Solo wanderlust: Epic European spots for a Valentine’s retreat for one

It’s easy to meet a sexy stranger in these European cities.

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Traditionally celebrated as a day of companionship, you can still feel the love on Valentine’s Day as a solo traveller.

For the lone adventurer, it can be an opportunity to embark on your own ‘Eat Pray Love’ journey of self-discovery and indulge in the things you love, without worrying about anyone else.

If you’re considering a solo break this Valentine’s Day, you’re not alone.

A new survey by tour operator Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) and Solo Traveler suggests the solo travel trend is gathering steam, with 68% of participants identifying as independent travellers.

Whether you’re seeking solitude in serene landscapes or crave the buzz of vibrant cities, Europe offers an array of epic destinations ideally suited for a solo travel Valentine’s Day experience.

Here are some of the most epic places in Europe for a solo voyage this Valentine’s Day.

Culture, crêpes and charm in Paris, France

The city of lights isn’t just for lovers; there’s plenty to keep a single guy or gal entertained in the French capital.

Embrace Paris’ timeless charm as you wander along the Seine, visit museums and landmarks like the impressive Musée d’Orsay, and feast on freshly cooked French crêpes without having to share!

Explore off-beat spots Montmartre and Le Marais, where you can immerse yourself in art, culture, and Parisian elegance.

Embrace the spirit of self-love by treating yourself to a fancy meal at the Seine-facing La Tour d’Argent restaurant or attending a captivating performance at the Opera Garnier.

Meet friends or lovers in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of the best travel destinations for singles looking to mingle.

The Dutch capital is packed with culture, creative cafes, art galleries and museums to explore.

Get educated at the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, or hop on a boat tour and discover Amsterdam’s extensive canal system and grand architecture.

If you want to make new friends while exploring the city, why not book a stay in the popular ClickNOORD hostel? It has a lively on-site bar and social areas where you can unwind with your fellow solo travellers.

Stuff your face with pizza in gritty Naples, Italy

Naples, the birthplace of pizza and a gateway to the Amalfi Coast, promises solo travellers a brilliant blend of gastronomy, history, and urban allure.

Explore the labyrinthine streets of the historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site brimming with vibrant markets, ancient churches, and hidden piazzas.

Delve into the city’s rich artistic heritage at the National Archaeological Museum, home to priceless artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

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Treat your taste buds to an authentic Neapolitan pizza at historic restaurant Sorbillo, sip on a limoncello Spritz, and go on a solo street food odyssey through the city’s culinary-rich and chaotic streets.

Get naked in Helsinki, Finland

For the traveller seeking saunas and Scandinavian charm, Helsinki offers outdoor pools, wood-fired saunas and architectural splendour.

Indulge in a spot of self-care at Urban Bolthole Löyly. This sea-front sauna offers a modern sauna experience in Helsinki’s capital, with a sleek, minimalist design and dreamy coastal views.

Located in a former industrial hub on the edge of the Baltic Sea, you can solo sauna, swim and unwind on the large waterfront terrace.

Feeling social? Head to the Kallio street party to dance the night away held every year in this hip neighbourhood; this is a free, volunteer-run party to reclaim the streets.

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Dreamy strolls and steamy baths in Budapest, Hungary

An opulent city of thermal baths, grand boulevards, and romantic bridges, Budapest is perfect for solo travellers who want a blend of history and culture.

Book a dreamy evening cruise down the Danube river and admire the architectural marvels of Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament Building as they light up by night.

Lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets of the Jewish Quarter, where trendy ruin bars, street art, and eclectic cafes create a dynamic tapestry of Hungarian city life.

Unwind in the healing waters of Budapest’s thermal baths, where you can soak your troubles away.

Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the most popular bath with its bright yellow art nouveau design and series of hot and cold pools.

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Shop ’til you drop in Barcelona, Spain

The colourful capital of Catalonia has plenty of architectural wonders and shopping opportunities if you’re looking to indulge in solo retail therapy.

From designer boutiques and luxury brands in Passeig de Gràcia to quirky shops and markets in neighbourhoods like El Raval and Gràcia, you’ll burn through your budget in no time.

For art lovers flying solo, Barcelona is synonymous with the iconic works of Antoni Gaudí, whose masterpieces dot the cityscape. The Sagrada Família, a work-in-progress basilica characterised by its intricate facades and towering spires, is Gaudí’s most famous creation and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Other must-see architectural sites include Park Güell, a whimsical park adorned with intricate mosaics and fantastical structures, and Casa Batlló, a modernist marvel with a facade reminiscent of a dragon’s scales.