenty to get the adrenaline pumping in Rotorua on the North, or Queenstown on the South.
The people are friendly, they speak English and everything is oh so easy. There’s so much to see that hiring a car and doing an epic road trip is really the best way to go – you will get plenty of photo opportunities.
It pays to check the weather patterns before you book. If you go in December your trip may end up being quite wet. Fortunately there is still heaps to do in places like Queenstown when it rains.
*Contributed by Pia of Nextstoptbc.com
As the safest and happiest country in the world, Finland is one of the best places to travel alone. Finland has a unique offering for both urban lovers as well as nature enthusiasts who don’t mind a cooler climate.
Finland has four distinct seasons so make your pick from the midnight sun and blooming nature in the summer, colorful foliage of the autumn, high chances of snow and northern lights in the winter, or the awakening of nature during the short but sweet spring.
Helsinki is a perfect destination for a city break with museums, design and architecture around the year, as well as island hopping in the beautiful archipelago and other outdoor activities in the warmer months.
There are great day trip destinations from the capital of Finland, such as the historic towns Turku and Porvoo, the southernmost tip of mainland Finland in Hanko, as well as national parks within reach. In the middle of Finland you find the thousands of lakes and summer cottages (with saunas of course) where people retreat for quietness and relaxation. Lapland has the freshest air in Europe, an abundance of opportunities for winter sports and is home to Santa Claus.
*Contributed by Claire Sturzaker of This Travel Lover
There is something very special about Colombia. Perhaps it is the people, the relative lack of tourists, or the country itself, which is filled with incredible natural wonders. Whatever it is, you can’t help but fall in love with Colombia.
Though Colombia is one of the best places to travel alone, visiting Colombia alone can have its challenges, but if you learn a few words of Spanish and get used to questions about the whereabouts of your husband and children you’ll do just fine. Colombian women rarely travel alone, so you will attract attention and curious looks, but it won’t usually be anything more sinister.
In fact, Colombians are very friendly and welcoming to visitors who come here, keen to shake off Colombia’s difficult past.
Take the time to explore this magnificent country; hike to the Lost City in the jungle, sunbathe on glorious beaches, marvel at stunning valleys, mountains and deserts. Wander the streets of colorful towns, learn to dance salsa or party till dawn during Carnival. For a real adventure, head into the Amazon and take a slow boat down the river to Brazil. Colombia is a special place and a wonderful place to discover as a solo female traveller.
Check out these posts about Colombia:
The United Arab Emirates
*Contributed by Kay of The Awkward Traveller
The United Arab Emirates, better known as the UAE, is one of the best places to travel alone. Hands down, one of the safest countries to visit. The country has a high percentage of expats (a bit over 80%!), so there is almost always someone that speaks your language, no matter where you are from.
While the UAE is usually associated with outlandish extravagance, it is truly a country that can accommodate any personality or travel style. It’s incredibly simple to get around as well, with affordable public transportation, taxis, and even car rentals!
If you are a fan of food, the UAE boasts cuisine from around the world, from eating at the world’s tallest restaurant to humble but delicious food trucks. Those that like to party will be delighted to know that, despite the UAE being an Islamic country, bars, clubs, and nightlight is extremely lively. With added perks like weekly “Ladies’ Night” and Friday brunches, the party doesn’t ever have to stop!
There’s even something for nature lovers! Beyond the man-made attractions like the Dubai Miracle Gardens there are also sand dunes, deserts, mountains, and lakes galore! The UAE is a meeting ground for travelers, so even if you travel solo, you never have to be alone!
New York City, The United States
New York is definitely one of the best places to travel alone. It is perfect for the solo traveler because it’s a safe and easily walkable city with a fantastic public transportation system for those times when walking the distance isn’t possible. No matter what kind of food you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it to be authentic and delicious!
Fancy being part of a studio audience? What about taking a tango lesson, looking for street art or darting into a pop-up shop? All are possible and can be done solo in the Big Apple. There truly is something for every single person out there from sunset chasers and history buffs to park lovers, music enthusiasts, and museum-goers.
The best part? New York City doesn’t care if you’re a party of one. They welcome it with open arms!
Check out my posts about New York:
*Contributed by Elisa of World in Paris
Paris is not only a romantic city for couples it is also a historic, cultural and gastronomic hub where solo travelers can have a great time. The city boasts many interesting things to see and do, plus it is very easy to navigate by public transportation (train or metro) or by bike.
One of the favorite things to do in Paris is flâner, wander around the city and its parks aimlessly and nobody needs company for doing this. Also, museums like the Louvre or the Orsay Museum are best absorbed alone, staring at your favorite paintings as long as you need to catch their beauty and skipping the parts that interest you less.
On the other hand, solo travelers who want to meet other people have many opportunities to do so, by joining wine tastings, cooking classes or guided tours to explore the surroundings of Paris.
Solo travelers who don’t want to spend much on accommodation can opt for a hostel with kitchen (great for meeting other travelers too) or set their base camp in less central districts of Paris, with fewer sights around but more local life. All in all, Paris is one of the best places to travel alone.
Check out my posts about Paris:
Atacama Desert, Chile
If solitude and isolation are what you’re seeking in a travel destination, the South American country of Chile has so many places that fit the bill, making it one of the best places to travel alone.
The remote region of Patagonia might first come to mind, but equally as compelling is the Atacama Desert in the northernmost part of the country. In stark contrast to Patagonia’s landscape but equally as epic, the Atacama Desert is unlike anywhere else in the world, unless you’ve been to the Moon.
Spanning across four countries — Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile (though Chile claims the largest part) — the Atacama is the world’s driest non-polar desert and an adventure lovers dream. You can hike the parched nooks and crannies or sandboard the dunes in the Valle de la Luna practically uninterrupted by the presence of others.
Bring a swimsuit and float in the Laguna Cejar, a volcanic lagoon so salty it’s impossible to sink. And the thermal hot springs and erupting geysers at El Tatio are a sight to see before dawn. With over 40,000 square miles and hundreds of unique things to do, the Atacama Desert is the perfect place to travel alone and get lost for a while.
One of the best places to travel alone is most definitely Norway. The country only has 5 million residents but the amount of land per person makes the Scandinavian beauty one of the least densely populated places in Europe. There are many things to keep travelers occupied if heading to Norway alone. This is truly a wonderful place for those looking for an introspective vacation.
Make sure to head to Northern Norway. There are several great places up north… from the North Cape and beautiful and treeless Magerøya island to the gorgeous national parks in and around Bodø.
But, perhaps no place is as awe-inspiring as the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway. These gorgeous islands are known for the iconic Lofoten rorbuer (fisherman cabins) and dramatic landscapes. Traveling there alone makes the trip easier to budget as you can hitchhike around or leisurely take your time and have the opportunity to do some hiking or relaxing in some of Europe’s most dynamic and picturesque scenery.
