The Safest Cities For Women to Travel Alone in Europe

There has never been a better time than now to be a solo female traveler looking to explore Europe. Cities are becoming safer, female-friendly hotels are popping up and it is getting easier to meet other solo female travelers around the world. Here are 20 safe European cities for female solo travelers.

20. Vienna, Austria

Pintai Suchachaisri / Getty Images

Austria is ranked number 4 on the Global Peace Index, making it an excellent and safe country for female solo travelers to visit. Vienna, the capital of Austria has earned the name of “city with the highest quality of life” several years in a row.

Vienna is full of stunning architecture, music, and history. There are plenty of museums to visit, such as Sigmund Freud’s house. This museum will help you understand why Vienna is known as the “city of dreams”.  You may also want to make a stop at Prater park to see the iconic Riesenrad Ferris wheel landmark. Finally, be sure to head to a local restaurant and try authentic Austrian food such as Wiener Schnitzel (a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet), Sachertorte (chocolate torte), or an Apfelstrudel (apple strudel).

19. Edinburgh, Scotland

John and Tina Reid / Getty Images

Between the breathtaking landscapes, ancient castles, and rich history, Scotland has a lot to offer. Scotland, a region of the United Kingdom ranks 45 on the Global Peace Index and is considered safe for female solo travelers. There is so much to do and see in Edinburg, the capital of Scotland. To begin, if you visit in August, there is a month-long arts festival called Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This festival offers theatrical performances, comedy shows, and many other activities that would be perfect for a female solo traveler, especially if you’re hoping to meet new people.

Moreover, consider taking a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle and take in the medieval architecture. After visiting the castle, be sure to head to Calton Hill which is a high point in the city that allows you to catch a full view of Edinburgh. Finish your day at a local pub and indulge in authentic food while meeting the locals.

18. Berlin, Germany

Harald Nachtmann / Getty Images

Berlin, Germany’s capital is home to 3.5 million residents. Berlin is rich in history and full of culture and would be an excellent place to explore on your own. There are many restaurants, markets, and cafes in Berlin that will make you feel comfortable dining alone.

Discover what this city has to offer by taking a free walking tour, use the bike-sharing program, or hop on public transportation. Be sure to check out the Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial, and the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

17. Bruges, Belgium

Photography Aubrey Stoll / Getty Images

If you are a solo female traveler looking to immerse yourself in a fairy tale this would be the city to visit. Straight off a postcard, the city of Bruges is loaded with cobblestone streets, historic houses, and canals. It is here where you will be inspired to take long strolls throughout the streets and enjoy Belgian pints of beer by street-side cafes while people watching.

This city is extremely safe, for all travelers and welcomes visitors, especially in the summertime when it becomes peak travel season. There is a range of good hotels along with budget hostels that will meet any traveler’s budget, and English is widely understood throughout. Female travelers will feel safe as locals are willing to lend a hand if needed and are more than happy to give advice on where to go, what to see, and where to grab the next pint of beer.

16. Santorini, Greece

Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

If you want to see jaw-dropping scenery, be sure to add Santorini, Greece to your travel wish list. The emerald Mediterranean Sea is enough to take your breath away, but also the picturesque white villas are a sight to see too. Many people travel to Santorini with a partner or friend but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel there solo.

With friendly locals and an affordable bus system, you’ll be able to navigate your way across the city.

15. Paris, France

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Paris, France is known as the city of love. So it may seem ironic that one would travel there alone. However, exploring this beautiful city alone means that you don’t have to abide by anyone else’s opinions or plans. Further, exploring this city is easy and best to do either on foot or by taking the metro.

There are so many amazing things to see and do in Paris, France. Be sure to check out the iconic Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe. You should also enjoy a bottle of wine and a baguette all to yourself during your stay too.

14. London, England

Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

London, England is an excellent destination for solo female travels. Traveling through this city is easy from the amazing public transportation system to the remarkable hostels, hotels, and Airbnb’s. Not to mention English is their first language in this city of England.

During your stay, be sure to visit Buckingham Palace, take a tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and visit one of the many museums London has to offer. You should also dine at a local pub to indulge in traditional British food such as fish and chips, or a Toad in the hole. Further, dining at a pub will also help you meet the locals as well as other solo travelers too.

13. Oslo, Norway

Artie Photography (Artie Ng) / Getty Images

Oslo is a dream for female solo travelers, alas a bit expensive at times. It is Norway’s largest city and a great cultural city destination that is overflowing with things to see and do. Female solo travelers will feel safe no matter where they stay but may feel some extra comfort if they choose to stay on the women-only floor of the 130-year old Grand Hotel. Here they will find rooms stacked with books, magazines, a yoga mat, toiletries, and a female room-service menu, without the room service charge!

