As an introvert, I have my own style of travel. I love quietly observing other cultures and connecting with fascinating new people, but crowds and too much small talk wear me out. I crave regular doses of peace and solitude to balance out the sensory and social overload of travel.
Some places are particularly well-suited to the introvert traveler. I asked a few talented bloggers who identify as introverts to share their favorites. To avoid vacation overwhelm, check out these recommended introvert travel destinations.
As an introvert, Myanmar was the perfect country for me to spend five weeks roaming around. Many people, men and women, young and old approached me for a chat in English over a meal or along a village road. This allowed me to learn about the culture without having to “put myself out there” very much. I could spend much of the day on my own. Also, off the beaten path, people only spoke a few words of English, so most of the time there was no need for me to socialize verbally. I could just smile and wave.
The other great thing is that many Myanmar people are almost overwhelmingly helpful to tourists (I stood out, since I’m obviously not a Myanmar person). Men frequently asked me “What’s your problem?” meaning do you need help with anything? So, I never had to ask directions — I’d just look around with a confused expression for five seconds. Myanmar was perfect for my shy self.
Jess | Longest Bus Rides
As an introvert, there are days when I don’t feel like talking to anyone besides the necessary conversations at work and the lovely chats my husband and I have at home. In Prague, everybody minds their own business, and nobody will force you into conversation. So if you don’t feel like it, you will not have to speak to anyone!
I like to use the example of Czech hairdressers and taxi or Uber drivers. They are like psychologists. If you’re not too eager to talk, they let you be and silently cut your hair or drive you to your destination.
When I first came to Prague for my university studies, I’d spend hours just riding the longest tram lines. I’d get to sightsee a little bit, I could be on my own, and I wouldn’t have to talk to strangers.
Apparently, though, the men’s bathroom is where even Czechs get unusually chatty. Or so I’ve heard. 🙂
Veronika | TravelGeekery
When I arrive in London I breathe a sigh of relief. Here is a city where an introvert can feel right at home. Where you can eat alone without feeling self-conscious, where you can be around people without actually having to talk to anyone, and where being willing to do things alone can be a great advantage.
Firstly, London is absolutely chock-full of coffee shops with bar seating. Some of my favorite memories are sitting along the window, watching the parade of people outside while I take my time over my Pret sandwich or Caffe Nero coffee. And strangers don’t seem to feel the need to talk to you like they do in other countries. You are left blissfully alone.
On a recent trip I took a free guided tour at the Tate Britain, wandered through the Portobello Road Market, and soaked up the atmosphere at the Café in the Crypt at St Martin in the Fields church on a quiet morning.
Getting a great seat for a West End show from the Leicester Square ticket booth is much easier when you’re only buying one and is a fabulous way to be around people, yet still keep to yourself. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking high tea at Fortnum & Mason’s on your own. I loved it!
Kirralee | Escape With Kids
I am a passionate road cyclist and have cycled in far-flung destinations all over the world. The French Pyrenees around Argelès-Gazost are my idea of heaven. Here you can ride dramatic mountain roads made famous by the legendary Tour de France, but they’re so much quieter than their counterparts in the Alps. There the roads are often wide and cluttered with traffic and cyclists. In contrast, the Pyrenees feel tranquil and lost in time.
On a recent visit to the Argelès-Gazost, I climbed to the top of famous mountains like the Col d’Aubisque, Col d’Aspin, and Luz Ardiden, and saw barely a soul. The air was still, misty clouds rolled in and out, and it was just me, verdant green pastures, spectacular mountain scenery, and the odd woolly sheep. Bliss!
Clare | Epic Road Rides
Cape Town is a place where people feel at home instantly. I’m not the first person who was supposed to stay here for five months and now, 15 years later, I’m still here. I honestly believe that Table Mountain, one of the oldest mountains in the world, has an energy that simply made me feel grounded from the word go, even though I arrived all by myself.
I’ve had my daughter for six years now. Cape Town has a national park, the Table Mountain National Park, smack dab in the middle of the city. In Cape Town I can perfectly spend the entire day just with my daughter enjoying all the natural beauty. Every street corner literally just means another breathtaking view.
One of our favorite things to do is to drive to one of the hidden beaches that tourists won’t find. The privilege of having mountains AND two oceans on my doorstep doesn’t go unnoticed. I simply pack a picnic, water and an umbrella and off we go exploring on our own.
Jessy | Planet Pilgrims
Kamakura is a gorgeous temple town in Japan and an easy day trip from Tokyo. It’s a former capital of Japan and is home to dozens of Buddhist and Shinto shrines in the surrounding wooded hills.
Kamakura is one of my favorite places in Japan due to its peaceful atmosphere. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily deserted; as with many destinations in Japan there are crowds here, too. But the temples are spread over a wide area, and so I found that I didn’t have to walk far to find myself alone among the bamboo groves, trying to spot the temples and shrines hidden down pathways in the forest.
Even around its more popular sights, Kamakura is fairly peaceful and a place that an introvert can feel at ease. As the sights there are religious, everyone was polite and respectful, so I didn’t have to contend with any pushing, shoving, or rowdiness! I found that Kamakura was a breath of fresh, calm air after the rush of Tokyo — the perfect place for an introvert to escape for a day!
Emily | Kids and Compass
As an introvert, I discovered Sri Lanka to be the ideal destination for travel. Sri Lanka is a small country with a wonderful choice of places to visit and things to do including great beaches, safaris through national parks, whale watching, tea growing, as well as having some superb timeless ruins to explore.
Sri Lanka is home to some of the friendliest people I have met on my travels, and they continually went out of their way to help me experience the delights of their country. Sri Lankans speak English very well, which was a great help to me.
One big advantage of the helpful nature of Sri Lankans are the many genuine homestays available to the traveler. I found the hosts so welcoming, always happy for a chat or to leave me to my own time, and their home cooking was easily the best food I experienced in Sri Lanka.
Also, getting around Sri Lanka is a breeze. Between towns and cities, it was easy to hire a driver and car to get to the next destination with the drivers always friendly and happy to share their local knowledge. The train network, with some breathtaking journeys, is easy to navigate as too the bus network, for the more budget-conscious.
Sri Lanka is an interesting and fun destination, and I definitely found it to be a stress-free country to visit. One could say it’s the introvert’s alternative to India!
Markus | The Roaming Fork
Culbin Forest is a somewhat eerie but beautiful and remarkable landscape. We visited the forest while staying in the nearby small town Forres where the Highland Games take place. (Inverness, the northernmost city of Scotland, is the nearest city).
With an unusual history, the forest is a wonder that encourages contemplation. The area was once fertile, containing farming land and crofters’ cottages. Over time, the long grasses that grow in the area were pulled up and used for roof thatching, loosening the sands. Sandstorms devastated the land.
In the late 17th century the sand completely took over, burying the homes and turning the area into a windblown and desolate desert. In the 1920s The Forestry Commission started planting pine trees. This prevented further land erosion and created an incredible area of natural beauty where wildlife thrived.
As introverts, this place was perfect. We lost ourselves in the forest for hours, exploring different pathways, routes, and viewpoints out on to the Moray Firth where you may spot dolphins, and we were able to see seals.
An evocative sculpture commemorating the buried crofters’ cottages was a moving spot to stop and think about this incredible landscape’s history.
Angela | Reading Inspiration
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected preserve that provides a safe habitat for black howler monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, turtles, pretty butterflies, and lots and lots of birds! It’s a natural wonderland of creeks, lagoons and marshland. And Crooked Tree Lodge located, right in the heart of the sanctuary, is the perfect destination for introverts.
It’s often thought that introverts are shy, antisocial people that just want to hide in a cave. But nothing could be further from the truth. Although it sounds tempting sometimes!
Simply put, introverts just need time to themselves to recharge their batteries. Crowds wear us down. Which is why Crooked Tree Lodge is so perfect for introverts. It has a lovely relaxed communal area where you can chat and play games with other guests.
But, when you’ve had enough of socializing it’s easy to escape on your own. You can go for a walk around the beautiful grounds, plonk yourself down under a tree to read a book or just sit on the veranda and enjoy the view. And if you really want to get away you can hide out in your own little cabin. Where no one will bother you at all.
Audrey & Andrew | Gumnuts Abroad
A city break might not be your first thought for a travel destination for introverts, but Brisbane really should be up there on your list. For starters, it’s usually gloriously sunny which means you can enjoy the outdoors most days of the year. South Bank — Brisbane’s main tourist hub — is lush, green, and tropical, and it’s one of my favorite places to wander and watch the world go by.
There are always things happening, whether it’s an arts festival, some live music, or some street art. This means it can get busy, but the city has a laid-back vibe and you can blend into the crowd to enjoy the event, watch from the sidelines, or walk around it and amble on up the river.
There are also some lovely quiet places like the Epicurious Gardens. This is one of my favorite spots to take time out in the shade for some peaceful contemplation, and even my kids enjoy quietly exploring the plants and the water features after running wild in the big playgrounds.
Karen | Smart Steps to Australia
One of my favorite destinations is the Isle of Skye in Scotland in November. At that time of year it’s off-season, so the island is mostly filled with locals and just a few visitors. Not only did I have my pick of hotel rooms, it was super easy to meet and chat with people because I was usually the only tourist.
I had wonderful conversations over breakfast, in cafes, and even at the bakery, where the women working that day answered all of my questions about Scottish pastries. Since there were no tours running at that time of year, I hopped on a local bus and rode all over the beautiful island (a tip gleaned from my breakfast conversation).
When the driver found out I was just visiting for a few days he invited me to the front of the bus and gave me a wonderful tour as he drove the route. He even stopped a couple times so I could take photos! I have such good memories of Isle of Skye in November and would go back in a heartbeat!
Cate | International Desserts Blog
Is there anything more peaceful, isolating, powerful, and inspiring than the mountains?
Yes. In fact, to be specific it is the Swiss Alps, and to narrow it down even further, the little slice of heaven on earth known as Gimmelwald, Switzerland. Across a deep valley from its more touristy resort sister city, Grindelwald, Gimmelwald boasts a tiny little Swiss village perched on the mountainside banning cars and offering views unparalleled to any other mountain range!
Gimmelwald is an introvert traveler’s dream come true with its quiet streets and easy access to mountain paths. Hikes range from easy to extremely strenuous, but even the short jaunts take you to a place of complete inner calm as you watch the Alpine cows sunbathe while you sit on a rock eating a piece of freshly made Swiss cheese.
Whether you are looking at getting away from it all, or just want some serious nature inspiration, you just can’t beat Gimmelwald!
Christchurch city in New Zealand and the surrounding Canterbury region are great places to travel for introverts. The city itself is compact and walkable, so you can get to the main city center attractions without needing a taxi or bus. The people are friendly but reserved, meaning they’ll help you out if you ask for help, but otherwise, they’ll leave you alone.
I personally loved spending time at the Christchurch Art Gallery. After that, the fabulous Christchurch museum is a five-minute walk away. Entry to both attractions is free, but donations are appreciated. Both have excellent on-site cafés.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens are located adjacent to the museum and offer many lovely walks and places to sit and read amongst the trees.
Further afield, a trip up the Christchurch Gondola is a must-do, if only to be alone at the top of Mount Cavendish. The gondola is easily accessible by public bus from the city center.
The views over Pegasus Bay are astounding; on a clear day you can see as far as Kaikoura. If you prefer to avoid the gondola, you can hike up the Bridle Path. It’s a steep hike to the peak, but the views are worth it. To reward yourself, the cafe in the gondola terminal serves an excellent flat white.
Emma | Little House, Lovely Home
My home state of New Mexico in the American Southwest is a paradise for introverts. With a population of only 2 million, about half the population of Los Angeles, New Mexico is one of the country’s least densely populated states.
Within a short drive, I can easily find solitude in spectacular desert or mountain scenery. I love to go hiking or take road trips on New Mexico’s scenic back highways to explore its natural wonders and the picturesque villages that dot the countryside. New Mexicans are laid-back and friendly, and there’s almost never a crowd or a wait for anything.
Northern New Mexico in particular attracts many artists and spiritual seekers due to its beauty and opportunities for solitude.
One of my favorite secluded sanctuaries is the tiny remote spa of Ojo Caliente, where you can soak in the rustic hot springs, attend a yoga retreat, or hike the surrounding trails to explore the ruins of ancient Native American pueblos.
Ingrid | Second-Half Travels
You may also like:
Photo credit: Isle of Skye by Markus Bernet [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
Ingrid retired early from software engineering at 43 to devote herself to language learning and travel. Her goal is to learn a new language to fluency every two years. Currently, she speaks English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese, and is learning French.