Another great reason to head to Norway alone is that it is an expensive country and you can budget according to your budget without having to stress about meeting others’ budgets. You can enjoy the type of trip you want depending on your own budget and not have to worry about eating at a nice restaurant because someone you’re traveling with doesn’t want to pay the prices or vice versa.
Norwegians speak exceptional English and if you get lonely, you won’t have a communication problem with any of the locals. Norway is a safe country with lovely people and it truly is one of the best places to travel alone in the world.
Travelling alone can be a pleasant experience, full of personal growth and introspection. Some destinations are indeed more challenging to explore as a solo, but visiting Hong Kong is not a problem – it turns out it is one of the best places to travel alone.
Due to its low crime rate, compliant health and security services and well-developed infrastructure and roadways, Hong Kong is one of the safest cities for solo traveling. Keeping in mind that being careful and sensible is a prerequisite of traveling under any circumstances, there is not much to worry about while going across this city. Concerning the food, shopping or the nightlife, Hong Kong is a city that won’t disappoint you, and there’s so much to see and do in this precipitous city that you will never run out of things that you could do! Not only is it a tourist destination but also an essential business and trade hub in Asia.
Famous for its transcending skyline of glass and steel, if you love nature Hong Kong won’t disappoint you. Hong Kong is also a destination with many single residents and travelers who are usually happy to engage in chit-chat, so you might make a new friend over coffee.
Puerto Rico is one of the best places to travel alone. Once you visit, you quickly realize it is much more than the picturesque beaches you had imagined. It is also packed with adventurous waterfall hikes, historical architecture and even a lush rainforest.
Yet, what makes Porto Rico a great solo travel destination is the people. Even though you may be traveling solo, you will never feel lonely. You may well end up eating mofongo with a local and learning about the dynamic history of the island. Do more than sightsee, experience culture by venturing to Puerto Rico.
Colorado, United States
*Contributed by Jenny of Campsite Vibes
Colorado is one of the best places to travel alone you can ever hope to visit. Make sure to start your journey in Denver, the fun capital. From there, drive up to the Rocky Mountain National Park which is just a few hours away. Stay in Estes Park right outside the national park and spend two days exploring trails. It is beautiful. If you’re going in the winter, make sure you bring winter clothing and winter boots so you can hike in and a traction device like microspikes or snowshoes.
From Rocky Mountain National Park, hop on the I-70 freeway to explore the towns around there including Silverton, Breckenridge, Eagle, Avon, Vail, and Glenwood Springs. From Glenwood Springs head towards Aspen. Along this journey, stop along the way to hike, camp and explore the area in the summer. In the winter, you can snowboard or ski at resorts like Copper Mountain and Aspen Snowmass, or even snow hike along the way.
*Contributed by Cate of Sacred Wanderings
Armenia is a fabulous country and one of the best places to travel alone, not only because it is exceptionally safe, but also because the Armenian people are so welcoming and warm. Yerevan is Armenia’s capital and a perfect home base in this small country. The city is walkable and has excellent public transportation, as well as a good network of taxis that run on apps for safety and convenience.
Affordable group tours to various sites in Armenia, such as UNESCO monasteries and nature preserves in the mountains, leave from Yerevan daily. There is an abundance of fabulous food in and beyond Yerevan and it’s not hard to find Vegan and Vegetarian dishes.
Festivals occur throughout the Spring and Summer in Yerevan or nearby and are a great opportunity to meet Armenians and other travelers. Most importantly: Armenia is stunningly gorgeous, and a particular gem for the solo traveler who loves nature and history, and still received relatively few tourists, making it an affordable gem.
*Contributed by Jasmine of The Life of a Social Butterfly
Inspired to embark on your first solo travel experience? The Netherlands is one of the best places to travel alone for many reasons. The main being accessibility from Europe’s most well-known countries and convenient transport links.
The Netherlands is located within an hour’s flying distance of Europe’s main countries. This means within an hour you can be in The Netherlands ready to see the cube houses in Rotterdam with your own eyes, take a boat ride along Amsterdam’s famous canals and enjoy a beach break in The Hague.
Make sure to also visit the famous tulips fields the country is famous for. You’ll be surprised to learn all about the vast variety of tulips and where tulips actually originated from!
All these places and more are within an hour’s train ride from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Alternatively, you can take the ferry or the Eurostar to Holland’s main cities.
What are the best places to travel alone that should be included in this list?
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Cienfuegos Cuba is a lovely, yet extremely underrated destination. Part of the Province of Cienfuegos and not far from the more popular Trinidad, this small town has a nice historical center that is pleasant to explore.
Yet, what you are likely going to enjoy the most in Cienfuegos is the stunning surroundings. Gorgeous coves and beaches with the most transparent waters; natural pools; lush vegetation: you really won’t regret adding Cienfuegos to your Cuban itinerary.
The city is really laid back. It knows little of the scams that you will incur to in Havana, in Trinidad, in Santiago and in Camaguey – though keep your eyes open for them.
In this post, I highlight the things to see and do in Cienfuegos that you should not miss and share a few tips that will help you plan your trip.
Exploring the historical center of Cienfuegos Cuba
10 Things To See And Do In Cienfuegos Cuba
Explore the city
Cienfuegos was founded in 1819, right by the sea. Though the vast majority of Cuba is known for the Spanish colonial style architecture, Cienfuegos is truly different. The architecture in Cienfuegos is actually French, and so unique that in 2005 the historical center was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It goes without saying that a walk around town is a must.
During your walk around Cienfuegos, make sure to walk along Cienfuegos Boulevard, famous for being the longest boulevard in Cuba and for the colorful buildings. José Marti Square is an airy plaza where you can admire plenty of beautiful buildings.
Make sure to pass by the Arco de los Obreros – the Arch of Workers, literally (pictured above). This was dedicated in 1902 to Cuban Independence.
Other buildings you should take care to notice are the baby blue Palacio Ferrer, which dates back to 1918 and the Palacio del Gubierno – which you can only admire from the outside.
Visit Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción Cathedral
Cienfuegos Cathedral dates back to 1869. It is located opposite Martí Park. You will definitely be impressed by the French stained-glass windows.
Admire Teatro Tomas Terry
Teatro Tomás Terry is one of the places you really must visit in Cuba. It only costs $2 USD so make sure to check it out on the inside too.
The auditorium can seat 950 persons The theater was built between 1887 and 1889 in honor of Venezuelan industrialist Terry, in Italian style. It was declared a National Monument in 1978.
Sunset in Cienfuegos Cuba
Walk along the Malecon
Each coastal town in Cuba has a Malecon – a waterfront where people can enjoy a walk in the late afternoon, once the heat of the day is replaced by the pleasant marine breeze.
Cienfuegos has its very own Malecon, where you will be able to spot locals walking and at times even exercising at the end of the day, or on their way to Punta Gorda (more about this below).
