We talk a lot here about how travel is great for spending quality time with loved ones. But for some people, travel is something they do solo for a variety of reasons: busy schedules that don’t allow for vacation time when others can go along, stressful lives that travel serves as a temporary escape from or the simple fact that single people like to travel too. For solo female travelers, safety can be an extra concern. And what good is traveling, alone or with others, if you don’t learn something about yourself? These are some of our experts’ recommendations for solo female travelers.
Australia & New Zealand
Being so far away, these destinations require more time off to visit. Family and work obligations can mean you don’t find somebody to go with you. Fortunately, while you’re certain to learn some new words, there isn’t a language barrier. The people are friendly, and it’s safe. There are enough cultural similarities to help you ease in but enough differences to make for a real adventure. There are great cities, expansive nature and unique wildlife.
Expedition ships often have special sailings where single supplement fees are waived, which means you have your own cabin at no additional cost. You’re still traveling in a relatively small group, so it’s easy to make friends, especially when you’re experiencing something so life-changing. The diversity of wildlife in the Galapagos definitely makes for a one-of-a-kind journey and will prompt some introspection that might lead to journaling in your cabin at night, much like Charles Darwin did when he visited.
The Nordic countries
Quality of life is pretty good, and people are generally welcoming. There’s a reason the rankings of happiest countries in the world basically read as a list of the Nordic countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden are all in the top 10 for this year’s rankings. Depending on when you go, you can maximize your chance at seeing the Northern Lights or have it be daytime all the time. See for yourself what makes life in these countries so happy.
Spain & Portugal
The distance between cities can be covered in a few hours on a train. They’re rich in culture, and the food is incredible. Each region offers something unique, so you can pack a variety of experiences into a compact area. The architecture and art are out of this world. The weather is usually good most times of year. This corner of Europe offers adventure and beauty at every turn.
A lot of locals travel solo, so there’s an infrastructure for it and a level of familiarity. It’s easy to base yourself in one place and do day trips. The country is safer than most, and there are emergency phones and small police buildings called koban virtually everywhere if you need help. Hotels and ryokan are used to accommodating solo travelers, as are restaurants. Some cities offer female-only train cars on public transit.
The final season of “Game of Thrones” is upon us. There are a lot of questions to be answered. Who lives? Who dies? Who sits on the Iron Throne when it’s all said and done? Will it even matter because everything’s been taken over by the Night King and his army of White Walkers? The most important questions, however, are, “Where did they film that?” and “Can I go see it?” We might not yet know the full implications of Bran’s ability to travel in time, but we know where you can travel to see these incredible Game of Thrones filming locations.
Dubrovnik doubles as Kings Landing, with Cersei’s walk of shame taking place in the streets of the ancient city. Fortunately, even though Cersei took her revenge by blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor, Dubrovnik’s Old Town still stands. Ston also lends its beauty to some of the fortifications of Kings Landing, while Dubrovnik’s Minceta Tower serves as the House of the Undying, where Daenarys sees visions of the past and future. The Riverlands can be found in Krka National Park, while Kliss Fortress and the Palace of Diocletian in Split represent Meereen. Braavos is actually Sibenik, with St. Jacob Cathedral serving as the Iron Bank.
The Dothraki Sea seen in Season 1 is the Glens of Antrim and Ballymoney, while the Dark Hedges lend their eerie intertwining beech trees to scenes featuring the Kingsroad. Castle Ward’s towers will be recognizable to fans of the Stark family as the towers of Winterfell. The Iron Islands can actually be found in Murlough Bay, while Cushendun Caves and Larrybane Quarry are the Stormlands. The Dragonstone beach where the red priestess Melisandre burns idols of the Seven to appease the Lord of Light is really Downhill Beach.
Supplying most of the ice and A Song of Ice and Fire, Iceland supplied filming locations for pretty much everything north of the wall and some portions of the North as well. The Wildling camp is at Thingvellir, which is also the site of Brienne’s sword fight with the Hound. Grjotagja Cave is instantly recognizable to those romantics who saw Jon and Ygritte fall in love over a hot bath. Lake Myvatn and Vatnajokull provide some of the spectacular scenery north of the wall, while a ragtag bunch of heroes traveled to what looks an awful lot like Snæfellsnes Peninsula to bring back a White Walker.
One of the biggest revelations in Game of Thrones has been the true identity of Jon Snow, who was born in the Tower of Joy. You can find the tower in Guadalajara, where it is known in our world as Castel de Zafra. Danaerys needed a dragon ex machina to save her from an assassination attempt in the fighting pits of Meereen, which are actually the Plaza de Toros de Osuna. The Alcazar of Seville and its gardens served as the royal palace of Dorne in Sunspear, where the Martells held sway. The Roman bridge in Cordoba doubles as the Long Bridge of Volantis. Sam cleans some chamber pots and finds out some important truths at the library in the Citadel, which is really the Monastery of Sant Pere de Galligants in Girona.
If you can remember all the way back to Season 1, Malta featured prominently. Khal Drogo and Daenarys were married on Gozo’s Azure Window. Sadly, the rock formation collapsed into the sea in 2017, but the spot is still great for diving. The beautifully preserved medieval city of Medina stood in for Kings Landing in the first season, especially the city gate. Cersei gave Ned her famous, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die” speech at St. Dominic’s Convent in Rabat. Ned, who definitely did not win, lost his head at Fort Manoel, which doubled as the Great Sept of Baelor for his death scene.