Christopher Nye from Property Guides who are experts in providing advice on desirable destinations across the world. Here, he shares his idea of the best locations for solo travel.
What makes a great destination when holidaying alone? Well that depends what you like, of course. Probably best not to choose Florence if you want a full moon party or Thailand if you’re into Renaissance art.
But with your basic areas of interest worked out, for the one in nine of us who take a holiday alone each year – according to ABTA’s Holiday Habits survey – where should we go?
Recently Propertyguides.com crunched the numbers to see which countries are best for singles buying a holiday home. We looked at research from the OECD, UN and similarly objective organisations, into such factors as feelings of safety when walking home alone, the cost of living (including rent), the number of other single people and how LGTB-friendly the country is. We also factored in traditional measures of wellbeing, such as environmental protection and life satisfaction.
We added our own experiences. Are these places where people smile at you? Will they tut if you stand the wrong side of the escalator?
Based on all that, we would suggest the following as great destinations for solo travelers.
ABTA’s research found that 92% of 35 to 44-year-olds travel alone for the freedom to do what they want. “Doing” is rather the point of a holiday in Canada. It’s the adventure holiday capital of the world; a perfect opportunity for the kayaker, climber, heli-skier, cowgirl or wolf/bear-botherer whose significant other would rather read a book. With Canada offering adventure holidays across all 3,000 miles of its length, who needs a companion?
Where specifically? The West of Canada with the Rockies and famous national parks at Banff and Jasper, is perfect for the more white-watery sort of adventures. In the east, the Niagara Falls may be famous as a honeymoon destination, but how about a cycling tour of the Niagara winelands? The perfect way to find a mate (not that you’re looking).
Canada is easy to reach in six to nine hours and the locals speak English (mostly). And it’s friendly! There are only two kinds of people in Canada – nice people and people not from Canada, as they say. It’s also safe (apart from the bears). Compared to the USA, residents of Canada felt considerably safer walking home at night, according to OECD research.
Spain offers plenty to do too. But if you’d rather do nothing on the beach, followed by a nice relaxing dinner and then a bit more of doing nothing (or dancing the entire night away back at the beach club), Spain has a costa for you.
Looking at it objectively, Spain feels exceptionally safe when walking home at night, is among the most gay-friendly countries in the world (according to the Pew Research Center) and is affordable.
It also throws together a great range of people. Mallorca, for example, offers the fleshpots of Magaluf, the classy boutiques and medieval architecture of Palma, the artists of Deia and seven Michelin-starred restaurants.
For solo travellers, the Costa Dorada covers Barcelona and Sitges, both of which offer a great combination of culture, sea, sand and, let’s be honest, sexiness. The Costa Almeria in the far south-east is a little more alternative and affordable. You could try Mojacar in particular. Cities such as Malaga and Seville also offer a touch of Andalusian exoticism as well as art and culture – with a beach rarely too far away.
France offers many of the adventures you could find in Canada (yes, wolves and bears too), but without wrecking your eco-credentials and all with that alluring French accent. For adventure holidays, in France you’ll have no trouble finding a group of solos to try out canoeing or canyoning in the Ardeche, or mountain-biking down those Alpine ski slopes in summer.
For solo travellers already stuck with that infuriating single supplement, France is expensive – though you’ll save a bit on the air fare. On the other hand, many of France’s best activities are free – such as people watching, or browsing second-hand bookshops on the rive gauche…
According to EU data, France has more unmarried people than almost anywhere in mainland Europe. Will they talk to you? Well, let’s get away from the idea that the French are aloof. They’ll certainly chat if you dare brush up your school French and meet them half way!
There’s a huge range of activity holidays which offer the chance to meet new people. So will it be cordon-bleu cookery in Carcassonne, watercolour painting in Provence, furniture restoration in the Charente?
Solo travel is your chance to get out of your bubble, stretch your mind and experience the joys of “flow”, that feeling when nothing else matters apart from what you’re doing right now! So, where are going to book?
Christopher Nye is the author of travel books covering Mallorca, the Greek Islands and adventure holidays. He is Senior Content Editor at Propertyguides.com, focusing on holiday home buying.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.