Take in the sunset from Punta Gorda
No visit to Cienfuegos Cuba is complete without experiencing sunset from Punta Gorda. This upper-class part of Cienfuegos is packed with gorgeous villas and beautifully kept buildings. It is located at about 3 km from the city center and you can get there by simply walking along the Malecon. If you are too tired to walk, just opt for a bici-taxi.
Once you are in Punta Gorda, pick a rooftop bar for a sunset drink and just enjoy the view.
The clear waters of the natural pools of El Nicho
Go to El Nicho
If you just take a day trip out of Cienfuegos Cuba, make it to El Nicho, part of Gran Parque Natural Topes de Collantes. It’s one of the most beautiful places you will see in this part of the country. There, the Rio Habanilla jumps in a series of waterfalls and forms a set of natural pools with the clearest, coldest waters in the lushes of settings.
There is a trail connecting the various pools, so you can see them all. The pools that are down from the main parking lot are less visited.
TIP: Make sure to wear a swimsuit and bring a change of closed and a towel. The water in the pools is freezing cold but you won’t resist the temptation to jump in!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: It takes about one hour to drive to El Nicho, and as there is no public transportation you will have to arrange a car from town. The owner of your casa particular can help you with that.
And Cienaga de Zapata
The Cienaga de Zapata hosts some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. It’s located in the province of Matanzas but it can be easily accessed from Cienfuegos Cuba during a day trip that takes you around the Bay of the Pigs. You will be able to see various kinds of vegetation, birds and reptiles.
There even is a crocodiles nursery (criaderos de cocodriles) that costs $5 USD and that was created in the 1960s with the aim of reintroducing crocodiles in the region. I hardly recommend visiting as I still have doubts regarding its ethics.
Another cool place to visit is the Cueva de los Pesces, which is a cenote kind of swimming hole with the most varied marine life you can imagine. The water though is so dark that it is kind of scary to swim there.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The best way to explore the Cienaga de Zapata is by car, so you can stop in many places along the way. You will have to arrange a car with your casa particular.
Spend an afternoon at the Botanical Garden
The Botanical Gardens of Cienfuegos are an incredibly relaxing place. This beautifully kept, vast park is home to an incredible variety of plants – the most spectacular are the giant bamboos.
You can walk around by yourself or use one of the free guides onsite. Each day at 7:00 am there are birdwatching tours but you have to book in advance.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Botanical Gardens are at about 17 km east of Cienfuegos. Admission fee is $2.50 USD and the park is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is no public transportation to get there so you will have to go there by private car.
Bahia de Cochinos, or Bay of the Pigs, is perfect for snorkeling and diving
Dive in the Bahia de Cochinos
You just can’t go to Cienfuegos Cuba and not visit the Bahia de Cochinos, the famous Bay of the Pig. This is the place from which the Kennedy Administration memorably failed to invade Cuba in 1961.
Other than its historical significance, the Bay of the Pigs is a great place for diving and snorkeling thanks to the nearby coral reef and the incredibly transparent waters.
You won’t really find sandy beaches here – the diente de perro (jagged rocks) is pretty much everywhere so you need shoes to walk around and get to the water.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Bahia de Cochinos can be visited on a day trip from Cienfuegos. The best way to get there is by car – arrange one with your casa particular and make sure to mention you also want to stop at one of the beaches mentioned below.
Go to the beach
There are many beautiful beaches near Cienfuegos Cuba.
Among the ones you may want to check out there are Playa Larga, which really is not a touristy place and where you will be able to enjoy incredibly clear waters; Playa Giron, named after French pirate Gilbert Giron, who in the 17th century used to raid the area until he was caught and beheaded – this is a nice sandy beach with easy access to the coral reef; and Playa Los Cocos, on the eastern side of the Bay of the Pigs and also a nice sandy beach.
You may also want to go to Caleta Buena, 8 km south of Playa Giron and not a beach proper but a tiny rocky cove with the clearest waters, blissfully protected from the currents and a perfect place for snorkeling. It is not free to access, but for a small fee you get a sun bed, a lunch buffet and drinks throughout the day.
One of the charming buildings along Cienfuegos Malecon
Practical Information To Plan Your Trip To Cienfuegos Cuba
Guided tours of Cuba that also go to Cienfuegos
If you love traveling but aren’t a fan of planning, I am happy to put together an itinerary for you so that you can visit Cuba independently. Just get in touch with me via email through my contact page. Alternatively, you can count on G Adventures for great guided group tour of Cuba. These are the ones I recommend that also go to Cienfuegos:
- Cuba libre and sailing – a 13 days tour that visits the main island’s highlights, and also goes to a few cayos.
- Cuba multisport – a 12-day tour that is perfect for the most active travelers.
- Cuba colonial – a 15 day classic tour of Cuba that goes to all the most popular places to visit.
Getting a visa for Cuba
All travelers to Cuba need to get a tourist card. Ask Easy Tourist Card to arrange your visa for Cuba for just $35 USD!
Make sure to read my post “How To Get The Visa For Cuba In 8 Easy Steps (Also For Americans).”
Where to stay (and eat) in Cienfuegos Cuba
In Cienfuegos, I recommend staying at Casa de Olga y Eugenio, in Avenida 50 n. 4109, between Calle 41 and 43. Olga and Eugenio are a lovely family, and the atmosphere at the house is relaxed. It’s great value for money and the house it at a stones’ throw from the city center and the bus station. Eugenio also speaks some English.
Another excellent place to stay is Casa Colonial del Valle, where you’ll get a room located in a gorgeous colonial building, hosted by a lovely family. Finally, you could opt for Casa Mabe Hostal, the most recommended place to stay in town.
The best places to eat in Cienfuegos are Las Mamparas, in Calle 37 n. 4004, which is a popular place among the locals and very budget friendlyà, and Restaurante Dona Nora in Calle 37 which counts with a balcony overlooking the Prado.
How to get to Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos is well connected to the rest of Cuba via a web of buses.
You can get there directly from Havana – just take the bus that goes to Trinidad; the trip takes around 4.5 hours.
From Trinidad, there are various buses daily and the trip takes around 1.5 hours.
There are also direct buses connecting Vinales to Cienfuegos with Transtur. The trip lasts around 7 hour.
Wherever you are traveling from, make sure to book your bus ticket in advance either online on Viazul website or in person at the bus station. You can also try to do so at any Havana or Cuba tour office in the city.
When to visit Cienfuegos Cuba
Cienfuegos is best visited during Cuba dry season, which typically is between November and April. I went in February and the days were sunny and very pleasant, warm enough during the day to enjoy a day at the beach and swimming in the sea, and much cooler in the evening, when a blanket is needed to have a cozy sleep.
Other useful information
Bring a guidebook with you for your trip to Cuba. Wifi isn’t much of a thing so having a guidebook may come in handy. These are some I recommend:
Remember you will need a good travel insurance for your trip. Make sure to read my post “Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.”
These are other useful posts to plan your trip:
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Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most incredible sights in Argentine Patagonia, and one of the top places to visit in South America. Located in Los Glaciares National Park, this is likely the most famous glacier in the world, and for many good reasons.
