Scotland is one of the best destinations to visit on your own. If you are looking for a beginner-friendly solo travel destination, look no further than Scotland. This post contains 8 reasons why you should visit Scotland on your own which will be particularly reassuring for female solo travellers.
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Scotland came onto my travel radar when I was 18 years old and dying to travel for a year after my high school graduation. My idea was to hike and hitchhike around Scotland, drop my pin wherever I liked it most, find a WWOOFing host and just enjoy life.
Without a doubt did I think of lush green hills, gorgeous lakes and never-ending sunshine – rain was certainly not on the agenda. Of course, my parents did not agree with my aspirations to become the family hobo and I ended up doing a year of voluntary work in Denmark through the EU-programme European Voluntary Service instead.
Had I only known back then what I know now, I might have found it easier to convince my parents of my backpacking plans… There are so many hidden gems in Europe that are perfect for first-time solo travellers, and Scotland is one of them!
I strongly believe that Scotland is THE perfect destination for solo travellers and female solo travellers in particular. Here are a few reasons why that is so…
1) Scotland is full of young internationals
Strength in numbers, right? Scotland is becoming increasingly popular, not only because its beauty is being featured in more and more big studio films, but also because people realised that Scotland is a great place to be for young people.
The universities in Glasgow and Edinburgh are bustling with international students who spread out to explore the rest of the country. Hostels and budget accommodation are popping up everywhere, public transport is great and there are a lot of things to do for young people – therefore all you really need to do is set out and you will bump into many other young travellers.
August is probably the best time of the year to get the full picture of how international Scotland can be – during the Fringe and International festival in Edinburgh.
2) The country is all about women’s rights
As of April 2016 the Scottish prime minister is a woman (2020 update: and she’s amazing and still going strong). The government is made up of 50:50 men and women, there are government-funded initiatives to close the pay gap, to support women’s businesses, to ensure women’s rights at home etc.
And just recently hundreds of men and women gathered to protest against a planned event by misogynist Roosh V. In short, Scotland is strongly involved in women’s rights and female solo travellers should come here to embrace this.
3) Street harassment is rare
Call it a form of British politeness, but the Scottish people are just the most friendly people you will ever meet. And not only friendly but also polite.
In the years I have lived in Glasgow I have been catcalled on the street one or two times – that’s about as much as it happens every 5-10 minutes in my home town Vienna and I’ve experienced worse in many other places…
Maybe I’m lucky for not having experienced more street harassment here, but actually, I think the reason is the general level of respect for other human beings in this country. In a society with so many strong women in significant political and public positions, it is no surprise that people show more respect for women as well.
While I would certainly not walk around the parks after dark and prefer to pay for a taxi instead of walking home at night, I can still walk down the street in peace and safety.
4) Friendly Locals
Back to the friendly locals though. Whether you need help finding an address or just fancy a chat in a local pub or in a shop – Glaswegians will talk to you with an open mind; sometimes more often than you’d wish. If only they were easier to understand…
The Scottish folk I have encountered were always intrigued to speak to me about my reasons for moving here – again and again, I can only tell them that its the people who make this place so special. Of course, there are plenty of a**holes around (like everywhere) but in general, female solo travellers are in good hands here.
5) It is super easy to get around
Travelling on your own you might be hesitant to rent a car, especially if you want to stay on a budget or if you have never driven on the left side of the road before. The good thing is that public transport with busses, trains and ferries is really good in Scotland and you get to many places along the coast, in the Highlands and on the Isles without the necessity of your own wheels.
You can read more about getting around in Scotland by public transport and rail passes in my basic guide to planning a trip to Scotland.
6) Thriving Hostel Culture
Hostels are a great way to safe money on accommodation and connect with other travellers. There are great value-for-money hostels in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and many more all around the country. Some are backpacker-friendly, while others are definitely also very suitable for a more mature crowd – for example if you want your own private room or an en-suite bathroom.
Hostelling Scotland runs hostels all over Scotland – from urban hostels in the cities to remote locations in rural scenery. You can also find many independent hostels via Scottish Hostels.
