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Best places for solo travelers
cooldsunshine
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Let’s have a debate : where should a solo traveler go for the best experience? We’re talking meeting fellow travelers, sights, whatever you want!

I’m asking that because I’m doing a solo Eurotrip this summer through France, Spain and Portugal (6 weeks). Are these good destinations for solo?

Thanks!

I am leaving from Montreal with $6000 for 41 days
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I think being a solo traveler opens you up a bit more to talking to new people. I would think Spain and Portugal, and perhaps to a slightly lesser degree France, would be places that are friendly and supportive to solo travelers.

There is a stereotype that the French sometimes have a reputation for seriousness and reserve—or even a cold attitude. But I think when it comes to a meeting of minds, much might rest on a visitor’s approach. Last December I was wandering alone around a small museum and the French lady who worked there, who could not speak English, and I, a person who knows maybe 10 words of French, were able to discuss the Roman ruins on display. She could see that I was curious about the artifacts and wanted to share her knowledge, we had a nice half hour there.

I think you’ll have a great time. Smile

Ryfela
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I myself am solo travelling at the moment and when you want to meet people make sure you stay in a dorm, that’s where I tend to meet a majority of people. Also, try to pick hostels that have free walking tours and pub crawls or at least occasionally take a guided tour, that tends to really help.

I am leaving from Toronto with $12000 for 105 days
Edinburgh, Madrid, London, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Lyon, Nice, Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Kutná Hora, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Füssen, Venice, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Rome, Pompei, Naples, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Budapest, Hunedoara, Sighişoara, Bucharest, Sofia, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Selçuk
I am leaving from Toronto with $2500 for 22 days
Porto, Guimarães, Lisbon, Tomar, Sintra, Evora, Lagos, Seville, Málaga, London
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cooldsunshine
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Ryfela wrote:
I myself am solo travelling at the moment and when you want to meet people make sure you stay in a dorm, that’s where I tend to meet a majority of people. Also, try to pick hostels that have free walking tours and pub crawls or at least occasionally take a guided tour, that tends to really help.

How can you know about those free walking tours or pub crawls? The reviews on hostelworld.com don’t always mention them…

How’s your experience for the moment? Have you been in France, Spain or Portugal? Any hostels you would recommend?

Simply judging from the lack of hostels (compared to other european countries), I would tend to agree about France being less friendly with solo travelers… Which is a shame! Good thing I know French Wink

I am leaving from Montreal with $6000 for 41 days
Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseilles, Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Seville, Lagos, Lisbon, Paris
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Sights
I am leaving from Montreal with $6000 for 41 days
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Cil
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cooldsunshine][quote=Ryfela wrote:

Simply judging from the lack of hostels (compared to other european countries), I would tend to agree about France being less friendly with solo travelers… Which is a shame! Good thing I know French Wink


Don’t forget about Couchsurfing. There are hosts all over France, and we met some very nice ones (who happened to speak English.)

luv_the_beach
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No matter where you’re at…if you’re traveling solo, you’re going to meet other travelers. Not locals. Maybe you’ll meet other solo travelers who are from the country you’re visiting; that person being from a different part of the country, visiting the same locale you’re currently in. But usually, you’ll meet other fellow foreigners.

I’ve actually found France quite easy to meet other solo travelers, and this has nothing to do with the locals. It has to do with the type of hostel you stay at. If you share a room with strangers, and/or ever need to share a table with strangers in the hostel’s breakfast kitchen, and/or the hostel has a bar, and/or the hostel has some kind of community area (rooftop, living room, etc), and/or everyone in the hostel is roughly 18-35ish years old (as opposed to families, or groups of 15-year-olds on a school field trip), these are the types of places I’ve found it easy to meet other solo travelers.