Wandering around the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which is 80 acres and feature 212 bronze and granite sculptures, you are sure to meet other solo travelers who will become quick friends. Head out to one of the many vibrant nightclubs or theaters with new-found travel friends for an unforgettable experience.

12. Dublin, Ireland

David Soanes Photography / Getty Images

Ireland is a very safe country. According to the Global Peace Index, Ireland ranks number 12 in the world. Further, as a female solo traveler, you will feel comfortable dining alone and you may even run into another solo traveler during your stay.

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is laden with historic buildings including the captivating Dublin Castle. Some other great places to see are the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Museum of Ireland, and other must-see historic Attractions in Dublin.

11. Lisbon, Portugal

Carol Yepes / Getty Images

Lisbon, Portugal is a wonderful place for female solo travelers. To begin, there are many safe and affordable hostels to stay in where you will meet many other solo travelers too. Secondly, Portugal ranks 3rd on the Global Peace Index.

Lisbon is full of rugged yet wonderful architecture and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Consider having a beach day all to yourself, or explore the Castelo de S. Jorge or the Jerónimos Monastery. Exploring this beautiful city is easy and can be done either by public transportation, on foot, or on a bike.

10. Stockholm, Sweden

K’Nub / Getty Images

Built over 14 islands and connected by over 50 bridges this lovely cosmopolitan city is home to more than two million people. It is known for its gorgeous modern architecture, friendly people, and captivating waterways. Women are treated equally like men here and solo female travelers will face no issues in terms of harassment, drink spiking, or pickpocketing.

There is a slew of budget hostels throughout the city that are both affordable and safe, and a great way to connect with other travelers. This is a great city to experience Nordic culture in its modern and multicultural avatar, as well as dine on delightful local food. English is widely spoken here, and the locals are often teased for speaking a mix of Swedish and English-nicknamed Swinglish. Women will have no trouble finding people to talk to, tours to take and culture to experience here in Stockholm.

9. Cardiff, Wales

ChrisHepburn / Getty Images

Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales. This city is also considered one of Britain’s safer cities and for that reason, it is Wales’s most popular tourist destination. Along with being a safe city, Cardiff is full of culture, has many captivating castles and if you meet the locals they’ll surely share some of their ancient Welsh legends.

Further, students make up about 10% of Cardiff’s population which means younger female solo travelers will surely be well taken care of. There are many things to see and do in Cardiff. During your stay be sure to check out the National Museu, Cardiff Bay, and Cardiff Castle.

8. Helsinki, Finland

Miemo Penttinen – miemo.net / Getty Images

The capital of Finland is one of the best cities for female solo travelers, thanks to its friendly locals, its reputation for being safe and beautiful. This walkable city is loaded with lovely parks, free city events, music, and shopping. Solo travelers will delight in the 20th-century architecture, the Helsinki Cathedral and the National Museum of Finland, which are always, home to other visitors.

One of the best things to do when you first get into the city is to take a walking tour, in order to fully appreciate the city’s cultural heritage, then move on to the shopping and dining. One cannot travel here without taking a dip in the Yrjönkatu Indoor Swimming Pool, (the oldest pool) built-in 1928. Recently renovated to house three pools and wonderful saunas, this is where women meet after work and have a sauna and swim followed by a drink, all done without any clothes on.

7. Prague, Czech Republic

Miguel Sanz / Getty Images

Immerse yourself in the alluring culture of the Czech Republic by visiting its capital, Prague. There is an abundance of things to see and do in the wonderful city of Prague.

Prague is not only a beautiful place to visit but the country, the Czech Republic ranks in the top 10 of the Global Peace Index. Consider meeting other solo travelers by taking a walking tour, or keep to yourself and explore one of their many museums, or even check out a show at the State Opera.

6. Copenhagen, Denmark

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

The capital of Denmark is a vibrant and colorful city, which still manages to maintain a small-town feeling. New meets old in this fairytale-like city that features ancient buildings and towering glass and steel skyscrapers. Many of the state-run museums in this city are free admission, making it easy to save on spending and you can’t miss out on visiting the world’s oldest amusement park- Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park.

This city offers a unique experience that is perfect for female solo travelers called ‘Meet the Danes.’ This service arranges home-dinners with a Danish family or a single woman and her friend. Expect a traditional Danish meal and plenty of conversation with your new-found friends. Don’t miss the goddess Gefjun fountain that depicts the mythology of Denmark’s creation and magic within the Norse religion.

5. Barcelona, Spain

Pol Albarrán / Getty Images

Barcelona, Spain is known for its captivating architecture and art and would be a great destination for female solo travelers. For starters, the public transportation system is excellent. You’ll have the option of taking a bus, metro, trains, or trams, however, you will also be able to see a lot of the attractions on foot too. While Barcelona is generally safe, it’s always important to still take precautions such as keeping your personal belongings close by to prevent pickpocketing and don’t flash around money or expensive belongings.

