More and more people are getting into solo travelling, especially after two years of no contact (no thanks Miss Corona). Well, if you’re new to solo travel and particularly a female, we know how daunting it can be. So, we’ve rounded up 10 the safest cities in Europe for solo female travellers and yes — for hijabis too!
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1. London, United Kingdom
Aahh… London. The ever-popular city is a must if it’s your first time in Europe. London is by far the most diverse city in Europe and you’ll feel right at home here! There are many local Muslim women who wear hijabs too, so you don’t need to worry. There are plenty of halal eateries here as well and vegan restaurants are very popular. It’s easy to get around London as the public transportation system is one of the best in the world and easy to navigate, so it’s safe for solo female travellers!
#HWWTTip: Be sure to check out at least one of London’s street food markets during your visit. There are plenty of halal and Muslim-friendly options here so you’ll never go hungry!
2. Sofia, Bulgaria
Did you know that Bulgaria was once home to countless Muslim empires? Yes, that’s right! There are many Ottoman monuments when they invaded Sofia in 1382. You can still visit Ottoman-era mosques here such as the Banya Bashi Mosque. It was built over natural thermal spas; one can even see the steam rising from vents in the ground near the mosque walls! With its rich Islamic past, the city is welcoming and hospitable. The locals are friendly too, so don’t be shy to strike up a conversation with them. Trust me, you won’t be alone on the street walking with a hijab or an abaya and even a friendly salam is lovely to hear.
3. Reykjavik, Iceland
Nature and incredible views aside, Iceland has been rated as the number one safest country in the world. If you love the outdoors and enjoy adventures, then Reykjavik should be on your list! There are plenty of thrilling activities from visiting the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church to a walking tour and taking a day trip to the famous Blue Lagoon. While halal food may be a challenge to find, there are plenty of vegan restaurants here!
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
Another Scandinavian city on the list and there’s a reason why Copenhagen should be on your list. Topping the list of being the happiest city in the world for a few years, Copenhagen is known for being the city of fairy tales. It was home to children's books author Hans C Andersen and the city is filled with stylish locals, delicious food and Tivoli Gardens, the oldest theme park in the world! As with most Scandinavian countries, the people here mostly keep to themselves and the crime rate is low, so it’s perfect if you’re travelling on your own.
5. Edinburgh, Scotland
Hands up if you’re a fan of Harry Potter ? Then you simply must visit Edinburgh at least once in your lifetime. This is where J.K Rowling wrote some of the series and you can even visit the cafe she wrote Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! There is a graveyard where you can take a stroll in and check out the names that inspired some of the characters in the books. Edinburgh feels as old as time itself – there’s so much history and culture to explore here and the locals are all too happy to share it. There are plenty of Muslim-friendly eateries here and just like in London, you’ll feel right at home in Edinburgh!
6. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is famous for its sunny weather, great nightlife, colourful buildings, Fado music, and friendly locals. It's also home to famous landmarks like the Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery. Be sure to try their seafood and Pastéis de Belém, a type of custard tart. Mm… yummy! There are many international travellers in Lisbon and it’s the perfect city if you’re travelling solo and want to make new friends.
7. Zurich, Switzerland
Stop by Zurich on your way to the ski slopes and you’ll be glad you did! Switzerland is one of the safest places to travel to and while it can be quite expensive, there are ways to travel on a budget here. It’s easy to get around on foot as well and you’ll definitely be left alone as the locals tend to keep to themselves. You’ll even feel safe walking around at night!
8. Berlin, Germany
Berlin may not be as popular as London or Amsterdam, but the effortlessly cool city offers a great range of affordable restaurants, yoga classes, an ever-changing coffee scene and a dark history that you could spend weeks on end uncovering. There is a huge Turkish population, so halal food is everywhere and the people are used to hijabis, making you feel right at home.
9. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina are one of the most underrated tourist destinations in the world. The country promises mind-blowing beauty and Islamic heritage to explore. The Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empire archaeological sites scattered all over the country will leave you spellbound. Take a walking tour along the streets of Sarajevo, the nation’s capital, and immerse yourself in the rich history of the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Muslim-friendly destination and almost 30% of the population is Muslim. So, finding halal food in Bosnia is not an issue with many Muslim-owned restaurants and options which makes it easier when exploring!
Next on the list is Andalusia, the former home of Islam in Europe. Andalusia is the southern region of Spain that’s made up of many beautiful coastal towns. There are plenty of Islamic-era spots that you can visit and yes, the Spaniards are truly very warm and welcoming people that you don’t have to worry about wearing hijabs here! While it’s not drowning in halal restaurants, the eateries here are knowledgeable about halal diet and they could recommend dishes for you. So, don’t worry if your Spanish isn’t up to par, your hijab will be enough to scream halal!
We highly recommend city hopping in Andalusia so you can experience as much of it as possible. Whilst most people head to the obvious places such as Granada to visit the Alhambra Palace or Cordoba for the Alcazar and Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, be sure to also head to Ronda. The Lord of the Rings fan out there may like this spot in particular!
So, there you have it! 10 safe European cities that should be on your bucket list for your next adventure!
For more inspiration, check out our articles here:
- Travelling As A Muslimah: Exploring Europe While Wearing The Hijab
- 2 Months, 12 Countries and 1 Backpack: Solo Travelling In Eastern Europe As A Muslimah
- Solo Travelling In Europe: Muslimah Edition
- A First Timer’s Guide To Travelling Across Europe By Train
- Immerse Yourself In Europe’s Islamic History At These 10 Amazing Landmarks