Leyla Giray, owner of Women on the Road, shares her five favourite cities with other backpacking girls who love to travel solo…
On your own? New to travel? Want to see the world but concerned about going solo? Well don’t be – the world is full of cities in which you can walk the streets and take public transport after dusk, eat alone comfortably, and just be yourself without having to explain anything away.
As for woman-friendly, this can mean many things. Safety, yes, but also a sense of acceptance, respect and genuine friendliness – the kind that doesn’t ask for anything in return. The hardest challenge? Choosing just five!
It’s not only woman-friendly, it’s everyone-friendly – gay, straight, old, young, black, white, Asian… In Amsterdam, you are who you are and no one cares if you’re different. In fact, it’s encouraged! Not to mention that language is no barrier and most Dutch speak English.
This is perhaps the safest city in Asia – even spitting on the street will not go unpunished. Although safe is sensible, it is however, not always exciting. This sums up Singapore which is perhaps more suited to a short flight stopover than a week’s holiday. Girls will love the shopping with a good mix of flea markets and contemporary stores and the waterfront is a good refuelling station with a number of bustling street food vendors.
Canada as a whole is woman-friendly, and Canadians tend to mind their own business – and therefore not yours. In Vancouver you’ll be able to come and go as you please, as long as you act as sensibly as you would at home: avoid certain parts of town at night, and don’t flash your jewellery at two in the morning. Just go out and enjoy one of the world’s greatest cities. In fact, most cities in Canada would fit this bill.
An odd choice? Not at all. Of all the Mediterranean cities, Lisbon is possibly the most woman-friendly. The Portuguese are more serious than other southern Europeans, but laid back enough to be comfortable companions. If you want southern Europe without the catcalls and whistles, head for this westernmost part of the continent.
Or Helsinki. Or Oslo. Or any Scandinavian city. Being a woman here in Copenhagen is almost irrelevant – everyone is treated alike. Identically, in fact. Crime is low, the natives are extremely friendly, and even in the deepest of winter their respect for you shines through.
Most cities, though, are as safe as you make them! Remember that pickpockets live everywhere, as do overly affectionate men. Take basic precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night, and always keep your valuables in a safe place.
For more advice on safe backpacking for girls, check out this guide for women travel which has tips for every continent.
- Introducing…. our 99%+ Hostels and Hotels
- 50+ Travel: Where To Go and For How Long?
- Be More Adventurous