The Ultimate Europe Solo Female Travel Guide
Ah, Europe. Let me count the ways I love thee. Europe was the location of my first overseas trip, my first solo trip, and the six other countries I’ve lived in outside the United States! You could say I’m Europe-obsessed.
(Indeed, I am).
This diverse continent has SO much to offer a solo female traveler. From the azure seas of Greece to the frozen tundras of northern Finland, there is so much to explore. Europe solo female travel isn’t difficult, BUT – there are some things you ought to know first.
Keep reading to learn about the best places to visit in Europe, how to stay safe in Europe as a solo female traveler, what to expect when visiting Europe, and more of my exclusive top tips for Europe solo female travel.
Click below for country-specific posts & guides!
The Ultimate Europe Solo Female Travel Guide: Page Contents
- Best places to visit in Europe for solo female travel
- Is Europe safe for solo female travel?
- Best cheap places to travel in Europe
- How to travel to Europe
- How to get around Europe
- Where to stay in Europe
- The best time to visit Europe
- Can’t-miss bucket list Europe experiences
- My ultimate top tips for traveling in Europe
- Essential gear for a trip to Europe
- Travel insurance for Europe
- Favorite booking resources for Europe
Best Places to Visit in Europe for Solo Female Travel
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Is Europe safe for solo female travel?Simply put: yes. Europe claims all five of the top spots for personal security, and seven of the top 20 spots for overall safety in The Economist’s 2021 Safe Cities Index. Europe’s overall peace score is 1.65 – to put this in perspective, the peace score of the United States is 2.307. Overall, the EU, with 118 million more people and a more dense population than the United States, has less violent crime and fewer violent deaths than the US. Don’t believe some of the media hype that tries to frame Europe as more “dangerous” or “ripe for terrorism” compared to the United States.
Cheap Places to Travel in Europe
for budget solo female travelers
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The Ultimate Europe Solo Female Travel Guide:
What to Expect in Europe
as a solo female traveler
How to Travel to Europe
Unless you already live there, you’re going to need to fly to Europe. But these flights don’t need to be expensive. Set price alerts with my favorite flight search tools, Skyscanner and Kiwi.com. This way, you can know when the price on your watched route drops or goes up.
My other favorite tips for flying to Europe include:
- Consider booking two separate tickets: one to a major connecting airport in your country of origin, and then one to your final destination. I did this to fly to Amsterdam from Detroit via Boston. The cost was much lower by booking a flight from Detroit to Boston, recollecting my luggage in Boston, and then flying to Amsterdam.
- Avoid flying to Europe during the summer. Trying to travel to your favorite Europe solo female travel destination in the summer is just going to cost more all the way around, including for your flights. Consider May or September for nicer weather with more reasonable prices.
- Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights or a similar tailored flight deals e-mail service. While this service is only for those based at US airports, I definitely saved money with Scott’s Cheap Flights’ e-mails while living in the States. Right now I’m loving a very similar concept for the UK and Europe, Jack’s Flight Club.
Related: Check out my complete guide to solo traveling for the first time and learn my exact process for finding and booking cheap flights!
How to Get around Europe
For longer-haul journeys across the continent, flights are an incredibly affordable option for getting around Europe. One-way tickets often do not cost more than round-trip. A few budget carriers I like are easyJet, Vueling, and Transavia.
Top tip: use the “Nomad” tool on Kiwi.com to determine the cheapest order of flights to take to all of your European destinations!
The train system is efficient, comfortable, and affordable to use for getting around Europe. Most countries have their own national rail lines you can use to get around the country itself. If you’d like to cross something off the #bucketlist and explore Europe solo female travel by train, consider getting a Eurail pass! These all-in-one tickets allow you to travel around 33 countries across Europe. It’s easy, convenient, and can save you a lot of money.
I have traveled on many a (overnight) bus in Europe. Buses can make even more convenient connections than trains, and some carriers like Flixbus will get you from one major European city to the next for less than €10. Most buses in Europe these days have AC, power outlets, and toilets. While not every bus journey may be super comfortable, they are really a great way to save on shorter distances for your Europe solo female travels. I especially like to use buses to get between cities and their airports when no convenient train connection exists!
