City breaks for solo travellers are a great idea. There are a wide range of activities to get involved in, many of which the weather can’t spoil. There are plenty of other people by themselves too. This will help you feel less self conscious if you are relatively new to solo travel. The following 3 solo city breaks I have been on are places I have enjoyed exploring by myself with recommendations of where to stay, things to do and places to eat …
1. Florence solo
Florence is an incredibly beautiful city and a wonderful destination if you don’t particularly want to use public transport. Once you arrive at Santa Maria Novella station you can pretty much walk everywhere. There was plenty to do here if you are on a bit of a tight budget too.
Piazzas are great places to settle with a drink or some food to watch the world go by. The bustling squares are often located next to an iconic building or have stunning views. The architecture here really is amazing. The impressive ‘Brunelleschi’s Dome’ became a great landmark to help me find my way back to the centre if I got lost.
Florence is home to many famous museums including Palazzo Strozzi, Palazzo Vecchio and Uffizi. These make great daytime activities for solo travellers. Shopping is diverse with designer shops to markets. Ponte Vecchio, Florence’s oldest bridge has a number of shops selling gold jewellery and is a particularly beautiful place to watch an evening sunset.
Florence eateries serve food of an excellent quality. The pizza, pasta and gelato are the best I have tasted. I particularly enjoyed Osteria Antica Mescita San Niccolo and highly recommend it. The burrata from here was exquisite. Many places have both indoor and outdoor dining areas. I always enjoy sitting outside when dining solo, simply watching the world go by and enjoy the ambience. If you are looking for a casual dining experience then head to Central Market with its food court, popular with both Italians and solo diners. There are plenty of very reasonably priced food choices.
I can recommend staying in Hotel Luxor which was less than 10 minutes walk from Santa Maria Novella Station. It was inexpensive compared to other places with the most friendly and helpful staff. Have a look at my honest review together with pros and cons.
2. Solo City Breaks to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a diverse and picturesque city with a wealth of canals and bridges. As a solo traveller it is a wonderful place to wander around or cycle and there is plenty to keep you occupied here. During the day there are a number of interesting activities to take part in. You can explore the city and view its iconic buildings by Tram, by foot or hop on hop off bus.
There are also lots of museums including the famous Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank’s house. Climb inside the annexe where the teenager hid from the Nazis for 2 years during the second world war. Afterwards, shop til you drop in the department store, De Bijenkorf, or popular Kalverstraat with its High Street brands and Leidsestraat for designer goods. The streets around Amsterdam are also dotted with cheese shops so be sure to sample some of the Dutch cheeses!
Of an evening I particularly enjoyed a river cruise taking in sights such as the Red Light District, skinny bridge and the narrow houses, while also learning a bit about Amsterdam’s history. Another recommended place to visit is Pllek in the North of Amsterdam, accessed by a short, free ferry ride. Here you will find a small beach area, cafe and music. This is a beautiful spot to sit and watch the sunset.
Restaurants in Amsterdam tended to be very casual I found. Some people dressed up and others didn’t… anything goes really. There are lots of places to grab food on the go, some wonderful outdoor dining areas and quite unique dining experiences. My favourite place was The Avocado Show which only serves dishes made from avocado!
As a solo traveller, I recommend staying close to the centre. I tried to save some money by staying slightly further out and the area I chose was not great and I didn’t feel particularly comfortable being there on my own there. I rebooked at a superb hotel which was close to the centre and perfect for solo travel. It seemed popular with business travellers too. Click on the link to read my full review.
3. Solo in Madrid
Of all the city breaks I have been on, I was struck by how clean Madrid was. Again it is a city where public transport is not that necessary but, if you prefer not to walk too far, the underground network is cost effective and easy to use. During the day, marvel at the impressive architecture, visit the delightful plazas and browse the shops and markets.
By night, I can highly recommend enjoying a drink on a roof terrace and admire the city’s far reaching views before setting off to an exciting Flamenco show!
Madrid is heaven for foodies! Firstly, it is home to the world’s oldest restaurant which specialises in roast suckling pig. Secondly there is a cafe serving churros with chocolate dipping sauce 24/7, to satisfy those with a sweet tooth and, thirdly, the gastro markets are out of this world!
As a solo traveller I can highly recommend staying at the Melia Madrid Serrano. It is well located to walk (or metro) to the main attractions. It is also far enough away from them that the area is less touristy and you will be mingling more with the locals.
As well as solo city breaks, here are some other destinations I recommend for solo travel…