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Posts Tagged ‘Royal Palace’

17 Best European Destinations for solo travellers

Austria

Europe is probably one of the best destinations for a solo adventure: friendly people, amazing food all around, some relatively inexpensive cities and distances aren’t too wide.

Whether you are thinking about your first solo European trip or whether you are thinking of moving to this part of the world, you must remember that while most of Europe is safe and easy for solo travelers, some cities are more ideal than others. Some destinations are easier because they have excellent public transport and infrastructure, others are ideal because the cost of living is lower, some other cities offer great and friendly local culture.

While, we already know that solo female travellers do it better, (guys, don’t get offended, you will get there too #jokingnotjoking), obviously, you need to have clear ideas in terms of what you are looking for because no place is right for all. Are you looking for fun and parties? Peaceful surroundings and easy transport? Or wild nature?

Here’s Spotahome’s 17 best European cities for solo travelers:

17. Lisbon, Portugal

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Lisbon is one of the most affordable cities in Europe and it is a beautiful place to explore. The city is very safe and you can lie on the beach or walk around the city without having to worry too much about keeping an eye on your stuff. There’s lots of ancient architecture and excellent museums like in any other European city combined with a very interesting nightlife that’s always a great way of meeting up with other travelers and to make new friends.

16. Barcelona, Spain

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The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is the perfect place to visit if you’re a solo travel. It’s not too big and moving around is quite simple. Spain in general is an inexpensive country, and Barcelona is no exception if you avoid the usual tourist traps. Barcelona is one of the very few cities that, since it lies on the beach, boasts the vibe of the big city as well as the chilled energy of the ocean.

15. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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The laid back atmosphere in Amsterdam is actually one of the reasons why I keep going back there. Renting a bike and exploring on two wheels will make you feel like a local since the Netherlands are incredibly bike friendly and it’s a great way to see more and get some exercise at the same time. Everyone speaks English, so getting around and meeting new people is very easy.

14. Bologna, Italy

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Bologna is fantastic for two reasons: the food and the locals. If you found Rome, Milan and Florence too much for you, Bologna will be like a breath of fresh air on your face. It’s one of the most famous university towns in Italy (and in Europe) so you can feel the young vibe all around town.

13. Dublin, Ireland

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Beer lovers should head to Dublin, where the locals are super friendly and the vibrant pub scene is the perfect place to meet new people. Make sure to spend time wandering Dublin’s city center to check out vintage shops, pubs and the famous Trinity College.

12. Rome, Italy

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Rome used to have a bad reputation for solo travellers, but I’ve been there a dozen times and I never had any trouble. Of course, you need to pay attention in crowded museums and on public transport, but seriously it has improved so much in the last two decades. I even have many foreign friends who have moved to Rome and they also never had issues, but instead came back with incredible memories of the food, culture, and men/women 🙂 Italians are always very friendly to foreigners (maybe even too much sometimes?), so you won’t have to struggle to meet locals to hang out with.

11. Turin

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Turin is finally reaching the top of many people’s travel bucket lists. The reason?
Turin is possibly one of Italy’s most charming, unique and vibrant cities. Often forgotten by travellers aiming for the most famous destinations (Rome, Milan and Venice), Turin still feels unspoiled and precious to the fewer tourists. But don’t get mistaken, there is tons to see here, including the fabulous Royal Palace and the majestic Egyptian collection.

10. Berlin

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There are no places like Berlin. It is a young, vibrant, ever-changing city, filled with history and hip bars and clubs. It is the capital of electronic music and a the largest Turkish hub outside Turkey. It features a huge amount of must-see sights, like the Berlin Wall’s East Side Gallery and the Brandenburg Gate, and it will be difficult to see them all only in one visit. It is also one of the cheaper capitals in Europe to visit so your budget won’t be killed while there and almost everyone speaks English.

9. Florence

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Surely one of Europe’s most charming cities, you will feel totally at ease exploring Florence alone. In fact, it might be the best decision since there is so much to see that you’d have to make compromises if you were there with someone else. Many students and expats decide to live here so meeting locals and foreigners isn’t hard. There are many Italian language schools so creating a new network of friends will be super easy.

8. Vienna

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Austria’s capital bursts with charm and positive vibes. Being alone in the City of Music can be the perfect opportunity to indulge in a sacher torte while sipping on a hot drink in a traditional cafe in the city centre. While in Vienna, make sure to go to a
show (or two) at an opera house. Even if you are not a music expert, you will love the scene here. PS: Vienna also ranked in the top five for personal safety rankings in a study for expats this year.

7. Budapest, Hungary

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Eastern Europe is still relatively cheaper than Western Europe, so if you are travelling on a shoestring, Budapest could be a great option for your budget. Not many know that this city is actually made of two cities Buda and Pest divided by the Danube River. Despite being smaller than other metropolis, the city is packed with things to do and see as well as great food and a great public transport system.
PS: if you are looking for nightlife, there are dozens of nightclubs and bars in old warehouses and abandoned buildings.

