19 best experiences for solo female travelers
How many of us have thought about traveling alone and having incredible experiences? The most popular thought is certainly which are the safest countries, so I suggest you read my article 20 safest countries for solo female travelers. And on how to plan your first solo female trip if you are a beginner. Traveling means having unforgettable experiences around the world that are just waiting to be lived. The world is filled with these amazing adventures that are different in their kind but unique, you will take home unforgettable memories and moments that will accompany you for the rest of your life. Along with other travel bloggers we still have a list of 19 best experiences for solo female traveler you can do around the world.
#1 CLIMB THE MAYAN RUINS
However, there are plenty of other options! Located less than an hour from the popular Mexican beach town of Tulum, you can climb the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula!
Recommended by Shelley from Travel Mexico Solo
#2 SOLO FEMALE VAN LIFE
Solo van life is the best way for a solo female traveler. The freedom to go where you want and live in a van it’s the ultimate adventure!
How to get started? Start near home. It is a big change from staying in hotels to start traveling by van. Van life in Europe is also said to be safer than van life around the US. So research where you would feel safest to start van life. Another safety measure is staying at campsites instead of wild camping (= staying at parking lots or in the forest etc.). That way you are not spending nights alone and your neighbors will hear if anything bad happens. For other van life tips click here!
Van life around Europe is a great way to see Europe. You can drive from one country to another and see way more than when flying to a city and then exploring it and the surroundings. Must visit countries are Finland, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy! You can drive around the alps, visit the countryside and visit the bigger cities. Anything is possible!
And talk about meeting people on the road. As a solo traveler, you may feel lonely and it might be hard to connect with people. But when all campers park together at a campsite you are never alone and you might just meet that van life bestie you have been waiting for!
Why do van life? Exploring endless roads, learning about yourself and each country you visit in a totally new way, meeting new people, and just the overall feeling of freedom. Take the roads less traveled by and enjoy your solo travels in a way you never knew was possible!
Recommended by Ronja from Ronja Goes Abroad
#3 HIKE THE TRIUND
The Triund Hike is one of the most popular easy hikes in the Indian Himalayas. Located in The Dhauladhar Ranges in the Dharamahsla district, this hike starts from the Gallu Temple near Dharamkot and is about 6 kilometres long. Depending on one’s speed and stamina, it can take anywhere between 4 to 6 hours to complete this hike.
Recommended by Avantika from Wayward Wayfarer
#4 SWIMMING WITH WILD DOLPHINS
One of the best experiences for solo female travelers is swimming with wild dolphins in New Zealand. Not only is New Zealand an incredibly safe place for solo travel, but it’s also home to amazing experiences you’ll never find anywhere else.
The most unique experience is getting to swim with wild dolphins off the coast of Kaikoura on New Zealand’s South Island. In this area, you’ll find Dusky Dolphins, one of the smallest dolphin species in the world.
If you’re worried about the animals’ safety, New Zealand has that covered. They only allow dolphin swimming in areas where it does not scare off the dolphins. They limit the number of boats allowed out each day, and make them follow strict practises to protect the dolphins and the coastline. As a bonus, half of your ticket for the experience goes directly to research that protects the Dusky Dolphins.
The best time to go swimming with wild dolphins is first thing in the morning, when the dolphins are most playful. You’ll need to get up around 4am to do this, but it’s worth it!
Be prepared for freezing cold water, no matter what time of year it is. You’ll be bundled into a fleece on top of a thermal wet suit, and you’ll still feel chilly. Be sure to have time for a warm bath after the experience to reset your system!
In New Zealand, weather is always a risk. It can change from hour to hour, often cancelling bucket list experiences. To have the best shot to swim with the dolphins, plan more than one day in Kaikoura. You won’t want to risk missing out!
Recommended by Nina from Nina Out and About
#5 VOLUNTEERING ABROAD
One of the most rewarding experiences as a traveler is meeting locals and giving back to the communities you visit. As a solo female traveler, volunteering abroad is a wonderful way to give back and gain so much in return.
Volunteering Abroad Options
Your options are unlimited for volunteering abroad provided you are flexible. You can go almost anywhere and do almost anything, but deciding may be difficult. Multiple reputable companies are ready to sign you up and whisk you somewhere far away to help other people, or animals! The lists go on forever: you can volunteer with children in Colombia, teach languages in Korea, help vulnerable women in Nicaragua, or treat orphaned animals in Kenya. Choose whatever or wherever interests you, and go.
