(In no particular order)

1. Queenstown, New Zealand

There is no better place on this planet to leave it all behind after a break up than Queenstown, New Zealand.  Its breathtaking beauty will surely whisk all your painful memories away.  Located in New Zealand’s southern island and tucked into one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.  This amazing town caters to visitors all year round boasting a huge range of both winter and summer activities.  One of the “must do” items on your list should include the many epic walks and trails this region has to offer.  Perhaps the most well known being the Milford Track taking you to the gorgeous Milford sound.  Not as famous, but just as stunning, the Routeburn, Kepler, and Devil’s Creek track are not to be missed.  A tip…the best burger I’ve had in my life was after finishing the Routeburn track, we stopped at Ferburger.  You will not have a better bite anywhere inside this solar system.

If you are not into trekking or long walks, Queenstown has its own lake Wakatipu offering stunning views and loads of watersports activities.   For those looking to sample some of New Zealand’s best wines and beers, you can have your pick of the many wineries and breweries in the area.  For an unforgettable view of the town, jump into the cable car that takes you to a mountain top cafe restaurant…this is the sort of view that makes you let go of anything you want to leave behind.    

2. Key West, Florida

I would have to guess the phrase “Getting there is half the fun!” had to come from someone traveling to the Florida Keys.  This is one of the few places in the world where actually getting there is one of the most beautiful parts of the trip.  US Route 1 starting in Maine, at the northeast corner of the United States, finds its way to the southernmost point of the country as it reaches the Florida Keys.  The stretch between Miami and the Keys will guide you through a myriad of bays, islands, and beaches on both sides of the highway, for hours and hours.  Providing you with countless Kodak moments, this is one of the most memorable drives of my life.  

Key West itself is a lovely beach town with plenty of things to see and do.  The diving and snorkeling is excellent in this area.  You can easily find nearby places with excellent visibility all year round, or book one of the many charter boats ready to take you to some of the most unique diving locations in the US.  You can also touch a bit of history in Key West by visiting Ernest Hemingway’s house, Tennessee William’s house, or the “Little White House” which has housed many US Presidents over the years.  After the diving and sightseeing, Key West has some of the cutest bars, cafes, and eateries in Florida.  You will surely find something that tempts your palate and enjoy the calm and relaxed atmosphere the Keys have to offer.

3. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

If art is your chicken soup for the soul, Amsterdam is waiting to serve you amidst its gorgeous canals and stunning facades.  You will not find too many cities anywhere in the world where the beauty of their museums is matched by the beauty of the city itself.  You can lose yourself for days on end walking around the picturesque canals of Amsterdam, adorned on both sides by the most beautiful facades in Europe.  Once you’ve soaked up the beauty of the city, take it to the next level and meet the works of the Dutch masters face to face. 

The largest collection of masterpieces in the country are found in the Rijksmuseum, the Royal Museum of Amsterdam.  Amongst the many masters, you will find the works of Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer.  Standing at the main exhibition hall, is perhaps the most beautiful masterpiece of all, The Nightwatch by Rembrandt.  This is one of the few world renowned paintings that truly fits the “you can watch it for hours” phrase.  Another must see museum, and my personal favorite, is the Van Gogh museum just a few minutes away.  As the name implies, this is the largest collection of Van Gogh’s anywhere in the world.  If you have never seen Van Goh’s painting in real life, get ready to experience the most overwhelming color experience of your life.  It doesn’t matter what is going on in my life, a few minutes staring into Van Gogh’s sunflowers makes it all go away.    

5. Jerusalem, Israel

When you travel to Jerusalem, you are going back in time.  You can touch history with your own hands.  This is like no other place in the world.  All the stories you heard when you were growing up about Jesus, the 12 apostles, the Virgin Mary, this is where it all took place.  You can walk down the same road Jesus carried the cross on as you step into the via Dolorosa.  Regardless of your religious inclination, Jerusalem has the power to transport you back to an era we only know from books and sermons.   

