Updated: Feb 4, 2021
Are you a Black woman? Do you love to travel or seek to travel? Then this is THE POST for you! As a Black female traveler, I am often asked “is this place safe for Black female travelers?” or “how were you treated as a Black person in this location?” I also notice that through social media, these are the questions that people are either asking or answering for others. I get it -- traveling while Black & female is a unique experience!
You are not alone.
To help you decide where to go, I mobilized the help of 12 Black Travel Queens who are living their best travel life to share their perspectives of MUST TRAVEL international destinations for Black women from their own travel experiences. These Black Travel Queens travel frequently and have been to many countries around the globe. Therefore, their perspective is particularly valuable!
In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to take a moment to celebrate these Black Travel Queens. I also want you to know that there are places we can visit comfortably, while unapologetically spreading our Black Girl Magic. Moreover, this post was important for me for my blog goals to 1. Educate others on taking micro-cations; 2. Inspire people to support Black; 3. Amplify underrepresented voices in the travel industry. This blog post does all three!
As you read through this list and wanderlust on your next vacation, please keep in mind that each experience is personal and so your experience may be different. You ready sis!?!
Table of Contents:
1. Turkey1. Turkey
2. Barbados2. Barbados
3. Iceland3. Iceland
4. Rome, Italy4. Rome, Italy
5. Ghana5. Ghana
6. Thessaloniki, Greece6. Thessaloniki, Greece
7. Costa Rica7. Costa Rica
8. Egypt8. Egypt
9. Cape Town, South Africa9. Cape Town, South Africa
10. Japan10. Japan
11. Buenos Aires, Argentina11. Buenos Aires, Argentina
12. South Korea12. South Korea
13. Oslo, Norway13. Oslo, Norway
Destination #1: Turkey
Recommended by LaQuisha
Why: Black women, I want us to travel to unfamiliar countries more! I know it’s cool to go where you see all the influencers go… but when I tell you TURKEY should be on your travel list, ADD IT!
I had the most beautiful time there. The people were nice (not very English friendly- so, please learn some Turkish), very welcoming, and will definitely know you’re a tourist because no Black people live there.
Turkey overall is an amazing country with so much to do and see. And pre-COVID days, I heard it was a party country. I didn’t experience that side of Turkey, yet!
While there, I would make sure I stay for about 3 weeks and city hop. 36 cities are tourist attractions so there is plenty to see. From the city life of Istanbul to the beach sides of Bodrum and Alanya, to the adventures and excursions of Cappadocia and Pamukkale.
Top Recommendations: While in Istanbul check out:
While in Bodrum, go to the local village Etrim. The only recommendation I have from being there is to tour the village, meet the locals and have a farm to table lunch. It is a big summer destination!
Must Eats: EVERYTHING we ate was delicious. Turkish people love their wine (non-Muslim of course). So have yourself some local wine and the Donor (Shawarma), or a nice mixed grill (chicken tikka and beef with rice). Or you can take a cooking class and have a traditional Turkish meal with Fatima’s Kitchen! Our cooking class started by walking and shopping at the local markets. The menu consisted of stuffed eggplants, stuffed grape leaves, garlic Yogurt sauce, Turkish warm pastries, Turkish rice pilaf, and salad topped off with Turkish coffee.
Need more info? Check out LaQuisha’s Resource:
Destination #2: Barbados
Recommended by Jo
Why: I have been there three times, and on every occasion, I’ve felt so welcomed by the people there. Since I too am from the Caribbean, it feels like coming home. Barbados is somewhere I would keep returning to if given the chance.
The Gap: St. Lawrence Gap, also known as “The Gap” by locals, is a small street filled with restaurants, clubs, bars, and hotels. It’s definitely the place to be at night and you will be guaranteed to find something that suits your interest. It’s even a great place to purchase souvenirs for loved ones or to try your luck at a casino!
The Boatyard: The Boatyard is a great place to spend the day at the beach because you have all your needs right within arm’s reach. The thing that makes The Boatyard such a great spot is that you pay $40 in Barbadian dollars and $35 put on a card as credit towards your food and drinks. You can stay there as long as you want and there are sunbeds, umbrellas, and chairs for you to relax in. You can also opt-in for a boat trip that takes you out to see the turtles and a shipwreck. The Boatyard is great for kids (and big kids) as well, because there is an assortment of inflated water slides to enjoy.
