15 Best Places for a Girls’ Trip in Europe
Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure.
When you’re young, drifting apart from your camp friends or college roommate seems impossible, but the older we get, the harder it is to maintain those friendships.
According to research at Michigan State University in 2017, as we get older, “friendships are actually a stronger predictor of health and happiness than relationships with family members.” That means, maintaining your bond with high school friends or a previous work pal may noticeably impact your day-to-day happiness and how long you live. While a phone call or coffee date is a great way to accomplish that, there's nothing like travel to revive a friendship that’s been on the back burner for far too long.
And when it comes to spending a week (or more) reconnecting with people you love, Europe is hard to beat. Not only is it relatively easy to reach, but there’s something for everyone — from a spa vacation in Switzerland to Barcelona’s perfect mix of food, dancing, and architecture. To get you started, we’ve curated a list of European cities and destinations guaranteed to shake you out of your daily routine and revamp your most important friendships.
Don’t let the city of love’s reputation for romance deter you. Thanks to their strong appreciation for wine, delicious food, and culture, sisterly love is just as likely to flourish in Paris.
If your group is into art, skip the lines at the Louvre (or be smart about when you go) and head to the Centre Pompidou to experience the first European collection of modern and contemporary art. If museums aren’t your thing, experience the work of great artists (think: Gustav Klimt and Vincent van Gogh) at Atelier des Lumières, an immersive digital art exhibition where the works of great artists are projected on the walls of a giant hall.
When night falls, watch the Eiffel Tower light up from an evening boat cruise on the Seine River with Bateaux Parisiens, or get apéritifs at Maison Sauvage, a beautiful, flower-covered cafe, before heading to Le Champo, an arthouse cinema that shows old classics.
This Nordic city is all about food — and tempting cocktail menus. It’s all too easy to pass your days restaurant and bar hopping (no judgement), but make sure your culinary journey leads you through Gamla Stan, the city’s Old Town where you’ll find Instagram-worthy cobblestone streets and ochre-colored buildings.
Stockholm encompasses 14 islands and has a strong connection to (and reliance on) the water. To experience life on the archipelago, take a day trip to the tiny island of Fjäderholmarna, a 20-minute boat ride from Stockholm, and spend the day laying in the sun, swimming, and picnicking.
For food, don’t miss Schmaltz Bar & Delicatessen or pizza at 800 Grader. And when it comes to a fancy girls’ night out, it’s hard to beat Vina for wine and starters, followed by Adria, an Italian restaurant that serves up bowls of warm, homemade pasta. Top it all off with a nightcap at Erlands Cocktail Bar.
Bad Ragaz, Switzerland
If you’re looking to reset and relax, it’s hard to beat a week in the resort town of Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. Just an hour southeast of Zurich, this area is home to a famous natural spring as well as a world-renowned spa and health resort.
Billing itself as the “leading well-being and medical health resort in Europe,” the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz boasts extensive thermal baths, including outdoor pools with mountain views, and a “Sauna World” that features a sanarium, a Finnish sauna, and an infrared sauna. For next-level treatments, the on-site Medical Center has a highly trained team of doctors and therapists who use the thermal water for various therapies, including dermatological and beauty treatments.
When you’ve had enough pampering, the resort’s eight restaurants and four bars will keep you entertained, as will the on-site casino and two golf courses. For a day trip, go on a tour of the region’s vineyards and wineries or explore quaint Swiss villages by bike.
There’s more to Barcelona than drinking endless cava (sparkling wine) and dancing until 5 a.m., but no one’s going to judge you those are the main items on your agenda. Grab a late dinner of tapas and sangria at Sensi Bistro in the historic Gothic Quarter, then dance the night away at Jamboree or Razzmatazz.
After you’ve had a chance to recover — we recommend coffee at Cafés El Magnífico — spend some time exploring the city. Walk along the outdoor pedestrian thoroughfare, La Rambla, until you run into La Boqueria, a giant outdoor food market. Grab some lunch goodies and post up at the beach, Playa de la Barceloneta. For a taste of culture, map out an Antoni Gaudí-inspired city tour. Stop by what is arguably his greatest piece of architectural work, La Sagrada Familia, before swinging by Park Güell to see numerous Gaudí installations and city views.
