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This city is made for bicycle travel and the tandem type might be a little tricky to navigate. Take to two wheels and traverse this canal-side city unaccompanied, stopping at museums that house important historical artworks (Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum are the top drawcards) and artefacts – Anne Frank House remains the city’s most popular stop spot.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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Affordable, safe and brimming with activities, Vietnam makes you wonder why you hadn’t considered slinging a solo swag on your back before. The chaos of Ho Chi Minh is part of the thrill and because of that, you’ll never feel alone. Locals are known to be ambitious, entrepreneurial and very generous, making finding a friend that much easier. But if you’re still having trouble, forget taking a book to dinner: street food options are bountiful across the city and indulging in the true Ho Chi Minh way of life is as easy as pulling up a plastic stool and getting stuck in.
Hong Kong, China
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It’s wise to shake off potential shopping partners and get stuck into the bustle of Hong Kong on your own time. Labyrinthine marketplaces don’t need the extra hassle of a straggler – you can take on this enormous, bustling city unaccompanied and never be asked to hurry up.
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You’ll be too busy to notice you’re alone in Lisbon. Energetic and dynamic, this crumbling port city is certainly a social place but that’s exactly how you’ll manage to fit in. Things don’t really get started in Lisbon until (way after) the sun goes down so do as the locals do and hop down to Pink Street, where bars spill out on the street, and let loose in the city’s famed nightclubs (Lux or Casa Independente are great places to get lost in the crowd).
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With its abundance of revered landmarks, cobbled streets crafted for the curious and a cuisine that makes no apologies for its richness, Paris is made for the solo traveller. Transport links on the city’s Metro are straightforward and reliable, on-foot exploration is safe and the profusion of patisseries, boulangeries and food markets makes solo snacking a breeze. You’ll be too busy perusing Paris’s many museums to even notice those doe-eyed lovers strolling the boulevards arm in arm.
Queenstown, New Zealand
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Any adventurer knows the only true companions worth having on your side are your own two feet. This city is the country’s cradle of outdoor escapades with plentiful places to indulge your inner adrenalin junkie – from jet boating through crystal canyons to bungy swings and jumps and, come summer, mountain trekking.
San Francisco, USA
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San Francisco has always been a bit of a meeting place – from its progressive hippy roots to its Silicon Valley start-up sensibilities, there’s always interesting people to meet. Try out a service such as EatWith – where you’re invited into the home of a local for a meal – as a jumping-off point to finding your future company co-founder.
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As one of South America’s safest cities, Chile’s capital offers peace of mind for the solo nomad, as well as excitement. The cuisine is gloriously on show in this neoclassical city: book a table at Boragó, where the dishes are almost experimental in their attitude and stop in for a glass or two of local wine at Bocanáriz, where waiters moonlight as trained sommeliers.
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Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 safest cities in the world, Stockholm isn’t devoid of character – in fact, it’s the opposite. This city overflows with historic charm and character and boasts a thoroughly modern vein through its fashion, design and cuisine. (Just one afternoon in SoFo, the suburb “south of Folkungagatan” will prove this theory). Friendly, accommodating Swedes are everywhere in Stockholm plus, there’s fika – the Swedish pastime of coffee and cake in the afternoon. Need we say more?
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A heaving metropolis can make a visitor feel very small indeed but that’s all part of the allure of a city as vibrant as Japan’s capital. Despite the somewhat hectic atmosphere, Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world so getting lost isn’t something that should incite panic as much as it should energy. Efficiency is embedded in the culture making transport ever dependable, comfortable and relatively easy to navigate and many izakaya employ aiseki – the Japanese tradition of communal dining – even when you’re alone, you won’t feel as though you are.
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You won’t need a chum to make a dent in the amazing Polish bar cuisine that can be enjoyed in cosy pubs: the enduring pierogi, in all its forms and fillings, can be bought individually (though even a lone traveller will want more than one) and delicious pickled herrings that usually come served with a beer are perfectly portioned for one – no sharing required.
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Switzerland consistently tops the list of world’s most expensive countries so while you’re only paying for one, why not add this alpine nation into your itinerary? Not only is the scenery straight from a postcard but there’s also a strong complement of wellness-based options: thermal baths are plentiful in Switzerland so getting some solitude and space is even easier.
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Not only is Bhutan known as the happiest country in the world thanks to its replacement of measuring GDP with GNP (Gross National Happiness), it’s also a place of rich history and peerless natural beauty. In an effort to preserve its heritage, the Kingdom of Bhutan restricts the issuing of visas to those who have registered with official tour operators, making independent travel impossible. If you enjoy meeting people while abroad, this could work to your advantage.