Traveling alone can be one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of someone’s life. You can explore different cultures and open your mind to new ways of living while also meeting new people.
Exploring the world on your own terms gives you the opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. You’ll be forced to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and navigate unique and exciting civilizations.
You’ll also have complete control over your itinerary, so you are free to travel on your own time and to the places you really want to visit. Pop your bags into luggage storage upon arrival and jump straight into a new city, from the capital of Croatia, Zagreb to Malta’s Valletta.
Traveling on your own can however be a pretty daunting experience, and knowing where the best places to explore solo can be tricky to pin down. Luckily, for those thinking of embarking on a solo adventure, we have analyzed a number of popular destinations around the world to uncover which are the best, safest, and most affordable for solo travel in 2023.
The best countries for solo travel in 2023
1. Croatia - 7.58/10 Solo Travel Score
Croatia is home to some absolutely stunning natural beauty, from its crystal-clear waters, and scenic national parks, to its beautiful coastal towns. The country also boasts a number of olive groves, pine tree forest trails, and exquisite sandy beaches. Croatia likewise provides residence to the iconic Pearl of the Adriatic, the city of Dubrovnik, one of the country's most popular places to visit.
For solo travelers, there is an abundance of outdoor activities on offer across the country, including hiking, swimming, kayaking, and sailing opportunities. Or, for food lovers, there are 17 restaurants per 100,000 people, so you’ll always be able to find fresh and delicious seafood here.
You can expect to find affordable accommodation in this country too, with average hostels costing $14.31 (£11.52 / €13.26). Croatia is also one of the safest on our list for solo travelers, with a safety index rating of 75.4/100 and a crime index score of 24.6/10.
Reflecting on our 2021 solo travel study, Croatia has jumped three places, claiming the top spot for 2023.
2. Malta - 7.05/10 Solo Travel Score
Malta is known for its historical ties to multiple dynasties and the many fortresses and temples that they’ve left behind throughout the years. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, between Sicily and the coast of North Africa, Malta has exceptional weather, with a high average temperature of 67.3°F and low average rainfall of 414mm per year.
With its rich cultural and historical heritage, Malta has many ancient sites and landmarks to explore, especially on your own, and the country offers a whopping 353 attractions per 100,000 people.
Solo adventurers can take as much time as they like to soak up the fantastic history and culture of the island. Malta’s capital, Valletta, is particularly well known for its stunning Baroque palaces, gardens, and churches.
In 2021, Malta also ranked in second place, proving its continued popularity as a solo travel hotspot.
3. Slovenia - 6.66/10 Solo Travel Score
With plenty of adrenalin sports on offer, Slovenia attracts the more adventurous traveler and those who love the outdoors. Slovenia has the beauty of Austria and Switzerland without the tourists and it is also much more affordable, coming in at around $23.40 (£18.85 / €21.68) per night for a hostel.
Slovenia has some amazing natural beauty too, hosting a variety of scenic mountains and coastlines in the heart of Europe. The country is home to 80 natural thermal springs and healing waters, making it a popular destination for solo adventurers big into health and wellness retreats.
This destination also has a strong safety index score of 75.8, paired with a crime index score of 24.2, making it one of the safest destinations on our list.
Slovenia has seen a significant jump in its ranking, moving up a total of six positions since 2021.
The best country for…
Attractions - Iceland (583 per 100,000 people)
Iceland ranks as the country with the most attractions per 100,000 people on our list, so you’ll know you will never be bored traveling solo in this country. You can find the most thrilling geological landscapes in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital, from volcanoes and geysers to hot springs and fjords. Why not also take a trip to Iceland’s infamous Blue Lagoon - a geothermal spa located in a lava field, famous for its milky blue waters and rejuvenating properties?
Restaurants - Singapore (212 per 100,000 people)
Singapore is well-known for its exceptional cuisine and variety, from classic Malaysian laksa and Indonesian satays all the through to southern Indian curries and spicy Chinese stir-fries. Singapore’s thriving blend of cultures and cuisines drives its bustling street markets and exciting restaurant scene which demand to be explored.
Cost of public transport - Sri Lanka ($0.16 / £0.13 / €0.15 average cost of a one-way public transport ticket)
As a solo traveler, you’re likely to need to make use of public transport to get around. Of the countries we analyzed, Sri Lanka had the most affordable price for a one-way ticket, at just $0.16 (£0.13 / €0.15). Sri Lanka is a beautiful country home to a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes, including Adam's Peak.
Cost of a hostel stay - Nepal ($3.60 / £2.90 / €3.34 average cost of a nightly hostel stay)
For solo adventurers on a budget, Nepal is your best choice. You can find cheap hostel stays in Nepal for around $3.60 / £2.90 / €3.34 per night. Purse strings can be tight for any adventurer, but this can be especially true for solo travelers who cannot share travel costs.
Number of hostels - Croatia (19.44 per 100,000 people)
Croatia has the most hostels for its population at 19.44 per 100,000 people, so, you’ll always be able to find an affordable place to stay on your next visit to Zagreb. Hostels are a great place for solo adventurers, as they provide you with a great opportunity to meet new people who are also on an adventure of their own.
Safety - Japan (76.9 index score)
Japan has the highest safety rating of the countries we’ve analyzed here, meaning the more safety-minded adventurer will feel right at home in cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. Japan also retains the lowest crime index score at 23.1/100. One of the safest countries you can visit, Japan is perfect for solo travelers who like a peace of mind while they travel without company.
Temperature - Singapore (average of 82°F year-round)
Weather is always a big consideration for travelers and Singapore has the highest average temperature of the countries we analyzed at a massive 82°F. However, if you’re expecting blazing sunshine, Singapore will more likely deliver a tropical climate, with high humidity and rainfall.
Rainfall - Jordan (average of 97mm per year)
Jordan has the lowest average annual rainfall on our list at 97mm per year. If you’re set on avoiding downpours while you travel, then Jordan is the destination for you, situated in the Middle East, it has an arid desert climate and very little rainfall.
We used various online articles and lists to build an initial list of countries considered to be good for solo travelers, before analyzing each one on the following factors. Each factor was made up of sub-factors. We gave each country a normalized score out of ten on each factor, before taking an average across each of these scores to reach our final overall solo index travel score out of ten.
Factors included were:
● Things to do (number of attractions and restaurants)
● Affordability (costs of public transport, food, and hotel stays)
● Accommodation (number of hotels and hostels)
● Safety (crime and safety index scores)
● Weather (average temperature and annual rainfall)
Each sub-factor was weighted to form a total factor (for example, the number of attractions and restaurants per 100,000 people were given weightings of 50% each to form the full factor “Things to do”).
Attractions, restaurants, and hotels were taken as the total listed on Tripadvisor, calculated per 100,000 people.
The average cost of a one-way ticket on public transport was taken from Numbeo.
The average cost of food (taken as the price of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant) was taken from Numbeo.
The average cost of a hostel stay was taken from Price of Travel (as the nightly rate for the cheapest well-located and well-reviewed hostel).
The total number of hostels listed on Hostelworld, calculated per 100,000 people.
Crime and safety index scores were recorded from Numbeo.
The mean annual temperature was taken from Wisevoter.
The mean annual precipitation was recorded from climateknowledgeportal.
For countries where full data sets were inaccessible, these were removed from the final analysis. All data is correct as of 10th May 2023.