by Sophie Butler, The Telegraph, January 8, 2018
Here are 10 of the best go-it-alone trips where you’ll never feel lonely.
1. A classical music tour in Germany
Coinciding with the city’s Spring Festival series, this four-night tour includes three performances at the Dresden Semperoper: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and his L’Elisir d’Amore, as well as Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. There’s also a walking tour in the footsteps of Wagner and Bach, plus a guided tour of the opera house and a half-day excursion to the Unesco-listed Pillnitz Palace by paddle steamer along the Elbe.
Travel for the Arts (020 8799 8350; travelforthearts.com) offers a departure on March 30 from £1,595 including first category performance tickets, some meals, flights and transfers.
2. Czeching out Prague
Combining plenty of free time with sociable group activities, this newly launched tour is based in a four-star hotel with an indoor swimming pool and bowling alley, located a short metro ride from the city centre. A welcome drink, dinner and guided city tour of the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square is included in the price, and the accompanying tour leader can advise on independent sightseeing, an optional river cruise and restaurants.
Solos Holidays (0844 815 0005; solosholidays.co.uk) offers a departure on April 19, from £699 including flights and transfers.
3. A convent stay in Rome
Single room accommodation on this four-night tour is provided in a convent belonging to the Sisters of the Order of St Joseph of the Apparition, 15 minutes’ walk from the Vatican City and overlooking St Peter’s Basilica. More conventional hotel accommodation can be arranged, but this would incur a single supplement. A series of half-day tours focuses on Rome’s ancient, renaissance and baroque periods, with a visit to the Vatican Museum to explore the city’s artistic and religious heritage.
Jules Verne (020 3733 5762; vjv.com) offers departures between Jan and Dec 2018, from £575 including flights and transfers. Solo-only groups depart on Feb 14 and Dec 5.
4. A classic Marrakesh tour
This well-planned, four-night itinerary starts with a full-day tour of the main city sights including the Bahia Palace, the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, the iconic Djemaa el-Fna square and the city’s world-famous souks. There’s also an opportunity to prepare a tagine and other Moroccan specialities followed by a relaxing visit to a hammam. An excursion to the spectacular Ourika Valley to explore Berber homes, roadside souks and waterfalls is rounded off by a belly-dancing performance.
Cox & Kings (020 3627 0921; coxandkings.co.uk) offers departures between March and Oct, from £1,195 including some meals, flights and transfers.
5. Highlights of the Big Apple
Based in a convenient, three-star hotel within easy walking distance of the Empire State Building, this five-day tour kicks off with a welcome drink and group dinner. Excursions include a half-day of guided sightseeing, a tour of Central Park and a Fifth Avenue walk, plus a Circle Line cruise around Manhattan. Optional extras might include a Big Apple helicopter ride and a Broadway show.
Just You (0800 112 3311; justyou.co.uk) is offering numerous departures between March and Dec, from £1,599 including flights and transfers.
6. A whistlestop tour of Italy
Not for the faint-hearted, this Country Explorer trip covers a lot of ground in just 11 days. Visiting Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Naples, Perugia, Assisi, Venice, Pisa, Florence and Siena, the itinerary includes a stay in a Franciscan convent and a demonstration of glassblowing on the Giudecca island in Venice. Five guided city tours are included in the price including one in Florence for an in-depth visit to the Duomo and Piazza della Signoria, and also in Assisi to visit Giotto’s frescoes in the Basilica of St Francis.
Trafalgar (0800 533 5617; trafalgar.com) offers a departure with no single supplement on Oct 18 from £2,475 including some meals and transfers. Flights cost extra.
7. Imperial Vienna
This five-night tour is an opportunity to get to grips with Austria’s elegant capital by taking a guided tour of the city, the State Opera House and Schönbrunn Palace. Further highlights include a look at the Hofburg, with its private apartments and the Imperial Treasury, followed by a performance at the Spanish Riding School. Eat at the famous Kursalon with music in the Grand Salon and take a ride on the Ferris wheel at Prater Park, made famous in the Orson Welles film The Third Man.
One Traveller (01760 722011; onetraveller.co.uk) offers departures in April, Sept and Oct from £1,640, including most meals, flights and transfers.
8. Toronto, Montreal and Niagara Falls
Starting in Ontario’s capital, Toronto, this 10-day tour takes in the City Hall and Rogers Centre and visits the Niagara Falls before heading to Ottawa. A guided tour of historic Quebec City and Montreal with its Saint-Sulpice Seminary are highlights.
Cosmos (cosmos.co.uk) offers departures between April and Oct, from £1,654 including flights and transfers. Travellers who are prepared to share a twin room with another guest of the same gender can avoid paying a single supplement. June 28 and 30 departures coincide with the Montreal Jazz Festival.
9. Lisbon and beyond
An advantage of this escorted city break is that you join the group for meals, while enjoying plenty of free time to explore the sights from a comfortable three-star hotel, near the historic centre. There is an icebreaker drink on the first evening and a guided tour from the Belem Quarter to the Commercial Square by tuk-tuk, plus an optional day trip to Sintra for wine-tasting and a glimpse of Rosa Cape, Europe’s most westerly point.
Solitair Holidays (0844 414 4010; singlesholidays.com) is offering departures between Feb and Nov, from £749 including half board, flights and transfers.
10. China's greatest cities
With bases in well-located, four-star hotels in or near city centres, this 16-day tour offers the chance to experience four of the great Chinese cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Xian and Hong Kong, with guided visits to the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors plus a cruise on the Yangtze river.
Wendy Wu (0800 144 5292; wendywutours.co.uk) offers departures between April and Oct from £3,790 including full board, flights and transfers. Participants who are willing to share a room with a tour member of the same gender can avoid the single supplement, which starts at £690.