6. Paris, France

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Paris may be the city of love, but that doesn’t mean that solo travellers aren’t welcome. In fact, the city attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year, so meeting fellow travellers will be easier than you think. One of the things I love the most doing while travelling alone is taking my time to admire galleries and museums, so remember that by travelling to Paris alone, you will have the change to wander around the Louvre (and all other attractions) for as long as you like soaking up history and art like never before. You can also sit at one of the many cafes and just watch life and fashionable Parisians passing by.

5. London, UK

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London’s large size can be overwhelming for a solo traveller, but it is quite possibly one of the easiest cities to explore thanks to its excellent public transport system and the fact that everyone, obviously, speaks English. Walking about London is also one of the best way to really see how diverse the British capital is. There’s Hampstead, with its pretty houses, there is edgy Shoreditch with its bearded hipsters, but also Brixton and Soho. It’s impossible to get bored in London, so make sure to get a nice flat white from one of its many cute coffee shops.

4. Seville, Spain

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This cute and small Spanish city is perfect for solo travelers looking for a sunny destination filled with activities and social gatherings. Set right in the middle of Andalusia, Seville features a mix of north-African, European and Jewish cultures which are reflected both on the architecture and the local cuisine. Surely, you will be invited to some underground bars to dance flamenco since Spanish locals are probably among the friendliest in Europe and food and lodging is quite cheap.

3. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

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I used to travel to Luxembourg very often when I was in my old corporate job in London. I must admit that I used to spend most of my time at the offices but a few times I decided to spend the weekend there and…what a nice surprise! Luxembourg is minuscule in comparison to most other countries in Europe and beyond, but I guess this is what makes it special. The compact size of the city makes it perfect to walk around. Another plus is given by the fact that being off most tourists route, you can almost feel like you are visiting an unspoilt and traditional place. There are hundreds of expats living in Luxembourg (many corporations have their European HQs there for tax reasons), so you will find a surprising large international community for such a tiny city.

2. Ljubljana, Slovenia

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I was in Ljubljana for my birthday this year and I absolutely fell in love with the city (and the rest of Slovenia!).
I am glad I went this year, because I think it will be a much more popular destination in a few years. It’s still relatively cheap and it has a laid back vibe, it features tons of edgy coffee shops and bars and it’s a place I could definitely call home for a while.

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

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With Iceland being named the most peaceful country in Europe according to last year’s Global Peace Index, safety is rarely a concern for travellers in Reyjavik. If on one hand, the capital is quite pricey and travelling around can be challenging without a car, there are many ways to beat the exchange rate, like joining one of the free city walking tours and eating at the most popular spot in town, the Baejarins Beztu Pysur hot dog stand (yes, the one Kim Kardashian went to).
Iceland, not only Reykjavik, offer city lovers and nature lovers enough reasons to fall in love with the country and Icelancers are meant to be some of the most sociable and friendly people in the world so making new friends won’t be hard for a solo traveler.

And you? Where did you travel solo and felt A M A Z I N G ? Have we missed any destinations? Let us know in the comment below!

Read more:
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Top 8 European Destinations for the Perfect Erasmus Experience
Practical guide to save (a lot of ) money and travel the world



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What are the Best Cambodia and Laos Itinerary?

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If you want to look for the strange feeling, Cambodia and Laos have the best islands to satisfy the explorer in you. Laos is one of the few destinations where, in some areas, visitors are yet to deviate from a few well-trodden sights. Actually, Cambodia is less developed than the neighboring Thailand country by the floods and poor roads make travel challenging, but cheap frequent bus services, a good domestic airline and easygoing locals make traveling here an adventure – and easier than you might think. If you are looking for an active journey exploring Cambodia and Laos itinerary, have just spent over one week to visit almost the destinations in two countries.

On the first day in Luang Prabang – Pak Ou caves

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Luang Prabang is known as the best traditional city in Southeast Asia, which is the charming town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights. Thus it is one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos. Continuously, you come to the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai. Then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. If you have a lot of time, let’s take a tour to the city’s oldest temple Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Laotian architecture.

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You will have a lot of experience if taking a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which gives you a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside. For distance, Pak Ou Caves is created by two linked caves are famous for the thousands of gold lacquered Buddha. It is accumulated from the various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. End route, you stop at the village of Ban Xang Hai, where the local specialty of rice wine is produced. Once back in Luang Prabang city you take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village well known for its hand weaving. You also have time to visit Ban Xang Khong, Ban Xieng Lek, small villages well known for silk weavings and for Saa Papermaking

In the evening, you can explore the Night Market, where you can buy souvenirs for your friends and lovers like the handmade textiles made by the local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

On the second day in Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfall

You will come to the rituals of saffron-clad monks which offers Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. The Buddhist nation still preserving the procession is the traditional unique of Laos. From there, you will visit the morning Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables, and hill-tribe weavings. Maybe you know to Laos as the traditional handicrafts which appear on many local villages of the ethnic minority groups such as Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. You will be picked up to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can walk along the forest paths. In addition, another weaving village in there is Ban Phanom which you can visit before returning to the city by late evening for observing the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath.

