A post-pandemic trend in solo travelling to Scotland has been identified by Scotland’s national tourism organisation - after a surge of interest over the last three years. 

Taking a trip to Scotland alone is becoming more and more popular according to Google search trends identified by VisitScotland.  

According to the data, searches for ‘solo travel Scotland’ in the UK have increased by 125 per cent in the past year alone, with travellers praising Scotland’s friendly locals for making it stand out from other destinations. 

VisitScotland believe that, after the Covid outbreak stopped a lot of travel plans, people are now less willing to wait for others to travel and that this has led to a bigger 'why not' mindset post-pandemic. 

Research by solo travel website Solo Traveler has shown that 74% of solo travellers go alone because they want to experience the world without waiting for someone. 

READ MORE: VisitScotland welcomes ‘undeniable demand’ from international visitors

Tour company Mary’s Meanders specialise in Outlander experiences and have also witnessed a rise in solo travellers in recent years to Scotland. 

Guide Emma Chalmers said: “Since we started offering Outlander Tours, we have frequently hosted solo travellers. They have increased slightly since the pandemic but what is interesting is that they now say things like, 'I got tired of waiting for my friends/family members to commit and decided to just go for it', just because my husband doesn’t want to travel doesn’t mean I can’t'.  

Walking Tours in the UK was set up in early 2017 ‘to fill a niche in the tourism market for Glasgow’, a now operates in operates in seven further locations across Scotland in Edinburgh, Stirling, St Andrews, Inverness, Oban, Aberdeen and South Queensferry.

Liv Barber, co-founder and Managing Director of Walking Tours in the UK, said the walking tour company has also noticed a sharp rise in solo travellers. 

She told The Herald: “We've seen a 60% increase in solo travellers joining our tours in 2023 vs 2022 which has been wonderful. Walking tours are a great activity for solo travellers to get orientated with the city and to meet other people. 

The Herald: Dunbar Cliff Top TrailDunbar Cliff Top Trail (Image: © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam)

“Many of our guides encourage the tour groups to chat and get to know each other whilst they're walking around, so many solo travellers have gone off to get lunch or do other activities with the new friends they've made!

“We're really looking forward to welcoming even more solo travellers on the tours next year.” 

Commenting on the surge of interest in solo travelling to Scotland, Leanne Mallon, VisitScotland Head of Performance Marketing, added: “Solo travel has grown more popular post-pandemic, and this may be down to people feeling the need to seize travel opportunities now as we don’t know what might be round the corner. There has also been the rise of social media platforms like TikTok where solo travellers share their experiences and show how easy it can be to travel alone.   

“Solo travel comes with many benefits for the visitor and the destination. It allows you to explore what works or doesn’t work for you. You can encounter a wide range of people and be able to immerse yourself in Scottish culture in a way that suits you. It can be done on a budget, making it ideal for anyone wishing to watch their spending. And it can be easier to make more responsible choices such as staying longer in general or in a particular area or travelling around via more public transport, which can lessen the impact on the environment

“This trend is one that many Scottish tourism businesses can jump on. They can look at shaping their products and services to suit lone travellers and capitalise on this growing market.” 

READ MORE: How Highland Cows are helping to boost Scottish tourism

Amid the surge in interest from solo travellers, VisitScotland has crafted its ‘ultimate guide’ for solo travel in Scotland - including safety tips, must-try experiences and recommendations for the best destinations for solo travel.  

The list of destinations includes the Flow Country - the large, rolling expanse of peatland in Caithness and Sutherland - and Tay Country on Scotland's east coast, with its long sandy beaches, historical attractions, and serene countryside retreats. 

While VisitScotland also recommends experiences such as a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train, climbing Arthur’s Seat, a visit to Cawdor Castle and a walk along the Fife Coastal Path. 

To read the full guide to solo travel in Scotland, visit https://www.visitscotland.com/inspiration/solo-travel