You might also like: My review of the CoDE Pod Hostel in Edinburgh – it’s great for female solo travellers!
7) Great tour companies to join
If you want to visit Scotland on your own but not travel alone all the time, there are some great tour companies to join for female solo travellers. They offer trips all over the country for just a day or multiple days in a row. I personally made very good experiences with Rabbie’s, Timberbush Tours and Highland Explorer Tours on single- and multi-day tours!
8) There is so much to do
Whether you are into historical buildings and cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, city travel, a good road trip, island hopping or simply want to taste as many whiskys as you possibly can you will find what you are looking for in Scotland. Cool cities to explore, breathtaking road trips, thrilling adventures, relaxing hikes, island hopping, wild swimming, golfing, castle touring, a vibrant foodie scene and gorgeous beaches – there really is something to do for anyone in Scotland!
Only got a day? Here is how to spend one day in Edinburgh.
You might also like: The 20 Best Hikes in Scotland – for Beginners and Munro-Baggers
One of my favourite solo adventures in Scotland was a 2-day sea kayaking course I did in Oban. I hitched from Balloch (near Glasgow) all the way to Oban on a Friday afternoon, stayed at a local hostel, learnt the basics of safe sea-kayaking and enjoyed a glass of beer in the sun. The perfect weekend for a female solo traveller in Scotland!
With all this in mind I wish my 18-year-old self would have stood up for her dreams and insisted on becoming one of many female solo travellers roaming Scotland.
I love what Meg from Meander With Meg says about solo travel – it’s not something you need to be afraid of, or be particularly brave to do:
‘Travelling is a desire I wished to act upon until it became tangible and I could hold the experience of it in my hands.’
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64 thoughts on “8 Reasons why Scotland is Perfect for Female Solo Travellers”
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Hi Kathi 🙂 you talk about private renting like it’s as easy as booking a hotel. This siunds very attractive to me if I’ve interpreted you correctly.. could you tell me a bit more please? Lacey
Hi Lacey, I use AirBnB a lot when I travel, but there are also many short-term rentals listed on platforms like booking.com! Note, I’m talking about short-term rentals for travellers here, not renting a flat for the long-term (i.e. moving to the UK – that’s definitely a lot more complex). Check out my resources on accommodation platforms here: https://watchmesee.com/travel-resources/; or if you’re interested in moving to the UK, you might find these poss useful: https://watchmesee.com/blog/tag/moving-to-scotland/ All the best, Kathi
I will be traveling to Scotland next year. This post has greatly helped me finding out many new great things about Scotland. Is there something else I should know before going to Scotland. I would be glad if you mentioned one or two.
Hi Sazjan, thanks for your comment – I’m glad to hear you found this post useful! You might also find the information in this post helpful: https://watchmesee.com/blog/plan-a-trip-to-scotland/ and I have lots of ideas for itineraries and more travel tips on this page: https://watchmesee.com/travel-scotland/ Happy trip planning!
Well, I am 74 and believe it is about time I take the much dreamed of trip to Scotland. I thank you so much for this site. I am reassured that at my age I can be safe and comfortable. I will probably be traveling alone and I really appreciate your advice about the “grown up” hostels! Hope to be there in 2020
Hi Nancy, thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I’m inspired by you – take that trip, fulfil that dream!! If you need any help with your trip, get in touch! All the best, Kathi
Hey Kathi! Great tips you shared in this post, I haven’t been to Scotland yet, but it’s definitely on my list in coming future. Moving to USA and will definitely visit this place, this post fueled me up for this.
Thanks for your comment Sara! I hope you can make it here some day soon 🙂 It’s a wonderful country to experience!
Was a good read and would definitely consider Scotland as a travel destination. I mean its been on the list for sooooo long but guess it get higher up on the list the more I find out about it. Not sure about travelling solo though but will consider it. So thanks for the article, glad to have found it and stuff
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So I am a 60yo single female coming to Edinburgh for the first time at the end of April. I am still seeking accommodations and saw on the most previous post you mention hostels. Are there hostels available for me? I would appreciate the community aspect you mention. I’ll be spending 8 nights. Thanks, Helen
Of course! I think you might not necessarily enjoy a party hostel or a super budget hostel, but I can recommend the hostel by Hostelling Scotland. Their hostels have more of a grown up vibe, they also have private rooms but still a community vibe! I hope you have a great trip!!