Prague, Czech Republic
With its cobblestone streets, castles, and bridges, in Prague, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into medieval times. Spend the day imagining yourselves as medieval queens at Prague Castle, then head to Old Town Square. Here, in the heart of the city, you’ll be surrounded by Gothic churches, colorful baroque-style structures, and a one-of-a-kind astronomical clock that delivers an animated show every hour. End the day with a walk across the Charles Bridge, pausing to listen to street musicians and shopping for trinkets.
After you’ve gotten your fill of history, shift your focus to the current Czech culture, which almost always includes a stein of beer. Head to the 17th-century Strahov Monastery Brewery and enjoy a beer (or three) in the outdoor courtyard. Soak it up with roasted sausages in a dark beer sauce or try their traditional goulash with Czech dumplings.
Monaco City, Monaco
It doesn’t get more glam than Monaco, a tiny country perched on the French Riviera. Day trips to the neighboring countries of France and Italy require little more than a short drive, but once you’re settled in Monaco, you may not want to leave — there’s a reason the rich and famous flock here.
With views out over the Mediterranean Sea, the Fairmont Monte Carlo makes for a solid home base. Enjoy the property’s four restaurants and bars, and lounge like queens around the rooftop pool. From April to September, the brand Nikki Beach sets up on the rooftop, bringing with it specialty cocktails and gourmet food by day, and a DJ-spun party by night. After a cocktail or two, try your luck at the on-site Sun Casino.
After you’ve taken ample time to explore the property, sunbathe at Larvotto Beach and visit the Princess Grace Rose Garden, a garden built in memory of the American film star Grace Kelly who was married to the former prince of Monaco. For some more gambling fun, spend an evening at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, easily one of the most famous casinos in the world.
For a low-key beach escape with your best girls, head to this tiny coastal town on southwestern France’s Basque coast. Initially a destination for European royalty, today, the seaside town is popular with surfers and beachgoers who come for the slower pace of life and sweeping views of the Bay of Biscay.
Start your day by shopping at Les Sandales d’Eugénie, a family-run business famous for their French-made espadrilles. Then, take a leisurely walk to Rocher de la Vierge, a rock formation topped with a Virgin Mary statue that’s only reachable via a narrow iron bridge. From there, follow the seaside path along the Grande Plage (where you’ll need to return for a beach day) to the Phare de Biarritz, an iconic white lighthouse to the north. After your walk, feast on tapas and wine at Olatua Biarritz and watch the sun drop.
For a lazy day, pick up fresh cheese, bread, meats, and veggies from Marché de Biarritz and head to the tiny Plage du Port Vieux for swimming and sun.
London is the perfect place for first-timers to Europe, especially those with a penchant for the royal family. You can ooh and ahh over Buckingham Palace, get a group selfie with the Queen's Guard, and see Big Ben without having to stress about a language barrier.
Hop on a double-decker bus and visit Piccadilly Circus, London’s take on Times Square, or take the Tube to Euston Station and test out the Indian buffet at Chutney’s on Drummond Street. For lodging, not much can top the luxury and history of The Savoy. It’s the hotel where Elizabeth Taylor spent her honeymoon, Sir Elton John flooded his suite, and The Beatles ordered porridge and pea sandwiches while visiting Bob Dylan.
Loving Amsterdam is practically inevitable. The elaborate canal system is lined with quaint, narrow houses, while romantic bridges and bike lanes crisscross the city. Join the Dutch and explore the city on two wheels or stop by Joy Ride Tours and arrange a biking excursion into the countryside.
For a healthy dose of culture, spend an afternoon at the Anne Frank House, then taste your way through the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. The city’s rich Museum Quarter houses the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, where you’ll find works by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
After a long day, grab a stroopwafel — a crispy waffle cracker with a soft caramel filling — at Van Wonderen and a cocktail at Door 74, a Prohibition era-style bar. Finally, get some rest at the trendy, design-focused INK Hotel Amsterdam in the center of the city, or book a block of rooms on the canal at the bohemian, boutique hotel, Ecomama.
Berlin houses much of Europe’s history — from the renowned Holocaust Memorial to the Berlin Wall, there’s plenty to do and see. Take in the city’s storied history, but make time to enjoy the fun-loving side of Berlin, too. It’s Germany, so there’s plenty of beer to be had, and quirky spots like Café Cinema — an alley full of art, bikes, and revelers — will win you over in minutes.
