Girls’ Weekends Away: The Best Locations For An Escape From Reality

Grab your besties and let’s go…

Girls' weekends away

by Lydia Spencer-Eliott |
Updated on

Sob, Winter is well and truly here to stay. Cashmere is out of cupboards; linen is vacuum packed away and gradual tanner is getting applied in swathes overnight. But that doesn’t have to mean the era of the girls’ weekendaway is over. Nope, we’ve rounded up the best locations you can visit all year round for a quick trip to shake off the office slump with your gals. So, keep reading for everything you need to know about planning the ultimate girls’ trip…

The best girls’ weekends away locations – Europe

Paris

If you're anything like us - Emily in Paris is on your Netflix's most watched list. In fact, the week after season three launched, searches for Parisian breaks increased by 40% according to Expedia flight search data*. One of Expedia’s top travel trends for this year is the rise of ‘ Set-Jetters’, where our favourite TV shows and movies are inspiring travellers to visit top destinations from television.  If you want to live and breathe Paris like the Emily in Paris cast, Expedia UK have you covered with the below itinerary.

For those looking to explore Paris on a tighter budget, Hotels.com data has showed us that, with the rise in the cost of living, travellers are going to be savvier than ever in 2023. However, whilst they are looking for value for money they also don't want to compromise on the cool-factor. Expedia's Three Star-Superstars means you can experience Paris in all it's glory at an affordable price point.

Everyone thinks Paris can only be experienced with a romantic partner but my trip proved it is also a girls trip destination. Forget Alfie and Gabriel and your preconceptions of Paris - experience Paris with the Mindy to your Emily!

*Expedia data search from 21st-31st December, showing traveller interest in Paris flights compared to 10th—20th December 2022.

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Paris activities

Bateaux-Mouches Seine River Cruise & Dinner. 1 of 5
CREDIT: Expedia UK

Bateaux-Mouches Seine River Cruise & Dinner. 

On day one, I experienced the magnificent night-lights of Paris on the water. We floated along the Seine River eating a delicious three course meal, sipping on the finest champagne and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle above. While we dinned a singer and violinist set the scene as we indulged in the relaxing atmosphere. For a truly memorable experience in Paris, this is not one to miss. Book on Expedia from £190 for two people/£95 per person.

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Citroen Tour

On day two we took an hour sightseeing tour in style amongst the hustle and bustle of the city in a vintage Citroen C2. Take in the beautiful atmosphere of Paris in a unique way and see historical monuments as you drive along; from the Louvre to the Champs-Élysées. To experience a unique view of the city look no further!
Book on Expedia from £96 for 2 people/ £48 per person.

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Sweet Gourmet Specialities Tasting Tour with Pastry & Chocolate

If you've got a sweet tooth like us - this is for you. In Emily In Paris, Gabriel is always cooking up a storm. So, if you want to eat like a true Parisian local and try all the best pastries and chocolate the city has to offer look no further. On this three hour tour a dedicated guide takes you around Paris tasting all the sweet treats and teaching you the history of the different buildings in Paris. As you wonder around the cobbled streets soak up the knowledge and the delectable flavours. Book on Expedia from £180 for 2 people/£90 per person

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Sinner Paris - Hotel

Sinner Paris is one of the most unique boutique hotels in Paris. This 5-star accommodation is located in Paris' fashionable and central Marais district. Decorated with stained glass, lanterns and gothic decor; the hotel offers an intimate ambiance. The Louvre Museum and Palais Garnier are cultural highlights, and some of the area's notable landmarks include Notre-Dame and Arc de Triomphe. For breakfast and dinner you can even stay onsite. The meals at Sinner's international cuisine restaurant headed by chef Adam Bentalha are fabulous.

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Sinner Paris Bedroom

Marbella

We know, we know. TOWIE has already told you this. But Marbella is up there for the best girls’ trip locations of all time. Whether drinking litres of Whispering Angel at Nikki Beach, dining out at Nobu or dancing all night at La Suite or Mosh Fun Kitchen—you are guaranteed to leave this place with enough anecdotes to last a lifetime.

General view of Cabopino beach during a sunny summer day. Native vegetation and wooden pedestrian walkway in the foreground and in the background the Mediterranean Sea and mountains on the horizon.

Milan

Italy’s most fabulous Northern city isn’t just a must visit for world-famous shopping at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Milan boasts unbelievable history, stunning buildings, and gorgeous green spaces to wander through like Sempione Park. By day, our favourite activities were visiting Bar Luce, designed by Wes Anderson, and taking a day trip to Lake Como. By night, take advantage of the free food (aperitivo) that comes with all cocktails before heading to a Milanese speakeasy like 1930.

Aerial view of Milan Piazza Del Duomo at sunset, Italy.

Madrid

Spain’s capital offers plenty of guaranteed fun for a few days away with your friends. We love the unbelievable sunsets and sangria at Radio Rooftop, the tapas at Mercado de San Miguel, the art scene in Lavapies and the partying in Chueca. For a moment of relaxation amongst the rioja, we recommend the city’s oldest hotel, Gran Hotel Inglés for luxury rooms and a central location.