Why Female Solo Travelers Should Volunteer Abroad
Once you’ve chosen your destination and volunteer opportunity, the organization does a lot of the work for you. Often, they’ll find you accommodations in the area: dorms with other volunteers, an apartment of your own, or a homestay with locals if you want to practice the language and immerse yourself. Plus, most volunteer orgs have employees in the location who will show you around and advise you on top things to do in your spare time.
TIP: Befriend the volunteer liaisons in your location and learn everything you can from them. They know what’s good and what to avoid where you are!
Often there will be other volunteers like you who you can socialize and explore with! Maybe you’ll make a new travel buddy for life. Volunteering abroad is a great opportunity as a female solo traveler to meet new people and experience a new place while doing some good.
Recommended by Melinda from Mel On The Go
#6 NIAGARA FALLS ZIP LINE
One of the best things you can do as a solo female traveller at Niagara Falls is the zip line. This is an awesome experience where you are literally flying down towards the falls- the views are fantastic.
You can find the Wild Play zipline easily on the Canadian side of the Falls, at the waterfront near the ferries for the Niagara Boat tour (also an epic experience!) If you’re driving or touring on a motorcycle, there’s plenty of parking nearby for you to use, although much of it is paid.
Once you’ve bought a ticket (you might want to buy it in advance in high season), you need to put any bags and extras like hats into a locker.
Then, proceed to the staging area, where you might have to queue (I waited about 30 minutes). Here, you’re fitted for a harness and double checked by a member of the team.
Then, you’re lined up. There are 4 zip lines which go at the same time. As a single you’ll be put wherever there is a space- the good news is you probably won’t need to wait so long.
And then you’re off- flying towards the Canadian Horseshoe Falls and passing the American Falls on your left. The ride is 670 metres (2,200 feet) and you’ll be laughing your head off the entire way! They do offer a discount for a second ride at the end- I bet you’re tempted to do it all again!
Recommended by Kat from Biker Girl Life
#7 JOINING THE PILGRIMS TO GOLDEN ROCK
Joining the pilgrims on their journey to Golden Rock in Myanmar is a wonderful cultural experience for solo travellers. To reach the Golden Rock Pagoda you’ll squeeze into a huge pickup truck full of pilgrims for a roller coaster ride to the top of Mount Kyaiktiyo. This is an experience in itself, but what’s most striking is the kindness and generosity of the local people as you bump and swerve on the steep mountain road.
Golden Rock is a major pilgrimage site outside Yangon and people travel from all over the country to visit this sacred Buddhist shrine. The temple is built around a large rock covered in gold leaf that balances precariously at the top of the mountain. It’s said that a magical hair of the Buddha prevents the rock from tumbling down into the valley.
Around the Pagoda, there’s a festive atmosphere amongst the pilgrims as they, socialise, shop at the food stalls, and sleep in the open shelters. Sunset and sunrise are wonderful times to be there to enjoy the stunning views from the top of the mountain. But the temple is most colourful at night when the Golden Rock is lit up and the worshippers light candles to pray to the Buddha.
At dawn, hundreds of barefoot Buddhist monks wearing rust coloured robes queue quietly outside the temple. They carry alms bowls to collect gifts of food & money from the pilgrims. The monks in Myanmar rely completely on the generosity of the local community to eat and to live.
Golden Rock is 200 kilometres from Yangon and you can hire a car and driver to get there. But catching the train and local pickup trucks will bring you closer to the people of Myanmar and their fascinating culture.
Recommended by Linda from Muy Linda Travels
#8 WALK THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
One of the most empowering solo travel experiences for women is to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage route which ends in Santiago Spain, where the remains of Saint James are interred. There are many routes, although the Frances route across northern Spain is the most popular. The trail runs 500 miles (804/k) but you can do as much or as little as you like.
Some women do it with religious intent, but many take the pilgrimage as a journey of personal discovery and self-reflection.
Doing this pilgrimage solo gives you the opportunity to flex your independence and engage with the world on your own terms. I’ve heard of many women being discouraged from tackling the Camino solo, which is ridiculous. According to the Camino’s pilgrim office, off the 250,000 annual pilgrims, 49% are women. Because of the popularity of the route, you’ll have plenty of company. And there is plenty of advice and inspiration to be found for doing the Camino solo.
