Edinburgh has been named one of the best locations in the world to visit as a solo travellers - alongside Malaysia, Iceland, Ecuador, Mexico City and Oman.
Scotland’s capital was rated ahead of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Montenegro, Alberta in Canada, Argentina, Thailand and Istanbul after a survey of international travel experts and bloggers for American news website Huffington Post.
Edinburgh was hailed for its “ghosts and grand tales, magical Harry Potter moments, stunning Scottish architecture and a multitude of exhilarating festivals.”
The list of “awesome solo travel destinations” appeared after it was cited as one of the key trends in the worldwide industry trends for 2020.
Vancouver, in Canada, South Korea, Malta, Taipei, in Taiwan, Georgia and Australia also made the top 25 along with Edinburgh.
Tourism agency VisitScotland has already been targeting solo travellers, highlighting the fact the county is “very safe, for women and LGBT+ solo travellers alike, with street harassment and theft rare, as is the potential for picking up diseases or infections.”
A recent blog post on its website states: “Looking for unique and memorable solo travel ideas? Scotland could be just what you’re looking for! Travelling alone offers the chance to discover and connect with yourself more deeply.
“In the myth inspiring land of Scotland (location of many a famous movie set for good reason!), you’re guaranteed an ideal solo getaway for any budget or preference.”
Huffington Post’s article - which lists the top 50 places around the world “that will surely inspire your wanderlust” - describes solo travel as “one of the most powerful ways to explore a new place.”
It adds: "From the freedom and flexibility to the stress relief and boost in self-reliance, there are endless benefits to solo travel. And there are many exciting places to make it happen."
Writing about Edinburgh on the site, travel blogger Alice Nettleingham said: “As a solo traveller, you’ll be warmly welcomed by friendly locals. Walking through the streets at night need not be a worry. You’re in good hands here.”
VisitScotland's guide to solo travelling in Scotland, which recommends Edinburgh Castle and Arthur's Seat as must-see visits for solo travellers, also highlights the country's plethora of "insta-worthy independent book shops, coffee shops and cafes, where you can enjoy the relaxed hipster culture while reading some Scottish literature".
A spokesman for VisitScotland said: “It’s no wonder Edinburgh has been ‘singled out’ as an awesome solo travel destination due to our famous warm Scottish welcome coupled with its vibrant culture, heritage and culinary scene.
“Making this list reflects the diverse range of travellers who see the capital as a must-visit destination.”
A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, the umbrella body for the industry in the city, said: “Edinburgh is an iconic city that is renowned for its unique built heritage and culture.
“It is wonderful to be recognised, alongside so many other wonderful places, as a top solo travel destination where visitors can feel safe while enjoying all the city has to offer.”
A spokeswoman for the city council said: “Compact to explore on foot, boasting a year-round calendar of festivals - we know Edinburgh is an ideal place to live and likewise visit.
“We’re pleased that the warm welcome from residents, the city’s cultural calendar and breathtaking beauty have been recognised by solo travellers and rightly so.”