Metropolis Building on the corner of Gran Via and Calle Alcala with long exposure

Valencia

One of Spain’s smaller cities, Valencia is the perfect place to stay, play, eat, and dance, without getting overwhelmed. We explored the architecture on foot, sunbathed on Playa de las Arenas, rowed a boat at the stunning city of Arts and Sciences before chowing down on some tapas at La Bodeguilla del Gato and dancing for hours at Play Club, Russafa.

Valencia, Spain

Ibiza

The White Isle is the perfect place to rave and relax in equal measure. We partied at Pacha’s world famous night club, with free entry included with our rooms at El Hotel. For dinner, the only place to be is Nobu (their miso cod will seriously change your life) and the best place to flop out is around Destino Pacha's pool with an amazing seafood paella before the DJs ramp up for another afternoon of fun.

People enjoying vacations in the Cala Salada lagoon. Idyllic scenery. Ibiza, Balearic Islands. Spain

Vale Do Lobo

Less like a resort and more like an exclusive community, Vale do Lobo is the perfect place to recharge your batteries and get some winter sun with your pals. We spent the day drinking rosé at the stunning Well Beach Club, taking beach side walks, doing yoga, playing tennis and eating the most delicious tuna tacos at U&Co restaurant. Super adaptable to any ocassion, Vale Do Lobo has a range of accommodation options to suit any party, with private pools, jacuzzis and chic minimalist decor all on offer for a chill but fun weekend away.

The best girls’ weekends away locations – UK

Sometimes even hopping on a short flight can feel like just too much hassle after the chaos of security and baggage claim. So, if you’re looking for the best staycation hotspots, these are Grazia’s top recommendations for girls’ weekends away in the UK…

Edinburgh

Gorgeous views and incredible nightlife await in Scotland's capital. We got the sleeper train from London to Edinburgh before setting off the trip to an active start with a climb up Arthur's Seat just after the sun rose over the city. Next, we walked to Calton Hill to see Nelson's monument and the City Observatory before collapsing into our room at the effortlessly cool Gleneagles Townhouse.

Located in the heart of St. Andrew Square, Gleneagles Townhouse rooms are simultaneously chic and cosy with unbelievable rain showers and enviable interior design. Based in a grand building with dome ceilings and wooden staircases, which previously housed the Royal Bank of Scotland, the hotel simultaneously feels traditional and modern with paintings by Scottish contemporary artists and pink velvet chairs. For dinner, we headed downstairs to the all-day restaurant, The Spence, (you need to try the harissa roasted-carrots) before heading up to the lively members’ club and rooftop bar, Lamplighters, which boasts extraordinary views over Edinburgh’s skyline.

On day two, we visited Edinburgh castle before stopping in at the neighbouring candle-lit restaurant The Witchery for lunch. If you've still got energy left in you, wander down to Edinburgh's edgier end of town, Leith, to wander around the independent shops and grab a drink at The Pitt - expect disco music and dancing.

Margate

Hear us out, because the rumours are true: Margate is the new Shoreditch. Yup, all of East London’s cool crowd who’ve been priced out of the capital have migrated to Kent and are setting up edgy eateries and art galleries along the coast. For accommodation, AirBnB is your best option. To eat, head to Sargasso on Stone Pier. For culture, head to the Turner Contemporary gallery and for thrills, try the UK’s oldest rollercoaster at Dreamland amusement park.

Margate beach England aerial shot at sunrise

The Cotswolds

The Holiday eat your heart out. Christmas is the perfect time to head to the Cotswolds with your mum, sisters, or besties. We visited the gorgeous town of Broadway and stayed at the converted farm: Dormy House Hotel & Spa. This cosy 17th-century countryside escape is the perfect place to unwind in a relaxed environment that still feels like a family home. Whether walking around the grounds in your wellies, releasing your toxins in the Lavender infused sauna or chatting in the outdoor jacuzzi - we can't think of a better way to spend a weekend.

But that's not to say that it's all nap time and facials at Dormy House (although there are luxurious amounts of that). Party people can opt to stay in the farm house's sound-proofed suite, The Studio, which features Bluetooth speakers, rainbow mood lighting, an expansive collection of vinyl records and an actual drum kit. Pair those amenities with a few bottles of champagne and who knows where the night will take you...

London

The greatest city in the world. London has so much to offer in terms of culture and nightlife, but we recommend sticking to one area for a staycation to avoid exhausting your social battery. We headed to the city’s newest hotel Amano Covent Garden. With sleek rooms, a free standing gold bath that overlooks the city, and a luxurious king size bed, we knew we'd come to the right place to stay the night in central London. After dropping off our bags and cheersing the weekend with a bottle of champagne at Anamo's lively rooftop bar, we ate at the Italian favourite 40 Dean Street (truffle spaghetti to die for) before rounding off the evening with cocktails at experimental cocktail bar Archer Street. For even more London recommendations head here.

The River Thames and Canary wharf at sunrise
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