During your stay be sure to check out the Sagrada Familia church, designed by Antoni Gaudi, and the Picasso Museum.

4. Zurich, Switzerland

AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images

Zurich is an extremely safe city and therefore traveling alone as a female here is also incredibly safe, and downright breathtaking. Snow-capped Alps loom in the background, museums and art galleries line the streets and the nightlife is something to speak of. Female travelers will find no shortage of shopping to do here, cobblers, tailors, metalsmiths, candle makers, jewelry makers, and watchmakers fill the streets.

Choices of accommodations are endless here and if you feel nervous at all in this city we suggest heading over to Lady’s First Design Hotel, which was built especially for female travelers. The ancient center is the perfect place to stroll through the winding lanes and look up to the tall church steeples, stopping for coffee at sidewalk cafes. Further, Zuri-West is where to find the hottest nightlife in the city, just in case you are looking to meet new friends that want to dance the night away.

3. Sorento, Italy

Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images

Sorento is a coastal town located in the southwestern part of Italy. This charming town faces the Bay of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula. Be sure to make your way to Piazzo Tasso, a central square in Sorrento that offers plenty of restaurants and shopping. Here you can try their famous Gelato, or drink a cup of delicious coffee.

Not only is there a lot to see and do in Sorento, but it’s also a popular vacation spot for Europeans. This means that you’ll hear a lot of English in both the restaurants and in the streets of Sorento which will only make traveling by yourself even easier. Further, you’ll find that it is easy to navigate around the town which will only add to a stress-free experience.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

ElOjoTorpe / Getty Images

Amsterdam received the nickname “Venice of the North” because it has many beautiful canals. This charming city has something for every type of female traveler. Whether you enjoy history, are a party animal, or prefer to simply take in the scenic view, Amsterdam has it all.

According to the Global Peace Index, the Netherlands ranks in the top 20 in the world.  There is plenty to see and do in Amsterdam and you will most likely run into other solo travelers too.

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

Travelpix Ltd / Getty Images

It has been rated as the number one safest country for women to travel to alone and Iceland has been beckoning female solo travelers for as long as it can remember. This is the ultimate travel adventure for the traveler who loves the outdoors. Think glacier hiking in the Pingvellir National Park, skiing at Blafjoll, and Viking horse riding at Thingvellir.

If you aren’t the outdoorsy type, don’t worry there is plenty for you to do here including the chance to relax and de-stress in one of the many thermal pools and spas across the city. If you’re lucky you may even get to witness the famous Aurora Borealis. This city happens to be famously expensive though and we highly suggest staying at a hostel instead of a hotel to save money. This city is notoriously safe, even at night and as a female solo traveler, make sure you put Reykjavik on your bucket list.

11 Best Things to See and Do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, situated on the Firth of Forth on the east coast, is Scotland’s capital city and grabs the attention of travelers and tourists alike.  With the famous castle perched on its basalt shelf at the heart of the town, peering over the New Town to the north and the Old Town to the south, Edinburgh is one of the world’s most visually stunning cities.  It was the epicenter of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century and has a rich literary and philosophical history.  Edinburgh remains one of Europe’s cultural and artistic centers, described perfectly by the author Alexander McCall Smith as; “A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.”

11. Victoria Street, The Grassmarket and The Cowgate

Tucked away behind the Royal Mile is Victoria Street.  A beautiful collection of colorful craft shops, galleries and restaurant fronts, sat on a cobbled slope which gives way to the expanse of The Grassmarket.  In this area, it’s not easy to choose where to eat or drink as the choice is pretty comprehensive.  Once you’ve made your decision, many of the pubs offer live music indoors, or a view of the Castle towering overhead outdoors.  If you’re on a tighter budget, go along the Cowgate to check out the backpacker hostels.  The bars don’t stop either, Dropkick Murphys on Merchant Street just behind the Cowgate is ideal for a drink or 2 (or 3 or 4…).

trotalo / Shutterstock.com
trotalo / Shutterstock.com

10. Explore Stockbridge and the Royal Botanic Gardens

Stockbridge is an easy 15 minute walk from the city center, as it’s at the bottom of a big hill at the northern end of the New Town.  Treat yourself to a delicious cupcake from Cuckoos Bakery at the bottom of Dundas Street, and head along Henderson Row and Hamilton place, perhaps stopping at one of the gastro-pubs on the way.  A further 10 minute walk takes you to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which contains one of the world’s largest collections of living plants.   If you happen to be there in spring, try and catch the famous rhododendrons coming into bloom, and if the weather turns nasty nip indoors to one of the many  glasshouse displays, the Gateway Restaurant or the Terrace Café.  Admission to the glasshouse is £5 or about $8 USD, seasonal opening hours apply.

Royal Botanic Garden Edniburgh

9. The University of Edinburgh and The Meadows

Edinburgh university was founded in 1583 and, along with the universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen and St. Andrews, is one of Scotland’s four ancient universities.  The main university campus sits on the Southside, about a 20 minute walk from the Royal Mile, and beside a large green space called The Meadows.  A very popular student hang-out for BBQs and alfresco refreshments in early summer, it takes about an hour or two to saunter round the parks tree lined pathways.  Close by is Teviot Row House, one of the university’s student union buildings which, since 1889, is the oldest purpose-built student union in the world.  Inside, The Library bar lays on reasonably priced food and drinks in an ornate and cozy setting.

University of Edinburgh

8. The National Museum of Scotland

The museum is located on Chambers Street in the Old Town, and is an amalgamation of the Royal Museum and the Museum of Scotland.  Re-opened after the last of a series of refurbishments in 2011, the two architecturally contrasting buildings stand side by side to complete the museum.  The collection includes areas dedicated to natural history, European art, world cultures and science and technology.  Notable displays include flags raised at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, and Dolly the cloned Sheep – stuffed of course.  Regular opening hours are 10am – 5pm daily.  Entry is free, and donations are accepted.

Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com
Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com

7. Princes Street Gardens

Running almost the full length of Princes Street in the city center, and sandwiched against the castle are the gardens.  The gardens were created in the 19th century after the draining of Nor Loch, which was used as a defense for the castle, and are ideal for a peaceful walk or seat away from the busy street level meters above.  From mid-November until Christmas, the eastern section of the gardens are transformed by a European-themed market, with food stands, mulled wine bars and outdoor ice rink.  Also set up is a 108 foot (33 meter) Ferris wheel, which allows a fantastic view of the festivities below.

Princes Street Gardens

6. Edinburgh Castle

The jewel in the crown, Edinburgh Castle sits proud atop castle rock and is visible from even the outskirts of the city.  The spot where the castle stands today has been in use since the Iron Age when a fort sat on its defensive position.  Through the years it has been through battles, sieges, housed royalty and military.  Today the castle is Edinburgh’s most famous tourist attraction and contains the Crown Jewels, The Stone of Destiny and the 1 o’clock gun – fired everyday but Sunday.  Make sure you don’t miss the views of Edinburgh from the battlements.  Adult entry is £16 or about $26 USD.

Edinburgh Castle

5. Walk/ Explore the City

For a city of close to half a million inhabitants, Edinburgh maintains a remarkable ‘small town’ feeling, and is a marvelous city to simply meander through.  Start in the winding alleys of the medieval Old Town, cross North Bridge, past the ornate and imposing Balmoral Hotel, into the Georgian grid of the New Town.  Both areas of the city have been UNESCO world heritage sites since 1995 and are easily manageable to navigate in a day.  If you don’t trust your map reading skills, or would like a bit of extra information about the sights as you go, free walking tours depart daily from the Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh street

4. Drink Whisky

The whisky industry is worth more than £4.25 billion to the UK economy, and a trip to the capital wouldn’t be compete without sampling some of Scotland’s most famous export.  A great place to start is The Scotch Whiskey Experience on Castlehill, right at the gates of the castle.  Tours are available for all levels of experience, from tasting novice to seasoned connoisseur.  Learn about the whisky making process from the comfort of your very own barrel, as it flies through a mock-up brewery, before finding out what should be your scotch of choice based on your particular tastes.  Tours run daily and start at £13.50 or about $22 USD.

Scottish Whiskey distillery

3. Watch the Sunrise from Salisbury Crags

In Scotland’s summertime, the sun rises early.  In winter, it’s a bit on the cold side.  Whatever comfort you sacrifice to make the climb, the view you’ll get of the sun rising over the Firth of Forth will be well worth it.  The Crags are part of a collection of hills with the highest point on the extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat, situated in Holyrood Park. If you’re feeling up to the hike, the panoramic views of Edinburgh from the peak of Arthur’s Seat are stunning, with the Forth Bridges and The Kingdom of Fife stretching north into the distance, and the unmistakable Scottish Parliament buildings and Holyrood Palace – the official residence of the Queen in Scotland – closer by.  The 260 hectare park is in the center of Edinburgh, easily accessible at the east end of the Royal Mile.

Salisbury Crags

2. Ring in the New Year

Hogmanay – as New Year’s Eve is known in Scotland – is a big date in everyone’s calendar, and nowhere in the UK does it bigger than Edinburgh.  Hundreds of thousands of revelers flock to the city center as Princes Street and the surrounding area hosts one of world’s biggest street parties.  There are numerous stages for live music performances:   The main stage, located in the Gardens, draws big name acts from the UK and beyond, whilst on the Mound you can hear traditional Scottish dance tunes blaring from the ceilidh stage, with no shortage of traditional Scottish dance moves to go along with them.  When midnight comes, the sky is an explosion of color as crowds are treated to one of the best fireworks shows they’ll ever see, set off from the castle high above.

