Between work stress, family life, and wondering why your ex won’t text you back, life can be hard. We all need a break once in a while and sometimes there’s nothing better hopping on a plane, in a car, or on a damn bike and just skipping town for a few days on a girl’s holiday with your best pals. Instead of waiting for your phone to buzz with a new tinder match, pack up your bags, call up the gang and just go. Try street foods you never thought you would. Talk to strangers. Soak up local culture and stories so that you come home with your own tales to tell. You can swipe right later.
Here are 7 of the most memorable, unique, and straight-up awe-inspiring destinations for a girls holiday.
1. Santorini, Greece
Dancing grandpas and copious amounts of baklava show you how to live your best life
There’s nothing like a spot of island hopping, great food, and sunset story telling with your best gal pals to show you how to relish life. Stroll along Santorini’s sun-bleached harbours and dip your toes in the Aegean Sea along beaches fringed by palms and powder-white houses. Knock elbows with locals in a tiny taverna where you can try dishes you’ve never heard of; fish steamed in ouzo, olives baked in bread, and feta cheese grilled with tangy vegetables from a local garden. After dinner, find an all-night party and dance up a storm with the gang. A Greek grandpa will probably dance you under the table but it’s the taking part that counts.
Where to stay
Nestled in a down town area of Santorini, Fire Backpackers Place is a 10-minute stroll from the centre of Fira town. Cheap and cheerful, all private rooms have a bath, balcony, fridge and air-conditioning.
: Chris Lawton
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Slick, swish and best seen from the seat of a bicycle
This sparkling city is underrated, with so much on offer that it’s hard to know where to start. Stroll along Stroget, Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street, and explore the side streets for quirky boutiques selling one off items. Be your own Prince Charming and take your girlfriends on a romantic walk to Tivoli Gardens to watch the sunset. Bikes are available free at city centre stands so, do as the locals do, and soak up the city from behind its handlebars. Stop for coffee and sticky cinnamon buns along the way- this is Denmark, after all.
Where to stay
Winner of numerous awards, Copenhagen Downtown Hostel, is located in the old part of Copenhagen, next to the City Hall Square and parliament. It’s a short stroll from Denmark’s best museums, galleries, and pumping nightlife.
: Kasper Rasmussen
3. Seoul, Korea
A spa retreat, Gangnam style
A girl’s holiday to Seoul means sipping matcha lattes in cute Hello Kitty cafés, 24-hour shopping, outrageously good fashion, and spas that offer possibly the world’s best bang for your buck. Have a girly pamper day at one of the many jjimjilbang (spas) dotted around the city. Relax in a mud bath or holistic oil massage, before donning cute pyjamas provided by the spa and sitting in a room infused with Himalayan pink salt bricks. If it’s snail gel or avocado face masks that you’re after, then zip across to Myeongdong where you can purchase Korean beauty products so cute they’ll make Micky Mouse blush. If it’s partying you’re craving, then start with drinks in Hongdae, followed closely by dancing in Gangnam. Go on, here’s your chance to do the Gangnam Style gallop with #noshame.
Where to stay
Zzzip Guesthouse is in the centre of Seoul, is close to the city’s main attractions, bars and nightlife. The staff are friendly, and there’s a choice of private or dorm rooms available. The train station is a 3-minute walk away, which is always handy.
4. Marrakesh, Morocco
Dizzying diversity, hammams and oh-so-instagrammable architecture
A trip to the picturesque grounds of La Mamounia will ensure your camera is full of Instagram-worthy snapshots for a long time to come. Spend hours exploring the intriguing street-theatre of the Djemaa el-Fna. Stop at a local café, order a mint tea, and watch locals sit on steps and chatter as kids kick footballs through the street. Learn how to roll couscous, share a tagine with your besties, shop for secret treasures in the colourful souks, before sweating it all out in a restorative hammam.
Where to stay
A riad-style terrace with beautiful patterned tiles, Rodamon Riad, Marrakech is not only picture perfect on the inside, but it looks out at awe-inspiring views of the Atlas Mountains.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
Northern lights and music nights
Mixtape at the ready, and miles of open road that stretches as far as the eye can see, Iceland is the perfect place for an all-girls road trip. Go for a soak in a hot spring, trek glaciers and ogle at the beauty of mother nature as it unfolds in front of you. Meanwhile, try and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights as you head back into the city for a late-night party. The music scene is particularly good so throw your hands up, tie your hair back, and dance like nobody’s watching.
Where to stay
Reykjavik Downtown HI Hostel sits on a cosy residential street, just minutes from the buzzing centre of town. There are 4 and 10-bed dorms, as well as family and private rooms. This place had been eco-friendly since 2010.
6. Phuket, Thailand
White sandy beaches, incredible sunsets and enough mango sticky rice to heal a broken heart
What could be better than a girl’s holiday on a powder white beach, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Completely switch off as you perfect your downward dog yoga moves at sunrise, followed by a Thai massage at lunch and sunset Chakra balancing at dinner. Grab the girls for a spot of island hopping, swim in crystal clear waters, and stop off for a bowl of mango sticky rice- or three. If you’re craving a night on the town then nowhere does it better than the vibrant city of Patong. Make sure you have an aspirin ready for the morning after.
Where to stay: L’atelier Poshtel is a hostel done right. Pick from an array of comfortable private and dorm rooms, all decorated in bright neutral tones with comfy beds. The hostel is a 5-minute drive from Phuket city centre and there’s a motorbike for hire should you need it.
7. London, England
Afternoon teas and Big Ben selfies
A girl’s holiday to London might mean you’re scraping by with noodles for a month when you get home, but it’s worth every penny. Start with a trip to one of the many grand hotels offering the quintessential British treat of afternoon tea. Sip from china cups with your pinky out and smother scones with unholy amounts of jam and cream. Take selfies with touristy landmarks like the Tower of London and Big Ben, before heading for rooftop cocktails and exploring London’s buzzing nightlife. If it all gets a little too much, head out for a picnic to Hyde Park and bask in the sun. Or rain. This is England, after all.
Where to stay
Only minutes from Tower Bridge, Wombats City Hostel is brilliantly located, with a huge communal bar, courtyard, and cosy hangout area giving it a real feel of home. With clean linen, welcome drinks and the best of Shoreditch on your doorstep, you might just forget to leave.