For food, try a Mrs. Benedict at Hilde, or go all out with the Sunday brunch buffet at Nola’s in Weinbergspark. If your group is in the mood for Italian, swing by I Due Forni for caprese salad, pizza, and beer, or MarienBurgerie for burgers with a creative spin.
In addition to the Berlin Wall tours, check out the city’s Alternative Culture and Street Art Tour, where you’ll learn about street art, Berlin’s underground culture, and its world-famous club scene. Finish the day with drinks and dancing at Clärchens Ballhaus.
When you think of Greece, you likely picture perfect whitewashed houses with blue roofs overlooking turquoise waters. If that’s what you’ve been dreaming of, get the girls together and book a flight to Santorini. You can spend days looking out over the sea, as well as pack in some activities and fun.
Check out the Santorini caldera, a large, picture-perfect volcanic crater, and snap a group photo on top of the Mesa Vouno Mountain where you can see the ancient remains of the city of Thera.
Book your stay at The Tsitouras Collection, a boutique hotel housed in an 18th-century mansion, or indulge in VIP treatment at Grace Hotel Santorini, Auberge Resorts Collection. For the ultimate sunset views, gather the girls and head to the family-owned PK Cocktail Bar, then go dancing at the always-fun Koo Club.
A true bucket-list destination, Rome will welcome you and your crew with an endless list of things to see, do, and eat. You won’t want to leave without visiting the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, or the Colosseum, but make sure you set aside time for plenty of wining and dining, too.
Grab a morning cappuccino at Barnum Café or pick up baked goods at Antico Forno Roscioli. If you don’t make it to the latter for breakfast, you can always swing by for a slice of Roman-style pizza at lunch. The piazza Campo de' Fiori is a bustling outdoor fruit, veggie, and flower market in the morning and afternoon, and it transitions into a nightlife hub after dark (it’s lined with bars and restaurants).
At night, sleep steps away from the Trevi Fountain and Villa Medici at the completely renovated, five-star Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese.
There are thousands of islands off Croatia’s coastline, but Hvar is developed enough to be comfortable without compromising on natural beauty. Perched in the Mediterranean Sea, the island has every ingredient needed for a girls’ trip: beaches, nightlife, and vineyards.
Spend the day lounging on Dubovica Beach or head inland to see the island’s lavender fields. Try gregada, a local fishermen’s stew, at Macondo or peruse the wine list at Passarola, where there’s often live music. Once you’ve properly explored Hvar — don’t miss a wine tasting at Vina Tomić — book a boat excursion to the Pakleni Islands off the coast of Hvar to experience the island chain’s secluded beaches and coves.
Gather your best beer-drinking buds and head to the birthplace of Guinness. And while the capital of Ireland offers much more than the dark Irish stout, you’ll want to carve out time to visit the Guinness Storehouse, where you’ll hear the story behind Ireland's famous beer and enjoy a brew at the rooftop bar.
After you’ve had your fill of beer — if that’s even possible — visit Dublin Castle and the imposing St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the tallest and largest church in Ireland. For an experience not every tourist gets, book the Dublin Dark Side Tour, an evening walk that guides you through the city’s supernatural and terrestrial ghouls. Create your own pub crawl — stops at The Temple Bar, The Long Hall, and The Beer Market are a must — or sign up for the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl or the quirky Dublin Traditional Irish Musical Pub Crawl.
The city of Brussels is home to beautiful parks — Bois de la Cambre and the Parc du Cinquantenaire among them — but the real reason to make this European city your girls’ trip destination is the food. In addition to being the birthplace of Belgian waffles, the Belgians know how to make some killer frites (French fries) and have perfected the moules marinières (mussels).
After a few cocktails at Le Belgica, a popular gay bar with a creative drink menu, you’ll naturally want some late-night grub. Enter: Friterie de la Barrière, a popular fry shop that you can count on to be open until 5 a.m. (and sometimes later). After a hangover-killing breakfast at Peck 47, spend the day shopping for luxury brands on Avenue Louise. Just make sure you don’t miss the smaller boutiques and cafés hidden down some of the avenue’s side streets.