Must Eats: I’m telling you...you cannot leave Barbados without stopping at Cuz’s Fish Shack. I found it by accident on my first trip to the island and what a happy mistake that was! Cuz’s serves up marlin filet fish sandwiches on a soft bread bun. Toppings include lettuce, a fried egg, and cheese. It’s a nice snack to take with you to the nearby beach or to eat at any time. It was so good that I ended up going three times during my visit!
Destination #3: Iceland
Recommended by Ashlee
Why: Iceland had amazing food. It’s an island so there are lots of fresh seafood. Iceland was gorgeous and also had a variety of beautiful landscapes. The food was delicious and the people were surprisingly friendly. With only a 5-hour plane ride from the East Coast, I'd definitely recommend going for those who want a different travel experience.
You must see the Northern Lights
Take any tour to see the beautiful landscape...geysers, black sand, waterfalls, and more.
Need more info? Check out Ashlee’s Resource:
Also, check out Franny the Traveler’s Resources:
Destination #4: Rome, Italy
Recommended by Ashlee
Why: What can I say about Rome? The food, the people, the culture. Everything! What amazed me the most was the juxtaposition of its rich history with its modern current culture. I remember getting off the metro, looking up, and staring directly at the Coliseum. I felt like I stepped right into my 8th-grade history book.
Top Recommendations: You must visit the
All the historical sights
...and catch their metro there!
Must Eats: Obviously any pasta, pizza or gelato are musts!
Destination #5: Ghana
*NOTE: This was recommended by two Black travelers.
Therefore, you know it’s got to be worth it!
Recommended by Saundra
Connect with Saundra: Instagram
Why: From the time I got off the plane, I felt like I was home. One lady even came up to me and said you have a good aura...welcome home my child! Having taken an ancestry test that revealed that I have roots in Ghana, it got chills! There are so many places and things to do in Ghana!
Cape Coast and Elmina Slave Castle: To learn about the slave trade and the Door of No Return. To actually be in the same room where so many women died for so many reasons and the living conditions so poor. I cried during the tour of both castles...it was very overwhelming for me as I am an emotional person!
Kakum National Park: A beautiful experience. Walking across 7 canopy bridges was a scary experience, but created an adrenaline rush at the same time. Get there early in the morning as that heat was no joke, especially in December. Be sure to have a coconut drink or some Palmwine. Just so you know - it is a mile walk just to get to the canopies.
Kwame Nkrumah Park and Mausoleum: This is the resting place of Ghana's first president and the museum has so many interesting artifacts. Being a history buff, this was right up my alley.
Other places to visit: Makola Market, Black Square, I love the Accra sign at the Urbana Hotel, Labadi Beach, and the Botanical Gardens
Sky Bar 25 had the best views of the city,
Simret Ethiopian was also a good spot.
We ate at this restaurant called Zara inside of the Best Western Premier Accra Airport.
We also ate at Terrace Restaurant at the Elmina Beach Resort.
LA Tante DC 10 Restaurant (made out of an airplane)
Now someone said you must have the Fufu. However, it was too hot (weather) for me to eat it. Of course, you can't leave Ghana without having Jollof rice
Recommended by Naa Adei
Why: Because that’s home for me. Although the country is still developing much of its infrastructure, I think Ghana just feels free. From the minute you step off the plane, no matter where you’re from, it feels like home.
Top Recommendations: When in Ghana, people should visit the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park/museum and Elmina Castle in Cape Coast.
Wind down at Bloom Bar if they can get in 😅.
Make sure to eat some waakye for a true breakfast of champions
Need more info? Check out Naa Adei’s Resource:
Destination #6: Thessaloniki, Greece
Recommended by Bisola
Why: It was my first solo travel destination and I honestly loved every minute of it. The locals were super nice, they didn't stare, and at no point did I feel unsafe when I was out exploring, not even at night. Another great perk of this destination is that it is very affordable - your money goes a long way here in my experience.
