Be it spending an evening in the ancient city of Petra with your girl gang or traipsing around Pondicherry solo, this hand-picked list of destinations in India and abroad pack in all the fun, adventure, retail therapy, nightlife, wellness, and luxury for all women travellers.
Destinations for Women Travellers
The Lost City of Petra has a charm like none other. The stunning landscape is matched with a rich history dating back to pre-historic times. A bucket-list worthy destination for history buffs, Petra offers an attraction for people of various faiths. This city that is literally carved into distinct red sandstone cliffs is home to caves, temples, tombs, and stories of a lost civilisation. While most visitors go to Petra just for the day, spending a night here is absolutely magical. Spend an evening under the stars, cherish a meal cooked over an open fire and soak in the history dating back many centuries. You can also book a traditional Bedouin cave to stay overnight.
Sandwiched between the Gulf of Persia and Gulf of Oman, Sharjah has a gorgeous coastline. From luxury beachfront properties to African style tents and ambient heritage hotels, there’s a varied choice of accommodation and experiences. Being the cultural hub of the UAE, there’s a range of museums that offer a glimpse into the rich history of the region. Heart of Sharjah, a cultural heritage project that aims to preserve and restore the old town of Sharjah, is particularly impressive as it brings to life a bygone era. It is even home to the oldest souk in the UAE. You can plan a fab girls trip with each day offering a different experience. There are souks for shopaholics, and world-class museums for art aficionados. Adventure enthusiasts can pick from extreme off roading, dune bashing, or kayaking. If it’s a laid-back weekend, simply soak in the gorgeous sunsets over undulating dunes, the views of rugged Hajar mountains from Khor Fakkan, or enjoy the beautiful butterflies fluttering about at Al Noor Island.
Yala, Sri Lanka
This one is for the wild ones! The Emerald Isle’s second largest national park is lush with unique flora and fauna. As you spend the days sighting Sri Lankan elephants, leopards, and aquatic birds, evenings can be enjoyed at high-end safari tents. Yala also offers a glimpse of local village life and even the remnants of the region’s Buddhist history. Adventure, culture, verdant scenery, and theosophy, this destination offers a mix of all this and more. Add to that, the thrill of spotting big cats hiding in the thickets or rare and exotic birds, it is all too exciting.
Known as ‘God’s own Garden’ in Meghalaya, Mawlynnong also earned the title of ‘the cleanest village in Asia’ in 2003. A haven for nature lovers, this destination is ideal for switching off from fast paced city life and enjoying slow travel in sync with the local rural lifestyle. There is also plenty to do for the outdoorsy girls, from excursions to Cherrapunji and Dawki to hiking along living root bridges. Along the way, you’ll understand that eco-tourism is not just a fad here, but a way of life for local residents—you won’t find a single plastic bag or cigarette butts, instead there are bamboo dustbins at every nook and corner, and even leaves that fall from the trees are swept up and emptied into a bin.
Shopping, adventure, glitzy hotels and spas—Doha has it all. Doha boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world, making it ideal for a solo female trip. Soak in the gorgeous architecture of the mosques or equally stunning modern buildings. Pour over literature at libraries such as National Library and Qatari book house. Balance it out with some serious retail therapy; from traditional markets with regional goods to sleek malls with the latest designer wear, Doha is truly an international city. While the city was spruced up for the FIFA World Cup, even now new hotels are continuing to open doors. Check into Andaz in West Bay or the Rosewood in Lusail and allow yourself to be pampered to the hilt.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Looking for a fun place to host your bestie’s bachelorette? Head to Cabo San Lucas! Boasting some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts, award winning spas, the hottest restaurants, top ranked golf courses and amazing activities and adventures, Cabo is a hot spot for celebs, Hollywood stars, sports legends, and music icons. From an array of water sports to hiking, skydiving and scuba diving to rocking nightclubs with some of the best performance artists, this destination has all the ingredients for a happening girls’ trip. And of course, tequila and tacos do their magic to keep the mood upbeat.
Women, if you and your girl gang are looking for one of the safest destinations to travel this year, then Bern should be your top choice. According to a recent report, Bern is the second safest tourist destination in the world, and particularly for Rule of Law and Reliability of Police. The political centre of Switzerland, Bern is perhaps one of the prettiest capital cities across the world with its medieval charm, cobbled streets, and a well-preserved Old Town. Beyond its historic appeal and natural beauty, Bern is also a mecca for chocolate and beer lovers, and boasts the first ever Lindt chocolate factory. It is also the hometown of Toblerone (which is produced entirely in Bern), and is nicknamed as Switzerland’s ‘beer capital’ with the highest density of microbreweries in the country. The beautiful and vibrant city also has plenty of bars, casinos, and shopping streets for a complete holiday, and is also very inclusive and accepting of LGBTQIA+.
Bhutan has been enjoying a lot of limelight in the last few months, especially since this Himalayan Kingdom reopened the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail. But beyond the predictable destinations, there’s still more to discover here, especially for women. Punakha, situated between two beautiful rivers, Pho and Mo Chhu, is famous for a 17th-century fortress, unique rice-growing techniques as well as its beautiful architecture. Being the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907, it is the gateway to rich history as well as the Punakha Dzong that displays Bhutanese architectural expertise. A good time to visit is during the Punakha Tshechu festival to celebrate Guru Rinpoche’s birth anniversary. The colourful festival sees masked dances performed by monks clad in rich brocade attire amidst chants from Buddhist scriptures.
A few days in Kochi can be more soul satisfying than you can imagine. Ideal for a solo trip for women, Kochi is one of the few destinations that ticks all the right boxes—it is safe, picturesque, has a rich heritage, the food is amazing, and in the last few years it has earned favour amongst the artsy crowd with the Kochi Biennale becoming bigger and better with every edition. Marine Drive, a picturesque promenade in Kochi is built facing the backwaters and is quite a buzzing spot for locals as well as tourists. Fort Kochi boasts more than 2,000 years of history and offers innumerable Instaworthy spots with its colonial mansions, kitschy cafes, and picture-perfect vistas in the evening. Fort Kochi Beach, with its confluence of Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonial architecture offers the ideal photo-op against the famous Chinese fishing nets.
Lofty mountains, deep canyons, shimmering lakes, waterfalls, and the ubiquitous red rock cliffs of Utah make it picture perfect. Needless to say, the terrain makes it ideal for adventure activities like off-roading, hiking and even whitewater rafting. Beyond its incredible landscape, Utah is also known for a rich heritage of the Mormon community as well as the Sundance Film Festival, one of the world’s finest independent film festivals that is hosted here every year. With a plethora of activities to choose from, plus some avant garde dining experiences, it’s ideal to spend a few days here with your girlfriends.
Whether you’re travelling solo or in a group, you can’t go wrong with Amsterdam. A predictable favourite, this gorgeous city needs no introduction. Historical attractions, great art collections, buzz around Dam Square, and the vibe at the Red Light District make Amsterdam a traveller’s delight. One of the best aspects about this city is that the people—locals as well as tourists—are helpful and friendly. So, you’ll always be greeted with happy faces if you decide to venture on a pub crawl or spend an afternoon at a coffeeshop. Then there are dance festivals and club nights to suit every taste. Techno, hip-hop, jazz—take your pick to suit your groove.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The Middle East is increasingly becoming more attractive for female travellers. The blend of an enigmatic culture and modernity lends it an inimitable appeal. Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, too offers a good mix of the old and new, ancient souks contrasting with modern skyscrapers. Amongst the natural wonders, Edge of the World in a surreal rocky desert is the highlight. As you drive up its high cliffs, you can enjoy uninterrupted views over the horizon. The city has a large number of expat families, making it easy for foreign women to feel comfortable amidst its unique culture.
The heritage town of Hampi has been particularly popular among women travellers. Either for the common love for history or just as off-beat destinations to celebrate milestones, the peaceful town makes for a fine getaway among women travellers. Temples and palaces from the 14th and 16th centuries are set amidst a unique landscape of large boulders here. Some of the must-visit sites include the cluster around the Virupaksha temple, Hampi Bazaar and the serene Sanapur Lake. Hampi is especially ideal when planning a short getaway, as even a couple of days are enough to get a real feel of this destination.
The land of fire and ice makes for an ideal getaway with your girlfriends. Reykjavik has a lot to offer. A holiday here offers the perfect blend of beauty, wellness, and luxury. The magical Blue Lagoon will leave you with memories for a lifetime; catching a sunrise from the Lagoon is an experience not to be missed. The city is charming otherwise too, and is perfect for leisurely walks especially through the shopping street Laugavegur and the gorgeous Harpa Concert Hall. There are great shops, restaurants, cafes, and street art all around. The spas also offer Nordic skincare treatments. If you want to keep it easy, check into a geothermal day spa to feel rejuvenated. And the Northern Lights are a huge attraction in the winter, but you have to be lucky to witness this magic.
Osaka is possibly Japan’s best kept secret. Renowned for its fun and friendly people; eating out and drinking in this city is an utterly enjoyable experience. If you’re familiar with Japanese street food like takoyaki and okonomiyaki, this is the place to enjoy all this and more. The city has many Western eateries and Gaijin bars as well. The nightlife is very underrated— the nightclubs rock till the wee hours, and riverbanks, walkways, and bridges are decked up for an evening stroll. If you want some thrills between all the eating, drinking and partying, Osaka is also home to Universal Studios Japan.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Divers, ahoy! Bookmark this destination for some of the most beautiful scuba diving experiences ever. With more than 1,700 species of fish and 600 species of hard corals, Raja Ampat is among the most biodiverse locations on the planet. Calmest waters, best visibility, and the perfect temperature make these islands any diver’s dream destination. Add to that the whitesand beaches, hidden lagoons, mysterious caves, and jungle-like dense foliage. This trip is not for the dainty ones—it is remote and you need to prepare well to come here. And just for that, it is ideal for at least a week-long getaway.
Puducherry, Tamil Nadu
Few destinations in India lend themselves well for solo women trips. Pondicherry is definitely amongst them. The French Quarter is particularly safe, as is the Rock Beach that stays open 24×7. The French culture is evident in lovely cafes and colourful homes. Cycling around Pondicherry is as normal as it is to stroll along the promenade in the evening. If you’re spiritually and artistically inclined, Auroville is your haven. Even though the general vibe of the city is rather serene, there are plenty of bars to wind down with a drink or two, where you can even catch some live music and performances.
One of the coolest destinations in Europe, Stockholm is also one of the safest cities for solo-travelling women. It has so much to offer—cobblestoned streets of Stockholm’s Old Town are dotted with coffee shops, trendy stores, a 13th-century cathedral, and the royal palace of Kungliga Slottet. You can visit the Fotografiska, a museum known as the mecca for contemporary photography or take one of the sightseeing boats between islands. As you navigate the city on the metro, keep your eyes open at metro stations since they double as art exhibits with colourful murals, mosaics and imposing sculptures. A must-do is to stop by for a cocktail at the Ice Bar, the world’s first permanent bar made of ice.
Melbourne is both safe and tourist-friendly, making it ideal for it to feature on this list of destinations that are women-friendly. Not many cities can boast a free tourist tram that reaches the major sights, but Melbourne does. Queen Victoria Market, Carlton Gardens, and Federation Square are all covered for free. Plus, the city has an enviable reputation for its unique nightlife, an abundance of entertainment options, beautiful architecture, and stunning scenery. The city also has a diverse range of cuisine, influenced by its multicultural population. Being progressive and inclusive, it was recently awarded the title of the most LQBTQIA+-friendly city in Australia.
Glitzy, shiny, and heavily sanitised, Singapore is a unique blend of East and West. If you want a partying and shopping trip with your gal pals, Singapore is a comfortable hop away. From the iconic Marina Bay Sands to the more casual Boat Quay and Clarke Quay, the city’s nightlife is inimitable. Stop by at a casino, go on the Singapore Sling in the wee hours, or simply dance the night away. After all the partying, gorge on the famous chilli crab or the most soul satisfying plate of Hainanese chicken and rice. If you want to get a taste of Singapore’s multi-cultural ethnicities, spend some time in its distinct neighbourhoods like Arab Street, Chinatown or Little India. For some more fun, hit up Sentosa Island, Universal Studios, and Gardens By The Bay to soak in some man-made magic.
Related: Top Destinations For Solo Women Travellers In India