Partners and kids look away now! We’ve picked out six fabulous destinations for girlfriend-only getaways, plus one “wow” house to inspire all you fun-loving girls to finally book that best-friends’ break you’ve been plotting for so long. Whether you all share the same passion, perhaps for fashion or for food, or whether you just want to go somewhere to get away from it all, chill out, and catch up, we have the perfect spot for you.
A shopping sojourn in Copenhagen, Denmark
You may come thinking you’ll soak up some culture, but chances are you won’t so much as step inside a museum. Copenhagen’s vast array of large designer stores and artisan boutiques makes it tricky to know where to start. A good place is Strøget, one of the world’s longest pedestrian streets, with a happy mix of classic department stores (including Magasin and Illum) and small independents. Alongside it, charming Læderstræde is a quieter alternative with jewellery, clothing, and homewares boutiques. For antiques, head for Bredgade or less pricey Ravnsborggade with its flea market, or for second-hand and curiosity shops, plus hip cafes and art galleries, make for Jægersborggade in the Nørrebro district. If you’re still feeling guilty about that culture, check out the Danish and international fashion and textile collections in the Designmuseum Danmark.
A beach babes’ break in Cap Ferret, Aquitaine, France
Whether you want to flake out on the sand or try some watersports—or a bit of both—France’s chic French oyster capital is a brilliant bet. From calm secluded spots such as L’Herbe to invigorating Atlantic stretches including Grand Crohot, it offers fresh air in abundance alongside a healthy choice of activities, including canoeing, surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and cycling. If you’re among foodie friends, go sea fishing to catch your dinner, or retreat to the sea-view terrace of a restaurant for oyster platters and local wine. Boat-trips to the L’ile aux Oiseaux in Arcachon Bay are fun, but the local star turn is the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s largest sand dune.
A rustic retreat at Lindau, Lake Constance, Germany
Set partly on an island in Lake Constance (known locally as the Bodensee), this picture-postcard spot has a real get-away-from-it-all feel. Climb the lighthouse or board a boat-trip or the ferry to Konstanz town for in-your-face views of the surrounding valleys and snow-capped Alpine peaks. Bring or hire bikes and you can also try cycling around the lake—or at least some of the 250 kilometres, hopping aboard the ferry when you’re ready to come home. Other challenges include the Skywalk Allgäu Naturerlebnispark with its treetop path, or hiking or skiing in the Swiss/Austrian mountains at the southern end of the lake. Refuel over a convivial meal in one of the scenic lakeside restaurants.
A cultural city break in Moscow, Russia
From richly decorated metro stations to some of the world’s best ballet, theatre, classical music, and opera performances courtesy of the iconic Bolshoi Theater and other venues, Russia’s cosmopolitan capital is a top pick for culture mavens. Imbibe the offerings of the Moscow Art Theatre, where method acting was founded, the Moscow International Performing Arts Centre, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, or head for a free concert hosted by many of the city’s lively bars, pubs, and clubs. Unmissable historic sites are the presidential fortress complex of the Kremlin, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), and the Central House of Artist (CHA).
A foodie fiesta with friends in the Douro Valley, Portugal
Home to some of the country’s best wineries and vineyards, this stunning region of northern Portugal is tailor-made for those who love taking life easy over picnics of local produce amidst the vines or leisurely lunches in restaurants with heart-stopping valley views. Many estates open their doors for wine-tasting tours—some of which are accompanied by gourmet meals, or else the chance to sample other local specialities including olive oil, cheeses, and jams. The Douro also has four enchanting cities to explore: Amarante with its lovely arched bridge and eminently strollable historic centre, as well as Lamego, Régua, and Pinhão.
Great escape in Peyia, Cyprus
Prepare to have your breath well and truly taken away when you arrive at this stylish villa with its outdoor pool, hot tub, and sun-deck with mountain, valley, and sea views. Sleeping 10 and perfect for a girls’ break in the sun, it has an open-plan kitchen and dining room plus a chic living room with vast sofas for lolling on long into the night. There’s plenty of space for socialising outside too, whether it’s on the many sun-loungers, on the furnished terrace, or around the barbecue. If you can tear yourselves away, it’s a 10-minute walk to Peyia with its bakery, shops, restaurants, and bars and less than an hour to the beaches of Coral Bay and Corallia. For livelier nightlife, head to nearby Paphos.