When travelling alone, choosing the right destination is more important than ever. Safety, a vibrant social scene and friendly travellers and locals is high on the list of must haves. Luckily, there are cities in Europe that are teeming with singles and have everything you need for a fantastic city break—art, culture, a lively nightlife and great activities you can experience alone or with like-minded people.
We’ve rounded up the best cities to meet singles. So, grab that party outfit and your phone and swipe right to these five bustling social towns.
Gritty Glasgow is one of the largest cities in the United Kingdom and home to three universities. In recent years, the Scottish city has emerged from the shadows of Edinburgh to become a vibrant, social metropolis all its own. Almost half of Glasgow’s nearly 640,000 residents live alone, making it tops in our books for mingling.
Students and young professionals are drawn to the West End. Packed with cafes, bars, and cultural institutions, this hip neighbourhood has plenty of opportunities to meet others. Grab a stool next to a stranger at the aptly named Nice N Sleazy or head to one of the other bars on Dumbarton Road. These spots are popular for blind dates, so make sure to check in with a bartender if you’re feeling anxious.
If bars are not your bag, Glasgow boasts a number of well-known galleries and museums, many of which are free to visit. While admiring the Burrell Collection or the imposing Spanish Baroque-style Kelvingrove Art Gallery, strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Talk about a meet-cute!
Graz is one of the youngest and most dynamic cities in Austria, with an increasing influx of singles every year. This is especially good news for those who are looking for single men (who outnumber single women) in Graz. Austria’s second-largest city is a cultural hotspot, making it a great alternative to expensive Vienna.
Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Graz has plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy on your own or to socialise, such as mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding. For the less sporty, the city offers a variety of theatres, operas and museums, as well as the enchanting Old Town full of charming cafes and coffee shops.
Graz boasts myriad excursions and activities with singles in mind, from romantic dance and cooking classes (we love Kitchen 12) to hiking trips through the Alps. If you’re in the mood for something special, take part in the Skatewurm. Lace-up your inline skates and take a 12-mile tour that weaves through the boulevards and avenues of the charming town.
Groningen is a colourful university town—think brightly hued houses on the water—with a population of around 230,000, of which almost nearly every second person is under-35. The many young people and its walkability make it the perfect destination for singles.
Stroll along the romantic canal, as you admire modernist architecture such as the Forum Groningen, a newly built complex featuring movie screens, workspaces and social atriums that encourage face-to-face introductions. Things are a bit more down-to-earth at Het Hoogeland, an open-air museum that offers a time capsule into the 19th century.
Since most nightlife businesses don’t shut down until 5 in the morning, bars and clubs are a great place to meet people regardless of whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. The Grote Markt and Poelestraat are popular spots to see and be seen and boast many cafes with communal tables allowing for easy conversation.
Lille is the largest city in the French region of Flanders, near the border with Belgium and is home to three major universities with 100,000 students. Naturally, where there are students, bars and nightlife are not far behind. And with more than 100,000 single inhabitants in the city, you’re spoiled for choice.
The Usine de Roubaix, a former factory, is full of quaint cafes and intimate boutiques that invite you to spend a relaxing afternoon shopping. The Flemish side of the city is best explored via the enchanting Old Town with its cobblestone streets, the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Treille and the childhood home of Charles de Gaulle.
Most of the city’s bars are located in Vieux Lille, with Le Dandy being particularly popular with Gen Z singles. If you prefer a little elegance to your surroundings, head to the Wazemmes district. The LGBTQ+ community is strong in Lille. The city was the setting for the coming-of-age love story Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) and boasts a plethora of gay bars and clubs.
With just under 240,000 inhabitants, Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal. Nevertheless, things are more tranquil here than in its lively big sister Lisbon.
Expect balmy nights in the terraced city where it’s easy to get lost in the winding streets of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Who knows? You might meet someone at one of the picture-perfect spots like the Ponte Dom Luís I.
Besides popular speed dating nights, as the capital of Port wine, vineyards abound in Porto, perfect for a tasting or two. Locals usually sit along the river, savouring a glass of deep red while watching the sunset.