Nearby Jerusalem there are two places that are truly unique and must be visited if this is your first time in the Middle East.  The first one is the Masada, an incredible fort which was built on top of a rock plateau in the middle of the desert.  Visitors usually make their way up the rock before dawn and find their place to witness a breathtaking sunset.  Once the sun starts to cook you alive, it’s time to head down to the Dead Sea.  This alien-like environment will without a doubt take your mind off anything going in this world as you float like buoy in its calm oily waters. 

6. Luang Prabang, Laos

Would you understand if I would say, “Feeling isolated and connected”?  If you don’t, don’t worry…I also didn’t understand this concept until I got to Luang Prabang.  This stunningly beautiful isolated town is located in the northern region of Laos.  Surrounded by soaring mountains and quiet river streams branching out of the Mekong, Luang Prabang combines the beauty of nature with a subtle but powerful spiritual vibe.  You will not have to walk far to come across the many monks that live in and around the city.  In difference to monks in other parts of southeast Asia, I found the monk community in Luang Prabang very open to sit down for a chat about life.  The many, and gorgeous, buddhist temples certainly help to elevate this spiritual vibe to the next level.  You indeed have this feeling of being in this isolated part of the world, but connected to something bigger.  

One of the town’s many charms lies in its French past.  As an ex French colony, you will find many brushes of if in its architecture as you walk down streets that make you think you are in Provence for a moment.  Another area is in its gastronomy.  You will find countless amazing high class restaurants that are unusual for such a setting.  One could even argue that many of these are deserving of Michelin stars…yes, they are that good.  As the sun goes down, find your way to Phou Si mountain, a 328 step climb to the best view in town.  Join the crowds as they enjoy the sunset and celebrate the end of another day.  If you see a huge agglomeration of colored lights from the top of the mountain, this will be most likely be Luang Prabang’s night market.  This has got to be the cutest night market in all of southeast Asia.  From the softest silks, to the most mouthwatering dishes, this market will surely blow your mind away.        

7. Cork, Ireland

This lovely Irish city makes an ideal destination for solo travelers.  It’s compact, it’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s a slice of Irish heaven.  With a revitalized center, Cork has emerged as Ireland’s second largest city like a peacock showing off its fantastic plumage.  You will find a well sorted array of great pubs, bars, and restaurants to quench your thirst and quell your hunger.  As you might expect from an Irish town, the locals are friendly, love to chat, and are always up for a laugh.  Make sure you spend a few hours rummaging around in the Cornmarket, a lovely traditional market offering all kinds of local mouthwatering products, from cheeses, sausages, produce, and pastries.     

Make your way up the many hills surrounding the city, either by foot or by bus to enjoy a gorgeous view of the city and the harbor.  Stroll around the many parks and forest areas, taking in all those unique intense Irish greens, find a scenic spot and have yourself a merry merry picnic.  As the sun comes down, head back into town for some excellent live music and top it off with a creamy pint of Guinness.   

8. Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Perhaps one of the most relaxed beaches from the extensive coastal repertoire Mexico has in offer, “Zihua” is a great destination for solo travelers wishing to wash away their break up memories.  Zihuatanejo provides all the beauty you would come to expect from a Pacific coast town, but without the overdeveloped mass tourism.  It is there, certainly during the seasonal waves, but it is much more diluted than Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco.  The last couple of years has seen a steady migration from tourists to settlers.  Many people that first came for a long weekend, have returned to settle, buy a second home and enjoy the beach life.  This has created a nice expat vibe that mixes seamlessly with the tourist presence.  

