(CNN) — Want to snag the last seat at the walk-in-only restaurant’s bar, change your itinerary on a whim without checking with anyone else or bail on the group tour in favor of doing your own thing?
And that’s nothing to say of how empowering it can be to go it alone, making friends along the way, reflecting on the experience and learning something about yourself.
But solo travelers aren’t invulnerable to travel stress. Concerns may include how far is too far to venture on one’s own, and how real is the threat of boredom hanging out on the beach by yourself. And, most salient, is it safe?
Whether you prefer urban explorations, daredevil hikes or blissfully uncrowded island retreats, there are myriad suitable solo destinations all over the world.
We’ve rounded up five diverse trips for the solo wanderer. Discover each destination’s highlights, charms and reasons to visit.
For the adrenaline junkie: The Azores
São Miguel, the biggest island in the Azores, is home to Lagoa de Fogo.
Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images
Dangling on the precipice of virality (think Iceland, but 10 years ago) is this tiny cluster of islands, smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. But the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, is actually surprisingly easy to travel to: From Boston, for example, it’s less than a five-hour journey to Ponta Delgada, the capital city located on São Miguel Island.
From there, visitors can hop puddle jumper flights to other islands (every one boasts a commercial airport), or take ferry rides (which are cheaper, but mean significantly longer journeys).
Peak season is from May to October, and this is the most likely time to see dolphins.
Associacao de Turismo dos Acores
Whale and dolphin watching are especially popular here, since over a third of the world’s creatures cycle through the islands’ surrounding waters on migratory routes. Divers are also in for a treat with warm waters and visibility that reaches to nearly 100 feet below sea level during the peak season from May to October.
Back on land, volcanic formations have given the islands their characteristic topography, as well as their breathtaking beauty. On Pico, brave souls can traverse one of the longest lava tubes in the world, but thrill-seekers who prefer their adventures in moderation may appreciate the island’s many hiking and biking paths around volcanic craters.
For the history buff: Berkshire, England
Berkshire boasts lush meadows, an astonishing display of castles and narrow boats on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hungerford.
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With lush meadows, an astonishing display of castles, and a convenient location less than an hour from London, Berkshire is ideal for any solo traveler who loves English history, the British royal family or “Downton Abbey.”
No hotel is infused with more history than this stunning estate originally built in the 1600s by the second Duke of Buckingham as a gift to his mistress Anna Talbot. Since then, it’s played host to the infamous Profumo affair in the 1960s, the filming of The Beatles’ feature “Help!,” and most recently, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, who spent the night before her wedding to Prince Harry.
St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where those royal nuptials took place, is only a short drive away and is a must-visit for any royal aficionado. One of the most classic examples of “perpendicular Gothic” in the country, it is also still a place of worship for Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family.
The postcard-perfect Royal Borough of Windsor is also worth a stop, offering everything from Michelin-starred restaurants such as The Fat Duck and Waterside Inn to charming pedestrian-only shopping squares.
For the beach bum: Bermuda
For those looking for an island escape without the hassle and crowds of gigantic all-inclusive resorts, the refined, British-inflected Bermuda is a welcome respite.
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For those looking for an island escape without the hassle and crowds of gigantic all-inclusive resorts (where honeymooners or couples are often found in droves), the refined, British-inflected Bermuda is a welcome respite. And, with several daily direct flights from New York City, Bermuda can work as a weekend trip for residents of the US East Coast.
Guests can choose to enjoy the cove’s water hammocks or head out on a snorkel board or kayak if beach boredom begins to set in.
Pink-sand beaches are famous in Bermuda, and with good reason: They are gorgeous, especially next to the turquiose clear waters of the North Atlantic.
But no one comes to Bermuda for the hotels alone. The pink sand beaches here are one of the island’s biggest draws. With many hidden coves and smaller beaches, it’s also easy to find a spot to sun-worship sans crowds. Some of the most tempting places on the island include the cerulean waters of Jobson’s Cove and the blissful quiet of Chaplin Bay.
For the architecture aficionado: Havana, Cuba
Several architectural styles and buildings have been preserved in Havana.
Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images
Cuban architect Miguel Coyula once described Havana as “the last virgin city,” due to the great number of architectural styles and buildings that have been preserved within it. And indeed, in UNESCO-listed Old Havana, the baroque and neoclassical monuments to the pastel-painted arcades all maintain an air of timelessness.
Only 90 miles from Florida, Cuba is geographically next-door, even if it’s been near-impossible for US citizens to visit for decades. And while current restrictions have been ramped up since the Obama administration, it remains an accessible destination even for solo travelers, provided you plan ahead. (Citizens of the United States can still visit the country without a tour operator as long as their trip’s purpose is to “support the Cuban people.”)
In plain English: Visitors should interact with the locals and patronize local businesses, which is pretty good advice for any destination.
For the food lover: Kyoto, Japan
Food-obsessed Kyoto is an excellent spot for the solo traveler to begin an exploration of Japan.
Puripat Lertpunyaroj/Moment RF/Getty Images
It’s hard to think of a culture that has greater reverence for food than Japan, and nowhere is this on display more fully than the mesmerizing city of Kyoto. Less hectic and easier to navigate than Tokyo, Kyoto provides a pleasant backdrop for individuals who want an urban experience on a smaller scale.
From three-Michelin-starred restaurant Iida to a quick-but-satisfying bowl of ramen inside Kyoto Station, seemingly every corner of the city turns up a new snack or meal to experience.
Less hectic and easier to navigate than Tokyo, Kyoto provides a pleasant backdrop for individuals who want an urban experience on a smaller scale.
Matcha lovers should also pay a visit to the nearby district of Gion, famed for its teahouses and its preponderance of geishas. If you can score an invite, don’t turn down a chance to visit Ichiriki Chaya, a famed ochaya — geisha tea house — that’s over 300 years old.
And while not every Kyoto denizen will speak English, the Japanese are famously polite. Go the extra mile by learning a few words of Japanese, downloading a translation app like Google Translate, and print out addresses of where you’re headed in Japanese script to ensure you end up in the right location.
Juliet Izon is a veteran lifestyle writer, covering food, travel, interior design and entertainment. She lives with her husband and daughter in New York City.