Is Perito Moreno Glacier Worth Visiting?
Perito Moreno is probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Argentina, and for a good reason. Unless you are obsessed about staying out of the tourist trail, I wholeheartedly recommend you visit as it is simply magnificent – indeed a must-see! In fact, I honestly think you should visit in any case and include it in your Argentina itinerary.
The area of Perito Moreno is so vast, there are so many view points and balconies, that even on a very busy day you’ll hardly feel it is crowded. Chances are you’ll be too concentrated admiring the glacier, listening to its ice walls cracking and crushing into the lake, producing a thunder-like noise, and trying to keep warm.
Yes, visiting Perito Moreno Glacier (Glaciar Perito Moreno, as it is called locally) can actually be costly. As of right now, the entry fee to Los Glaciares National Park is 800 ARS (Argentinian Pesos), which at the current exchange rate is around $12 USD. To that, you’ll likely have to add the cost of transportation and of other activities – unless you go on a Perito Moreno Glacier tour that covers all the costs.
These are some of the best guided tours of Perito Moreno and the National Park – they are best pre-booked a bit in advance, and usually include hotel pick-up and drop-off:
GOOD TO KNOW: Another really cool glacier to visit is Viedma, which is more easily reached from Chaltén. Visiting usually implies a boat trip, ice-climbing, and impressive views of Cerro Huemul.
GOOD TO KNOW: From El Calafate you can also reach Spegazzini and Upsala glaciers. The latter one can be seen during visits of Estancia Cristina, if you opt for the hike.
There is no doubt that Perito Moreno is an incredible sight
Some Background Information On Perito Moreno Glacier
Let me start by sharing some Perito Moreno glacier facts!
Perito Moreno is named after Francisco Moreno, who played a vital role in protecting Argentina’s interests during the endless border disputes with Chile.
It is located at around 80 km, and at around one and a half hour drive from El Calafate, and at 74 meters above the Lago Argentino. Make sure not to confuse it with Perito Moreno town, which is a 12 hours drive north!
The area is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice field (Campo de Hielo Sur), known to be the third largest frozen body of freshwater in the world. In fact, the glacier is huge: 30 km in length, 5 km in width and a whopping surface of 250 square km.
Los Glaciares National Park, of which this natural wonder is part, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. This is a truly unique place: it’s one of the most active glaciers in the world. Thought to be one of the very few growing glaciers in the world (as opposed to the majority, which are receding), in fact Perito Moreno is stable: every day it grows a bit, but loses a bit as well. In other words, the glacier’s size is pretty much stable.
Every 4 to 5 years, the glacier reaches the other side of Lago Argentino, where there’s a small peninsula known as “Magallanes Peninsula,” thus forming a natural dam that separates the two parts of the lake. As a result, the level of the water on the part of the lake known as Brazo Rico raises up to 30 meters, with an increased pressure on the ice wall, which causes the breaking and dropping of massive icebers in the Canal de Los Tempanos.
What’s certain is that this is one of the most unique places in the world, and a must for anybody traveling to Argentina.
TIP: Make sure to visit the Glaciarium in El Calafate before your trip to the glaciar. It will give you lots of good background information on the dynamics of Patagonian glaciers.
Check out my post “A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina.”
The awe-inspiring views of Perito Moreno as seen from the balconies
Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Perito Moreno Glacier
When to visit Perito Moreno
The best time of year to visit Perito Moreno and the National Park is in the summer, between November and March – that will be high season in Argentina, and that’s when you’ll have the highest chances of a sunny day. Sunny days are thought to be the best to experience the ice cracking and falling into the lake with its thundering noise.
Having said so, fall in the area is splendid, with the red leaves striking against the white and blue of the glacier, giving it a special glow. The fall is also significantly less crowded, so you may have a more solitary experience than if you visit in the summer.
I have been to Perito Moreno twice on two different trips to Argentina, and both times I experienced it the weather was overcast and it rained most of the time. Though seeing Perito Moreno glow in all its glory under the sun would definitely add to the experience, I recommend going even if the weather broadcast isn’t the best. I can assure you the sight is going to be breathtaking all the same – and you will be able to see and hear the ice cracking – though perhaps not as often.
Whether you visit on a sunny or rainy day, keep in mind that Patagonian weather can be quite unpredictable: I recommend layering up and carrying rain proof gear.
Make sure to hang around long enough to see Perito Moreno ice cracking and falling into the lake!
How To Get To Perito Moreno
The best access point to Perito Moreno is El Calafate, a small town of around 25000 people in the Santa Cruz province, that is connected to Buenos Aires, Bariloche in Patagonia, and Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, via direct flights with Aerolinas Argentina and a few other companies.
You can also travel to El Calafate by bus from Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales, in Chile – it’s a scenic 3 hours drive from Torres del Paine, and a smooth 6 hours drive from Puerto Natales.
El Calafate is also connected to El Chaltén, which is just 3 hours north (by the way, this is the best access point to hike around Mount Fitz Roy); to San Carlos de Bariloche – but it’s a 24 hour bus ride; and to Puerto Madryn – which is 20 hours away.
Once in El Calafate, accessing Perito Moreno and Los Glaciares is actually very easy, and you have several options, depending on your budget and your travel style.
Independently, by car or bus
You can rent a car directly from El Calafate airport and drive around. Check out the prices of car rental here.
Buses to the National Park leave regularly from the bus station located in Jean Marmoz 104. The ticket costs around 800 ARS (around $20 USD). Buses leave at 8:30 or 9:00 am, depending on the company, and if you make it to the terminal well in advance you can buy tickets on the same day.
Buses going back to El Calafate leave at 4:00 pm from the same spot where they drop people off. CalTur also has buses that leave from town at 1:00 pm and go back at 7:30 pm.
Once at the entrance, cars, buses and even private tours have to stop to get tickets to the park.
As I have said previously, the entrance fee for Los Glaciares National Park is of 800 ARS. Make sure to bring cash as credit cards are not accepted. This ticket will allow you to walk around the many balconies and view points to admire Perito Moreno. Make sure to pick a map of the area, as there are several trails to follow, all of them well marked.
Optional activities include a boat ride that takes you right under the glacier and even an ice hike on Perito Moreno itself. You can opt to do the boat trip and just show up for the boat, but you have to join a guided expedition if you intend to go on the ice trek. More about the boat ride and the ice trek later.
If you plan to visit Perito Moreno independently make sure to bring your own lunch, unless you plan to eat at the rather expensive cafeteria on the site. Keep in mind that outside food is not allowed in the cafeteria – there are a few benches on the viewpoints, but if it’s a rainy, cold day eating out isn’t exactly a good idea.
A Perito Moreno Glacier tour usually goes to the viewpoints – some also include the boat trip or the ice trek
On a guided tour
The main benefit of joining a tour of Perito Moreno is that it is easy: you’ll only have to worry to make it back to the same shuttle that dropped you off. Pretty much none of the guided tours is inclusive of the entrance fee to the park, so make sure to carry enough cash for that even if you have already paid.
