Travelling alone is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It gives you time to reflect, learn about yourself and expose yourself for the better. Although, it can be a little daunting when you have that realisation that you are actually going to be travelling alone. It's natural to be nervous. There are some horrific stories out there involving solo female travellers. But you shouldn't let that stop you from discovering the world. When it comes to planning your trip to Europe we got the safest and most beautiful cities lined up for you, so start making your list!
21. Split, Croatia
Split was a total surprise for me. I was not expecting this place to be as beautiful as it was in person. The atmosphere remains very laid-back, even in the hustle and bustle of the town centre. I believe it is the combination of white stone architecture which provides that cool feeling on a hot July day and the citizens. The Croatians are very kind, accommodating people. They also love a good chat! Take a walk along the pier, gaze through the crystal clear water and eat seafood (try FiFi's restaurant, cheap and delicious!). It's a little piece of heaven on Earth.
20. Paris, France
You can't go to Europe without making a stop in Paris! The smell of patisserie's in the morning, that feeling you get when you first see the Effiel Tower and artistic atmosphere whether it fashion, architecture or art itself. Paris will take your breath away. However, there are a few things you need to know about travelling alone in Paris; I wouldn't recommend staying out after midnight alone. With company, it's fine. But alone you may become the target of plenty of guys trying to sell you things, or just straight up bothering you. What I suggest is grabbing a few new friends from the hostel and heading out together! Rosè and catching the midnight light show on the Eiffel Tower with some new girlfriends makes for a fantastic evening!
19. Vienna, Austria
Come snow or sunshine Vienna is always good to luck at. The baroque architecture which lines the busy streets of Wien (what the locals call Vienna) is definitely what makes Vienna so pretty. If you're a massive music fan then you'll never run out of things to see/do, a bit of Opera here, some Philharmonic Orchestra there, sounds good eh? My only advice about Vienna is that you should be careful where you are staying. Although Vienna is renowned as one of the safest cities in the world, the saying "wrong side of the tracks" applies to this city. Stay away from hosteling south of the Hauptbahnhof station area, the more centre you're staying the better!
18. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ljubljana is not only one of the safest cities I've ever been to but one of the cutest! Even though it's the capital of Slovenia, it's not particularly big. But because of its size, it feels more like a cosy countryside town. The streets are lined with colourful buildings following the river, overlooked by a castle which lies on the hills above the town, it's as picturesque as it sounds! There's no really bad side of Ljubljana. Like, it's genuinely one of the loveliest places on Earth.
17. Krakow, Poland
The wee city centre of Krakow lies within the walls of the old town, as a city it's incredibly safe. I shamelessly stumbled back to my hostel after a night out. Kebab in one hand, shoes in the other. Certainly not the way my Mother raised me but my drunken quest wasn't disturbed by creatures of the night or trolls under bridges. Although that was only one night of my stay in Krakow, the other few nights when I returned home (not as blind drunk) I noticed that the streets are quite empty, only to pass the occasional group of over-excited, testosterone filled group of lads, concerned only with beers and strip clubs.
16. Berlin, Germany
it's very hard to stumble into a bad area in Berlin as they're mostly on the outskirts of the city. However, pickpocketers run wide among the most touristy spots, such as the Brandenburg gate pictured above. Although, I'm sure you know yourself to always keep an eye on your belongings. Apart from that Berlin is incredibly safe, and also one of the best cities to cycle around too! A bike ride through Tiergarten can only be described as delightful! When it comes to going out at night, I wouldn't recommend clubbing on your own, but Berliners are so open-minded and your hostel will have plenty of people heading out so join the party!
15. Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is known mostly for two things Guinness and its people. It would also be correct in saying that these are not only the best things about Dublin; the history is fascinating, the parks are hyper-colour green and the nightlife is spectacular. You see Dublin is the place where you could go out at night by yourself. The majority of Irish people are very chatty and if they see if you're alone will invite you to drink with them. Although, like most cities it does have its dodgy figures, so anyone who looks a bit scary stay clear from. But they're not that much of a threat! Not enough of a reason not to have a glass of the black stuff on the Emerald Isle itself!
14. Venice, Italy
Venice is bittersweet. If you're backpacking on a budget, Venice will rip your pocket to shreds. But it is truly breath-taking. You will get lost. This is inevitable. But out of all the places in the world to get lost Venice is number one. A city of courtyards, small alleys and a billion bridges, the sights of Venice will satisfy every bone in your body. It can be overcrowded, especially in the summer. But the great thing is that even without all tourists Venice is still very safe. Just keep an eye on your pockets, like any other major tourist spot.
I have a soft spot for Alpine towns, and Innsbruck is no exception. Situated in the Tyrol, a region in the north-west of Austria, it's a combination of the laid-back vibe and the humongous hills which surround the town which will leave you weak at the knees. This little town has everything from exquisite coffee to snow-topped mountains. A picture perfect town where your spirit will strive and your smile will be never-ending.
13. Munich, Germany
Well first off, it's where the classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was filmed, where even Slugworth turned out to be a good guy! Munich is pretty freakin' safe. Although just beware weary of the drunks around the Bahnhof (train station). Everywhere else is fine. So relax, head to a beer garden and sample some of the tastiest beer in the world!