I`m a 61 year old man. I have no experience of hostels. I seen articles on youth hostels and thought they were for “kids”. I`ve been on holday to Turkey with a singles holiday company and found them companies over priced. I need to get a life and travelling is an option. It`s inspiring seeing people of my age “biting the bullet” and going for it!
I’ll be taking my first real solo trip to Scotland in May of this year. I was wondering if you could recommend an easy way to meet other travellers or locals. I’m trilled to have the time to explore on my own, but I wouldn’t mind some company when going to a pub or out for a nice meal.
Thank you, Adrienne
Hi Adrienne, thanks for taking the time to comment and for your question! First of all, I would choose to stay in hostels – people usually make use of the common areas, which makes it a lot easier to meet others! There are a few Facebook groups, where you might be able to arrange meet-ups with others in advance, like Girls Love Travel or Scottish Travel Society! I hope this helps!
Hi Kathie! Woke this morning and your post is the first read of the day.
I’m 57 and finally going to travel solo, having spent years with the wrong partner trailing round looking at the wrong things.
I’ve had a long fascination with the highlands and it’s where my family originated from.
So! I’m planning my itinerary and keep rattling my pot for contributions to the Scotland here I come fund.
I might be older in years but your post brings out the gal in me that says this is going to be awesome! And it’s never too late . Happy travels to all , this world is a great place to explore x
Hi Janey, aw your comment made my day! It is definitely never too late and I hope that your dream of visiting Scotland is becoming a reality very soon! Keep me up to date – I’d love to hear from you when you’ve made it here! 🙂 Go you!! x
Hi Cathy I’m a 53 year old single woman who’s been alone for 10 years I finally got myself together and decided to go on a journey not only am I looking forward to seeing the beautiful country but I guess a small part of me is also maybe hoping to find a single I don’t know how single men are over there but I guess I have to start somewhere I love your blog and God bless you for all you do reply
Hi Suzanne, there’s nothing like a solo trip to boost your confidence and happiness with your self! Who knows you might get lucky 😉
I’m right there with you..turning 50 this year and 4 years alone. My kiddos are with Dad for Christmas and with the time off, I’m off to Dublin, Edinburgh and the Highlands for Christmas with a tour! One time through and its time to make it count!
I love your spirit – it’s amazing to hear about your Christmas trip! Have an amazing journey and I hope you enjoy Scotland!
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I am toying with traveling to Scotland in the next few years. I would be flying solo and am pushing Sixty but I really want to go and experience this beautiful country. I am a big Outlander fan so that makes me want to get there sooner 😉 good to know that Scotland is a lone female travel friendly place!
I think it’s a brilliant place for solo female travelers – across all ages! There are so many Outlander locations you can visit by public transport, and even more tours that take you there with a little more comfort and guidance – I hope you get to see many of them when you’re here! Do it 😀
Thinking of going to scotland in july. Any links for or sites for public transport or train or underground transportation. First time flying solo anywhere. And cant drive on the left sode of the road lol. Looking to visit outlander sites but wont know how to get there. Also do you know about the prices of accommodation. Not a fan of Hostles and I have had bad experiences with air bnb.
Hi Maddy, check out this blog post with more info on public transport: http://watchmesee.com/blog/plan-a-trip-to-scotland/ I usually use Trainline to purchase train tickets, bus tickets depend on the company, but Citylink operates a lot of the bigger routes. Busy routes between cities I recommend buying in advance, but you can also get tickets on the bus. Public transport is useful in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but you can also walk a lot in either! I did this Outlander day tour from Edinburgh: https://watchmesee.com/blog/outlander-day-tour-from-edinburgh/, and there are similar ones from Glasgow: https://watchmesee.com/blog/best-day-tours-from-glasgow/. Some of the sites are quite hard to get to on public transport… And finally, accommodation – it really depends on the area and the time you visit. May – August are generally more expensive; Edinburgh is more expensive than Glasgow etc. If you are looking for single rooms in standard B&Bs you’re looking at anywhere between £50-100 I think, unless demand is really high, then it might be a bit more! Hope this helps – have a fab trip!