Tours vary in length and quality: most cover just the basic, taking you to Curva de los Suspiros for the best distant views of the glacier, the balconies and, at most, including a packed lunch of sort. You’ll have a guide, but to be fair the information you get on the boards is enough to get by.
The best Perito Moreno tours are those that include a boat ride and / or take you for an ice trek. Make sure to pre-book them, especially if you are traveling in the peak-season.
Guided tours of Patagonia that also go to Perito Moreno:
If you prefer to take the edge off organizing a trip to this part of the world and would like to leave this task to the experts, you can even join a guided group tour of Argentina that includes a visit of Perito Moreno. Here are some of the best tours:
- Patagonia Hiking: perfect for active travelers who enjoy nature, this 9 days tour includes stops at El Calafate with visit of Perito Moreno Glacier, and at El Chalten, to hike Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
- Argentina Multisport: the best tour if you are looking for adventure. It includes activities such as rafting, cycling and trekking, and obviously a visit to Perito Moreno.
- Hike Patagonia In Depth: if hiking is your thing, this is the trip for you. You may be camping on some nights – no better way to experience this part of the country!
- Best of Patagonia: a 13 days trip that takes you to all the best places to visit.
- 6 Day tour of Patagonia: a good compromise if you have limited time in the region.
- Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego: a fantastic hiking trip that also takes you to the end of the world, between Argentina and Chile. You’ll be hiking Perito Moreno and even Laguna Esmeralda.
Boat tours on Lake Argentino and Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno boat tours are probably as touristy as it gets – picture a guide almost robotically giving facts about the glacier to a less than interested audience, a photographer on board ready to snap photos of passengers with the glacier in the background, for a hefty fee, and so on. But honestly, the view is so beautiful that it is worth putting up with everything.
Boats depart from Bajo de las Sombras and go well under the glacier, on the northern side, keeping a distance of around 100 meters from the wall itself, and you’ll get an incredible view of it from below: you’ll see the ice crack and fall into the lake, you’ll get close up photos. Tours typically last around 90 minutes and usually include a snack and a drink (can be anything, but whiskey on glacier rocks is probably the best option on this occasion).
The following tours include a boat ride to the glacier. They must be pre
If you are after a more adventurous experience and aren’t bothered by the cold, you can even go on a Perito Moreno kayak experience.
On an ice trek you get close and personal with Perito Moreno
Perito Moreno Glacier Hike
I didn’t go on an ice trek of Perito Moreno on my first trip to Argentina, but I did last time I visited and I am glad, as it actually was a lot of fun. It hardly is a private experience, with several people on the tour. But it’s fun, and you’ll be so concentrated on walking with the crampons and on admiring the glacier that you’ll hardly realize there are others around.
The Perito Moreno mini trekking tour usually start from the southern banks of the lake, where you’ll take a 20 minutes boat ride to the base camp – that’s in an of itself a treat, as you’ll get very close to the glacier, for incredible photos.
Once at the camp, you’ll join a group for a short walk through the forest until a small stand where the tour guide will help you wear the crampons, which are necessary to walk on the ice.
The mini trekking lasts around 90 minutes (unless you go on the Big Ice, which goes on for several hours). It is a very easy walk during which you’ll see the many cracks, seracs, the small caves and you’ll even have a chance to taste the freezing cold but delicious glacier water. At the end of the tour, you’ll be offered a whiskey on the (Perito Moreno Glacier) rocks.
The overall mini trekking experience is incredible, and the views (and photos) you’ll get absolutely jaw-dropping. It’s an expensive thing to do, but honestly worth every penny.
The Big ice trek on Perito Moreno Glacier is a must-do for adventure lovers. It’s a full-day trip that will let you get up-close and personal with the glacier, for a truly unique experience. You can book it here.
Planning to hike more while in Argentina? Check out my posts:
You need to be properly equipped to trek on Perito Moreno
What to wear for your Perito Moreno Glacier tour
I can’t talk for others, really, but both times I have visited Perito Moreno Glacier I found it to be incredibly cold. Perhaps, on a sunny day, it is not nearly as cold. Anyways, my advice is to make sure to layer up and to carry an extra layer of warm clothes and rain proof gear just in case.
Interestingly enough, it is colder on the balconies overviewing the glacier than on an actual Perito Moreno Glacier ice trek.
These are some essential items to wear when visiting Perito Moreno:
- A snow jacket– make sure it is also rain proof
- A thermal shirt and thermal underwear.
- Thick hiking socks.
- A good t-shirt and a nice thick fleece.
- Hiking pants, best if waterproof.
- A beanie, a scarf and gloves (best if ski gloves.) Gloves will be needed for the Perito Moreno Glacier ice trek as well.
- A good pair of waterproof hiking boots – these will be required if you intend to do the ice trek, as you’ll need some footwear where the crampons can be tied up.
- Sunglasses – necessary on a sunny day.
- You may also want to take some hand warmers (I even put them in my shoes at times!).
Make sure to carry a good camera and lens (I use a Nikon D3300 and on this occasion I used a 18-105 mm lens). A good smartphone will also have a good camera – I am a fan of iPhone X.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have enough warm clothes for your visit to Perito Moreno, several shops in El Calafate rent out jackets and pants for a very reasonable price (around $10 USD per piece per day).
Make sure to read my posts:
A beautiful view of Perito Moreno Glacier
Where to stay in El Calafate
Calafate is packed with excellent accommodation options. These are some of the best places to stay in El Calafate:
For more information about El Calafate, check out my post “A Complete Guide To El Calafate, Argentina.”
Other practical information
I always recommend buying a good travel insurance on any trip. Make sure to get one even for your trip to South America. Check out the prices of travel insurance here.
Have you ever visited Perito Moreno? How was your experience? Do you have any other facts to add to this ultimate guide?
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There are many amazing things to do in Greece.
Greece is a fascinating country. With a history that stretches back millennia (the earliest evidence of humans dates back to 270,000 BCE!), there is no shortage of archaeological sites, cultural influences, and heritages. Combined with an absolutely gorgeous landscape, from the crystal clear waters and white sand beaches of the thousands of islands to the mysterious towers of Meteora to the stark mountains of the Peloponnese, there’s a richness of things to enjoy.
Some of the best things in Greece are on the mainland, though the islands certainly draw millions of visitors. Besides, this certainly is one of the best places to travel alone.
In this post, I will select the things to do in Greece that you really should not miss.
20 Incredible Things To Do In Greece
Visit the Acropolis
Visiting the Acropolis is definitely one of the things to do in Greece. That plateau overlooking the city of Athens is quite simply a must-see. While there were early buildings and an early Mycenaean palace on this sacred site, as well as an archaic wall, most of what we can see today is from the Periclean period, or the Classical Golden Age of Greece, in and around approximately 430 BCE.
