5 Fabulous Vacations for Introverts

I would bet that every introvert has dreamt about taking a solo trip before. Once you decide to take the plunge and go on a solo vacation, however, where do you go? The ideal places for an introvert to travel alone would meet the following criteria:

  1. Have relatively low crime rates, so as to be safe for the solo traveler.
  2. Not be too crowded or congested with other tourists that it defeats the idea of travelling solo in the first place.
  3. Not be so remote as to make a solo traveler feel completely cut off from humanity (unless that’s what he or she wants) or be potentially dangerous should our intrepid introvert become ill or injured.

Now that we have a basic idea of what the introverted traveler should be looking for, let’s look at a few places, abroad and in the U.S., that match these criteria while being quite different from each other in other regards.

ABROAD:

Denmark – Hygge is a Danish word with no direct English translation, although the closest meaning is something along the lines of “coziness.” Due to Denmark’s northern latitude, it gets dark early in the fall and winter, which leaves plenty of time for Danes to have long hyggeligt evenings with lots of candles, warm food and drinks, and a couple of close friends or a good book for company. Sounds like an introvert’s heaven, right?

Even if you visit Copenhagen, the country’s capital and largest city, you’ll be quite comfortable as an Introvert there. Danes rarely talk to strangers in public (and never on public transportation), so if you are approached, it’ll likely be by a fellow American or a visitor from another country in Europe. Copenhagen is very flat and walkable, but it is probably best seen by bike, if you want to feel like a true Dane. You can rent a bike and ride it by the canal at Nyhavn, and from there it’s a quick ride to the Royal Library, which is worth a visit for both its contents and architecture.

If you want to travel slightly off the beaten path, the Danish countryside has plenty of castles for you to explore, including Kronborg—a.k.a Hamlet’s Castle! The city of Aarhus should be on your itinerary for the ARoS art museum alone, and the city of Odense, perhaps because it’s the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, feels like a portal into the nineteenth century. But no matter what city or town you’re in, most cafes in Denmark try to cultivate an atmosphere of hygge for their customers, and I’d recommend spending an afternoon at one with a cup of coffee, a pastry, and some people-watching. Chances are no random strangers will try to start up a conversation with you, so you can relax.

Scotland – Visiting the Scottish Highlands is like stepping into a cozy mystery novel. It’s just like you’d imagine it – the accents, the stone cottages, the rugged mountains, and the misty mornings. You can traipse along the shore of a loch under the gray sky and imagine yourself as a romantic hero from days gone by. And speaking of lochs, would you really be in Scotland if you didn’t go to Loch Ness?

Should you decide that you’d like to encounter a few more people than you will in the Highlands, you can head south to the town of St. Andrews and play one of the courses at the birthplace of golf. If you follow the coastline south, you’ll make it to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, where the imposing Edinburgh Castle watches over the city. Make sure you grab a fresh baked scone before you begin your tour of the castle; it’s a steep climb to the top, and you’ll need the fuel. After visiting the castle, it would probably be best if you relaxed in a pub for a bit. Be warned though that the Scots are much more outgoing than the Danes, so don’t be surprised if anyone talks you. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be too enchanted by their accents and genuine friendliness to care too much.

UNITED STATES:

Tybee Island, Georgia – Going to the beach is probably my favorite form of vacation. Unfortunately, places like Myrtle and Virginia Beach, with their big crowds and high-rise hotels all along the shore, don’t work well for my introversion. Tybee Island, a short drive from Savannah, Georgia, offers the kind of Atlantic Coast beach that I prefer, while allowing me to share that beach with fewer people. There are some hotels at Tybee, but it’s easy to find a beach there with nothing but dunes and a few weathered beach houses—some of which you can rent for the week!

On any evening, you can drive into Savannah and walk along the Savannah River, stopping wherever you want to shop, eat, drink, or listen to live music. Alternatively, if you want to get even further away from civilization than Tybee allows, you can book a spot on a charter boat and go deep-sea fishing. Or, if you’re like me, you can choose to spend your entire vacation on the beach, taking breaks from reading to dive into the refreshingly cool surf.