The best time for the Camino is May-October, although the summer months are very busy. You can do as much or as little of the Camino as you like, but if you want to earn a Compostela (which is certification of completion that also come with a bonus of forgiveness), you’ll need to do the final 100 kilometers into Santiago.
You will want to spend some time training for the hike but you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to do it. You just need a positive attitude and the will to keep walking.
As they say on the trail, Buen Camino.
Recommended by Carol from Wayfarings Views
#9 FOOD TOUR IN MILAN
If you consider yourself a keen foodie or if you just love discovering a new destination through its traditions, a Milan food tour needs to be on your solo female travel bucket list.
Perhaps better known as Italy’s fashion capital, the gorgeous city of Milan has something else going for it too… A vibrant food scene famous for being the birthplace of aperitivo, a pre-dinner drink that has now evolved into a full-blown food and drink experience. This is an absolute must-do on any Milan itinerary .
You’ll have endless aperitivo options in Milan, from the sunset snacks on the canals to rooftop bars with impressive cocktails and incredible views of the Duomo’s spires. Most places have an aperitivo menu where you choose your beverage of choice and that price includes food too! Expect to pay an inflated price for the drink but the amount of food makes it totally worth it. The food ranges from buffet-style small plates to antipasto platters to fancy finger food, and you could absolutely eat enough to not need any dinner afterwards.
To get the full experience, the absolute best way to try out traditional aperitivo culture is with a walking food tour to different restaurants in the buzzing Navigli district, where you’ll be able to taste test a range of delicious snacks with an expert guide who knows all the top spots. Treat yourself to a refreshing wind-down like the locals do and get amongst this brilliant after-work ritual, just make sure you don’t eat too much beforehand!
Recommended by Alexx from Finding Alexx
#10 MOTORCYCLE TOURING
If you’re travelling as a solo female, one of the best ways to get around without it being obvious you’re a ‘girl on her own’ is to travel by motorcycle. After all, with a helmet and leathers on, it’s hard to know what gender you are!
Motorcycle travel is the perfect way to see a country. There’s something about being out in the open air, closer to nature and the elements around you, which makes it all so much more memorable. You can really immerse yourself in a place and spend some time exploring. It’s also great for getting around- much easier than public transport and easier to park than a car.
Also, there’s something about being a female motorcycle rider which attracts a slightly different type of attention. Sure, people will come to chat to you, but they’re more likely to be friendly and interested, rather than aggressive or clingy. People will want to know where you’ve been and where you’re heading next (TOP TIP: For safety, don’t give an exact location or time; keep it vague.)
However, when you’ve had enough or want to move on, you can just pop your helmet on and ride off. It’s one of the best ‘people avoidance’ measures ever found, whilst at the same time being the best way to travel and explore! Win win as a solo female traveller.
Recommended by Kat from Biker Girl Life
#11 HIKING IN IRUYA, ARGENTINA
Iruya is a little town of 1,070 people nestled in the mountains of northwestern Argentina. Sitting at 2,780 meters (9,120 ft) in elevation, this off-the-beaten-path destination is best known for its pristine hiking trails and gorgeous landscapes. Not only that but locals are welcoming and, despite its remote location, Iruya is very safe. So, it’s the perfect destination for any solo female traveler, especially those who love to hike.
For the best views of the town itself, hike up to Mirador de la Cruz. It’s a steep climb that takes about 45 minutes, but you won’t regret it. And the best time is at sunset. The blue and purple hues fill the valley creating a symphony of color.
Then, if you’re looking to test the limits of your vertigo, Mirador El Condor will do just that. This narrow trail zigzags up the southeastern side of Iruya finishing at a dizzying height. From the summit, 360-degree unobstructed views give way to a magnificent scene. And, at noon, condors circle in the valley below looking for their next prey. It’s a surreal experience. The hike takes about 4 hours roundtrip.
The trail leading to the village called San Isidro de Iruya is, however, the most impressive. Follow the Rio de Iruya along rocky terrain for about 3 hours. As you wander through the gorge, you will find yourself in one of the most desolate areas of Argentina. There are no trail makers here so be sure to bring a GPS.