The best way to see and understand the Acropolis is with a guide who can bring the ancient ruins to life. These are the best options:
Should you just wish to buy a ticket, this one gives you the pickup option at less than 500 meters from the site.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Acropolis is open daily from either 8:00 or 9:00 am. Closing time changes depending on the day and the season, but it’s usually between 4:00 and 10:00 pm. Make sure to double check before visiting.
Learn about Greek wines
While Greek wines don’t typically make the list of most well-known wines in the world, they are among the world’s oldest wines. Wine production in Greece (and her neighboring modern-day countries) dates back to 2,000 BCE but picked up significant fans in the 1980s. Today, lively whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Albarino are sold globally.
Wine grapes are grown, more or less, all over Greece, but the most popular regions include Santorini, the Peloponnese peninsula, particularly Neméa, and Náoussa in Macedonia, the heart of Xinomavro. The best way to learn more about Greek wines is by visiting a winery and doing some wine tasting, though maybe you can find a local wine bar in Plaka or Monastiraki and chat with the bartender as a cheaper alternative. Either way, tasting wines is one of the things to do in Greece.
These are some wine tours you may want to consider:
Have ouzo with meze by the sea
Ouzo is an anise-flavored spirit that is made from the remnants of wine grapes. It is made only in Greece and Cyprus but is similar to other anise liqueurs like raki, pastis, and sambuca. Ouzo is clear, but when water is added, it becomes a milky opal white. Most Greeks drink it slightly diluted, alongside a selection of meze, or appetizers. Meze can be small salads, grilled octopus, kalamata olives, eggplant salad (melitzanosalata), and fried cheeses.
Marvel at the monoliths of Meteora
Meteora is a dramatic mainland region of Greece, where monoliths tower above the lush ground below. Atop these monoliths are Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second only in importance to Mount Athos in the north. Meteora was inhabited by hermit monks as early as the 9th century CE (AD), but the monasteries were not built until the 14th century. Access is deliberately difficult though today, visitors can climb a series of rock-cut steps – in the past, access was by ladders that could be raised and lowered as needed. Needless to say, visiting is one of the ultimate things to do in Greece.
These are the best guided tours of Meteora:
Visit the naval of the earth at Delphi
Delphi, located a few hours north of Athens, is an ancient sanctuary famous for its oracle. The Ancient Greeks considered Delphi to be the center of the world, which was marked with a stone monument known as an omphalos (navel). It hosted the Pythian Games, second in importance to the Olympic Games, but it was also widely known for its sanctuary and its priestesses. You can visit Delphi on guided day trips from Athens. You may want to consider this one or this one.
Watch the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio
Head south from Athens to Sounio, which takes about an hour and a half by the coastal highway. Sounio is another popular day trip from Athens for locals and tourists who come to watch the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon, which sits atop a promontory above the town and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Greece.
This sunset tour is a great option – you only have to worry about bringing your camera along!
Visit the active volcano of Santorini
Santorini is a Cycladic island located southeast of Athens. It’s accessible by ferry or flight and is one of the most popular destinations in Greece. Santorini is considered incredibly romantic with its whitewashed buildings and iconic blue roofs, the dramatic setting for the sunset, and the many luxury hotels that dot the island. There is also an active volcano that you can visit by boat – and this is one of the coolest things to do in Greece.
The actual volcano is located at Nea Kameni, which is within the caldera that was formed in the major eruption 3,600 years ago. The best way to enjoy it is on a sailing trip around it. These are some good options:
Party like a Millionaire in Mykonos…
Mykonos is Greece’s most cosmopolitan island, with many luxury hotels and top-shelf clubs with celebrity DJs. The main town, Hora, is a sprawling port with narrow lanes at its heart and a series of windmills above it. But while Mykonos does have the history and culture you can expect from Greece, it’s mostly known for its clubs and nightlife, and fabulous accommodation. Some of the most popular include Cavo Paradiso and Paradise Beach Club, both of which it’s recommended you book a table in advance.
…And get in touch with your Spiritual Site on the sacred island of Delos
Delos, which is located near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in all of Greece. It is the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, but it had a place as a holy sanctuary for a millennia before that. Some of the most spiritual sites include Temple of the Delians and Terrace of the Lions, the Minoan Fountain, and the Delos Synagogue. You can visit it on a day trip from Mykonos such as this one.
Hike Vikos Gorge in Epirus
One of the coolest things to do in Greece if you like nature is hiking the Vikos Gorge, which is located in the Pindus mountains of Epirus, near the stony fairytale villages of Zagorohoria, and is considered the world’s deepest canyon at 900m deep. There are some excellent viewpoints along the trail, including a stop at the Petrodasos, or pancake rocks, the villages of Zagori, and the Vradeto stairs, which zigzag up the hillside between Vradeto and Kapesovo. There is also a monastery and the stone bridges that link the villages which are worth seeing while you are in the national park. You can sign up for a full day guided hike such as this one.
Go island hopping in the Small Cyclades.
One of the greatest things to do in Greece is visiting the islands. The Cyclades are one of the most prolific island chains in the Aegean and includes famous islands of Mykonos and Santorini. Island hopping here is a great way to see a variety of islands in a short period, especially if you plan it right. From Piraeus, the closest islands are only four or five hours by ferry; the distant islands are eight to ten hours.
The time is almost cut in half by high-speed ferry, but costs twice as much.
You can include the major islands on an island hopping tour, but the Small Cyclades are just as gorgeous and less crowded. Schinoussa is one of the smallest – it is just south of Naxos and accessible by ferry from Piraeus and by Skopelitis from Naxos and Amorgos. Donousa, Iraklia, and Koufonisia round out the Small Cyclades. Koufonisia has more resorts than the others, but it still has that small island feel.
Check the amazing beaches of Milos Island
Milos is yet another underrated island, skipped in favor of Mykonos, Santorini, and Ios. While Milos does attract enough visitors to have a robust hotel and dining scene, most people go for the secluded beaches and hidden coves. Spend your time exploring this small island by car or scooter to get to these fantastic beaches.
See the shipwreck in Zakynthos
The famous shipwreck beach, Navagio, on Zakynthos, draws thousands of people each year. These crystal blue waters are perfect for snorkeling and swimming, while the cliffs are the best backdrop for this sandy beach only accessible by boat. Back in town, Zakynthos is famous for its party scene.
To make the most of your time, you may want to take a guided tour to Navagio. These are some good options:
See an Ancient Greek Drama or Comedy in Epidaurus
Epidaurus is an ancient sacred site in the eastern Peloponnese, known primarily for its connection with Asclepios, the god of medicine. Due to its association with healing powers, Epidaurus attracted pilgrims from all over Greece and soon gained enough importance and prosperity that the complex grew to include baths, an athletic venue, temples, and a theatre.