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On the third day in Vientiane

That’s not too bad when you realize that the two are some 8000+ miles apart and there are no direct flights. You could have just got another flight from Sukhumvit to Vientiane, but the overnight train was cheaper and much more of an adventure.
Despite being a capital city, Vientiane is not full of high-rise or ghastly office blocks. You will admire the smaller temples scattered through, and there were plenty of cute little restaurants to choose from. You are still glad you visited and in hindsight, you probably would have liked at least one more night there.

On the fourth day in Vientiane-Pakse

After you take an early flight to Pakse, you will transfer to Champassak. This destination will bring for you the ruins of Wat Phu, the pre-Angkorian temple. Especially, it is one of Southeast Asia’s most dramatically situated temples. On this day, you have a plan to discover these intriguing Khmer ruins, which are perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao. Maybe you don’t know, Wat Phu is voted as one of the Lao World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO in 2001. You will admire the ancient landscapes with archeological site of Khmer civilization in the 10th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Coming here, you have an opportunity to come to Khmer temples and Buddhist shrines. Continuously, you head towards peaceful Khong Island, the largest in the magical 4000 islands region.

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The Bolaven Plateau is known as the temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Coming here, you will be offered by the attractive foods and drink like the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas. You will gain the chance to venture off the beaten track and to discover some of the lesser-known areas of Laos, exploring the wild beauty of this southern region from this trip. After that, you come to Tad Lo waterfall. Then you visit the several villages of local hosts such as Alak, Nge, and Katu, populated by ethnic minority groups and return to Pakse by late evening.

On the fifth day and sixth day in Siem Reap

For those looking for unmatched glamour and real beauty, traveling to Siem Reap is an excellent suggestion. Situated in northwestern Cambodia, the city has become a famous tourist destination for centuries, thanks to its French cultural influences, historical and religious sites, as well as rich and multi-faceted local culture. Siem Reap warmly welcomes visitors with a range of magnificent temples. Besides, they have a chance to bring back home the city’s handcrafted jewelry and décor. To make the most out of your trip, read our guide on navigating the best attractions in this Southeast Asian city below.

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The Roluos Group of temples: If you wish to deeply discover the temple complex in Siem Reap, then make sure to immerse yourself into the 3 Roluos Group temples, called Lo Lei, Preah Ko, and Bakong. These promise to give insights into some of the earliest temple structures of Angkor.
Angkor Thom and its surrounding features: The Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, and Terrace of the Leper King
Angkor Wat: As the biggest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat should be always added to your bucket list. The complex was inscribed as the UNESCO World Heritage in 1992. It is not only the country’s major magnet but also appears in the Cambodian national flag and even becomes the pride of the locals. The temple of Ta Prohm: Spend time arriving in such jungle paradise to take many imposing pictures. You can feel that you are getting lost in the land of mystery.

On the seventh day in Phnom Penh

As the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh impresses travelers by its location, which is settled at the confluence of 3 major rivers, namely Mekong River, Tonle Sap, and the Bassac. For that reason, getting the spectacular view is the first gift you receive after coming there. The sightseeing around this populous city does interest any newcomer with lots of attractive sites, such as The King Fields, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Wat Phnom, Koh Dach Island, etc. The following are what you should consider while in Phnom Penh.

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The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda: Feast your eyes on the incredible architecture of the palace which is the combination of Khmer and European styles. And attached to its background is the presence of The Silver Pagoda that wins an award for about 5,000 silver tiles.
The Royal University of Fine Arts: Established in 1979, this is considered a non-profit public higher education institution. Visiting the university brings you an opportunity to marvel at its prominent architecture and have friendly conversations with students around.
The Russian Market: Roam around the market to mingle with the lifestyle of the locals, along with picking up the lovely souvenirs for your beloved.
The Tuol Sleng Museum and Killing Field of Choeung Ek: A trip to Tuol Sleng is indeed the emotionally unforgettable experience. It was a high school prior to 1975. The Khmer Rouge then came and converted it into the Security Prison 21 (or S-21), where numerous prisoners were periodically imprisoned and tortured before being executed at the Killing Field of Choeung Ek.

On the eighth day in Tonle Sap Lake

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Finally, you shouldn’t miss Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia as you will enjoy a quintessential river excursion through the region’s floating villages. Thus, you approach a glimpse of the local lifestyles on here. The Lake is also an important commercial resource, providing more than half of the fish consumed in Cambodia. Towards the end of the day, you will emerge onto the vast expanse of the lake, which is Cambodia’s largest. Chong Khneas is the name of the famous floating village at the edge of the lake. It situates in the Southern part of Siem Reap town about 15 Kilometers and takes only 30 minutes by vehicles to the boat dock where there are always boats waiting for visitors. You need two hours to take the boat trip through the floating village. Participating in the Cambodia and Laos itinerary, you can explore the different culture of Khmer, Muslim, and Vietnamese in the floating households and floating markets and something.

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