While the idea of hiking in a remote location like Iruya might seem intimidating, it’s one of the best experiences for solo female travelers. Make sure to bring good hiking shoes, a water bottle, and a GPS for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Recommended by Jen from Dabbling in Jet Lag
#12 LEARN ITALIAN IN ITALY
Recommended by Gabby from Office Escape Artist
#13 BOAT PARTY IN INDONESIA
A three-hour boat ride from Bali, Indonesia, lies the island of Gili Trawangan. The small island is known among many backpackers for its excellent and varied nightlife. But not all parties take place in the evening. The Jiggy Boat Party starts at 2 pm and is held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets can be bought online for around 32$ USD, or directly at the Jiggy Bar for 24$ USD or 18 $USD for women (no discount online).
The catamaran has enough space, so even with about 100 people, it doesn’t feel too crowded. Already at the meeting point, you get to know the first people, which is fantastic for solo travellers. There is a covered dance floor with VIP tables on the side and also a spacious outdoor area with stretched nets directly over the water. A DJ plays on the dance floor, and the staff always motivates people to dance and drink.
You can buy small snacks as well as beer, cocktails and long drinks for reasonably fair prices onboard. The destination of the tour is shallow water with a view of the neighbouring island of Lombok, where you can jump into the water from the upper deck. Don’t worry; there are life jackets and crew ready for people who are not so experienced in swimming. After sunset, the journey home begins, so you are back on the island around 7 pm. Don’t worry; the party continues into the night at the Siggy Bar.
Recommended by Victoria from Guide Your Travel
#14 YOGA RETREAT IN BALI
Going on a yoga retreat is a great way to ease into solo travel. With a focus on yoga and meditation, retreats are usually calm and tranquil, set in beautiful surroundings and attended by like-minded people. This creates a sense of community almost immediately and builds camaraderie between participants. Yoga retreats also have a focus on self-care, and the regular meditation and yoga practices helps to encourage calmness and serenity – something many women benefit from during their trips.
Retreats are usually fairly structured, meaning that participants have a daily itinerary to follow, usually with chunks of free time, and many meals are often provided. There is a sense of being taken care of which is wonderful to experience, especially for women who are generally accustomed to taking care of their families. Depending on the location, between classes, there are often opportunities to go to the beach, relax by the pool or head to a nearby town. Visits to nearby attractions and cultural events are often included in the retreat.
Many people opt to head to a yoga retreat in Bali, with Ubud having several good retreat centres to choose from. Other popular destinations for retreats include India, Thailand and various tropical islands around the world, although there are also options in many cities. Yoga retreats allow travellers to experience a new country and way of life, often giving them greater insights into a local community and its culture. They are also a good way to experience solo travel, especially for the first time, with little risk and ample opportunity to make friends.
Recommended by Roxanne from Faraway Worlds
#15 EXPLORING KARIJINI GORGE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Karijini National Park in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia is the perfect experience for adventurous solo female travellers!
Karijini is Australia’s second largest national park and is home to a stunning landscape of gorges that are over 2,500 million years old. The area is home to a series of spectacularly deep gorges, including Joffre, Hamersley, Weano, Hancock and Dales Gorges. Beautiful waterfalls and waterholes are nestled within the gorges and are just waiting to be explored.
Karajini is perfect for solo travellers as they can spend peaceful days exploring the gorges at their own pace, enjoy the picturesque scenery from the many lookouts, hike down into the gorges, kayak through the crisp waterways and take a peaceful swim in the waterholes. Solo travelers can also join yoga, canyoning and repelling tours that run throughout the park.
Karijini can only be accessed by road. Visitors can take the adventurous 17-hour drive from Perth or fly into the closer towns of Paraburdoo or Newman. There are plenty of tours and busses that operate in the region.
Karijini is fairly isolated, so most visitors choose to camp in the area. Dales campsite is a great option for self-sufficient travelers – offering unpowered campsites, gas barbecues and bush toilets. Karijini Eco Retreat is the other option, offering traditional camp sites or comfortable glamping and cabin accommodation. The park is so remote that so campers can enjoy spectacular views of the Milky Way in the outback night sky.
It is best to travel to Karijini in cooler months as the park is closed between December and February each year due to extreme heat and rain which can lead to flash flooding in the gorges.
Recommended by Nadia from Perth Weekend
#16 HIKING THROUGH UTAH
One of the best experiences for solo female travelers is a hiking trip through Utah. Discover some of the earth’s most amazing sights in the “Mighty 5” National Parks in Utah. Take a week – or more – to hike through Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Zion National Park.