The theatre of Epidaurus is one of the best-preserved theaters in all of Greece and is still in use today, despite its abandonment in the 5th century. Epidaurus plays host to the annual Athens-Epidaurus Festival, during which Greek dramas and comedies are performed for sold-out crowds. The theater can seat up to 13,000 spectators, and the acoustics are exceptional.
Seeing a show at Epidaurus is one of the best things to do in Greece. Alternatively, you can just visit it on day trips from Athens such as this one or this one.
Live the Mamma Mia experience in Skopelos
Until Hollywood took over, Skopelos was a sleepy little island in the Sporades, home to small fishing villages and empty beaches, clifftop churches (over 300!), and apple orchards. The island is still hard to get to and boasts little in the way of accommodation, but its main draw is the landscape. There are Mamma Mia tours that showcase the filming locations, from the beaches and Cape Amarantos to the nearby harbor of Agnontas, and the church of Agios Ioannis. You can go for the day from Skiathos or spend several days on Skopelos.
Learn about the Minoan Civilization at Knossos in Crete
If you want to learn more about the Minoan Civilizations, visiting Knossos, in Creete, is among the things to do in Greece. The Palace at Knossos was undeniably the center of the Minoan civilization. The first settlement was built in the 7th millennium BCE, while the eruption of Thira and the Mycenaean invasion led to the Minoan downfall in 1375 BCE.
At its peak, around 1,700 BCE, the palace and surrounding area of Knossos reached a population of 100,000 people. The Minoans are credited with two languages – Linear A and Linear B, many architectural achievements, and a well organized trade network.
The palace at Knossos was massive, covering over three acres in the main building and more than five when the outbuildings were considered. Most famous in Knossos and Crete are King Minos and his labyrinth and Minotaur, from the myth of Theseus, though the palace was also used by the invading Mycenaeans and even government headquarters during the world wars.
The best way to explore this palace is on a guided tour such as this one.
Charter a boat and visit the blue caves of Paxos
Paxos (also known as Paxi) is a small island off the coast of Corfu. It’s entirely under the radar and abounds with beaches and caves only accessible by boat. Some of these caves are so big that boats can go inside them! One of the best ways to see these caves is to charter your boat and go out for the day; however, local operators also have organized boat trips. The most famous cluster of caves on the western coast is near Erimitis beach, where most boats will stop for some swimming. If you have your own boat, you can visit some of the other beaches and caves.
These are the best guided boat tours to Paxos:
Explore the medieval town of Rhodes
The Medieval Old City of Rhodes, also known as the citadel of Rhodes, is a World Heritage Site. The island of Rhodes, located southeast of Athens and northeast of Crete, has always had an advantageous position on the trade routes.
The fortifications were built by the Knights Hospitaller of St John in the early 14th century, on foundations of earlier Byzantine walls, and were frozen in 1522 so there is a clear distinction between the early medieval walls and the later Ottoman walls. Within the walls is the largest active medieval town in Europe and boasts a number of important sights, including the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. Visiting is definitely one of the things to do in Greece.
Soak up Greece’s Therapeutic Waters at a Thermal Spring
Greece is an ancient land and one that retains many of its ancient legends and myths, beliefs, and superstitions. One is that of healing waters. There are thermal springs all over Greece where you can sink into the natural hot spring and let your body rejuvenate. Some of the most popular among the Greeks are Pozar, at Mount Voras in Pella near Thessaloniki, and Edipssos, in Euboea, Evia.
Make a Greek Pie like a Yia-Yia at a Local Cooking Class
There is no better way to get to know a country’s culture than by experiencing the food. And in Greece, one of the best ways to do this is by taking a cooking class with a yia-yia, or Greek grandmother! Spanakopita, of Spinach Pie, is the most famous of these pies you can try your hand at. It is a savory pie made with perfectly crisp layered phyllo dough and a filling of spinach and feta cheese. Some cooking classes include a local market trip with your hostess, others a full meal and wine or ouzo.
Final Thoughts On The Things To Do In Greece
There’s nothing better than experiencing the local culture through food, wine, history, and adventures. Greece has all of that and more. Whether it’s your first time or fifth trip, you’ll find many incredible things to see and do in Greece. On your next trip to my beautiful country, I hope you’ll try out some of my best things to do in Greece.
This was was written by Chrysoula, a travel blogger born and raised in Athens with a professional background in Tourism and Marketing. Through the pages of Athens and Beyond she wants to help visitors make the most of their trip to Athens and show them how to navigate the city like an insider.
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Baracoa is one of the most interesting places to visit in Cuba. Located in the Guantanamo Province, on the south-western tip of the island, not many travelers make it all the way there, because it is actually quite hard to reach. Most will bus their way down from Havana and once they are out of time, they will rush back to the capital to catch their flight.
When I visited, I did exactly the opposite. After visiting Havana, I flew to Santiago de Cuba and from there took the bus to Baracoa, then made my way back to Havana. This is how I recommend doing it, actually. Because you see – Baracoa really is one of those hidden gems that would be a pity to miss.
I recommend spending at least 3 full days in Baracoa Cuba. For as small as it is, it has a lot to offer and you will honestly enjoy it so much that you will be sad to leave.
In this post, I highlight all the things to see and do in Baracoa and share some useful tips that will help you make the most of your time there.
In a rush? These guided tours will help you make the most of Baracoa:
- El Yunque guided hike – El Yunque is the best hike to do in the area of Baracoa and one of the best in Cuba. You will need a guide to do it, and Civitatis sells the best guided tours in the region.
- Yumuri Canyon tour – one of the most scenic places you will see in the country, this guided tour includes a boat trip.
- Rio Miel river mouth trip – this river is so clean that you will want to jump in. The tour is an excellent way to enjoy it.
- Alejandro de Humboldt National Park trip – a great guided tour sold on Civitatis that goes to a few of the best places to visit in the region, including a beach.
- Playa Maguana Beach Transfer – you get to spend up to 6 hours in one of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba.
Continue reading to discover everything you need to know about Baracoa.
A gorgeous view of Baracoa Cuba
10 Cool Things To Do In Baracoa, Cuba
Explore the city
Believe it or not, Baracoa was the first capital of Cuba. The city was founded in 1511 by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in an area that was isolated from the rest of the country – an isolation which continued well into the 20th century.
The city isn’t as beautiful as others in Cuba – especially if you compare it to Havana or Trinidad. Most of its colonial charm has long gone, and Baracoa has a beaten up look thanks to the incessant wind, the regular rain, and the hurricanes. Yet, it is a pleasant city to explore, probably because it is incredibly laid back and unpretentious.
It will take no more than a couple of hours to explore it. Make sure to visit the Cathedral, to admire the many murals celebrating Guevara, the revolution and other prominent figures of that time, and to go to the Malecon, the city’s waterfront.
Eat the delicious food
Food in Cuba is good but it will hardly awaken your taste buds. Except in Baracoa, where you can expect to have one glorious meal after the other. Cuisine in this part of the country is simply different from that of other places – full of flavors, significantly more eclectic, and by no means obvious. You will dream about the food in Baracoa for the rest of your trip – that surely happened to me when all I could find for dinner was (fresh but) boring grilled fish with white rice.