12. Bruges, Brussels
The entire town looks like it's made from gingerbread goodness. Unfortunately you can't chew on the buildings without breaking some teeth, and it doesn't even taste that good. Thankfully Bruges is full of delicious bakeries and chocolatiers! When you're finished scoffing your bag of truffles, rent a bike and go for a cycle around the quaint town. It's the best way to take in all the architectural awe-inspiring yumminess. Bruges is 100% scrumptious both for the body and soul.
11. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland seems to be overlooked on most backpackers trips to Europe, well y'all are missing out! Reykjavik, Iceland's capital would go down for anyone who's looking for something different from mainland Europe. Colourful in creation and hyper-photogenic, Reykjavik is a destination not to be missed! As it's not a huge tourist spot, you'll have no trouble getting deep in the authentic Icelandic experience. Icelanders are incredibly friendly people too! Always happy help a lost tourist out, it's a great destination for any girl travelling alone.
10. Killarney, Ireland
Killarney is home to one of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe which makes for some truly beautiful scenery. It's a great place to visit if you've had enough of the metropolitan side of Europe. The sense of purity, the feeling of being one with nature and the kindness of the locals makes Killarney one of the greatest places to visit if you're visiting Europe. A night the small town becomes alive to sound of traditional Irish music and the chatter of those out for a pint. All in all, it's a fantastic place.
9. Edinburgh, Scotland
Calling all Harry Potter enthusiasts! Edinburgh is a must for you! Built on rolling hills do the granite bricked buildings lie. Cafès, cosy bars and curvy pavements guide you down and around the old town of Edinburgh. It's history consumes you. Queens, plagues and revolutions have ravaged this city. Even if you're not a history buff, Edinburgh is one of the most intriguing cities out there. Covered in charm and character, come to Edinburgh and you'll never want to leave.
8. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is one of those places you hear from other backpackers to visit. You hear that it's incredible. It's beautiful. It's the craziest place to party. It's true. The Baroque architecture will keep your eyes busy as you stroll from attraction to attraction. There's so much to see in Budapest, not just the Parliament Building and Chain Bridge pictured above here. Such as the ruin bars, the Fisherman's bastillion and catching the sunset on top of Gellèrt hill is extraordinary. As city's go, Budapest is pretty safe, I've been living in Budapest for a couple of months and have had no trouble at all.
7. Malta, Malta
Malta is a teeny tiny place. But it has a lot to offer in terms of delightful sights and sunshine. If it's a lot of sun, and a lot less tourists you're after Malta is definitely for you. The main town of Malta, conveniently called Malta, has cutsy colourful boats which line the marina. Imagine strolling along the coast, ice cream in hand. Just. Like. Yes please.
6. Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb is surprisingly funky. I can only describe the centre part of the city as being very alternative, but without all the hipsters. Most of the coffee shops and bars appear to be unintentionally quirky, which what I loved about Zagreb. Also, Croatians are just the loveliest people. If you look lost in any way expect a local to ask you if you're okay. In saying that, it's a really safe place for solo female adventurers.
5. Bern, Switzerland
Ok. So anywhere in Switzerland is pretty safe. Like... it's Switzerland, nothing bad ever happens there. But Bern would be my choice city to check out if you're going to venture outside Zurich. First off, it's pretty f*cking adorable as a town. It's almost surrounded by water, enough to consider it a moat. How many towns have a moat? Just Bern. It also has the steepest funicular (a tram that go up and down hills) in the world. It's practically the world safest rollercoaster. Oh Switzerland.
4. Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Located in the peaceful West of Spain Santiago de Compostela is one of the first stop on the ancient pilgrimage trail of the Camino de Santiago, which I would also totally recommend checking out! This little gem of a town will charm you when the sun hits the yellow bricked buildings. It's a lot less hectic than the rest of Espana, and full of other young backpackers! Which makes it a fantastic place to make some new friends. Yay for friends!
3. Arles, France
If it's good enough for Van Gogh, it's good enough for me. For those of you on the less artistic-knowing side, the famous Cafe Terrace at Night was inspired and painted by the famous/insane artist Vincent Van Gogh here in Arles. Located in the south of France, it's a small town with a huge amount of character and sh*t tonne of gorgeous wine to consume. It's tiny town atmosphere combined the sunshine and the beauty is overwhelmingly stunning. I kind of wish I was there right now... I might see you there.
2. Florence, Italy
Oh Florence you so pwetty! Although it's more on the expensive side of things, as most of Italy is if you can stretch out your budget a bit I'd recommend Florence as a place to check out! Strolling along the Arno river which runs through Florence, ice cream in hand, gazing at the rolling hills which encapsulate the city Florence. It's also a really great place to meet people as the hostels here are so few that they're full most of the summer season.
1. Prague, Czech Republic
Or "Praha" as it's more locally known, it's a town straight out of a Walt Disney creation! Literally. Walking through the streets will send you right back to the middle ages. The sense of history behind each building is truly intriguing. It's a hotspot for backpackers, which means there's bound to be plenty of people here in the high season. My only advice for Prague is that it turns into a different place once the sun goes down. The strip clubs, boozers and assh*les come out to play. So I wouldn't recommend going out alone. You're actually better off hitting up a gay bar if you want to avoid any sleazy drunks. But please don't let that stop you from visiting this incredible city!
So there you have it ladies! Get planning, start saving and get going!
By Catherine Munnelly.