See the most famous arch in the world – Delicate Arch which is one of the best hikes at Arches National Park. View incredible canyons close up at Canyonlands National Park. One of the most famous hikes in the world is Angels Landing in Zion National Park. See the mind-blowing landmark, the Waterpocket Fold at Capitol Reef National Park. And at Bryce Canyon National Park, witness the thousands of unique rock formations – hoodoos.
To see these famous geologic wonders, you can road trip starting in Moab, Utah. Salt Lake City is the largest airport nearby, and would be a wonderful starting point as well. If flying, choose a flight out of Las Vegas, as that will be closer to the end of the route.
A hiking trip through the incredible national parks in Utah is one of the safest places to hike as a solo female traveler. With no large wildlife presence (bears, moose, elk), you won’t have to worry much about a dangerous animal encounter. Taking the right equipment is key to safety on this trip. These national parks are in the desert, so taking enough water is essential, as well as the right amount of salty snacks and protein.
This is an incredible adventure that will leave you feeling empowered while experiencing stunning nature, beyond your wildest expectations!
Recommended by Nikki from She Saves She Travels
#17 TOP OF THE EIFFEL TOWER
Recommended by Denise from Chef Denise
#18 DIVING IN DONSOL
Donsol, Sorsogon is one of the many towns in the Philippines that is known for its unspoiled beaches and quiet rural living. What sets it apart is that from November to May whale sharks descend upon the Sorsogon Bay to feed on plankton and krill.
It is quite the sight to see these gentle giants in person. But it isn’t like the whale sharks are easy to find or see. In order to even get a chance to see a shadow of one, visitors must board a small boat and go out to Sorsogon Bay. Spotters scan the water and yell when it is the right time to jump into the water and swim by a whale shark. So it could be that one person sees the mammal up close while others see it from afar. But regardless it is a thrilling experience that is surprisingly exciting to take part in.
Scuba diving is another reason to visit Sorsogon. The ocean is home to manta rays and the dive masters know which areas to visit. Again, there is no guarantee that divers will see the humongous fish. But during those encounters, it is simply magical watching these animals glide through the water. They can grow up to 18 to 23 feet so it is easy to spot one and sometimes they group together to feed.
For a chill activity, visitors can ride a small boat on the Ogod River to see fireflies. The mangrove forest is their habitat and they light up the trees, making it look like a Christmas tree!
To get to Sorsogon, visitors have to fly from Manila to Legazpi City. Then they can take public transportation or a private van to get to Sorsogon. It is very friendly for solo travel! Just remember to have cash because a lot of places do not accept credit cards.
Recommended by Bernadette from Young of Book Retreats
#19 WATCHING THE SUNRISE OVER VOLCANOES
Hiking up a mountain for sunrise seems to be on everyone’s solo travel bucket list, but sunrise hikes aren’t born equal! Visiting the incredible volcanic landscapes on a solo female backpacking trip across East Java, in Indonesia, is a fantastic way to push your limits. And in Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen, you have two brilliant sunrise volcano hikes you’ll never forget.
Mount Bromo volcano is part of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, though the highest peak is actually Mount Semeru which towers to an impressive 3676 meters. Visiting Bromo feels like being ‘on the moon’, and is truly an otherworldly destination. There are many places from which to watch the sunrise, with Mt Penanjakan being the most popular. The volcanoes are active and, when safe, can be visited close up from the craters or on a jeep tour over the grey, ash-covered terrain of the expansive ‘Sea of Sands’.
Next, travel to Mt Ijen for your next sunrise adventure, although make sure you give yourself at least a day to rest in between! Ijen is even more unique, because on your hike up the volcano you’ll pass a natural ‘blue flame’ which shoots from the side of the mountain! At the peak, watch the sunrise over the bright blue sulphur lake. At 2148 meters, this dazzling acidic lake will take your breath away as you relax upon the top of the crater.
For solo females, the safest and cheapest way to visit these volcanoes is to book share cars from your hostel in nearby Malang or Banyuwangi, though various tours are available depending on your budget. For night-time hikes, visiting with a guide or experienced group is recommended as the steep and rocky landscapes can be challenging.
Recommended by Cassie from Cassie the Hag