The perfect solo travel destination for women has incredible cafes, clean toilets and low crime rates
Carry a roomy pair of pants so you have something you can fit into on your way home
My best friend recently got a new boss and within 72 hours, an SOS text appeared on our group chat. “He is a monster, come help.” Most friends might advise the victim to cut the new boss some slack, lodge a complaint with H.R, switch departments or maybe find a new job. Our advice was a little unorthodox. Not dumping a bottle of isabgol into his iced latte but an equally far-fetched idea — take a holiday. Whether it’s a bad breakup, a tough week at work or an argument with your mom, going on vacation is our preferred antidote.
My girl gang has made it a ritual to travel together. On any trip, we can expect a minimum of two breakdowns, one bad fight and atleast one drunken night where you don’t know how you made it back to the hotel. But it’s worth it when you huddle together in one bed and sing along to ‘Single ladies’ while sipping on Chardonnay.
So when I was invited to travel alone to Switzerland with their tourism board, I was flooded with multiple angry texts from my girls. Thankfully, the trip was a 100% women’s campaign with a special Women’s only Peak Challenge where over 250 female mountaineers were invited to take up the challenge of climbing some of the 4000m peaks in the Swiss Alps. This was a good opportunity for me to experience solo travel internationally for the first time.
After the initial enthusiasm died down, I did wonder what a single girl would do in the capital of romance? (Thanks, Yash Chopra) But I’m proudly single, so I was prepared to take my yellow sari and twirl on a mountain top even if that meant the hand turning me around would be my own selfie stick. Luckily, I was headed to the best solo travel spot for women. Switzerland is a delicious thaali of experiences where everyone can find something they love doing.
5 reasons why Switzerland is a strong contender for the best solo travel spot for women
It has something to offer every type of traveller
Play Gordon Ramsey and go café hopping. Enjoy a cheese fondue, rösti or my favourite raclette while chugging down artisanal beer. And if you really want to embrace your Nigella skills, you can dip your fingers or, your whole face like I did, into the art of chocolate making at the Funky Chocolate Club in Interlaken. No wonder the country is considered the best solo travel spot for women.
If you love Khatron Ke Khiladi, then Zermatt should be on top of your list. It’s every adventure junkie’s heaven and is touted as one of the world’s most attractive vacation villages. Located at the foot of the Matterhorn, Zermatt is popular for skiing, hiking, climbing, mountain biking etc. Expect a quaint Harry Potter-like feel with beautifully landscaped homes and charming cafés spread across the town.
My adventure meter is below zero. Just the idea of taking a stroll on a high rise terrace makes me want to throw up but, I couldn’t help myself in Zermatt. I put my brave pants on and went on a hiking trip to Lake Stellisee which is at the same height as 416 giraffes piled on top of each other. (Now I know why my mother says my brain is filled with 90% non-essential information)
And if you crave the hustle of Mumbai, hop on a train to Zurich and max out all your credit cards on chic bars and curated fashion stores. I suggest you channel your inner Serena van der Woodsen since everyone literally looks a version on Hollywood’s Chris’s or Blake Lively, despite the temperature being in single digits.
If I had to pick a city that perfectly embodies my personality, it would be Lucerne. An unparalleled balance of old meets new. You can sit by the river and sip on a glass of wine at a boutique restaurant while admiring a group of locals playing the alphorn right next to a puppet showcase.
If you’re looking for the best solo travel spot for women, remember it doesn’t get safer that Switzerland
The country has one of the lowest crime rates of any industrialised nation. So your loved ones don’t have to worry about you being on the next episode of Crime Patrol. Swiss people are hospitable, so you shouldn’t have a problem mingling with locals if you want to ask for directions or make new friends. Most people speak English, and you’ll find enough signs and directions to guide you through the country.
It’s easy to get around, even if you’re not a local
Switzerland might not have our beloved rickshaw wallas, but it does have a state-of-the-art railway system, and a dummy-proof schedule with trains coming in every 5-10 minutes. We took trains to every new city on the itinerary and while you may not be a fan of hour-long journeys, trust me, the picturesque mountains and grasslands transport you to a Monet painting. My tip is to refill your snack stash so you’re not hangry on the train.
It’s clean to a fault
I still have PTSD from my 6th grade school trip to Jaipur where I was forced to use the train washroom. So, I understand how important a clean toilet is for women. Thankfully, the toilets in Switzerland sparkle brighter than a Colgate model’s pearlies. Even at 2,500 meters, where you could commit the perfect crime and nobody would ever recover the body, the toilets were clean and hygienic.
It’s vegetarian friendly
Being a vegetarian, I had hidden a secret stash of nashta in one of my suitcases. I was afraid that like in most European countries, I would be left hungry on a bread and cheese diet. Thankfully, Switzerland has a wide variety of vegetarian food options (and no, I don’t mean just two choices in a menu full of meat). Since cheese, potato and bread are staples of Swiss cuisine, I recommend carrying a roomy pair of jeans so you have something to fit into on your way back home.
Definitely grab a bite at Tibits, a chain of vegetarian restaurants through Switzerland, and ask for their mock meat burger. Hands down, the best I’ve ever eaten.
And if you feel like you’ll probably need a vacation to recuperate from planning this grand trip, visit the My Switzerland website. They have a curated list of activities for every kind of traveller.