Why? Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are among the world’s finest cites – clean, reliable, safe and diverse, they are perfect for solo travellers who are looking for an urban break. One of their great joys, however, is their proximity to Canada’s magnificent countryside – shimmering lakes, towering mountains,
dense forests and dramatic coastlines that defy description. There are plenty of operators who tour there and with flights linking 13 UK airports with Toronto and three with Vancouver (there are also direct flights to St John’s, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton and Calgary), the country is more accessible than ever.
How? One fantastic choice is Just You’s 12-day tour that heads from Calgary to Vancouver, taking in huge pine forests, snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear lakes of the Columbia Icefield and the breathtaking Banff and Jasper National Parks. Guests then board a Rocky Mountaineer train for a two-day journey with spectacular views of canyons, mountains, rivers and waterfalls in comfort, ending the holiday in Vancouver.
Why? Antarctica is the adventurer’s choice. The pristine wilderness of the White Continent – the planet’s coldest, driest and windiest region – makes it one of the most beguiling but inhospitable destinations on Earth. A mere 5,000 people reside at research stations scattered across the 14 million square kilometre area, but there are no towns, no cities and no permanent inhabitants in the traditional sense. It was just 100 years ago that the explorers Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen raced to the South Pole, and tourism only began here in the 1950s and 1960s. While cruise may be the best way to see many destinations, it is virtually the only way to see Antarctica in any depth. Today there are a number of options that sail the short season between November and February.
How? Aurora Expeditions have just launched the 120-passanger Greg Mortimer. Experts in polar voyages, solo passengers are welcome. A ‘cabin mate service’ is also available on all of its voyages.
Why? We’ve written about Japan in the past, and the fact remains that the island nation remains one of the most beguiling and beautiful countries in the world – whether you are travelling in a big group, as a couple or alone. With a drive on tourism ahead of the 2020 Olympics, the Japanese government is improving the amount of English signage, particularly in Tokyo. It may seem a little, but will go a long way in a country where English is rarely spoken. The Golden Route from Tokyo past Mount Fuji to Kyoto remains the most popular itinerary for British guests (and is serviced by a number of operators, including G Adventures and Wendy Wu Tours), but whether you head up to Hokkaido, to Tōhoku in the northeast, or down to the unexplored south, there are incredible adventures to be had. As one of the safest nations in the world (it’s also famously efficient) it makes a lot of sense for solo travellers.
How? Intrepid Travel has a Southern Japan Experience, which starts and ends in Osaka, taking in the unique island of Naoshima, some of Japan’s oldest hot spring baths and the chance to cross kazurabashi (vine bridges) in the hidden Iya Valley, as well as time to explore the cities of Nagasaki and Osaka.
Why? With tourist numbers way up thanks to British Airways and Royal Jordanian offering direct flights from the UK, Jordan makes our solo travel destinations list once again. Its capital Amman is a gateway to Petra and Al-Khazneh – the breathtaking structure carved out of a sandstone rock face – and the Dead Sea. It’s affordable, making it great for travellers who want to completely go it alone and explore the wide region, but there are also plenty of tour and cruise options. Wadi Rum, the largest ravine in Jordan, and Mount Nebo, the holy site from where Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land, are also must sees.
How? G Adventures’ eight-day tour, to and from Amman takes in Petra, Wadi Rum and Madaba and includes accommodation, in-country transport and some meals, and is from £819pp. You can fly direct from London with British Airways or Royal Jordanian.
Why? The Green Isle, of course, needs no introduction. From the bars of Dublin and the prehistoric monuments of Brú na Bóinne to the political murals of Derry, or the beauty of Cork. Given its proximity and familiarity, it makes a lot of sense for solo travellers, particularly those travelling alone for the first time. There are also many tour operators who go there, taking in Dublin, Cork and other major cities as well as the lesser explored countryside, while cruise lines also call at the country on itineraries that take in the British Isles (some of which have now dropped the single supplement).
How? The seven-day Ireland Explorer trip with Cosmos allows guests to pick and choose from a range of excursions, such as the Cliffs of Moher and photogenic Ring of Kerry drive. From £933 including accommodation, flights, transfers, private-home pick-up service and some meals.