The French themselves have always been friendly to me, and even gone out of their way to help me. Several times. I can only count on one hand the amount of people that have been rude to me: it was only 3 times that I can think of, despite my many times visiting, and even having lived there. One of the 3 times, it was due to a misunderstanding. The second one wasn’t even someone from France: it was an immigrant lady from the Caribbean (you can tell from her accent). The 3rd time, it was just this weird chick that worked at a family-run hostel…she hated her job, her life (so, I didn’t take it personally), and was rude to everyone, but I made her smile before I left…..plus, I broke hostel rules of 3-day max stay (ended up staying there like 7 or 8 days), but she didn’t care…she allowed me to re-book two more times, while expressing dismay that I’m breaking the rules.

The “rudeness” stereotype is one of those inaccurate stereotypes that just gets passed down from one person to the next, here in the US where I live (can’t speak for other countries), and so everyone believes something that just isn’t true. And we don’t only do that with France…we do it with many countries. We have our stereotypes, and we will hang on to those stereotypes and will look hard for evidence to reinforce that belief. So, many people arrive in France with that expectation and are either rude first to the locals (the number of rude Americans [and other foreigners] I have run into in France: I’ve lost count), or are over-sensitive and will misinterpret the stupidest thing as “rudeness”.

This former coworker of mine insisted that the “French are rude” stereotype was absolutely true, due to his brief visit to Paris. He was traveling by train from Spain to Germany or Britain (don’t remember), which would require to cross France. He wanted to minimize his time in France, because he expected it to be rude (self-fulfilling expectation that I noted above). When he arrives in Paris, he bought his onward ticket to leave. Of course, the ticket booth person didn’t tell him that the train leaves from a different train station than the one he arrived at (slipped his mind? he assumed the backpacker already knew? it says it right there on the ticket? there’s countless reasons why he failed to mention it to the customer…I seriously doubt it was malicious intent). Our said backpacker had no prior knowledge that Paris has 6 stations…his fault for not doing research. So, he couldn’t find the proper platform, then asked someone else, who told him that other train left from a different station. This, he says, proves the French are “rude”. (Now…had he gone to the ticket folks, and explained his mistake, they probably would have gladly booked him on the next train at no charge if it had available seats, unless it was a TGV. I’ve had SNCF employees work within their power to help me quite a few times).

There are also cultural differences, keep in mind, so if someone doesn’t react the way you expect them to, it’s not because they’re being “rude”. As I have stated in other threads, it’s important not to impose your own cultural expectations on a foreign country. Although France has some northern characteristics, the French are, in very many ways, typical Southern Europeans. They don’t smile at random strangers, even customers, unless conversation is exchanged (other than, how much does this cost, I’ll take that one); the acceptable length of time to look at someone (before being considered a stare) is a bit longer than what Anglos may be used to; and there’s lots of other things I can’t think of right now. But the point is, culture shock happens; it’s not “rudeness”. Especially if you’re American or Canadian (two very polite cultures), you may find Southern Europeans’ upfrontness as “rude”.


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Ryfela
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cooldsunshine wrote:
Ryfela wrote:
I myself am solo travelling at the moment and when you want to meet people make sure you stay in a dorm, that’s where I tend to meet a majority of people. Also, try to pick hostels that have free walking tours and pub crawls or at least occasionally take a guided tour, that tends to really help.

How can you know about those free walking tours or pub crawls? The reviews on hostelworld.com don’t always mention them…

How’s your experience for the moment? Have you been in France, Spain or Portugal? Any hostels you would recommend?

Simply judging from the lack of hostels (compared to other european countries), I would tend to agree about France being less friendly with solo travelers… Which is a shame! Good thing I know French Wink


Hostelbookers lists whether a hostel has a walking tour or pub crawl in the amenities, otherwise most hostels have ads for them from other providers.
I can’t help you out with spain france and Portugal, however I’m flying from Scotland to Madrid tonight so I will report back here within a few days to tell you what my hostel is like.

I am leaving from Toronto with $12000 for 105 days
Edinburgh, Madrid, London, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Lyon, Nice, Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Kutná Hora, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Füssen, Venice, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Rome, Pompei, Naples, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Budapest, Hunedoara, Sighişoara, Bucharest, Sofia, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Selçuk
I am leaving from Toronto with $2500 for 22 days
Porto, Guimarães, Lisbon, Tomar, Sintra, Evora, Lagos, Seville, Málaga, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
cooldsunshine
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Ryfela wrote:
cooldsunshine wrote:
Ryfela wrote:
I myself am solo travelling at the moment and when you want to meet people make sure you stay in a dorm, that’s where I tend to meet a majority of people. Also, try to pick hostels that have free walking tours and pub crawls or at least occasionally take a guided tour, that tends to really help.

How can you know about those free walking tours or pub crawls? The reviews on hostelworld.com don’t always mention them…

How’s your experience for the moment? Have you been in France, Spain or Portugal? Any hostels you would recommend?

Simply judging from the lack of hostels (compared to other european countries), I would tend to agree about France being less friendly with solo travelers… Which is a shame! Good thing I know French Wink


Hostelbookers lists whether a hostel has a walking tour or pub crawl in the amenities, otherwise most hostels have ads for them from other providers.
I can’t help you out with spain france and Portugal, however I’m flying from Scotland to Madrid tonight so I will report back here within a few days to tell you what my hostel is like.

Thanks! Looking forward to read what you have to say! I personaly put more value on the atmosphere of the hostel and how social it is then on the cleanliness etc.

I am leaving from Montreal with $6000 for 41 days
Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseilles, Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, Seville, Lagos, Lisbon, Paris
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Sights
I am leaving from Montreal with $6000 for 41 days
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Ryfela
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I have not forgotten this thread! I’m currently at Way Hostel in Madrid and it is excellent, they have activities and a pub crawl every night, and a great common room, so meeting people is easy. Also, the staff are very nice, the hostel is relatively affordable, clean and well-run, and the breakfast is pretty good, I recommend coming here.

I am leaving from Toronto with $12000 for 105 days
Edinburgh, Madrid, London, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Lyon, Nice, Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Kutná Hora, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Füssen, Venice, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Rome, Pompei, Naples, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Budapest, Hunedoara, Sighişoara, Bucharest, Sofia, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Selçuk
I am leaving from Toronto with $2500 for 22 days
Porto, Guimarães, Lisbon, Tomar, Sintra, Evora, Lagos, Seville, Málaga, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
Ryfela
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I have not forgotten this thread! I’m currently at Way Hostel in Madrid and it is excellent, they have activities and a pub crawl every night, and a great common room, so meeting people is easy. Also, the staff are very nice, the hostel is relatively affordable, clean and well-run, and the breakfast is pretty good, I recommend coming here.

I am leaving from Toronto with $12000 for 105 days
Edinburgh, Madrid, London, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Lyon, Nice, Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Kutná Hora, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Füssen, Venice, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Rome, Pompei, Naples, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Budapest, Hunedoara, Sighişoara, Bucharest, Sofia, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Selçuk
I am leaving from Toronto with $2500 for 22 days
Porto, Guimarães, Lisbon, Tomar, Sintra, Evora, Lagos, Seville, Málaga, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
Cil
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Have you been to El Tigre yet? Lots of free tapas and a fun if chaotic atmosphere.

Ryfela
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Pretty far from my hostel but looks pretty good, I might check it out

I am leaving from Toronto with $12000 for 105 days
Edinburgh, Madrid, London, Segovia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Granada, Barcelona, Lyon, Nice, Paris, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Kutná Hora, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Füssen, Venice, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Siena, Rome, Pompei, Naples, Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Budapest, Hunedoara, Sighişoara, Bucharest, Sofia, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Selçuk
I am leaving from Toronto with $2500 for 22 days
Porto, Guimarães, Lisbon, Tomar, Sintra, Evora, Lagos, Seville, Málaga, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights