6 Trips to Take Before You Get Married (Video)
The world is filled with incredible honeymoon destinations and spots for a romantic getaway, but there are also plenty of places best explored solo. The joys of traveling alone are well documented—there are no compromises, so you can wake up when you want, enjoy your day how you want, and spend as much as you want.
If you’re ready to jump into solo travel and are in search of an itinerary, here are six destinations worth exploring on your own.
Exploring the City of Lights on your own schedule is its own kind of luxury. Wander the streets, grab a flat white at Honor or be like Picasso and grab a classic espresso at Café de Flore, pop into patisseries and load up on fresh croissants and jambon beurre sandwiches and take them for a stroll in the Jardin des Luxembourg. Rent a bike from Vélib and cruise along the Seine. Take as long as you want in the Louvre with no one dragging you from the Mona Lisa to the nearest exit. Pop into the shops in the Marais and peruse every single item at Merci, and perhaps you’ll meet an attractive stranger to recreate scenes from Before Sunrise. When night falls, head to a brasserie in Montmartre for people watching, try to nab entry to David Lynch’s boite—or head to bed as soon as the Tour Eiffel lights up the night. Then do it all again the next day.
Get in touch with your Wild side by heading back to nature in Big Sur, California—or skip the nature and head straight to a spa. Either way, Big Sur, located two hours south of San Francisco, has a lot to offer a solo traveler. Hike through Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and eat a picnic lunch from Big Sur Deli in a secluded cove alongside the Pacific Ocean. Hike the McWay Waterfall trail for the quintessential Big Sur view and then treat yourself to a day at one of the area’s spas. Check into a retreat at the Esalen Institute, the countercultural mainstay that sits at the crossroads of the ocean, the river, and a geothermal spring on the cliffs over Monterey. If you want old-school glamour, stay at the iconic Post Ranch Inn and watch a sunset that will set the bar for future vacations, or wake up at midnight for some of the best stargazing around.
Helsinki offers the designer charm of Scandinavian with the allure of an adventurous destination where almost everyone speaks English. Pick up some souvenirs at Marimekko flagship store, check out the contemporary Finnish art at Kiasma, get inspired at the Design Museum. Pick up a good book at the Alvar Aalto-designed Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, i.e. the Academic Book Store and get lost in it at the bar at The Cock restaurant (or make friends with the bartender). Grab coffee and a pastry in the central market square. Rent a bike and explore the waterfront. Hop over to the World Heritage Site Suomenlinna Island to stomp around the paths and beaches, and meet the artisans who live and work in the old fort. If you want to add to your adventure, take the fast ferry to Tallinn, Estonia for a day wandering the cobblestone streets.
Australia’s second city is the perfect destination for a solo traveler as it’s endlessly entertaining, safe to walk around, and full of charm. Almost everything in Melbourne is within walking distance, and when your feet get tired simply hop on the city tram line. Wander through the many boutiques and admire the street art as well as the art in galleries in the city’s Central Business District, or CBD. Strike up a conversation with a local hanging around Federation Square, or channel your inner Victorian while perusing the 146-year old Royal Arcade. Head to the Fitzroy neighborhood for a more modern experience. Grab a flat white at a coffee shop, head to a local pub like the Builders Arms Hotel for a pint and a chat, hit up a roof top bar, peruse the offerings at the Rose St. Artists’ Market, and argue about the merits of various bands while browsing the vinyl at Polyester Records. If you’re in a beachy mood, hop a tram to St. Kilda Beach and practice surfing in the bay’s low-key waves or simply admire the pros as they hang ten.
Koh Samui, Thailand
Thailand may be a popular honeymoon destination, but it’s equally incredible on your own. Take a page out of "Eat, Pray, Love" (or "Robinson Crusoe") and head to a tiny island in the middle of the ocean for some time alone in the sun. While Phuket is Thailand’s most popular island destination, Koh Samui is its beautiful little sister. Check into one of the many wellness resorts or luxury hotels that call Koh Samui home and lose yourself into pure relaxation—or fitness, if you’ve enlisted in a boot camp program. Spend the day in a hammock, read a book by the pool, get a massage by the ocean, and appreciate the lonesome serenity of island life on your own schedule.
The anonymity of a big city can be an amazing boon to a solo traveler and London has many places to get lost in a crowd, or to find a quiet spot to spend an afternoon alone.
Tour the landmarks like the Tower of London, ride the London Eye for an incredible view over the Thames, visit the Geffrye Museum to admire the history of home decorations, or rent a bike for a DIY tour of all the city’s blue plaques and historical markers. Take in a show on the West End (it’s usually easy to get single tickets), go vintage shopping at some of the city’s famed markets, and peruse the wares at Dover Street Market. For food, dine at the Mondrian hotel, feast at Ottolenghi’s restaurants, hop a train to Petersham Nurseries to get your greenery fix and a delicious meal at the on site restaurant, or simply grab a curry on Brick Lane. In the evenings, check out the scene in Hoxton and try a cocktail at White Lyan (voted Best in London), and then try on hats at CA4LA, the chicest topper emporium in town.