Before any trip I take solo, I take a piece of paper and make two columns: Food and Not Food, the former containing a list of restaurants and markets I’ve come across in my research, the latter listing everything else. This loose guide, rather than an hour-by-hour itinerary, lets me stray away from the Google Maps route to follow one that looks more scenic (or smells more heavenly, if I’m following my nose). That’s the beauty of traveling alone—you can be as on-schedule or as distracted as you want, with nobody to grumble about whether you’re going too far in either direction.

If you don’t have a list—or you want to cross-check, rejigger, or add to your list—here are eight destinations we’re partial to when it comes to solo travel, because they are: a) supremely walkable, and b) supremely eatable. Walkable cities are great when you’re solo traveling because you have a lot of time on your hands, so you may as well digest the city slowly and in stride. Eatable cities are why we even travel, let’s be real here. Finally, we considered safety, based on our own and other publications’ and solo bloggers’ accounts.

First-time solo travelers, don’t be afraid to take this leap: There is no better way to relax than to explore, to give yourself some company with your thoughts, your wants, and—duh—your appetite.

Words by Nikkitha Bakshani at Food52

[Photo via @vanwonderenfrieten]