While not the cheapest option, a rental car is hands-down the most convenient way to see Europe. Cars are especially useful for exploring more rural areas and taking as many photography stops as you want. If you’re an avid hiker and most of your time in Europe will be spent seeing national parks, I highly suggest a rental car. It will make things a lot easier. Just consider that gas costs at least $7/gallon in most European countries.
Other helpful tips for renting a car in Europe:
- The majority of cars in Europe are manual. If you can’t drive manual (like me), make sure to check that the car you book is an automatic. Unfortunately, sometimes this costs more.
- Only get as big a car as you need. European city streets can be tiny and you want a car that can fit through those narrow roads easily. You also don’t want a bigger car to guzzle gas unnecessarily.
- Always book with a reputable rental company with good reviews. And make sure to actually read the fine print before you drive the car away. It’s just not worth doing a cheaper, shady deal to save a few bucks. I am embarrassed to admit I did this in Saint Martin, and it became a legal and logistical disaster when our bags, and then rental car, got stolen at the beach. I’m lucky I had travel insurance or else I would have been left to pay $1,000’s for the rental car damage in addition to replacing my stolen camera!
Rentalcars.com has a great interface for finding and booking the best deals on rental cars all over the world!
Where to Stay in Europe
🏨 Hotels in Europe
In Europe, you can find a hotel for every budget and style imaginable. I like to check a combination of Booking.com, Agoda, and Google’s hotel price-comparison tool to find the best prices and deals. Booking and Agoda also have loyalty programs and flash deals that I absolutely love as a way to save extra money for my Europe solo female travel.
Related: Wondering where to stay in Amsterdam? I’ve got you covered.
🛏️ Hostels in Europe
Hostels are the best way to save money and meet amazing people while doing it on your Europe solo female travel tour. I’ve stayed in a hostel almost everywhere I’ve visited in Europe. Now hostels aren’t what your parents might have known back in the day – they are safe, clean, comfortable, and can even have some award-winning interior design.
My favorite way (along with most travelers) to find and book hostels is Hostelworld. Here, you’ll find the largest assortment of hostels and verified reviews to help you make your choice. Some hostels don’t appear on Hostelworld but they are on Booking.com, so make sure to check there, too.
🛎️ All-inclusive resorts in Europe
If you’re looking to treat yourself to luxury Europe solo female travel, there are plenty of all-inclusive resorts in Europe to fit your tastes. The Vasilicos in Santorini, The Connaught in London, and Le Bristol Paris by the Oetker Collection are some of those top-rated by Conde-Nast as the best hotels in Europe.
The Best Time to Visit Europe
Spring is maybe my favorite season in Europe. Temperatures are warming up, flowers are blooming, and everyone is anxious to get outside and make the most of the good weather after a long winter. The months of April and May are particularly great for southern Europe, as the weather is nice and comfortable, but the prices and crowds are more favorable than the summer. However, avoid the week before and after Easter, as this is paid holiday time for pretty much everyone on the continent.
There are definitely no vibes like summer Europe vibes. The sun is out, the beer gardens are buzzing, and festivals of all kinds cater to any style. While summer is the most expensive time to visit Europe, you’re also the most likely to meet other like-minded travelers at hostels in the summer. Nothing will beat a night out or music festival during summer in Europe, either. Just keep in mind that most of Europe is on vacation during August, so you’ll likely have to compete with “locals” for space.
If you visit southern Europe in the summer, I recommend sticking close to the water, as it gets pretty scorching sometimes. Heat waves have become increasingly common each year across the continent, so be prepared for this potential in any European destination during the summer. For example, I’ve been in near or over-100 degree Fahrenheit weather from Croatia and Albania to places less traditionally “hot” like Vienna and Paris.
Fall is a less common season to visit Europe, making things far less busy and far more affordable. If you still want to catch some sun without the crowds and steep prices, consider Portugal, Spain, or Italy in September. Or, if you really want to dig into the autumn theme for your Europe solo female travel tour, fall in Denmark, Germany, and the UK are wonderfully cozy with beautiful color-changing leaves.
When I think of winter in Europe, I think of one thing – Christmas markets! These gorgeous, traditional displays are put on throughout the continent during the month of December. Fill up on tasty local delights and see if you can stay standing with whatever that region’s version of glühwein is. Germanic language-speaking countries like Austria and Germany tend to have the most beautiful and extravagant Christmas markets.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention winter skiing in Europe. Europe has some of the best mountain ranges in the world for skiing. While the views in Switzerland and France can’t be beat, consider Austria, northern Italy, or the small country of Andorra for more budget-friendly Europe solo female travels.