Top Recommendations: Some must-dos in Thessaloniki include
Climbing up the White Tower: It's the most iconic monument in the city and the view from the top is breath-taking.
Taking a stroll in Ana Poli (The Old Town) to discover its beautiful narrow paved alleys, architecture, and a unique atmosphere.
Must Eats: The food in Thessaloniki is also amazing and pretty cheap! Make sure you try Bougatsa when you visit. Honestly, it will blow your mind as it is a traditional, rustic Greek pie made of a filo pastry usually filled with cream or custard and powdered sugar on top.
Need more info? Check out Bisola’s Resource:
Destination #7: Costa Rica
Recommended by Sojourner
Why: I LOVED my trip to Costa Rica! Not because they treated me special, but because it was a destination where I could just be. I went with two friends, also Black women. We stayed in Jacó and La Fortuna.
I would recommend getting an Airbnb on the beach in Jacó and relaxing.
In La Fortuna, I would recommend taking a guided hike of Río Celeste and ziplining in the rainforest.
Must Eats: For food, get the dish, Casado which comes with rice, beans, plantains, a salad, and meat or a fish of some kind. Each restaurant makes its own version, but I loved it every time I ate it!
Destination #8: Egypt
Recommended by Sandra
Why: The country I felt the most embraced as a black woman was Egypt. From the time I stepped off the plane, I was greeted with “Welcome Home, Queen”. I was treated like royalty the entire time. I was granted access to places that weren’t open to others and allowed to take pictures without paying an additional fee - which is something very common there. I opened the temple at Abu Simbel and greeted tourists as they entered with the Ankh in my hand. An amazing experience!
Visiting the pyramids, of course
The sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings
A cruise on the Nile River.
Must Eats: My favorite foods were the Shish Kabab and Kofta.
Need more info? Check out Sandra’s Resource:
Also, check out Franny the Traveler’s Resources:
Destination #9: Cape Town, South Africa
Recommended by Jennifer
Why: The people were very friendly, the country is BEAUTIFUL, super inexpensive and you will definitely feel welcomed! I think the thing that I loved the most about the country was the scenic views. Everywhere you look, there is a view of some mountain or body of water. The mountain views were almost unreal when I captured them on camera. I also loved how cheap everything was. I was there for two weeks and only spent about $600 which included eating out three meals a day, shopping, and bringing back 12 bottles of wine from the local wineries!
I highly recommend visiting the Aquia Wild Game reserve, it's so cool. You'll have the opportunity to see lions, elephants, giraffes, and more in their natural habitat. You'll even learn some fun animal facts! Did you know a herd of zebras is called a "dazzle"? I sure didn't!
I also recommended visiting the Stellenbosch wine region
The Gold Restaurant (you get a show, an African drum lesson, and a 14-course meal for just $30!)
The food in Cape Town is amazing, so it's hard for me to pick one spot. I would have to say Harbor House is my favorite. It's a waterfront seafood restaurant in Kalk Bay. I still think about the grilled prawns and rice salad I had there.
Because I'm a rule breaker, I'm going to give one more: The Hussar Grill. It is a semi-fancy steak house in the Camps Bay area. A three-course meal with wine for four people will run you about $25 USD and the food is PHENOMENAL.
Need more info? Check out Jennifer’s Resource:
Destination #10: Japan
Recommended by Jessie
Connect with Jessie: Blog
Why: I traveled there solo and felt welcomed because the locals are very friendly. It’s easy to travel around the country via high-speed trains and I never felt unsafe or gawked at. You can also easily meet other travelers there!
Kyoto (temples, bamboo forest, and money park)
Shopping in Harajuku
Visiting an onsen (hot spring spa)
Check out a sumo match if you can.
My top food recommendation is eating fresh sushi at Sushi Dai. Get there early like 5 am early and be prepared to wait in line, but it’s worth the wait!