New Year's Eve

1. Visit During the Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh Festival, or The Fringe as it’s also known, happens for 3 weeks every August.  The population of the city doubles in size and every spare courtyard, empty room, doorway or street corner is turned into a stage, concert or bar.  Household names, breakthrough acts and relative unknowns perform comedy, music, theater, cabaret, spoken word and more at over 250 venues throughout Edinburgh.  Check out the Pleasance for an evening show and a drink at the pop-up courtyard bar.  Visit the Udderbelly venue – a massive purple tent shaped like an upside-down cow – in Bristo Square, and enjoy a pint outside on The Pasture bar.  Do your best to catch some cabaret at The Famous Spiegeltent. In 2013, 2,871 shows were performed 45,464 times, making it the largest arts festival on earth.

jan kranendonk / Shutterstock.com
jan kranendonk / Shutterstock.com

Edinburgh’s 9 Best Pubs

Edinburgh is jam packed with things to see and do:  A pretty impressive castle, historic monuments, beautiful streets and buildings, loads of leafy parks, the list goes on.  And it’s quite a hilly place, so even on a pretty relaxing day in the city, it’s not hard to work up a thirst.  And don’t you worry, there are plenty of places one can quench it.  Here’s a few of the best:

9. Hectors

This bar is just the right mix of trendy city pub and familiar local.  Laid back and romantically lit, Hectors offers a great selection of lagers, beers and ales, as well as a scrumptious menu – their Sunday roast is locally famous.  It’s also within easy walking distance of the city center, Craigleith Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens; a great place for a pit-stop, or to put your feet up after a long day.

Hectors

8. City Café

The pub has been a fixture of Edinburgh nightlife since the 1980’s, and the retro American diner style of City Cafe suggests it hasn’t moved on a whole lot.  Half way down Blair Street in the city centre, you can jump in for a bite during the day – possibly even dare to try the Burger Challenge – or pop in for a drink or two in the evening.  There’s live music from Soul City Djs on Friday and Saturday, which adds to the great atmosphere that you won’t find in any other pubs in Edinburgh.  It’s hard to place what makes City Cafe so special, but once you walk in, you’ll know.

burger

7. The Dome

Located on the East end of George Street, The Dome takes its name from the stunning building in which it’s housed.  Originally built as the headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Scotland, the exterior, with its imposing Grecian pillars, is hard to miss. Upon entering you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just waltzed into a 5 star hotel, the Grill Room bar is situated in the middle of the main room, under the dome towering above.  The atmosphere is relaxed as it’s a popular place for a casual after-work drink, in a salubrious setting.  Try visiting at Christmas to catch the brilliant outside decorations and the pulsing lights of the enormous tree inside.

THE DOME

6. The Peartree

Built in 1749, a pub since 1982, Pear Tree House, or The Peartree as it’s more commonly known, sits adjacent to the main campus of the University of Edinburgh, in the Southside of the city.  It’s best loved for its walled courtyard where there’s ample seating on the expanse of wooden benches, and on a sunny day in early summer, the space is alive with chatter, laughter, and the sound of ice clicking gently against glasses.  During the Fringe Festival in August, the courtyard hosts live music and performances on the Kopparberg Cider sponsored stage.

Two cups of beer in a pub in New Zealand

5. Boda

Two thirds of the way down Leith Walk, this trendy wee bar has a Swedish undercurrent in its decor, atmosphere and its selection of yummy ciders.  Bright and airy during the day, you can enjoy a refreshment by the window or out on the pop-up seating outside.  In the evening the bar takes on a calm and intimate atmosphere, especially in the quirky surroundings of the back room, done up in a seeming homage to every grandma’s lounge.  If you’re looking for something similar closer to where you may be, Boda has sister establishments all over town, in the shape of Sofi’s, Victoria, Jospeph Pearce’s and Hemma.

Boda

4. The Queens Arms

Tucked away below street level on Frederick Street in the New Town, The Queens Arms offers beer, wine and gorgeous food for a very reasonable price, in a quintessentially cozy setting.  The staff are friendly and relaxed, but not half as relaxed as you’ll be sitting in a comfy leather chair, taking in the homely surroundings and impressive book collection.  The pub is ideal for a quiet pint at the end of the day, but can get quite busy and more upbeat on a Friday or Saturday night.  Book ahead if you’re going for food as space is limited.

