Not a people person? These are the best travel destinations for space, silence and solitude.
Do you love getting lost in the anonymity of an unknown city? Does a solitary mountain retreat sound like heaven? Are you comfortable dining alone?
Solo travel is on the rise, with lone rangers seeking freedom, flexibility, self-discovery and an escape from routine.
But not everywhere is embracing it – Barcelona’s restaurants recently made headlines for turning away lone diners in favour of tourist groups.
So if you’re a more solitary kind of traveller, where should you go instead?
Here are the best places for introverted travellers, according to users of Reddit’s r/travel subreddit.
Finland: ‘The most introverted nation in the world’
Dotted with lakes, forests and snowy peaks, Finland is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s also “the most introverted nation in the world”, according to one Reddit user.
“In my experience Finns are actually nice, welcoming people, but they leave you alone unless you engage with them,” they add.
“People like personal space there,” another user says. “And they probably won’t talk to you unless they are drunk.”
Subreddit members say that Helsinki, the country’s capital, is “safe, walkable and quiet”.
If you are the kind of solo traveller that is looking for isolation in the forest, then you’ll be in your element with the hiking, canoeing and fishing that Finland has to offer.
It’s perfect for “hiking around the lakes means being mostly alone surrounded by wilderness”.
Iceland: Take a solo road trip in the Land of Fire and Ice
Stunning scenery, safety and friendly locals are some of the top reasons introverts recommend Iceland for a solo getaway.
“Rent an RV and travel around the countryside,” one Reddit user suggests.
“Early September is my favourite time [to visit] since you get the overlap of puffins and northern lights,” says another user.
Another comment on the subreddit recommends that you “fly Icelandair and take advantage of the Stopover program.”
The airline allows you to add a one-to-seven-day stopover in Iceland on any of its transatlantic routes at no additional cost – a top money-saving hack for solo travellers, who are often hit with inflated costs.
Reddit’s solo travellers say there are also many day trips from Reykjavik which are a great way to save money while travelling alone.
Scotland: For stark and silent beauty
With history-packed cities, remote islands and rugged highlands, Scotland is the ideal place to go off-grid.
“The Highlands are empty and beautiful, a perfect place for a contemplative holiday,” one Reddit user says. “Travel around the Outer Hebrides, it is ridiculously beautiful and very remote,” another recommends.
Remote hikes away from populated centres are a strong theme with introverted solo travellers on Reddit. One comment suggests the area around Assynt as “particularly starkly beautiful” with “lots of hikes”. Out in the Highlands you probably won’t have to talk to many people either.
Some people might be put off by Scotland’s rainy reputation but trust an introvert to turn that around: “Great weather for reading and sleeping but also invigorating if you’re out in it,” one user says.
Switzerland: Stare at jaw-dropping scenery in silence
With hidden Alpine retreats and scenic train rides, Switzerland is the perfect place to switch off.
“Nobody will chat you up. Not a lot of partying or noise. Most beautiful country on earth,” one Reddit user claims. “You can just take train rides through Switzerland and do nothing but look at the jaw-dropping scenery in silence and be completely entertained.”
If you prefer to explore by foot, try hiking the Via Alpina. “It’s 19 days and I walked across the country,” says a r/Travel member. “You end up in a new town every night. Start in Sargans and finish in Montreux.”
Other recommendations for introverts include the mountain village of Grindelwald – where you can hike in summer and ski in winter – taking the gondola up Mount Pilatus, and trekking the 170 km Tour du Mont Blanc trail.
Japan: For next-level solo dining
Venture outside of Europe and you’ll be rewarded with innovations that European introverts can only dream of.
Head to Tokyo, Japan for “the famous ramen chain Ichiran Ramen – an introvert’s paradise,” one Reddit user recommends. “It’s designed in a way that you never have to interact with anyone.”
After choosing your meal on a ticketing machine, you head to a one-person dining booth – “much like a voting booth” – where your dish is delivered through a small service hole.
Japan’s respect for keeping to yourself is not limited to dining either. “People leave you the hell alone,” one commenter says. “Tokyo is very safe, [there are] many things to do, and the people just mind their own business,” agrees another.
Japan “also “scores top marks for safety,” according to Redditors, who say it is “the most welcoming country for introverts I’ve ever been.”
The country’s extensive and punctual public transport system is also a draw for solo travellers.
“Have some days in Tokyo then get the Shinkansen [bullet train] to pretty much anywhere in Kyushu [Japan’s third largest island] for some lovely rural life,” one user recommends.
South Korea: For street food and solo karaoke
Another East Asian nation that comes highly recommended for introverted travellers is South Korea.
“The people there tend to keep to themselves and [Seoul] is really easy to navigate via subways,” according to r/Travel members.
They claim that the capital is extremely safe – “even if you’re drunk and passed out in the middle of the street at 3am”. There’s also “lots of solo stuff to do alone and English is spoken or written most places.”
Once you’ve explored the city’s endless temples and historic palaces, stuffed yourself with tasty street food and tried “solo karaoke in a room by yourself”, head to Dobongsan mountain for some scenic hiking, South Korea’s national pastime.