Can’t-Miss Europe Experiences
The Ultimate Europe Solo Female Travel Guide: My Top Europe Travel Tips
Europe solo female travel doesn’t take too much time to get the hang of. But there are still a few tips & tricks I wish I knew when traveling to Europe for the first time! Find my favorite Europe travel tips below.
Flights within Europe are cheap
In the US, we’re used to travel being EXPENSIVE. But once you’re in Europe for your solo female trip, getting around is amazingly affordable by plane. Round-trip flights between major European cities are commonly under $50. Three common budget carriers I’d recommend are:
For your own good, please stay away from Ryanair!
Tipping is not customary
In most of Europe, tipping is not the norm. At least, it’s not like you might be used to in the United States. In some countries, like the UK, a service charge of about 10% is often automatically included on the bill. In other countries, like Austria, it might be kind to throw a few extra euros on the table when you leave. But it’s not necessarily expected.
Start any stay with a free walking tour
I have great news for you solo female budget travelers! You can find free walking tours in just about every major (and even minor) European city. I find these tours to be a great way to get context for where I’ll be staying and the history and culture behind it. This sets the scene for the rest of my stay there, and tour guides often have great local recommendations – best hole-in-the-wall €2 tapas, anyone?! At the end, tip the guide what you feel is fair – I’d say €5-10 should do.
Yes, they sell tampons
I don’t know where this rumor started, but I remember hearing before traveling to Europe for the first time that it’s hard to find “normal” tampons here. This is so funny to hear now after living in 6 European countries! These countries are civilized, highly-developed societies just like the US. I promise they carry tampons with applicators in their stores. Don’t worry about this on your Europe solo female travel tour if you run out of your own!
Suitcases & heels do not mix with cobblestones
Ever tried to walk on uneven cobbles in high heels and not break an ankle? Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you do bring some heels with you on your Europe solo female travels, I’d recommend a low block heel. Leave the stilettos at home. Similarly, suitcases can be very difficult to drag on old European streets. Consider a rolling backpack hybrid instead – compact and versatile for all kinds of situations.
Cash or card?
The answer to this question does somewhat depend on the country. However, more and more countries in Europe prefer credit cards over cash. COVID-19 has definitely accelerated this change. Most major credit cards, especially Visa and MasterCard, will be accepted. Discover and American Express are less so.
Make sure to look up country-specific guidance before you travel anywhere in Europe to see how common physical cash is. For example, in Denmark, physical cash is almost unheard of. Meanwhile, in Austria, it might be hard to get by in some areas without it.
An important note: Make sure to get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees! My favorites are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and CapitalOne Venture Rewards cards. I’ve used these to get free round-trip flights to Germany, the UK, Costa Rica, and more. Get a free flight to Europe by getting one of these puppies before making a big purchase (expensive electronics, Christmas gifts, home improvements), easily meet the spending minimum, and just like that get 80,000 bonus miles worth $800!
Do your research, but not too much
It’s great to have an idea of what you’d like to do and see on each stop of your Europe solo female travel tour. However, I find the best trips are those that aren’t overplanned. Leave yourself some flexibility to meet other people and change your itinerary if you want. Remember that one of the most rewarding and thrilling parts of solo female travel is discovery. There isn’t much room for discovery if every single minute of your trip is already pre-planned!
The Ultimate Europe Solo Female Travel Guide:
Europe Travel Essentials
My Essential Gear for a Trip to Europe
Related: Looking for a detailed packing list for Europe? Check out my Ultimate Backpacking Packing List for Summer in Europe. Most of the items are applicable for the rest of the seasons, too!
Travel Insurance for Europe
No Europe solo female travel essentials list would be complete without talking about travel insurance.
I’ve been getting travel insurance for all of my trips from World Nomads for years now, and they’ve absolutely come through for me when I’ve needed them most.
In 2021, my camera bag along with the rental car keys, and then rental car, were stolen on the beach while I was traveling in Saint Martin. While the car was later found, it was dumped on a side road with the plates stripped from it, and damages needed to be repaired and the locks changed.
Had I not had insurance with World Nomads, I would have been left to pay $1,000’s out of pocket to pay for these repairs, not to mention the cost of replacing my camera ($5,000+). World Nomads made the claims process easy and pain-free.
When you travel, sometimes sh*t happens. Don’t leave the security of your Europe solo female travels up to chance. World Nomads coverage is extremely affordable and even covers emergency medical costs and repatriation. They also now cover a lot of COVID-19-related travel disruptions and medical treatment abroad.
The bottom line? I never go without World Nomads after my run-in with thieves in Saint Martin.
The Ultimate Europe Solo Female Travel Guide: Favorite Booking Resources
These are my favorite companies to use while traveling in Europe. They consistently return the best deals and user experience. I’ve mentioned some of these already above, but have condensed them into a one-stop-shop list for your convenience here:
Flight booking tools
- Skyscanner – a great tool for finding the cheapest flights with lots of filter options.
- Kiwi.com – one of my favorite flight search engines, especially when you’re really flexible with the dates you travel. Kiwi allows you to choose specific dates, date ranges, or length of travel to multiple destinations at once so comparing prices is easy. Their Nomad tool is also handy if you’re planning multiple flights in a row and aren’t sure about the cheapest order in which to do things!
- Google Flights – I’ll often start with this tool to get a broad overview of flights available. Their discovery map tool is also helpful.
Accommodation booking tools
- Agoda – Agoda has got some fantastic deals lately. Using their booking system, I was able to stay in a presidential suite at a 4-star resort in Mauritius for practically half the price offered on most other sites!
- Booking.com – a gold standard in accommodation booking. If a hotel is anywhere, it’s probably on Booking.com. I also really love Booking’s loyalty program Genius, which has allowed me to score some pretty sweet deals in some of my favorite Europe solo female travel destinations.
- Hostelworld – also a gold standard in accommodation booking, but for hostels. If you want to get the best, most comprehensive reviews of hostels from travelers just like you, check Hostelworld first. Then see whether Hostelworld or Booking.com gives you a better deal with loyalty rewards.
- FlixBus – my favorite way to travel by bus across Europe. Coaches have heating and AC, toilets, and charging ports. You can often get between European cities for less than €15 with FlixBus.
- Eurail – if you’re looking to ride the rails for your Europe solo female travel tour, the Eurail pass is an excellent option. It’s an all-in-one ticket that allows you to visit 33 countries across the continent in comfort. The Eurail pass is the non-EEA-citizen version of the Interrail pass.
Guide- and attraction-finding tools
- GetYourGuide – if you’re interested in finding guided tours at your destination, GetYourGuide is the way to go. From food tours to private walking tours, you’ll definitely find something you’re interested in. Seeing reviews from other travelers and booking is easy.
- Intrepid Travel – if you want to go on a group tour in Europe, Intrepid Travel offers the best. Their tours are small, intimate groups led by local guides and with a small ecological footprint.
- Viator – Viator has tons of activities, experiences, and tours available for thousands of destinations around the world. They’re a great way to add a fun activity onto the itinerary.
- TripAdvisor – TripAdvisor has loads of travel booking tools, but my favorite use for them is looking up top-rated restaurants by other travelers. Their tour/activity recommendations can be decent. However, their lists of top attractions at certain destinations might not be more than “which attractions will be the most crammed with tourists?”
Favorite $0 foreign transaction fee travel rewards credit cards
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – my first travel rewards card, this $0 foreign transaction fee card has mighty rewards for the frequent traveler. At the time of writing, meet the $4,000 spending minimum within the first 3 months and get 80,000 bonus miles worth at least $800 to put towards flights, hotels, and more! In addition, this card has excellent insurance to cover expenses if your flight gets delayed or cancelled, or your baggage gets delayed or lost.
- CapitalOne Venture Rewards – my current favorite travel rewards card with $0 foreign transaction fees. Besides their price prediction and protection travel booking portal, I love their comprehensive car rental insurance. At the time of writing, earn 60,000 bonus miles worth over $600 when you meet the $3,000 spending minimum in the first 3 months.
Travel insurance tools
- World Nomads travel insurance – after getting covered for the thousands of dollars in rental car damage and my stolen camera after thieves stole my belongings on a beach in Saint Martin, I never travel without it. Sh*t happens sometimes when you travel. Don’t risk it.