Travelling is one of the best ways to open your mind and gain perspective, but discovering new destinations alone can bring even more benefits. You can be a bit more selfish, confident and independent – and that’s all before you’ve stepped off the plane…

Amsterdam, Holland

There are few better ways to shake off the stresses of modern life than strolling along the peaceful canals that crisscross this Dutch city. It’s safe to walk (or cycle) and both residents and travellers often congregate in the famous brown cafes – traditional pubs that locals use like an extension of their living room. There’s even a restaurant dedicated to solo diners: Eenmaal sets tables for one and describes itself as being “an attractive place for temporary disconnection”. Further contemplation can be found at one of Amsterdam’s many art galleries. The Rijksmuseum, which reopened in 2013 after a 10-year renovation, is home to Rembrandt’s remarkable ‘The Night Watch’; while the Van Gogh museum will be marking the 125th anniversary of the artist’s death in 2015, with special events including a new entrance building and exhibition design.

Ibiza, Spain

If you’ve got sunshine, sea and a good book, there’s little need for any human interaction. It’s important though, to choose a sandy spot carefully – especially if sunbathing on your own. Despite its party reputation, Balearic island Ibiza has several laid-back spots to choose from. Cala d’Hort on the southwest coast attracts photographers, spiritualists and nature fans, who come to watch the sunset over rock islands Es Vedra and Es Vedranell. But you don’t have to spend the entire holiday alone. With bars and clubs all over the island, Ibiza is buzzing with social activity and it’s easy to make new friends. The best clubs can be found along Playa den’Bossa. Ibiza Town offers a good combination of nightlife, beach and history, with the Unesco-protected Dalt Vila (high town) being a sightseeing highlight.

Boston, USA

Striking up a conversation with strangers can be daunting, but once you stumble upon shared interests it’s actually very easy. One topic that seems to interest most people is food. From dining out in gourmet restaurants to grabbing snacks from pop-up street food stalls, eating your way around a city is a great, sociable way to get to grips with local culture. Boston has an exciting culinary scene, and one of the best ways to uncover delicious hidden gems and meet new friends over beers and burgers is with Boston Foodie Tours. Their most popular tour visits Beacon Hill and Back Bay, and includes a stop at a breakfast café popular with A-listers. Another great option is Boston Wine Tasting and Walking Tours, which includes sampling delicious dishes in some of the best local restaurants. Mobile food trucks also gather at the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a network of parklands reclaimed from a traffic-clogged flyover in the city, where you can also find fountains, flower gardens and open-air art exhibitions.

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