Among the dishes you absolutely have to try in Baracoa there is shrimps, octopus or even lobster in coconut sauce. It just is heavenly.
Learn about chocolate
The area around Baracoa is packed with cocoa plantations. Chances are you will cross them many times unknowingly, and stare at the strange large nuts hanging from the trees without knowing what they are. I saw many such plants on my way to El Yunque.
One interesting thing you can do in Baracoa is learning about the chocolate making process – from the harvesting of cocoa to the toasting of the seeds and the production of milk and dark chocolate. It tastes nothing like the one you are used to – it’s rougher in texture, almost as if sugar had not fully melted in it. But I assure you it is good.
Then have a chocolate drink
Once you are done learning about how chocolate is made, you can stop to taste a chocolate drink at the Casa de Cacao in Calle Maceo 121 – basically the main street in Baracoa. First of all, it is worth pointing out that although some call it the Chocolate Museum, this is not a museum at all. It basically is just a café where you can have all sorts of chocolate flavored things – cake, pastries, chocolate pralines and drinks.
The cakes are frankly nothing special, but the drinks are good. You can have hot or cold chocolate, with or without rum, and with or without a chocolate ball inside. There is no lactose free option, unfortunately, so this is definitely not a suitable place for vegans.
Hiking El Yunque is a must when in Baracoa Cuba
Hike El Yunque
If there is one thing you can’t miss when in Baracoa, that’s hiking El Yunque.
This cone shaped, flat at the top mountain can be seen all the way from town and its peak reaches 500 meters above sea level. Hardly an altitude – yet this is a challenging hike.
Keep in mind that you are in the heart of the Caribbean, in a region that is incredibly humid and where the air is heavy to breathe. It rains pretty much every day at some point, and so the trail is muddy and slippery. To get to the beginning of the trail, you have to cross the river (either on a traditional boat called cayuca, or on foot, which means you have to strip of your clothes and carry your backpack on your head) and walk through a cocoa plantation.
From the beginning of the actual trail, it takes about 2 hours to get to the top, from where you can enjoy beautiful views. The overall hike, including the walk from the visitors’ center where you have to stop to hire a guide (this is mandatory) takes 6 hours and includes a stop at some beautiful waterfalls too.
TIP: Wear hiking boots, a hat and take a swimsuit and a quick dry towel with you. Make sure to carry enough food and water as well.
If you want, you can book this guided hike via Civitatis here.
Yumuri Canyon is one an easy day trip from Baracoa Cuba
Explore Yumuri Canyon
Yumuri Canyon is located at around 30 km from Baracoa. It makes for a great, easy day trip during which you get to drive along the coast and pass the Tunel de los Alemanes (German Tunnel). The canyon is 180 meters deep. A good tour typically includes a boat ride and the chance to swim in the clear waters. You can even bike there. If this is something you want to do, make sure to leave nice and early. The bike ride is fairly easy, but it is around 60 km and the terrible heat will make it hard.
You can book your Yumuri Canyon tour here.
Go to Parque Nacional Alejandro Humboldt
Baracoa is known as the city of 29 rivers – that’s how much water there is there. Such a lush place means that there is incredible biodiversity, which can be best admired at Parque Nacional Alejandro Humboldt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There, you will be able to admire various species including hummingbirds, falcons, lizards, the smallest bird, various frogs, scorpions and bats. Through a path in the jungle you can reach a viewpoint from where you will be able to enjoy great views.
You can book your Alejandro de Humboldt National Park trip here.
The clear waters of Playa Maguana, one of the best beaches near Baracoa Cuba
Go to Playa Maguana
Not far from Baracoa, there are various beautiful beaches where you can spend a few hours relaxing. My favorite is Playa Maguana. Locals love it; and it is getting more and more popular among tourists. You won’t find much in terms of services – there is nowhere to rent equipment, and a few nearby local restaurants. The beach itself is stunning: fine, golden sand; incredibly clear waters and a coral reef you can reach on an easy swim.
At about 5 km west of Playa Maguana you will find the even more secluded Playa Nava.
TIP: Playa Maguana and Playa Nava can be visited on the same day. There is no public transportation to get there, so you can book a Playa Maguana beach transfer here. Alternatively, enquire with your casa particular for the cheapest option to get there.
Have a drink at Hotel El Castillo
Hotel El Castillo is easily reached from the main street in Baracoa Cuba. From there, you can enjoy nice views of the city and the coast below and then head to the pool at the back from a fabulous cocktail. There are several to pick from and they are all good, so for once try to be more adventurous and don’t order your typical mojito or pina colada!
Enjoy a night out at Casa de la Trova
Cuba is often associated with salsa. The best place to enjoy some salsa tunes (and practice your moves) in Baracoa is Casa de la Trova, not far from the Cathedral. There are daily salsa performances at set times, but if you go later in the night you can actually be part of the show and dance too.
Riding a cayuca along the river
Practical Information To Plan Your Trip To Baracoa Cuba
Guided tours of Cuba that also go to Baracoa Cuba
If you love traveling but hardly enjoy planning a trip, I can put together a custom made itinerary for you and give you the joy of traveling independently. If you’d rather join a guided tour, I recommend going with G Adventures. Their Cuba Colonial tour goes to all the best places to visit in Cuba, including Baracoa, in just 15 days and for a very reasonable price. You can check it out here.
Getting a visa for Cuba
All visitors need a Cuba Tourist Card for their trip. Ask Easy Tourist Card to arrange your visa for Cuba for just $35 USD!
Make sure to read my post “How To Get The Visa For Cuba In 8 Easy Steps (Also For Americans).”
Where to stay in Baracoa Cuba
Baracoa has a few good casas particulares. I stayed at Casa Colonial Gustavo y Yalina, in Flor Combret 125, phone number 0053 21 64 25 36. It is a nice colonial house with spacious rooms facing an internal yard.
These are some other good places to stay in Baracoa that you can book online:
How to get to Baracoa Cuba
Baracoa is connected to the rest of the country via La Farola (The Lighthouse Road), which was built in 1964. You can get there by Viazul bus from Santiago de Cuba (there are 5 daily buses) but you will have to make sure to book a few days in advance either via the website or in person by going to the bus station. It is a lovely ride over the hills, that lasts around 5 hours depending on the amount of stops.
When to visit Baracoa Cuba
Baracoa is located in the most tropical region of Cuba. This means one thing: rain, rain and more rain. Don’t get me wrong though. You will get plenty of sun if you visit between December and April, but expect a good daily shower. In general, the weather is hot and humid.
Other useful information
Make sure to get a good guide book for your trip to Cuba. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to rely on wifi there so you want something handy to get information when needed. These are a few good options:
All travelers need a good travel insurance to travel to Cuba. Make sure to read my post “Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.”
Make sure to read my other posts about Cuba to help you plan your trip:
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