Need more info? Check out Jessie’s Resources:
Destination #11: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Recommended by Dacia
Why: I’ve been to 40+ countries and have been very fortunate that I have had relatively positive experiences in all of them. It’s hard to pick just one…but I would go with Argentina. I went to Buenos Aires (BA) by myself and just loved it there. I felt very comfortable and I was able to navigate my way around the city quite easily by public transportation and taxi (this was pre-rideshare). I felt welcomed everywhere I went as it is a city of immigrants and everyone was very friendly to me. I believe my Blackness played in my favor. I remember one specific woman in a small shop, it was just the two of us and we ended up talking for almost one hour. Our conversation ended with her giving me a big hug. That is what is so special about travel - making those connections. Many Argentines speak English, but I always tried to speak in Spanish (I took it in high school and college, but admit I was very rusty since I hadn’t really spoken it in years).
As far as things to do, there is something for just about everyone. I had my heart set on seeing a tango performance, so the owner of the small B&B I stayed at in the Palermo neighborhood recommended the Esquina Carlos Gardel Tango Show. Gardel is considered the father of tango music. You can attend just the show or have an optional dinner before. The show was fantastic with a live orchestra, singers and dancers - it’s very sensuous and so entertaining. I did opt for the gourmet dinner. Argentina is known for its steaks so I could not finish my meal because it was simply too much (I think my steak was triple the size and thickness of what we are used to in the US) but it was excellent.
A visit to BA is not complete without going to the city’s oldest barrio, San Telmo. They have an all-day Sunday market that stretches for about 15 blocks. The rest of BA pretty much shuts down that day. Food, antique markets, art galleries, dance, and street performances are to be experienced. It is such a lively atmosphere. I took a taxi there since public transport has a reduced schedule on Sundays.
If you’re into history then a must-see is Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Peron, the former First Lady of Argentina, is buried. The cemetery itself is just amazing. I admit I usually get a bit creeped out in them, but this was definitely an exception. It’s mostly elaborate mausoleums where generations of families are buried. Some looked like small churches since they were so grand. The Familia Duarte mausoleum where Evita is buried is very unassuming and took me a bit of time to locate.
There are a number of restaurants and shops nearby in the Recoleta barrio. I had the most delectable ravioli in a creamy white sauce in a small restaurant down the street from the cemetery.
Destination #12: South Korea
Recommended by Rondette
Why: While living in Asia, I absolutely loved visiting South Korea. Perhaps it’s because a lot of US troops had been based there in the past. Nonetheless, I felt welcomed and embraced.
It’s an absolute must to explore the food scene, the shopping scene, and historical landmarks
N Seoul Tower
You can’t leave without trying authentic Korean BBQ!
Destination #13: Oslo, Norway
Recommended by Franny
Why: My experience in Oslo as a Black woman was a pleasant surprise. My whole experience in Oslo was shocking (in a good way) with the amount of diversity I saw during my short time there. I have to admit that I came in thinking this would be a very white Scandinavian country, when in fact it was probably the most diverse one I had been to. I later found out that 30% of its population are immigrants and the immigrant population is growing faster than the native Norwegian population! It was refreshing to see students of diverse backgrounds playing with each other in the background, to eat Jamaican food from a half Jamaican, half Norwegian chef, and to stumble upon a mural featuring a Black astronaut. I found it easy to travel solo as a Black woman -- very accessible transportation, no awkward stares and treated like a local. People actually assumed I lived there first as they started speaking Norwegian first then changed to English.
Chill at the Cafe Afrikaden: Here you can find a bunch of interracial families listening to storytelling by a Black Norwegian or a Latino band performing. This felt like a safe space for people of color.
Check out Intercultural Museum: This is a migration museum that features Norwegian immigration history and cultural changes in a unique way! They try to fight against prejudice against immigration groups. For example, there are a series of short films you can watch of a French man using social experiments on the street to teach people about the impact of prejudice
Watch Frank Znort Quartet play at Blå: Frank Znort Quartet (FZQ) is a jazz/punk big band from Oslo. They have held a free concert every Sunday since they began playing in 1998.
Engeberet Cafe: This is a great place to get a traditional Christmas Oslo dinner! It is Oslo’s oldest restaurant -- around since 1857
Vafler Iskrem/Haralds Vaffel: Grab Norwegian waffles with homemade gingerbread ice cream. Norwegian waffles are thinner than American or Belgian waffles
Mathallen Food Hall: Try the cheese!
Brown cheese: it is a thing in Norway! It’s much sweeter because it is caramelized.
Need more info? Check out Franny’s Resource: