Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa, or the Marvelous City, Rio de Janeiro has more than 20 beaches and many dramatic landmarks, including the much-photographed Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks the city. The thriving metropolitan area, with its exceptional architecture, museums, galleries, and restaurants, sits on the magnificent Guanabara Bay against a rugged backdrop of forested mountains, making for one of the most stunning settings in the world.
Insider Tip: Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival is world-famous, and it’s not just hype. Imagine two million people partying to samba music over five days of debauchery. But regardless of whether you visit during the festival, the spirit of the exuberant Carioca people is evident year-round.
With layers of architectural wonders, cutting-edge cuisine, and buzzing nightlife, Barcelona would be a world-class city even without the eight white-sand beaches that rim its Mediterranean coastline. Accessible by metro, the nearly mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) Barceloneta Beach—revitalized in the massive waterfront makeover for the 1992 Olympics—is one of the most popular. Hit the Beach Centre to rent a beach umbrella, chairs, or a bicycle.
Bocas del Toro, Panama
You’ll feel like you’re in Bali rather than Central America in this archipelago that’s just a one-hour flight away from Panama City. Hotels with overwater bungalows, top-notch seafood restaurants and crystal blue waters dot the coastlines of the many cays and islets. The area is “home to some of the purest natural beauty in Latin America,” according to the publication, with “dense tropical rain forests, wide savannas, coral reefs bursting with aquatic life, and delightfully deserted beaches.”
This Mexican city is less about the ocean and sand and more about the architecture, music and art scene. Jazz music fills the area while murals by greats like José Clemente Orozco hang in local buildings. The bustling city even has a prestigious film festival and international book fair.
The Southern city has been drawing history buffs for years, but with the addition of more art galleries and shopping destinations like Carytown, there’s a new crowd coming to town. With craft beers, vegan baked goods and bike paths, this capital has all the markings of a hipster haven.
We all know Paris is about fashion and design, but located just a couple hours away by car, another charming town is making its mark on the industry. There’s a modern art museum and the city “supports emerging fashion designers by providing them with retail space and business mentorship,” according to Travel + Leisure. And it wouldn’t be a French hot spot without some stellar dining options like craft-beer dens and neo-bistros.
Kauna’oa Bay, Hawaii
Located on the Kohala Coast of the Aloha State’s Big Island, Kauna’oa Bay is the quintessential Hawaiian spot. The 0.25-mile-long (0.4-kilometer-long), crescent-shaped beach has plenty of white sand, palm trees, and calm, clear, blue water. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, beachgoers here can snorkel or ride boogie boards. (Be careful swimming, however, because there are no lifeguards on this public beach.) At night, nestle into the sands and peer out into the water to see if you can catch a glimpse of manta rays swimming.
The 10 Safest (and Coolest) Cities for Women to Travel Alone
It can be incredibly dangerous for a woman to travel alone. Every year we hear news about sexual assaults on women who have been vacationing. It’s not only the physical attacks that make traveling alone as a female dangerous. Some places will try and take advantage of the lone traveler, charging them more money than other people. Hotel room theft and pickpocketing are also easier if the person is alone.
There are many places in the world where it may be unsafe for a woman to travel alone. Consider all the aspects of the trip – Will you be walking alone at night? Will you have a tour guide or be exploring the city on your own? Do you have friends or family there that can provide safety when you need it?
We came up with a list of 10 cities where women should be safe travelling alone. Anyone traveling to a new city should be knowledgeable about the dangers and how to get help if they need it. To choose the cities, we looked at the rights and wages of women in the particular countries, along with crimes against women statistics.
Here are our top picks for cities to visit if you are a lone female traveler.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and is its largest city with almost two million people in its metropolitan area. This busy city sports beautiful architecture and renowned shopping. Be sure to see the goddess Gefjun fountain, which tells the mythological story of how Denmark was created. Stop by at night, where the fountain lights up with a blue glow, alluding to the magic in the Norse religious history.
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, located in Ontario but bordering Quebec. When traveling through this multicultural city you will hear both French and English spoken interchangeably. Be sure to check out the ByWard Market. This market is one of the oldest in Canada and sees over 50,000 visitors every weekend. Shop for local produce and artisan breads and cheeses, along with handmade clothing and jewelry. Be sure to stop by one of the famous restaurants to complete this shopping adventure.
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, sporting 1,400,000 residents. It is known as the “City of Sails” because of the high amount of yachts in its harbor. Be sure to check out the beautiful beaches and see the ships sailing. Enjoy 3 kilometers of pristine white beaches in the township of Orewa. After a sunny day, relax in the natural thermal springs at the Waiwera Thermal Resort.
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland, with over 1,300,000 people in its metropolitan area. Enjoy the amazing architecture in Helsinki, with numerous Art Nouveau style buildings. The city was chosen to be the World Design Capital for 2012 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. A walking tour to view the architecture and art galleries would give you a full view of why this vibrant city of the design capital. After a day exploring the city, enjoy the fantastic Nordic style clothing, which makes for fantastic shopping opportunities.