Moved to Glasgow from Catford in London a few years back and just love it here.
I literally just booked my flight to go to Scotland in June, largely based on this blog, so thank you so much for taking the time to write it! Now to decide to rent a car and drive in the left lane (which makes me nervous), or to book a tour with a tour company…. decisions, decisions… luckily, I have a bit more time to figure it out 🙂
Thank you again!
Hi Erika, go you! You won’t regret it, I promise!! June is such a lovely time to visit – just make sure to bring midge spray! I write a little bit about choosing a mode of transport in this blogpost https://watchmesee.com/blog/plan-a-trip-to-scotland/ and about driving tips here https://watchmesee.com/blog/driving-in-scotland-tips/. I hope this helps. I found that you get used to driving on the left hand side fairly quickly – it’s weird in the beginning, but it becomes second nature! Hope to hear how your trip was next summmer!
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As a 1st time female traveller from Aussie, I found the Rabbies tours terrific.. both I did were a mix of young and older (4 “girls” my age, mid 60’s on the 1st one) the young ones great company, we all went to the pubs together most nights.. Scotland was just fantastic, (we so lucky with the weather.. just great for Nov last year) and the guide was just so so knowledgeable.. so much history to absorb everywhere..
That’s great to hear! I love going on tours with Rabbie’s – particularly the music they play in the buses; always makes the tour more fun 🙂 And good for you & the weather – I went on a tour today, and it was raining most of the day – in Scotland you just never know when the good weather hits you!
This is actually funny because, me and one of my friends are going to Scoltand this summer. She is 18 and I will have 18 in Scotland, during our trip. Thanks for your beautiful blog!
Living the dream <3 Have a fabulous trip to Scotland - you won't regret spending your birthday here!!!
I’ve wanted to see Scotland for as long as I can remember and this blog telling me that it’s also good for a solo female travel makes me so happy! My friends ‘want to’ travel, but never actually buy a ticket, so I’ve been hunting for somewhere to go that I’ll feel safe. Are you still there?
It’s the ideal place for solo travel and there is so much to see! I’m still in Glasgow, studying at University of Glasgow and with no plans to leave anytime soon 😀
Would you recommend this for your Grandmother? As the “baby boomer” generation retires, we are looking for fun destinations.
Absolutely! Scotland is so beautiful and you get really close up to nature without having to go for strenuous walks. Depending on what you’re into, Scotland is just great for anyone with an interest in the outdoors, history, food and culture! I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a great destination after retirement 🙂
Totally agree! I’ve travelled as a solo female since I was 22 and got on a plane to England by myself (I refuse to sit around waiting for my friends to get their stuff together). I love the freedom of being able to make the choices I want.
I travelled to Scotland solo this past July and fell in love! I’m actually hoping to move to Edinburgh one day. I rented a car for a week and drove with no real plan except to get to a certain town eventually. I never felt unsafe and everyone was very nice. I also came across several other solo females. 100% it’s the place I would recommend to anyone, but especially solo people.
Good to hear you had a good experience! Thanks for your comment <3
I know it’s been a while since you posted this but I just found it and am in love with it! I am from North Carolina (good ol’ southern United States) and have always had a passion for traveling over anything else! I have researched and researched places to visit that would satisfy my parent’s fear of me traveling alone and I feel Scotland is truly the most wonderful place to be if you are single and a girl and are new to traveling. Plus I am of Scottish decent and have bright red hair and freckles (which I know is pretty stereotypical) so I just kind of already felt drawn there! Thanks for the guides and inspiration to get out there!
Well, I can highly recommend Scotland for a first dip into female solo travel – Canada is great too, but maybe too close for your wanderlust? 🙂 If you have any questions about planning your trip to Scotland let me know – I’m happy to help! I hope you get to come here soon! x
My friend and I are going to Scotland in 11 days and I am beyond excited!! It will be my first time in Europe and we are stoked to explore the country for 2 weeks!
