Every year I go on a girls' holiday with the same group of friends. And our 2018 destination just might be my favourite destination yet.
Gorgeous beaches within reach? Tick. An abundance of culinary choices? Definitely. A fun and friendly atmosphere? Yes, it seems Lisbon ticks all the boxes for an epic girls' holiday.
Picture pretty purple trees lining the streets, and higgledy-piggledy multicoloured houses around every corner. Lisbon is littered with street art, but not the dodgy kind, the refreshing cool kind that's vibrant and fun to look at.
We visited during Festas de Lisboa which meant the city came alive and greeted us with open arms. Everywhere was buzzing and the streets were laced with bright bunting and decorations to celebrate the festival. Perhaps the strangest thing was the fact that parts of the city smelled like chargrilled sardines, as this is what the locals all eat to celebrate.
There are lots of different neighbourhoods to explore as well as shopping opportunities for both bargain hunters after quirky crafts and those looking to go on a luxury shopping spree. You'll find that plenty of pottery shops sell beautiful tiles with intricate patterns and stalls selling local artwork.
For those after a buzzing nightlife, Lisbon certainly delivers. The city was so energetic and vibrant while we were there because we arrived right in the middle of a festival. There are lots of bars and clubs if you fancy a big night out, as well as low key cafes and restaurants where you can have a quiet drink whilst watching the world go by.
If you want to be near all the action, the Bairro Alto is the place to stay. For the first few days we stayed in the Alfama area, the oldest district in Lisbon which has older style buildings, cobbled streets and plenty of historic buildings.
I went to Lisbon for a three day hen do, and then we extended four days on the end for our girls' holiday. So we got to do a lot of things and see most of the city in a short space of time. Doing a scavenger hunt was an excellent way to get our bearings and see different parts of Lisbon. After the hen do finished we moved to a quieter apartment outside of the city.
Things to do on a girl's holiday in Lisbon
So, what exactly did we get up to?
We walked up to the castle to take a few snaps. It's quite impressive seeing it in person. If you want to see the views from inside you have to pay to enter.
This was amazing! Imagine doing a yoga class on a rooftop with panoramic views whilst you listening to the sounds of the bustling city from above. If this sounds right up your street, pay This is Lisbon Hostel a visit and book a class.
Cascais town and beach
This charming town is worth a visit. It's about 40 mins from Lisbon and has lots of lovely restaurants and little shops and a couple of sandy beaches. Pop out of the city for a day and enjoy some downtime by the beach. We had lunch at Cafe Galeria House of Wonders which I highly recommend if you're into healthy veggie food.
Tuk-tuk ride round the city
There are plenty of ways to see the city. By bike, on foot, on the tram or even the bus but I'd say the tuk-tuk was the most fun. We paid 15 euros each for an hour ride around the city to see the main attractions.
Sailing trip to see the sights
For the hen do we booked a sailing trip from the marina. Because there were 19 of us we had to split across two boats! Unfortunately the sun didn't come out for the sailing trip but it was still loads of fun and it's a great way to see the city from a different perspective.
Time Out Food Festival Lisbon
If you're a massive foodie you may want to check out the Time Out Food Festival. But don't expect quirky little stalls and cheap food. This is more of an upmarket food festival. There are lots of different mini restaurants serving local and international cuisine and huge dining area in the middle.
My top Girls' Holiday destination so far...
Lisbon, I applaud you. You've definitely made it into my top 5. After each trip I like to reflect on where it ranks compared to some of the places I've been. I'd say my current top three girls' holiday destinations are 1. The Dominican Republic 2. Lisbon 3. Valencia. It would be hard for anything to beat the trip I went on to the Dominican Republic, read about it here.
We were chatting about where to go next year and instead of sticking to Europe which is where we've been 95% of the time, we're considering going long haul. We'd like to explore other options like Dubai, Bali, Singapore and the Caribbean for a slightly more luxurious girls' holiday. So, the big question is, where will we choose next?