Fish and chips

3. Hamilton’s Bar and Kitchen

If you woke up in Hamilton’s and forgot where you were, your first guess would probably be some sort of lovely farmhouse kitchen.  It’s that sort of place; relaxed, spacious yet cozy, with delicious aromas in the air.  Opened on Hamilton Place in 2008, about a 15 minute walk downhill from the city center, the pub has great beer, cocktail and food menus.  The Stockbridge area isn’t synonymous with crowds of tourists, so you’ll get the feel of a real up-market ‘local’.

Whiskey drinks

2. Dropkick Murphys

A few paces from the bars of the famous Grassmarket, housed behind an unassuming green door in one of the Old Towns underground caverns, is the best Irish bar Edinburgh has to offer, and that’s saying something.  The place is absolutely packed Friday through Sunday, with live music, Irish and otherwise, keeping the party going.  It’s open until 3am all week and should be a go-to spot for those looking for a night on the rowdier side.  Live sports are shown on big TVs and the bar features all the big name beers, wines and spirits.  Dropkick’s is on Merchant Street, between the Grassmarket and George VI Bridge.  Entry fees are charged on the weekend.

Dropkick Murphys

1. Garibaldi’s

During the afternoon and early evening the venue is actually a Mexican restaurant, serving some delicious Central American favourites.  Late evening and into the night is when the fun starts and the tequila starts to flow.  The rainbow-lit dance floor quickly fills as everyone sips on some of the bars notoriously strong cocktails, and the DJ plays a healthy mix of dance and pop classics.  If this isn’t enough for you, there’s a pole in the corner, which attracts plenty of attention from patrons looking to showcase their dancing abilities. Take a siesta to ready yourself for a night at this fun place.  Garibaldi’s lies inconspicuously half way down Hanover Street in the New Town, and is popular with students, workers and travellers alike.  Cover charges apply on the weekend.

Mexican gourmet dish

The 7 Best Day Tours in Scotland

If you don’t already know it’s worth mentioning:  Scotland isn’t a big place.  It could fit into Canada 127 times, and if it were a US state it would rank 11th smallest, sandwiched between West Virginia and South Carolina, but by no means is this a bad thing.  What it lacks in size it makes up for in spectacular scenery, places to adventure, and its lack of square miles makes it very easy to see the sights, even if you’re on a time crunch.  If you’re staying in the ‘Central Belt’ you can go on any number of excursions and be back in time for dinner and a well-earned drink.

7. Catch a City Bus Tour

If you don’t want to spend the whole day walking, or if the changeable weather takes a turn, then get a ticket for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.  Buses run in Glasgow, Inverness, Oban and Edinburgh – where there are numerous choices.  There is running commentary in a range of languages as you stop at all the major attractions in your chosen city, from historic Inverness Castle in the north, to Glasgow’s trendy West End.  Prices start at around $20 for an adult.

Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com
Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com

6. Rosslyn Chapel and Literary Tours

Scotland, its landscape, cities and history have been a source of inspiration for authors for centuries and you can find out more about the people and places which inspired some of the world’s most famous prose on a number of tours.  Just south of Edinburgh is Rosslyn Chapel, which has been in the spotlight of mainstream culture since appearing in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code in 2003, and the movie of the same name in 2006.  Tours of the south of Scotland that stop at the chapel run daily from Edinburgh.  In the evening you can embark on a literary adventure around the watering holes that spawned some of Scotland’s best fiction, on the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour.  With professional actors as your tour guides, the tour takes you round the bars which inspired Scotland’s greats, from Robbie Burns to Irvine Welsh.

Antony McAulay / Shutterstock.com
Antony McAulay / Shutterstock.com

5. Loch Ness and Glen Coe

There aren’t many countries in which you can travel almost end to end while experiencing some of the best sights and stories along the way, all in a day.  Scotland is one of them, and both Highland Experience and Rabbie’s offer 8am to 8pm full day tours.  Along the way you’ll experience Loch Ness, with its deep, dark waters containing tales of the famous monster, Nessie.  There’s plenty of space for her to hide as the loch contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined.  The route also travels through Glen Coe, both visually spectacular and historically important, as you’ll learn about the infamous 17th century massacre of the MacDonald clan at the hands of the Campbells.

Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness in Scotland

4. Visit St Andrews

Located on the East Neuk of Fife, proudly facing the North Sea is St Andrews.  About an hour drive from Edinburgh, the seaside town is just the right size to spend a day, and draws in crowds both local and international.  There’s no shortage of historic attractions, from the cobbled streets of the town center to the ruins of the cathedral (once the biggest in Scotland), and the famous Old Course, the true Home of Golf.  Day tours operated by Rabbie’s from Edinburgh depart daily at 9:30am, year round.

Ruin of St Andrews Cathedral in St Andrews, Scotland

3. Isle of Arran

Arran lies off the west coast of Scotland, about 2 hours from Glasgow – 1 hour over land and 1 hour by boat.  The island is often described as Scotland in miniature, due to its unpredictable weather, rugged hilly northern half, and flat southern portion, and is the ideal place to spend a day.  Arran is perfect for energetic souls looking for a hike or cycle as its highest peak Goat Fell stands at 2,866 f.  It’s also great for sightseers out for a relaxing day trip, who can explore Broddick Castle, wander one of the south sides beautiful beaches or sign up for the daily tour of Arran Brewery.  Check out Arran Adventure Company or Mogabout Tours to plan ahead for the day.

Scenery of the Isles of Arran in Scotland

2. See Edinburgh Day and Night

There are few better cities in the world to take a jaunt through than Edinburgh.  During the day you can spend hours wandering through parks and admiring the Georgian architecture of the New Town.  Come night time, strolling through the Old Towns cramped, medieval passageways takes on a darker tone, as memories of its grisly past haunt the cobbled streets.  You can enjoy either or both of these pastimes with the help of a handy guide on a Sandeman’s walking tour.  Day tours depart 3 times daily from the High Street on the Royal Mile in the center of Edinburgh at 10am, 11am and 2pm, and best of all they’re free.  Night tours are also offered where come evening, you can delve into the city’s darker past or one of its many hostelries, depending on your mood.  Entrance fees apply for these.

Edinburgh Cityscape from Calton Hill at dusk Scotland UK

1. Isle of Skye

Skye is the only one of the Inner Hebridies – a collection of islands off Scotland’s northwest coast – to be connected to the mainland by means of a bridge, and is thus one of the most easily accessible.  Dominated at its center by the Cuillin, or Black Cuillin mountains, it also happens to be one of the most beautiful corners of the country.  Skye Scenic Tours operate fantastic day tours of the island, allowing you to take in all it has to offer.  The highlights include breathtaking views of the Cuillins, a visit to the Talisker whisky distillery, and a stop at the crystal clear, and aptly named Fairy Glen waterfalls and pools.  Day tours cost around $50 per adult and operate from daily from March through December.

View on Portree before sunset, Isle of Skye, Scotland

The 10 Best Places in the World Spend New Year’s Eve!

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching and you will want to find the perfect place to share this special time with your loved ones. There are so many fantastic places in the world to visit for this celebration. Read further for just a few ideas.

1. New York City, New York

Well over a million people tend to show up at Times Square for this famous yearly party. You will find yourself counting down the seconds to midnight while a a huge 12-foot glittering ball is slowly dropped down from a flagpole atop the Times Square building and over a ton of confetti is dropped onto party-goers. This is always a televised event, so you might see yourself on TV. You can also expect a fantastic pyrotechnic light show, big celebrity music acts and a New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall where you can write down your resolutions for the year to come.

New York City Times Square

2. Edinburgh, Scotland

Thousands arrive here for the annual Hoganay celebration, which means a celebration of the last day of the year. You can expect to see world-famous music acts and traditional ceilidh dancing throughout the streets. A fabulous fireworks show is set off at midnight and the party then continues throughout the night. Activities offered the next day include a run down the Royal Mile, a dive in the freezing cold waters of the River Forth, the Loony Dook Parade and a dog-sledding competition.

Edinburgh Scotland Fireworks

3. Sydney, Australia

Many events surround this celebration. You can expect to see indigenous smoking ceremonies, aerial flyovers complete with messages in the sky, mini-light shows, a truly huge and spectacular fireworks show and a lighted boat parade. An ultimate dance party is held at Bondi Beach and there are even special events to help the children celebrate at Taronga Zoo.

Sydney Australia Fireworks

4. South Lake Tahoe, California

The Snow Globe Music Festival is considered one of the best places to see a great mix of EDM artists on New Year’s Eve. You can dance and party all night, but this event offers something more. Attendees are given lift tickets so they may spend the entire day skiing.

South Lake Tahoe

5. Paris, France

At the Eiffel Tower, you will see a truly spectacular light show and fireworks display. However, most all the streets of Paris come alive with hordes of people celebrating, making the rounds of bars and clubs and having a wonderful time with fireworks and lots of champagne. Romantic New Year’s Eve boat cruises along the Seine are also offered for those who wish for a little privacy for their celebration.

Paris France Fireworks

6. London, England

Over 250,000 visitors crowd onto the banks of the Thames River and begin the countdown to Big Ben striking the hour of midnight when an elaborate light show and fireworks display takes off. The party usually continues throughout the night with activities planned for the next day including a three-hour parade complete with marching bands, colorful floats, costumed dancers and a fine procession of the Queen’s horses.