Two weeks is a great amount of time to have in Scotland as well! Are you coming here for New Year’s Eve or just after? Do you have your itinerary sorted? 🙂
Great to read about solo female travellers 🙂 I am planning a week trip cycling around Scotland on the North Coast 500 route and am wondering if it is safe enough to wild camp alone and what things I should look out for?
Oh wow, what a journey! I’ve actually not wild-camped here on my own, but I think it’s no less dangerous or safe as anywhere else. I’d go for it! The North Coast 500 is a touristy destination, more and more popular, so it’s not like you’re absolutely in the middle of nowhere on your own. In terms of tips, have a look here – definitely a reputable source: https://www.tiso.com/blog/wild-camping-guide-scotland Make sure to bring a midge net for your head (not a mosquito net, as the holes are too big!) – the Scottish midges are everywhere!! Have a great trip – I look forward to hear how it went!
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Hello! love this article!!! I am looking forward to traveling solo:) Scotland is def. my first stop! Thanks for this write up!:)
I’m so glad I found this article! I am a new solo travelette from Texas and will be flying into Glasgow in October! My plan is to backpack and use couchsurfing for a month and I couldn’t be more excited! I didn’t get this opportunity in my twenties so I’m trying to make up for lost time lol.
Oh amazing! Scotland is such an amazing place. I haven’t couchsurfed here yet, but I’m sure you will meet some great people! Have a fantastic time, and if you need any advice on places to go, please feel free to get in touch! Cheers K
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Thanks so much for this!
As a first time female solo travellette I am thinking of initiating myself into solo female travelhood by travelling to Scotland for a week. I have been before, mainly exploring Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. Now, all by myself, is there a place you would recommend to enjoy the outdoors ( I am NOT an experienced hiker), meet nice people and get some rest for the soul?
Thanks so much!
Hi Johanna, thanks for your comment! Oban might be a good place to go – there are some hostels, so you’ll bump into other travelers, no problem. From Oban you can explore the islands, e.g. Ferrara by bike or foot, the Isle of Mull, or Iona & Staffa on a boat trip. There are some great cycle route in the area, excellent sea kayaking also for beginners, and I’m sure also some nice hikes (although I have not hiked in the Oban area yet). Glen Coe is another option, although many hiking routes in that area get quite tricky quickly; or the Isle of Skye where you base yourself in one of the Portree hostels; or Fort William from where you could hike parts of the West Highland Way. Rest for the soul won’t be an issue in any of these places! Check out Scotland Independent Hostels as they have many great, quirky places all over the country 🙂 Hope this helps!! Happy travels 🙂
Great blog. I live in Aberdeen and most weekends I spend enjoying what Scotland has to offer from Snowboarding at Glenshee in the Winter to walking and hiking in the Summer. I climbed my first Munro – Lochnagar today. Loch Muick is also gorgeous and I love Loch Lomond. Aberfeldy and Loch Tay at Kenmore is a must too. So many beautiful places. Enjoy!
Fiona, thank you so much for your comment! Aberdeen/Aberdeenshire is an area I have only just dipped into for the first time with my mum earlier this month – still so much to explore! Congrats on the first Munro – 281 to go 😀
Hey Kathi! Great tips! I haven’t been to Scotland yet, but it’s definitely on my list. I have a friend moving to Glasgow later this year for school, so I’ll definitely be using that as an excuse to visit, hehe.
You certainly should! It’s such a great little country to visit and I love love love Glasgow! Which school is your friend going to? I’m at Glasgow Uni 🙂
Oh how I miss Scotland, sometimes I wish I had never left! It’s full of inspiring culture, people and life. Plus Glasgow has more concerts per week than any other city I’ve ever lived in! AMAZING!
I’m happy I’m not the only one feeling this way 🙂 I’d miss Glasgow to bits and currently I can’t even imagine going on a longer holiday than 2-3 weeks! If you ever come back, give me a shout! Thanks for your comment 😀