1. Your options for getting around
With us, you can book travel for 45 European countries, so you've got countless choices! To make things easier, check out the available routes on the Eurail pass or Interrail pass. Each of these provides a Global Pass option, meaning you can travel to dozens of countries on your trip according to your whims.
If you already have a list of destinations in mind, Select Country passes save you money. For example, if you want to explore the length of France or Portugal, consider One Country passes. Once you have an idea of how organised you want to be, compare prices to find a pass that matches your budget. You'll soon be inspired with ideas for the best places to travel alone in Europe.
Another option is to buy individual tickets for your trips. This is a good choice if you're spending most of your time in one city, but want to take day trips elsewhere. Perhaps the 1h 15m journey from Rome to Naples appeals? Paris to Rouen is just 90 minutes, and Madrid to Toledo is just 30 minutes. There are so many options for upgrading any city break to something truly special, with day trips and onward travel throughout Europe. Train travel gets you there quickly and cheaply.
2. The best places to travel alone in Europe
Europe's cities new and old deserve time to appreciate. Train travel means you can make the most of the places and cultures you're visiting. Sure, you'll want to scale the Eiffel Tower and photograph Brussels' Grand-Place, but try to immerse yourself in the local culture too. A couple of hours spent at markets is a good first dive into local life. With a phrase or two spoken in the local language, you'll make fast friends!
Regardless of what part of the Continent you visit, you'll still see many cities, and enjoy each of them fully. Take in iconic cities such as London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, and Monaco. Spend a couple of days in each city, for a trip lasting three weeks. Assuming you're travelling from the UK, get from London to Paris in just 2h 20m by Eurostar.
Alternatively, how about a west-to-east escape? An itinerary starting in Brussels could take you through Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Munich, Salzburg, and Bratislava. You can even consider intercity travel as far as Russia. The shift from Western to Eastern Europe will bring alive the spectrum of cultures, flavours, and architecture across the continent.
3. Travelling Europe alone as a male or female
Solo travel in Europe means plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Hostels are ideal places to connect, with communal areas and like-minded people. Opt for well-known party hostels if socialising is your goal, and you'll quickly develop a circle of travelling friends.
Alternatively, single-sex and quieter hostels are easy to find in big cities. No matter who you are, Europe is one of the safest continents for solo travel.
Private rooms in hostels balance privacy, economy, and socialising opportunities. Another top tip: grab the bottom bunk in a shared dorm! These make it easier to climb into late at night and charge your devices. Microfibre towels are an invaluable space saver, and having a ready-to-go shower kit makes mornings a breeze. Bringing spare sets of earplugs for fellow dormmates will make you popular too!
That said, home booking sites mean you'll also bag great rates on private accommodation. Staying in an actual home in a city like Milan or Lisbon helps you better appreciate the local rhythm of life. The freedom to self-cater is another great money-saving choice. Browse the public markets and see what you find to cook up at your home away from home. Or opt for a room in a shared house with international flatmates!
4. Traditional tours and online meetups
Traditional guided tours are also ideal places to mingle with other adventurers. Strike up a conversation with other solo travellers as you sightsee Budapest, and maybe you'll head to the 'ruin bars' together later. These tours are excellent ways to learn more about local landmarks and history. Plus, some even provide fast-track entry to sites, like Rome's Colosseum. You'll also learn much more about these sites with your expert guides.
Think outside the box for tours and try different things in each country. Eat perfect štrukli cheese pastries on a food tour of Zagreb or take a boat tour of the canals of Amsterdam. These diverse locations will give you plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in local life.
Sites like Meetup are great for seeing what's on in your area. Even in smaller towns, there's often anything from live music groups to board game nights going on. You'll rarely be the only new person there, so dive in! This is ideal if you want to mingle with locals: most groups aren't specifically aimed at travellers. What better way to experience what the locals are up to?
5. Stay happy and well-rested
Ultimately, follow your instincts when it comes to socialising and choosing lodgings. There's nothing wrong with staying in hotels or one-person homes from beginning to end if you can afford it. Mixing hostels and hotels or home rentals may suit you best. It's exciting to meet lots of people, but if you feel the urge for solitude, do so.
This will be an unforgettable and self-reflective experience. Allow yourself to stroll along Genoa's parks, or contemplate Barcelona's sublime architecture. Of course, you'll see the famous sights too, but a successful longer trip is a well-paced one. Solo travel in Europe is a chance to leave your comfort zone but always practice self-care.
Another veteran traveller tip is to keep the first and last days of your adventure simple. If you've only got a week, you'll probably have more energy to sightsee and meet people endlessly. But if you're going for longer, set aside a quiet first day. Seeing a landmark or two before getting a hearty meal and good night's sleep will help you acclimatise. Avoid panicking on the last day, and perhaps choose one museum or attraction before finalising arrangements for heading home.
6. Avoid common faux pas
It's important to read up on local customs when you travel Europe alone. These will help you better understand the people you meet and gain respect amongst new friends. Here's a few examples.
In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, avoid being late, especially with new friends or on booked tours. Wasting time is seen as inconsiderate. The upside is that you'll find the trains exceptionally punctual here! This makes it wonderfully easy to plan your day and count on getting to tours or exhibitions on time.
In France, there's a strong divide between work and home life. It's unusual to talk much about work at a bar, so stick to interests and current events. In shops, exchanging basic pleasantries when you first enter will be very well-received. As with most countries, using even a few words of the local language go a long way!
If you're visiting Krakow, you'll have the opportunity to visit the former Auschwitze-Birkenau concentration camp. Special etiquette rules apply here, as fellow visitors may have a personal connection to the site. Taking photos is fine in outdoor areas, but remain discreet. Taking selfies, climbing for photos, or otherwise being disruptive is inappropriate here.
7. How to work out your budget
Make use of safes in your accommodation, and only take as much cash as you'll need for the day. Think about your daily budget when you travel alone in Europe. Consider an international charge card with low exchange rates, potentially saving you from multiple visits to the bureau de change. Some allow you to block them if they're lost via an app. Europe's cities are generally card-friendly but keep at least some local cash in case of instances like holidays or service disruptions.
When you've figured out your daily budget, allow wiggle room for unexpected costs. Aside from emergencies, who knows what amazing opportunities will come up? Especially when travelling alone, having some extra money set aside lets you be more spontaneous. Many European cities are close to national borders, allowing for exciting international day trips.
Travelling solo in Europe by train is an unforgettable experience. Taking in new cities and countries each day, you'll make friends and see attractions that broaden your horizons. Travel by train means speed and affordability, so you'll spend more of your trip, enjoying Europe's incredible sights.