London England Fireworks

7. Vienna, Austria

Those wanting a somewhat more cultured celebration should enjoy a visit here. Dignified balls, classical music concerts and some of the world’s best symphonies are offered on New Year’s Eve as well as a champagne brunch the following day.

Vienna Austria

8. Miami, Florida

You can expect to find celebrations of all types all over this city. You might like to head over to South Beach for a good old-fashioned all-night dance-a-thon. A family friendly event is Miami’s answer to New York’s famous ball drop which is a 35-foot neon “Big Orange” which descends from the Inter-Continental Miami. There is a grand finale boasting a huge fireworks show at Bayfront Park and there will be family activities, musical entertainment and food available.

Miami Florida

9. Las Vegas, Nevada

Always the party town, over 300,000 visitors show up here to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Beginning at 6 p.m., the famous four-mile-long Strip is shut to vehicle traffic and opened up to those who wish to celebrate by walking around, drinking, mingling and watching various fireworks being shot off from surrounding rooftops. Most of the hotels, clubs and bars will be offering special shows and activities.

Las Vegas

10. Hawaii

You will find celebrations on the beaches all over Hawaii. Enjoy the spectacular fireworks displays lighting up the beautiful waters. All of the beach-side bars and clubs will have special activities planned for the celebration including theme nights and contests. Outdoor music concerts and boat cruises will be offered into the small hours of the night as well.

Fireworks on a Beach

9 Most Unique European Cities

Europe is an amazing continent that features a rich history, varied cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and exciting attractions. It is the second smallest continent, but it is the most visited continent in the world. It is a great place to visit as there is so much to see and do in Europe. If you are going to the continent, here are 9 unique European cities to visit.

1. Venice

seng chye teo / Getty Images

Nicknamed The Floating City, this Italian city is just stunning. You can take a tour of the Grand Canal in a gondola, or you can tour the Doge’s Palace. You can also see the stunning Basilica di San Marco or just wander around St. Mark’s Square. The cuisine is excellent in this romantic city, so enjoying a lavish meal will be easy.

2. Berlin

RICOWde / Getty Images

Located in Germany, Berlin is home to numerous historical sites, interesting museums, and fascinating art. The city possesses vibrant nightlife and unique restaurants. One of the most sobering places to visit is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

3. Amsterdam

Stanley Chen Xi, landscape and architecture photographer / Getty Images

This charming city in the Netherlands contains a unique culture and friendly people. You can take a scenic bike ride, or you can visit one of the iconic windmills. The city is also home to interesting museums and stunning canals. You will want to make sure you visit the home of Anne Frank.

4. Brussels

Jorg Greuel / Getty Images

This interesting European city in Belgium is home to amazing chocolates and great beer. You can enjoy a river cruise, view an opera production or visit the Grand Palace. If you enjoy music, you will not want to miss seeing the Musical Instruments Museum. The people of the city speak French, Dutch, and German.

5. Dublin

David Soanes Photography / Getty Images

This Irish city contains cultural diversity, scrumptious cuisine, historical sites, and excellent shopping opportunities. You can taste a pint of Guinness at the top of the Guinness Brewery that looks over the city. The city also is home to historical statues, bridges, and monuments. You can even take a tour of the city by train.

6. Copenhagen

HAGENS WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty Images

Situated in Denmark, Copenhagen is known as one of the cleanest and safest cities on the continent. Water surrounds the city, so you can enjoy cruising down the canal. One of the most popular attractions of the city is Tivoli Gardens. While in the city, you can also visit the Hans Christian Anderson statue, and you can see the magical Rosenborg Slot castle. Copenhagen is home to fascinating museums, magnificent palaces, and stunning scenery.

7. Budapest

Sergey Alimov / Getty Images

This unique city possesses a worldly charm that will make you feel right at home. The city offers relaxing thermal baths that have been known to possess healing powers. While in the city, you can also enjoy great wine and excellent cuisine. The architecture in Budapest is exquisite, and you can buy home-grown produce at one of the markets. The city features savory sweets if you enjoy desserts, and it is home to some of the most unique hotels in the world.

8. Edinburgh

Allan Baxter / Getty Images

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is home to one of the most unique castles in the world. You can also visit Arthur’s Seat, a summit that sits on top of a volcano. Other Edinburgh attractions include Calton Hill, Museum of Scotland, and Scott Monument. The National Gallery of Scotland is also a great place to visit.

9. Sarajevo

Jean-Philippe Tournut / Getty Images

The city of Sarajevo has had to endure many hardships, but it has survived and is one of the most unique cities in Europe. You can visit Bascarsija Market, and you can browse the National Library. Other attractions include the Romeo and Juliet Bridge, the Sarajevo History Museum, and a fascinating mosque. Regardless of what you choose to do, visiting Sarajevo will be a unique experience.