Tired of spending the holidays with your family? Looking for a little less of the dysfunctional get-togethers and a little more functional solo travel? Family time can be overwhelming, and with so much of the world to see, why not just take a break from the same traditions this year? Solo holiday travel is actually pretty common, so for whatever reason you want to travel alone this holiday season — maybe you don’t care about the holidays, you don’t celebrate the holidays, or you just don’t want to do it anymore — check out our guide to the best solo travel over the holidays.
Looking for a white Christmas? Iceland is definitely a good place to go. With snow and a landscape straight out of a classic Christmas story, your trip will be so good you’ll forget you’re spending your holiday season alone. Bundle up as you explore the city of Reykjavik. Head to the museums and cafes that line the streets to warm up and experience Icelandic culture or try the Icelandic food. Check out the Christmas Market in the Heidmork Woods, or experience the Reykjavik Zoo and ice rink in the Christmas Valley. Outside the city, the snowy weather hasn’t slowed down the treks at all. Relax in the famous Blue Lagoon or take a Jeep tour to the Golden Circle Park. The city of Reykjavik has an atmosphere that makes it easy to socialize and get to know locals and fellow travelers.
(Read more: Local’s Guide to Reykjavik, Iceland)
You definitely won’t be lonely if you spend your holiday season in the most populated metropolis in the world. Tokyo is a city of over 37 million residents, plus extreme innovation where Harajuku fashion and Western culture is intertwined with traditional Japanese culture. Climb to the top of Tokyo Tower to see the city sprawl towards the Tokyo Bay. When you’re back on ground level, visit one of the many temples across the massive city. Christmas in Tokyo is special. From the locals decked out in Christmas fashion on Harajuku Street to the lights twinkling over Roppongi to the 45-foot tree by the Tokyo Station, Christmas in Tokyo is quite the spectacle. With just a minsicule percentage of the population identifying as Christians, the celebration isn’t so much religious as it an opportunity to celebrate and spread joy.
(Read more: How to Spend 48 Hours in Tokyo)
3. Quebec City
Say Bonjour to French Canada. Quebec City is a charming city three hours north of Montreal. Most of the residents speak English, but, as with the rest of Quebec and not any more of Canada, many residents speak French as well. The city is your perfect destination for a cold and snowy, yet warm and cozy holiday getaway. In fact, Quebec City is ranked one of the best spots in the world for holiday travel. Head to Old Quebec for the lights, cottages, decorations, classic shops, and alleys that transport you to another era. For the solo traveler, Quebec City is easy to navigate, great for cultural exploration, and very safe.
Feliz Navidad. Travel down to Central America for a quiet, yet authentic holiday experience. Antigua, located in Southern Guatemala, is known for its colonial architecture and brightly colored buildings as well as being a hub to learn about Guatemalan history and culture. The Christmas celebrations you’ll find in Antigua tend to be more family related. Choose to stay in a homestay or an Airbnb and you might get to experience this holiday with your hosts. On the 24th of December, however, join the town in the main plaza for music, food, fireworks, and a traditional Guatemalan fiesta. The excitement and fireworks may even continue through New Year’s Day. Antigua is a small city, with welcoming, helpful people – perfect for your solo holiday.
Head to Budapest for a European winter wonderland. The Hungarian capital city is a European gem. Between the history dating all the way back to the Stone Age, the castles, the food, and the architecture, there’s plenty to see. Check out the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe, and learn about Jewish history at the Hungarian Jewish Museum. The Corinthia Hotel (the inspiration behind the Grand Budapest Hotel) also calls this city home. The Christmas markets, happening in Vorosmarty Square and at the Basilica, are famous for the street food, Hungarian crafts, and free concerts. Budapest is perfect for a solo vacation, as it’s easy to get around and full of fellow travelers.
Read more about the holiday season on ATR