Boulder, Colorado – Boulder, as a much smaller city than neighboring Denver, is ideal for the more outdoorsy introvert. It’s known for being a laid-back town, as well as being picturesquely placed in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Pretty much a hipster haven. If you’re the adventurous type, you can try rock-climbing at Eldorado Springs, Boulder Canyon, or the Flatirons. Or if you like the outdoors but also have a strong sense of self-preservation, like me, you can settle for hiking at any of those same locations. There’s South Boulder Creek for fishing and practically infinite places for a picnic. Boulder’s arts scene is nothing to laugh at either, so if museum and gallery-hopping is more your thing, you will not be disappointed.

After your long day of hiking and exploring, you can return to the city for dinner at one of the many foodie-approved restaurants or a drink at one of the city’s twenty-some breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Boulder has a pretty vibrant nightlife for a small city, thanks in part to the presence of the University of Colorado Boulder. So if a day-long solo hike has your social batteries charged, you might want to go to Pearl Street for a hip cocktail or the Hill for a more, shall we say, collegiate bar scene.

Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts – These two towns border each other, and both are close enough to Boston that you can easily head into the city if you’d like, but they’ll allow you to avoid the bigger crowds if you choose to. If you’re a history buff, then you’ll certainly want to visit the sites important to the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the first battle of the Revolutionary War. And in case it’s been more than a few years since your last U.S. history class, you can visit the Minute Man National Historical Park for a refresher on the important details. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a historical place to sleep either, as the area is peppered with historic inns.

Leaving the hustle and bustle of civilization behind to go live in a cabin in the woods and contemplate life is a dream most introverts—and maybe just most humans—have had at some point. In Concord, you can visit the spot where one man, Henry David Thoreau, actually did that. Whether you loved or hated reading Walden in high school, the real-life Walden Pond is worth a visit, especially in the fall when the bright foliage is reflected back in its tranquil waters. You can also see the house that Thoreau’s friend and fellow Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, lived in and later rented to Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter. Indeed, Massachusetts has possibly the largest concentration of famous writers’ homes and final resting places in America, and you can also visit the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set Little Women.

If you need more fresh air after visiting these admittedly stuffy old houses, I suggest a walk through some of Lexington and Concord’s fantastic cemeteries. Cemeteries are great places to connect with the past, get inspiration for your next story, or just indulge some of your morbid curiosity. Plus they’re usually pretty introvert friendly, on account of most of the occupants being six feet under.

WHERE ELSE?

Do you have other ideas for introvert-friendly vacation spots that meet my criteria? 

Rachel Suppok

Rachel holds a B.S. in Neuroscience and usually a cup of coffee. She is an INTJ, but she is not a super-villain. Yet.

Folow Rachel on Twitter @rsuppok.

Comments

Sheila Ryan Hara (not verified) says...

Hi Rachel,
I love this post. I can imagine walking in the Scottish highlands with a trip to the pub for sustenance, or a hyggelit evening in Copenhagen after a stroll in Tivoli park. I'd like to suggest parts of Japan, where I have lived for two decades. The islands of Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido all boast of natural beauty and kind but unobtrusive folks who are more often than not willing to help a stray traveler on her way. Just stay away from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto! I can write a post later if you like. Thanks, Rachel!

Rachel Suppok says...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Sheila, and there really is nothing more hyggeligt than Tivoli at Christmastime! Also, Japan has always been the #1 place in Asia that I'd like to see, especially the more rural parts and less populated islands, so I appreciate those suggestions!

natalia flaherty (not verified) says...

Thank you very much, :)

Simon Joseph (not verified) says...

How about Norfolk in the UK. It has lots of great beaches such as Holkam where you can walk for miles and not be near anyone. Norwich is a small friendly city and there feels like there is plenty of room there. Norfolk people are renowned for their stand offish ness.

Rachel Suppok says...

I've never been to that part of the UK, but it sounds perfect for me.

Halia June (not verified) says...

Thank you for this. I have been to Boulder, CO, though only for a day, and agree that it is a very relaxed place with a lovely business district with plenty of fun bars and restaurants - and the town is surrounded by a plethora of outdoor opportunities. I love Boston and Salem and would not hesitate to go there on my own - next time I am there I will make an effort to check out Lexington and Concord. Glad to know about Tybee Beach, too. I was just in the Blue Ridge mountains of Georgia a couple of months ago and felt very safe tooling around on my own, there.
I considered going to Denmark this year. It's definitely on my bucket list, but I decided to postpone another big trip until next year. Last year I spent 10 days in Iceland, and I highly recommend Iceland to any solo traveler. The people are diverse (at least the immigrants are, lol), relaxed and friendly, nearly everyone speaks English like they were born in the U.S., and crime is almost non-existent. There are enough museums, restaurants, tours, and interesting areas to explore even without the endless and amazing outdoor sights to see and adventures to embark on in the Reykjavik area, but for a less populated, less touristy (it seems like everyone you meet in Reykjavik is American!) taste of the island, it is definitely worth the trip up to Akureyri. They have their own nature baths there, plenty of volcanoes, glaciers and other wonders to experience, and Akureyri is near the coastal towns from which the whale-watching tours depart. Don't miss seeing and riding an Icelandic horse - that was such a treat! A woman who does walking tours locally also writes a blog (in English) about travelling in Iceland. She is quite amusing and reading her blog would be helpful to anyone thinking of a vacation in this beautiful place. It's called "I heart Reykjavik." Look up iheartreykjavik.net and enjoy!

Rachel Suppok says...

Oh I'm so glad to hear that you loved Iceland and would recommend it to a solo traveler! Iceland has been high on my list ever since I had a layover there on my way to Denmark. Flying into the Reykjavik felt like landing on an alien planet--and I mean that in a good way, of course. I will definitely check that blog out!

Kristina (not verified) says...

What an awesome post/blog!!! I'm soooo going to visit the places you've listed stateside! Thank you!

Bard says...

I have fond memories of visiting Boulder in the early seventies. Hippie paradise it was then, and don't forget the University--a feast for the senses, the body, and the mind.

So glad you included Scotland! I love Scotland, and if I had to leave the U.S. that would be my first choice to do my expatting in. One of my daughters studied a semester in Aberdeen and, similar to your description of the Highlands, said it was as if whoever built the city had decided to cram in every iconic image of things Scottish. :-) Yes, Scots are warm and friendly--I found that with one or two exceptions they were totally opposite the dour and taciturn image--but it's a kind of accepting and non-intrusive friendliness that had this INFP feeling totally at home.

Rachel Suppok says...

"Non-intrusive friendliness"--yes! That is the perfect description, and it had this INTJ feeling pretty at home as well.

Guest (not verified) says...

Oh wow, loved reading about Boulder. I've always dreamt of going to Colorado; living in South Africa, it tends to seem like the "romantised" holiday in America.
For abroad, I can suggest Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa. I have visited there a couple of times. It's a coastal town, gorgeous, nice eating places, bit of an art scene, and about +-3 hours drive to Cape Town. Total plus, dollars; pounds; and euros totally explode in value, when you come to South Africa.

Rachel Suppok says...

Thank you for the suggestion! That sounds like a lovely spot!

Guest (not verified) says...

So wrong. I like diving into the anonymity of mega cities with exciting cultural programs and world-class museums best!

David Warrilow (not verified) says...

Much of Canada qualifies however there is the Bruce Trail...

Guest (not verified) says...

my wife is ISTJ - she loves Kauai over Oahu, Kona and Maui. It is more remote and less crowded. I am ESTJ and loved Oahu and Kona. She liked Victoria BC because it is less crowded. I prefer Vancouvet which is busy. We are planning a vacation next year with my brother in law to Scotland. He is ISTP. While he and my wife are exploring Scotland and their family genealogy my sister law and I ESTJ are going over the channel to Paris. Your article is bang on the money!

Fawnamama says...

I like the idea of split vacation time for different personalities, as long as some of it is together. One place I went that was really, really secluded was in China of all places. China has a population of 1.3 billion, 1/7th of the world's population. You wouldn't know it, though, in Inner Mongolia. It is a province just south of the country of Mongolia. We stayed in a yurt, which is sort of a Chinese teepee. The landlord served us piping hot meals and we slept on the ground, like American Indians. During the day, we went for a horse back ride to a small village and sampled some of the lesser known Chinese delicacies. Then we visited the city. It was big compared to American standards, but not very crowded. The cuisine in Northern China is vastly different than that of middle and southern China. We also visited a museum where Grass grew on the walls! We were only in Inner Mongolia for three days out of your year-long visit to the country, but it was my favorite part because it was least crowded.

