Being a Female Solo Traveler in Europe!
Chyler, Spring 2024, Florence
May 16, 2024

During my time studying abroad in Florence, Italy I took advantage of how easy it was to travel from Italy to other countries, both with people and alone. In a previous blog post, I talked about my trip to five countries in eight days, which I did with my roommates. But, as the semester passed I found myself wanting to travel to some places that my roommates and friends did not want to travel to. So, instead of just going where everyone else was going, I decided that I was going to solo travel.

The Parthenon was absolutely insane!

The only time I had ever traveled by myself was a flight in the US to Arizona from my home town in North Carolina and also my flight to Florence, so I was a little nervous at first. I planned two solo trips back to back in April; one to Athens, Greece and then another to Porto, Portugal. When deciding where to go I did a lot of research about cities that were the safest for female travelers and Porto, Portugal was #1 on many sights, and I had always wanted to visit Portugal one day and another safe city I found for female solo travelers was Athens, Greece. So, I booked cheap flights through RyanAir, booked Airbnb’s and then waited, impatiently, for the day to come when I would be leaving to visit Athens, Greece and Porto, Portugal.

The view from Acropolis Hill was one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever experienced!

I visited Athens the first weekend of April, Thursday through Sunday. I booked a small Airbnb right outside of the city center, which was cheap and in a nice area. In Athens I booked tickets, in advance, for Acropolis Hill and other historical sights. My first full day I walked around for hours and Athens was absolutely breathtaking! Seeing historical sights that are thousands of years old that have been preserved and are open for the public to visit was mind blowing; I had never seen anything like it! The rest of the time I spent there I just walked around taking in the views of the city and soaking up the sun. I also vlogged about my travels which is now posted on my YouTube channel, Life With Chyler (if you want to check it out!).

One of the six bridges that span across the Douro River!

I traveled to Porto, Portugal the Wednesday after I got back from Athens and stayed until Saturday. While studying abroad, I found it was cheaper to leave Wednesday or Thursday for trips than Friday and I didn’t have class after 12 on Wednesday and I had no classes on Thursday or Friday, so traveling on those days was super easy for me to do. Porto was absolutely beautiful. Like Athens, it was hilly but, unlike Athens, when you got to the bottom of all the hills you ended up at the Douro River. The Douro River has six bridges that span from one side to the other, which makes Porto the only city in Europe to have six bridges crossing over the same river! I also was able to visit a small beach town outside of Porto and took the metro there, which was super cheap and easy to use. It was beautiful when I was there, around 80 degrees and it was the perfect day to spend at the beach!

I have hundreds of pictures of Porto, but how could I not when it looked like this?!

I know that solo traveling can be scary, especially in Europe but, it was 1,000% worth it!
Traveling solo takes away the stress of worrying about what everyone else you’re with wants to do and allows you to be fully immersed in the city that you’re visiting. Some things I would recommend doing are booking Airbnb’s that have a self check-in options; I did this because I felt safer getting into the Airbnb alone than meeting someone I had never met alone (you don’t have to do this is you don’t want to, this is just what I was comfortable with as a female solo traveler). I recommend getting to your final destination before the sun goes down. I made the mistake of getting to Athens late (around 10 pm) because it was the cheaper flight option, but getting to a foreign country you’ve never been to at night and trying to figure out where you’re going is super challenging; just something to think about. Also, if you plan to travel solo, I recommend you invest in a tripod with a remote to take pictures and videos of yourself. When traveling, especially alone, you don’t want to just hand a random stranger your phone and hope they don’t run off with it, so I recommend getting a tripod. At first, using my tripod was super awkward and I felt like everyone was looking at me but I wanted to make sure I was documenting my travels and I wanted good pictures and it gets less and less awkward the more you do it and you might as well embrace being a tourist!

All in all, traveling solo was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It made me realize that doing things alone can be some of the best times of your life and make you realize that being alone isn’t so scary after all!

Written by: Chyler, Spring 2024 Florence Student from Belmont University

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