Travelling solo can be daunting enough let alone travelling as a lone woman. Many of us dream to explore our grand and diverse world, however, is it really worth gallivanting out into the unknown if our safety is at huge risk? Travelling as a solo woman doesn't have to be as terrifying as we think. With the correct research and precautions, you'll be able to explore far and wide without encountering any horrible experiences!
In our study, we’ve outlined the world's top 20 safest countries for solo female travellers. More than 100 countries have been ranked out of 60 for the following 8 categories:
- Crime & Safety Index
- Percentage of women who have experienced violence
- Female homicide rates
- Laws on domestic abuse
- Percentage of women who feel safe walking at night
- Attitudes towards violence against women
- Public Transport & Taxi Safety
- Global Gender Gap Index Score
So without further ado here are the 20 Best Countries for Solo Female Travellers.
The 20 Safest Countries for Solo Female Travellers
Points - 44
Sitting in the 20th position is a country famous for its ancient Greek mythology, where some of the most celebrated and worshipped Gods are women! Aphrodite is known for her beauty, while Goddess Athena is famous for her wisdom. Only 19% of Greek women have suffered violence, with only 2% of the public believe that a man is justified. The percentage of women who feel safe walking at night is slightly shy of 50%, so it's best to take precautions when wandering the streets.
Athena was also the Goddess of war, known for her strength and resilience, hence the Greek women of today are following in her footsteps, with many of them participating in protests to fight for their rights!
Points - 46
Latvia is at the higher end of this list when it comes to violence against women with 32% of Latvian women encountering some sort of violence. Having said that, over half the female population feel safe walking at night, and Latvia's safety index score is more than 60 out of 100.
Latvian women are highly educated, with a literacy rate of over 99%. The population is less than 2 million, and it is one of the greenest countries in Europe with over half of its land covered in forest. The crime index is under 38 which categorises Latvia as one of the world's safest countries.
Points - 47
Smiling from the 18th position with its eye-catching stats is the second largest country in the world. Canada has one of the lowest rates of crimes towards women, with only 1.9% of the female population has suffered violence, even with Canada's thousands of grizzly bears! Laws on women's safety are strong, the safety index score as well as the percentage of women feeling safe walking at night are very satisfying numbers. Canada is heavily focused on creating a more gender-equal environment, to a point that the country even changed their national anthem! The phrase, "in all thy sons command" was replaced with, "in all of us command".
Points - 47
For the last 6 years running, Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world! This is due to measures of freedom of choice, life expectancy, income and even generosity. For example, Finnish people expect a lost wallet to be returned. Their safety index score and percentage of women feeling safe walking at night are both impressively over 70%.
16. South Korea
Points - 48
South Korea is a country known for its friendly people and welcoming attitude to foreigners. Women have access to excellent healthcare, resulting in South Korean women having one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
Laws on domestic violence are strong, the female homicide rate is low, and over half the country's female population feel safe walking at night. Having said that, the attitude towards abused women isn't as empathetic as you would think, with 18.4% of the public believing that a man is justified when assaulting a woman. However, the percentage of women who have actually suffered violence isn't an alarming number (less than 17%), which puts South Korea back on the map as a safe zone.
Points - 49
Perching in the 15th position is one of the smallest countries in Europe, with a population of just 1.3 million people. Estonia boasts a low crime rate and a high standard of living. Violence against women is somewhat higher with 20% of the female population having suffered, however, the country has a great safety index score of over 76 out of 100.
Estonia has one of the highest rates of internet connectivity in the world, with around 99% of the population having access to the internet. So if you're a traveller whose family constantly worries - tell them you're off to the land that developed Skype! A country that believes in communication and staying connected - should put them at ease!
Points - 49
Japan is a fascinating destination with women making up nearly half of the workforce, and Japanese women having the longest life expectancy in the world - an average of 87 years! Talk about Girl Power!
The overall data for Japan is applaudable, with low numbers of female violence and homicide, a high safety index score and a high percentage of women who feel safe walking at night. The laws against injustices towards women aren't as strong as in other countries, however, the public's compassionate attitude towards abused women compensates for this.
Points - 49
It's only fair that Lithuania made it into our study as it's the only country in the world that has its own national perfume! Now which girl doesn't enjoy a bit of perfume?! Lithuania ranked as the 8th most gender-equal country globally, and the overall stats are fairly decent. Lithuania holds one of the best attitudes towards violence against women, with only 2% of the population believing that a man is justified in being violent against a woman.
Points - 49
Slovakia has made great empowerment moves with women winning a record number of seats in the National Council during the 2020 elections! 23% of the female population have experienced violence and only 5% of the public believe that a man is justified in his assault. The country also provides great laws on domestic violence, and over half of the country's female population feels safe to stroll at night.
11. Czech Republic
Points - 49
Slowly creeping into the top 10 we have a country where the women are known for their love of music and athletic prowess! The overall safety index score is almost 75 out of 100, and a very satisfying 60% of women feel safe walking at night. Now the gender gap and laws on domestic violence could be better, 21% of the female population have encountered violence, however, the public hold an empathetic attitude towards the abused victims.
Points - 50
Kick starting the top 10, is a country that holds impressive numbers that you wouldn't expect from a country with a population of over 37 million people. Only 13% of Polish women have experienced violence, the safety index score is over 70 and over 60% of Polish women feel safe walking at night.
