By Hannah Smyth
Forget Paris, London and Venice; Lisbon is the perfect weekend getaway for the girls without the crippling price. It lies about half-way on Portugal’s western coast. The capital attracts 4.5 million tourists a year and was classed as the “World’s Leading City Break Destination” in 2019 by the World Travel Awards.
A particularly pleasant time to visit Portugal’s capital is in off-peak times, for example during January. The weather is at a comfortable temperature and there is less of a busy “touristy” feel to the city, so a perfect time for the girls to enjoy the city more ‘like a local.’
Here Are 15 Reasons Why Lisbon Is A Great Girls Weekend Destination
1. Award-winning European green capital city 2020
If you are trying to ensure that your girlie weekend away is more eco-friendly, it is pleasing to know that Lisbon has environmental sustainability high on its priority list. Lisbon is the 2020 European Green Capital Award winner. A very prestigious acknowledgement to receive, it is awarded by the EU commissioner for Environment.
2. Flights are cheap and frequent
Flights to Lisbon are cheap and frequent, so ladies last-minute bookings can be catered for! Once you arrive in Lisbon Airport it is so quick and easy to make your way into the city, making Lisbon perfect for weekend breaks with no long transfers.
3. Transport is good and inexpensive
The train station is right beside the airport, an ideal method to travel into the city for only €2. For an added touch of convenience and pleasure, why not book an Uber to collect you from the airport and drop you to the door of your accommodation. For as little as €10 you can have your very own ‘chauffer’ with a beautiful car.
4. Lisbon has some beautiful boutique luxury hotels
Enjoy an intimate and glamorous stay in one of Lisbon’s boutique luxury hotels. The Vintage Hotel Lisbon offers a relaxing and unique stay to its visitors. The hotel partnered up with local artists and designers to create a cool environment for guests to enjoy. The calming blue rooms allow you to let go off stress and unwind. There are lots of nooks and crannies to enjoy food and drink: the rooftop terrace, the hangout and the Bleue bar & restaurant which has both indoor and outdoor areas. The Vintage Hotel also boasts a beautiful spa and gym. Room rates start at about €133 per night.
5. Lisbon has great budget accommodation choices
If you are on a budget, Lisbon has multiple Air BnB choices. An entire flat for two people can be booked for as little as €40-€70 per night. The apartments are airy, beautifully designed and in good locations! There is a range of accommodation types on Air BnB in Lisbon that can cater for larger groups too; a great way to enjoy good quality accommodation, in a central area on a budget.
6. There is an amazing choice of bars and restaurants
Restaurants and bars are in abundance in Lisbon. The Bairro Alto area offers many little quirky bars and restaurants. An excellent way to sample a variety of these is to book a food tour of the area. A local guide will bring you through the narrow winding streets to little hidden treasures where you can enjoy different local delicacies. Whether you are out for a drink or a meal, you will be pleased to hear that bottles of wine and litres of Sangria are cheap and in great quantity in Lisbon.
7. The Timeout Market is a cool hangout …maybe for a lovely girlie long lunch
On a girlie weekend, a long lunch is certainly on the cards. Why not take a trip to the iconic Timeout Market in Lisbon. A huge indoor market with restaurants galore, it has everything; seafood, burgers, steaks, Asian, pizzas, wines, sangria, cocktails, coffee, pastries, you name it! How does it work?: Wander around all the restaurant hatches looking at the menus, and taking in the mouth-watering smells, once you’ve decided and placed your order you will be given a buzzer. Join your friends at one of the long tables in the middle of the market.
When your food is ready your buzzer will notify you and you can collect your dish from the restaurant that you chose and return to the table. The Timeout Market is such a novel idea, it ensures everyone is happy with such huge varieties of food. It is a great way to prolong a lunch or dinner because you can choose a starter, main, dessert and a drink all from different restaurants while remaining at the same table!
8. Lisbon has heaps of free, gorgeous attractions
Lisbon is full of fantastic attractions that you can enjoy for free. Simply wandering around the cobbled streets admiring the beautiful houses, buildings, squares, churches and monuments is very enjoyable. While walking around, you could stop off at one of the many pastry shops and enjoy one of Lisbon’s famous custard tarts freshly baked.
9. Cool vintage San Francisco style trams
The hilly nature of Portugal’s capital makes for some fantastic viewpoints looking across the city and onto the coastal estuary. If walking isn’t on the agenda for the girls, you could hop on the No.28, one of Lisbon’s cool vintage trams (San Francisco style!). This tram allows you to see a lot of Lisbon’s sights from the comfort of your seat. It’s a good idea to board this tram early or late in the day to avoid it being overcrowded, a one-way ticket is only €3, bargain! Another quirky way to get around the city is to hire a tuc-tuc with a driver, these are bigger and more comfortable than the usual 2-seater tuc-tucs.
10. Party the night away in Pink Street
If your girlie weekend away involves some partying late into the night, Pink Street is the place to go. It has a range of late-night bars and night clubs altogether. The ground of the street is painted pink, hence the name, you can’t get much more girlie than that!
11. Lisbon has quirky, designer and brand name shops
In Lisbon, there are lots of different options for shopping. In the Baixa area, there is a range of shops from commercial high street ones on main streets to small vintage shops situated on the narrow streets. The quirky little vintage shops will offer the girls something different to purchase, whilst they can still shop in favourites such as Mango and Zara.
Lisbon has its fair share of designer shops too. On Avenue de Liberdade, brands such as Burberry and Furla have shops where you can treat yourself to a new designer bag. In terms of having all the shops under one roof, there is the Freeport Lisbon Fashion Outlet. It has over 150 brands to choose from and some bargains can be found with up to 70% discounts. Hop on the Shuttle bus from the centre of Lisbon at Praça Marquês de Pombal, it is €10 return and also includes a VIP pass which gives you a further 10% off selected brands.
12. Lisbon has plenty of pampering
If you would like to enjoy a pamper session, Lisbon has a huge range of spas to choose from. Eco Massage, Anantara Spa and Elohim Spa are all located within the centre of Lisbon.
13. See Lisbon from the water
A great way to see the city from a different perspective is on the water. Hop on the public ferry service called Transtejo. For less than €6 you can ride from Cais do Sodré station to Cacilhas where the famous statue of Christ lies.
14. Easily accessible
All in all, Lisbon is easily accessible from many European cities. It has a brilliant transport network and if public transport isn’t suited to a pamper weekend away, the facility of Uber is an excellent private alternative at a low price.
15. The locals are really friendly
The people of Lisbon are especially friendly, welcoming and cannot do enough for their visitors and good English is spoken by the locals. Lisbon has a romantic feel with the winding, cobbled, narrow streets, the impressive ancient architecture and the beautiful traditional tiles. This aesthetic appeal ensures that wandering around the city is thoroughly enjoyable. There is plenty to see, do, shop, eat and drink in Lisbon for a girlie weekend away at a very reasonable price.