Are you looking for a weekend break for you and your friends? Not sure where to go or what to do? Then Portugal may be the ideal location. With a wonderful Mediterranean climate, amazing food, glorious beaches and white washed villages to explore there is something to suit everybody.
But if you are looking for a special getaway for you and your friends or colleagues, you may want something a little bit more than a standard city or beach break. We are here to give you some ideas of an unforgettable weekend, from a city break to a relaxing mindfulness retreat.
A luxury retreat
We all live in an ever more stressful environment, whether from work commitments or life in general and sometimes taking time out for a small period of time can help to refocus our lives. This is where going on a luxury retreat can really help, whether it is to take time with your friends or as a team building exercise with your colleagues.
Portugal has many such retreats but one that really stands out is Relaxscape, conceived by Belinda Raitt (a Change Coach and yoga teacher). It is set in a tranquil olive grove leading down to the green forests surrounding the River Zêzere in Central Portugal.
Created as a place for people to come to escape from the stresses of everyday life they use the power of nature, to help guests to rediscover what’s important to them.
Inspired by the Japanese philosophies of ikigai (your “reason for being”) and shinrin yoku (“forest bathing”), Belinda created Relaxscape as a place to host retreats. It is based around gentle activities in nature incorporating the beautiful scenery of this part of Central Portugal, to give participants the space to press pause and to reflect.
There are a number of different retreats available including those focusing on relaxation, creativity and problem solving. They are facilitated by a team of qualified and experienced coaches. So why not get involved in something totally different such as the grape harvest or olive picking interspersed with yoga and coaching sessions, as a group of friends or colleagues in a luxury retreat, you can only benefit from this experience and come home feeling refreshed and revived ready to take on the world.
Lisbon city break
Lisbon is the vibrant and cosmopolitan capital of Portugal, with a great selection of bars, restaurants, hotels and of course amazing shopping, but how do you make this city even more special for you and your friends?
There are many opportunities to make this city even more memorable, with an extensive selection of spa and five star hotels available for your base, then, once settled in, why not try some of the experiences that are available.
For example, you could spend the day with a cooking school, visit the fresh and vibrant markets with local chefs to choose your fresh ingredients then learn to make the iconic pastel de natas or other traditional Portuguese dishes followed by a relaxing evening meal at one of the many roof top bars or restaurants, overlooking Lisbon City as the sun sets and the city comes to life at night.
Follow this with a walking tour of of the city, there are many available, often with local companies that can take you to visit the most memorable sights that are not on the main tourist tracks, get to know this wonderful city as only the experts do.
Spend an evening on a private sailing yacht with relaxing music, a selection of Portuguese petiscos (Portuguese tapas) and excellent wine. Sit back and enjoy the sights, you can really enjoy your time with friends without the crowds, after all. On a ladies weekend you want to be able to spend time with friends just chatting and relaxing.
If you have time you can also spend a day shopping. Lisbon has all the glamour and many of the designer names you will find in Paris, Milan or London. Choose from the upmarket brands and boutiques of the Chiado district through to the cobbled and winding streets of the Bairro Alto district with hip and trendy stores, unique bars and the famous Fado music.
Douro Valley break
If shopping is not your thing how about wine? Not sitting in your local wine bar, but actually visiting the vineyards where your favourite wine is made? The Douro valley, often referred to as the enchanted valley, due to the beautiful and far reaching views, is a fantastic location for a ladies break, whether you choose to stay in Porto where you can enjoy a mix of city and country.
Porto has many attractions from the stunning architecture, a wide range of restaurants and many 5 star hotels, perfect as a location in itself but mixed with a day tour of the Douro valley, where you can enjoy wine tasting and a great meal on one of the many vineyards. This is the perfect trip to get away from it all and experience some of the finest things that Northern Portugal has to offer.
For a true taste of the Douro valley, why not stay at the renovated 19th century manor house, Quinta Nova Luxury Winery House, billed as the first wine hotel in Portugal and awarded the Luxury Hotel & Winery of the Year 2018 by the English-born Luxury Travel Guide.
From here you can enjoy the valley by road, cruise boat, train or even helicopter. There are many options available for tours, including private groups that can organise everything from your transport through to your accommodation, ensuring that you do not miss anything and have none of the stress of organising the trip.
Just imagine yourself and your friends sitting back, sipping wine and watching the vineyards grow, ready for next year.
Algarve beach and golf
The Algarve has so much allure for a break, the stunning beaches, sun and of course the golf. The Algarve has been repeatedly voted as one of the best golfing locations in the world, whether you are an experienced golfer looking for world class courses or whether you have never played before and are a complete beginner.
The Algarve makes the perfect ladies break. Imagine staying in a luxury golf resort or villa, enjoying a relaxing breakfast, then teeing off, on a world class course with your friends. In addition to the golfing experience you will be strolling along a course with amazing views and the warm sun shining down on you.
As we said if you are a complete novice, where better to try this sport? and if you are more experienced why not turn it into a tournament with your friends. After an exhilarating day on the course, enjoy a spa treatment followed by dinner overlooking the Atlantic with the warm Portuguese breeze flowing through your hair whilst sitting at an ocean view restaurant.
Mix your golf with a beach holiday and spend a day lounging on one of the many stunning beaches within easy reach. What could be more relaxing than a sunny break with beaches, excellent food, sunbathing and playing one of the best sports available and all within easy reach of Faro airport so you have very little travel involved?
A luxury spa break
Nothing defines a luxury ladies break better than a spa break, and the spa options in Portugal are extensive from luxury spa resorts to city centre hotels, however often these can be a bit impersonal, especially if you are wanting to spend time with the friends you are having a break with.
One of the areas that we would highly recommend for a more intimate experience with your friends is the Silver Coast, this area of Portugal is less busy and crowded than other areas but still has all of the major attractions of Portugal.
And to really enjoy the experience and the friends you are with, why not consider visiting a small intimate boutique hotel experience located in the heart of the Silver Coast where you can explore the culture, gastronomy and natural beauty of this unspoiled area.
Staying at the Fig Boutique Suites, you and your friends can totally relax in the knowledge of knowing there will be no other people to detract from your ladies break. Enjoy spa treatments by the salt water pool or yoga sessions, experience wine tasting on the terrace and visit wonderful restaurants in the area to enjoy your evening meal with a choice of ocean or castle views or treat yourselves to traditional Portuguese food in a local restaurant.
If you would like to explore the area further there are UNESCO world heritage sites nearby such as Alcobaça or the the pretty walled town of Obidos, a range of sandy beaches and wild coves and small cities, perfect for shopping.
Which ever area of Portugal you chose to spend your break in, we are sure you will find your ideal ladies break.
Jenny Lovett is the Founder of Portugalholidays4u.com. Portugalholidays4u.com is a website showcasing all that Portugal has to offer with an extensive collection of villas, apartments and holiday accommodation.