9. Republic of Ireland
Points - 51
If you're keen on spotting a leprechaun, then ladies head over to Ireland as they have scored maximum points in our study! Only 15% of Irish women have encountered violence, the female homicide rate is low and almost 70% of women feel safe walking at night. The Irish public also holds one of the best views in the world regarding female violence, with only 1% of the public believing that a man is justified in his crime. Not sure about the leprechaun, but the Irish public definitely deserves that pot of gold!
Points - 52
Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world, and this year has bagged the second position. Denmark's happy culture has created such a safe environment, that a whopping 85% of Danish women feel safe walking at night. The overall crime index is low at 27, and their safety index is a highly respectable 64.4 out of 100.
Points - 52
The Netherlands scored 5th in the world's happiest countries index, as well as the 7th safest country for women in our study. This country has impressive numbers with a safety index score of over 72 out of 100, and 73% of women feel safe walking at night. Surprisingly, the percentage of abused women is at 25%, however, the Netherlands falls into the category as one of the safest countries with a crime index of just 27.3. The Dutch are very keen cyclists hence there are more bikes than people. In a country of 17.1 million people, there are 23 million bikes! So that eliminates any of your worries, as there's a higher chance of you encountering an incident with a bicycle than a human being!
Points - 54
Chocolate lovers will be ecstatic to find that Switzerland has scored a high position in our safety study. Not only is this country one of the wealthiest in the world with a thriving economy, but it also ranked as the world's 8th happiest country this year. Life expectancy in Switzerland is 84.25 years, placing it in the top 5 countries globally. Less than 10% of Swiss women have experienced violence, and with an impressive safety index score of over 78 out of 100, Switzerland is ranked 10th in the most gender-equal countries. Over 80% of women feel safe walking at night, so if you're ever craving a famous Swiss Lindt chocolate, feel free to wander to your closest shop at any time!
Points - 55
Norway is on a massive roll when it comes to rankings. Not only has it scored high points in our safety study, but it also ranked as the 3rd most gender-equal country, as well as the 7th happiest country in the world.
It's no surprise that 83% of women feel safe walking at night, the overall crime rate is low, and the safety index score is over 66 out of 100.
Points - 56
Close to the top position we have the birthplace of the world-famous drink, 'Red Bull'. Austria holds excellent laws for domestic violence, which may be why only 13% of Austrian women have suffered abuse. The safety index score is an impressive almost 74 out of 100, and the country's overall crime is very low scoring under 30.
Austria was one of the first countries in the world to grant women the right to vote in national elections. Almost 80% of Austrian women claim they feel comfortable walking at night, and Austria has made significant progress in closing the gender gap in education, with women now making up the majority of the university graduates. Well I guess, "Red Bull gives you wings", right?
Points - 57
Creeping up towards the top position is Slovenia with its impeccable scores. This outdoor haven is one of the few countries in the world that celebrate International Women's Day with a National Holiday! Almost 80% of women feel safe walking at night, the safety index score is over 77 out of 100, with under 13% of Slovenian women have suffered violence. This country provides strong laws around domestic violence, and the overall crime index is also impressive with a low score of 24.2.
Points - 58
Taiwan is grinning from the tail of it’s number two position, and rightfully so, as it has been ranked as the best country in Asia for gender equality.
Taiwanese women have a literacy rate of over 95% as well as one of the highest life expectancies for women across the globe - with an average of 84 years.
Despite it being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, a whopping 85% of women feel comfortable walking at night, and the overall crime index score is only 16.2, putting it into the 'very low' category. 40% of the seats in the national parliament are held by women, which may be why the country's laws on domestic violence are incredibly strong.
Points - 60
Gloating from the number one position, is a country that may surprise you, but has well deserved the title! After taking into consideration all of the important factors for female safety - Oman is leading the way. The female homicide rate is one of the lowest in the world, and Oman falls into the 'very low' category when it comes to overall crime, with a crime index score of under 20.
Women in Oman are encouraged to pursue higher education, to a point that they now outnumber men in higher education institutions. In addition, the government has launched several initiatives to raise awareness about women's rights.
You can trust to be safe and looked after in this country, with the Omani people's famously warm hospitality and friendly attitude.
Top travel tips from expert solo female traveller:
As a young woman who has solo backpacked through countries and lived with mountain tribes without basic facilities. Stayed in ex-Taliban areas, military occupied & disputed territories - I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to stay safe as a woman!
1. Pay attention to clothing - aim to blend in not stand out. You'll already catch attention with your camera, backpack, and confused look as you navigate your way through an unfamiliar environment. Local attire will reduce this typical tourist appearance.
2. Confidence is key. Whenever you don't feel confident - fake it. Studies performed by psychologists show that predators choose their prey based on aura, energy and signals given off by the potential victim. NOT based on gender or appearance.
3. Local contact - local contacts can help you with transport bookings, language barriers, and shopping so you don't get ripped off. I would befriend local families who would accompany me to places that helped me blend in more.
4. Don't let anyone know that you're alone - I pretend that I'm part of a group and just grabbing some alone time.
5. Learn the local language - Travellers have a tendency to learn just swear words in the local language. Trust me, as fun as this may be, they're useless words occupying your memory that won't get you anywhere! Focus on learning commonly used phrases:
"How far is...? "
"What is your name?"
6. Start small - stick to countries that aren't too far and that speak the same language as you. This will slowly build your confidence to then travel out to places further out as well as countries that don't speak your language.