Zihuatanejo has a wonderful collection of beaches that range from the quiet and secluded, to the more rowdy and festive.  They alternate quite a bit during the seasons, but some of the beaches you really want to check out are:

  • Playa Las Gatas
  • Playa Madera
  • Play Larga
  • Playa La Ropa
  • Playa Manzanillo 

9. Cadiz, Spain

One of the most precious hidden gems of Andalucia, Cadiz is an idyllic location for those traveling on their own after a break up.  It’s a compact town that can be discovered on foot from head to toe.  Cadiz has an equally balanced number of vibrant sections as it has sleepy ones, so you will have your pick of “ambiance” depending on your mood.  If you don’t know where to start, you should head to the central market and indulge yourself in some of the best seafood in Europe.  Step out of your comfort zone a bit and try 2 or 3 things you have no idea what they are!  True, some will be total car crashes, but the good ones will have the mark of “This is a taste I discovered on my own”, and that has something to it.  If it all goes wrong, you can always find comfort in some fresh cut churros with a cup of thick chocolate.  

Cadiz is a place for strollers, walkers, and dreamers.  The streets of Cadiz offer the perfect picturesque scenery for you to get lost in details for hours as you parade along its cute walkaways, ocean promenades, and fairy tale parks.  Head out to the San Sebastian peninsula for the most beautiful ocean views La Costa de la Luz has to offer.  For a delicious dip in the ocean head to popular Playa de la Caleta, or the slightly less crowded Playa de la Victoria.  If you are looking for more secluded beaches, you will find them relatively close by in the direction of Caños de Meca.         

10. Bath, England

This has to be my favorite town in England.  This is Gregorian Architecture at its best.  For someone that is mostly “out of touch” with what architecture is supposed to do with you when you experience it, I was not at a loss for words when I walked around this magical place.  It truly feels like you are walking into a Jane Austen novel…and even though, yeah, I know I’m not actually in a Jane Austen novel…it does whisk you away from your reality for a bit.  You can let yourself go as you enter No. 1 Royal Crescent, undoubtedly one of the most iconic English structures.  

As you might have figured out by now, Bath is called bath for a reason, it has a bath.  We would now call it a Spa…and if you have never experienced a thermal water Spa, this is the perfect place to pamper yourself…and sweat your breakup thoughts away.  With 9 out of 10 British towns or cities, I would have recommended heading to your local pub for a pint during the evening…but this is the 1 where I would say different.   If you have never had a “proper gin” at a “proper gin bar”, Bath is where you should have your first.  If after loving your first gin experience, you want to take it to the next level, there are gin bars that offer a “Gin High Tea”.

11. Florence, Italy

Your “break up blues” have no chance against this formidable lineup:

  • Duomo di Firenze
  • Uffizi Gallery
  • Accademia Gallery

If that didn’t ring a bell, perhaps this will…this is where you can see the masterpieces of:

  • Michelangelo
  • Leonardo da Vinci
  • Botticelli
  • Giotto
  • Perugino
  • Giambologna
  • Allori 

Florence is an explosion of art, and not just art, but some of the most sublime and awe inspiring the human race has ever produced.  It seems like every fiber of this city somehow finds its way to its iconic paintings and sculptures, you see them on every corner, on each sidewalk, and every wall there’s art, and it’s magically relentless.  This is the place to give yourself away to it, you will not find better setting for your thoughts than here…ok, maybe with a gelato and an espresso overlooking Piazza della Signoria..but then really, there’s no better place to be, 

12. Hue, Viet Nam

A most wonderful solo destination for a quiet retreat post break up.  About an hour north of Danang, this quiet Vietnamese coastal town offers a gorgeous refuge to those seeking peace and tranquility, while still experiencing the full wonders VietNam has to offer.  You will be completely isolated from the hustle and bustle you would expect from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or even Danang.  In Hue life is relaxed and everything goes just a tad slower.  

The city hosts an impressive collection of temples and historical sites which make for days of beautiful quiet walks.  Many green areas and parks can be found throughout the city giving it a very spacious and tame vibe.  The city boasts a wonderful array of French cafes and excellent restaurants making every meal here a true celebration of Vietnamese cuisine.

Hue also has some of the best beaches in VietNam at a hop away.  Make sure to check out:

  • Canh Duong Beach
  • Thuan An Beach
  • Ham Rong Beach
  • Vinh Thanh Beach
  • Lang Co Beach

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