All the surveys conducted around solo travel suggest that more of us are choosing to holiday alone, while the demographics of single travellers get steadily older and more female. The biggest growth sector is in women aged 50 plus, many of whom are divorced, separated, widowed or just plain bored with their stay-at-home husbands.

Solo travellers are rarely running away from others. They want to be sociable and meet like-minded people, and often they want to pursue an interest, learn something new and perhaps indulge in some personal development. People used to go backpacking in their 20s to find themselves, now they’re doing it in their 50s and 60s.

So what are the best holidays for solo travellers who want to delve a little deeper, meet others and indulge their passion? Mark Hodson of 101 Holidays has some suggestions.

Wildlife tours

The specialist operator Just You has a range of guided wildlife holidays exclusively for single travellers including a chance to encounter gorillas in the wild in Uganda, and explore Ecuador and the Galapagos to see pelicans, pink flamingos, pintail ducks and blue-footed boobies.

Cortijo Romero

Cortijo Romero - Walking

In the sun-baked hills of Andalucia, Cortijo Romero is a beautiful retreat that offers a range of personal development holidays with week-long themed courses on subjects as diverse as flamenco dance, mindful photography, Tai Chi and Qigong, and advice on writing your own memoir. It’s a great place to meet and be inspired by other people.

Themed weeks in Crete

Themed Weeks In Crete

The Mistral Hotel on the Greek island of Crete is a singles-only boutique hideaway just a few steps from a pretty beach. It runs a number of themed weeks including walking, yoga and wellbeing and Flavours of Crete, an immersive food experience that includes cookery classes as well as meeting artisan producers, visiting a winery and local farmers market, and tasting wines paired with cheeses.

Special interest for the over-50s

Special Interest For The Over 50s

For the over-50s, Saga Holidays has a mind-boggling range of special interest options. They aren’t exclusively for solos and single supplements apply, but they are still good value. You could join a botanical tour of Tenerife, explore forgotten gardens in Croatia or learn about Greek archaeology in the Peloponnese.

The spirit of Skyros

The Spirit Of Skyros

Another place for self-discovery is the tiny Greek island of Skyros where you’ll find a range of courses including creative writing, comedy, theatre, dance and singing. The company also has a centre on the Isle of Wight with 2-night and 3-night wellbeing, creative and writing retreats.

Golfing holidays

Golf Holidays - Solos Holidays

Whether you’re a complete beginner, or looking to hone your handicap, you can have a lot of fun and meet a new set of friends on a golfing break for singles. Solos Holidays has options in the UK, the Canaries, Cyprus and Turkey, as well as a trip to Cape Town that also features a tour of the Garden Route and a safari.

Painting and Skiing

Painting House Parties - Friendship Travel

One of the most popular solo travel specialists, Friendship Travel now runs painting holidays in Portugal and the Greek islands, new for 2023. They also operate ski trips in the Alps with a house-party vibe.

Cultural tours

Cultural Tours - Martin Randall Travel

For high-end cultural tours, I’m a big fan of Martin Randall Travel which runs small-group expert-led tours focusing on themes such as archaeology, classical music and architecture. You could explore the Silk Road cities of Uzbekistan or learn about the Civilisations of Sicily. Some trips have no single supplement.

Cooking in Italy

Cooking In Italy - Flavours Holidays

If you love Italian food - and frankly, who doesn’t? - you could extend your knowledge on a residential cookery course held at a beautifully-appointed villa in Tuscany. Expect hands-on classes, rather than dry lectures. Flavours Holidays has venues from Venice to the Amalfi and also has trips that combine cooking with photography, Pilates or painting.

River cruises

River Cruises - Bulb Fields - Riviera Travel

River cruising is a thriving sector, and Riviera Travel now has a range of trips exclusively to solo travellers. You could explore the bulb fields of Holland, get familiar with the wines of the Douro Valley or join a classic cruise down the Rhine and the Moselle.

Hedonistic Hiking

Hedonistic Hiking

Hiking in stunning countryside? Yes please. Fabulous gourmet food at the end of the day? Absolutely! Hedonistic Hiking combines two of my favourite things - and if you feel the same, you’re in for a treat with expert-led trips to Tuscany, Central Italy and Austria and the Dolomites.

The night sky

The Night Sky - Northern Lights - On The Go Tours

Natural phenomena are lighting up many people’s bucket lists, and it’s no wonder. These really are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You could witness the Northern Lights in Iceland, gaze up at a meteor shower in Morocco or view the night sky from a glass igloo in Finland. On the Go Tours has a dazzling selection of trips that are popular with solo travellers.

Ramble on

Ramble On - Ramblers Walking Holidays

A walking holiday can be the best way to meet new people - nothing forced or awkward, but strolling side by side, chatting at length while gazing across natural beauty. Ramblers Walking Holidays is so popular with singles that it has launched its own range of group trips exclusively for solos with no single room supplement.

Find more ideas at 101 Singles Holidays.

August 2023