Yogini (not verified) says...

Asheville, NC, is a nice place for solo travelers. There are arts events, and downtown gets crowded in the evening, but there are hiking and biking trails, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Biltmore mansion, Thomas Wolfe's house, and beautiful scenery. If you are a yogi, there are lots of places to practice or take a workshop. Great restaurants, too, though I tend to favor Green Life, a version of Whole Foods, which always has great food and excellent service.
I live in Nashville, TN, where the people are friendly, but not intrusive, for the most part. We have an exact copy of the Parthenon (intact), art, music, lots of great food, and there are places to hike or bike throughout the city. If you love to read, I recommend a trip to McKay's on the west side of the city. We also have an excellent symphony that can be heard for a reasonable cost.

Ted L (not verified) says...

Okracoke. It's part of the Outerbanks, but much fewer people go there. You have to take the ferry from south end of Hatteras Island(where we saw sea turtles on our trip). Many of those that take the ferry are going to the beaches on the North end of the island and stay near the ferry terminal, but drive south toward the other end. Most of the island is National Seashore. We stayed in the NPS campground which was just over the dunes from the Ocean. Maybe 15 people as far as you can see on the beach in the middle of the summer. The town of Okracoke is quaint and quiet, but you can get some decent food and beer in some quiet restaurants. (there are some places to stay there if you don't do the tent thing). Or try Shenandoah National Park in VA during the weekdays. Amazingly empty but for the deer and luna moths.

Chesta (not verified) says...

All these places sounds like wow!! But too far away...I cant go there frequently ,especially at times I really want to. I am from india ,north india to be specific though that doesn't matter.Is there any place in india where I being an INFP can go on a solo trip? Please do reply if anyone knows since I do really need a solo trip.

BCNick (not verified) says...

If you are in British Columbia Canada, here are a couple of good places to escape to, reflect, re-energize ...

1) Squamish / Whistler ... biking, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, canoeing, B&B's, small Inns, beach walking, amazing forests
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea-to-Sky_Corridor

2) Gulf Islands ... hiking, biking, sea kayaking, sailing, B&B's, beach walking, amazing forests
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Islands

3) Long Beach / Tofino ... hiking, biking, sea kayaking, B&B's, beach walking, amazing forests, hot-springs, whales ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Beach_(British_Columbia)

gnb32565 says...

Thanks so much for listing these extra places since their list was so short.

lim_cmh says...

YOu might consider visiting Batanes Island in the Northernmost part of the Philippines.

Elien (not verified) says...

ell, this list will definitly stay in my mind. I have never thought about going to Denmark, but maybe now I will think twice about it ;) The USA has always intrigued me, but I never had the chance to go. 
Scotland, on the other hand, I have visited and I would recommand it to everyone. I did it solo... not meant to be solo though, but my roommate needed to stay at home and I lived in London for a while, when all my family and friends were still living in Belgium ( birth & home country) so yeah, I went solo... and I never felt unsafe ( woman alone). My intention was to visit the Loch Ness naturally, but during my trip I found more than I was looking for. I was very sorry when I went back to my normal life after only four days. :'( I could have stayed there for ever. So much to see, so much to do... and very nice people. It's a beautiful country and I'm definitly going back there. 

Well, I can finally say that I've  found the place where I want to become old. As long as I can remember I dreamed of the cottaga on the mountain/cliff, with the woods behind me and the sea in front of me, where I will life out my old days. Now I just know I am going to buy myself a house on the banks of the Loch Ness someday. Where I will sit on the banks in the weekends, just watching the lake, waiting till the Monster emerges from its depths. 

Scotland was a dream come true so it's definitly a place to put on your to-do list. Nature, history/culture, mysterious ( fairies everywhere to be found) friendly people; if you're stranded, a helping hand is just waiting to be found.

PS: I totally got the answer what the Scots wear under their kilts. ( I just asked because 'someone I know just wanted me to ask', as I had some difficulty asking it, but my respect for the Scots only grew when he just told me without hesitating like it was the most normal question ever) 

Arabella says...

Hey Rachel! Loved this post, I finally know where to go on a solo trip I have been planning since forever. 

However, I would really appreciate it if you could suggest some places in India - you know, money issues, can't get out of the country at all times. Thank you so much! I appreciate it, truly, a lot.

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