As a man who has traveled the world, I can only base my opinions of luxury destinations on my observations – which admittedly, is much different than that of a woman’s point of view. So I asked some well-traveled female friends of Last Minute Travel: “What are some of the most female-friendly luxury destinations?”
Great shopping and availability of spas were themes they repeated, and key factors of respect and safety are high on the list when the final decision is made. Here are 5 of the destinations that stood out (and a couple cities that are in contradiction of friendly versus festering):
1. Bali, Indonesia (by Jessica)
Jessica, originally from Indonesia and now residing in Australia, speaks multiple languages and found it comforting that many of the locals speak English, Japanese and other languages in Bali. She mentioned that she felt like a princess when partaking in the mesmerizing Kecak Dance, Barong Dance, and Balinese dance lessons.
There are temples galore, and she recommends that women take the time to slow down and to find a peaceful garden or temple for meditation and relaxation. Here are the special touches that make Bali one of the most female-friendly destinations:
- The luxury resorts have Asian atmosphere with global amenities most Westerners expect, and global travelers will enjoy.
- Visitors can find spas, massage salons, and fine nail art salons everywhere.
- For the adventurous woman, there are plenty of activities to choose from, whether you’re looking for rafting; Scuba diving, trekking the mountain, or yoga on the beach.
- Shopping, shopping, shopping.
2. Lisbon, Portugal (by Lauri)
Lisbon is a coastal city in Portugal along the eastern Atlantic, and just a short drive to the beach. Lauri found the fine wine and fresh food to be fresh and delightful (especially for seafood lovers). “Don’t forget to try the famous pastéis de belém while there”, she says.
Last Minute Travel Club has many upscale hotels up to 65% off, so you can stay at a 5-Star hotel for the price of a 3-Star hotel.
Here are her reasons for selecting Lisbon to be on this list:
- The locals are oh-so friendly.
- Stumble upon many gorgeous, fairytale-esque sites, including Cabo da Roca, the Western-most point in Europe, where castles abound!
- Be like royalty – visit Sao Jorge Castle, Belem Tower and the breathtaking Pena Palace in the nearby Sintra. There’s even a coach museum in the city where you’ll see all of the luxurious methods of transportation for the Portuguese royalty over the years.
3. Austin, Texas (by Lauren)
With eight hotels and resorts at 5-star level, Lauren, a VP for a wholesale travel company, chooses Austin, Texas – the surprise destination of the bunch. Mingle with heirs of cattle barons alongside a flourishing of musicians and cultural trend-setters.
Lauren found a healthy mix of personalities throughout the city. Just the right amount of “hippy cowboys” to chat with, as well as people from the blossoming film and music scene. Find plenty of venues for a girls night on the town that allows women to feel comfortable letting their hair down on the dance floor. Austin’s place on the list is due to:
- A myriad of dining choices! – Find local favorites along the water-front, inventive Tex-Mex cuisine, cross-genre tidbits of French-Vietnamese plates, elegant four-course meals, and more!
- It’s easy to get around – rent a bike at stations around the city, walk, order an Uber or car-hire.
- Feel equally comfortable dressing up or skipping out in something casual. Overall, Austin is pretty causal, but while dressed up in bachelorette gear, you’ll get just the right amount of attention, without the harassment.
4. Amsterdam, Netherlands (by Dawn)
If you can handle the very liberal lifestyle, then you’ll be rewarded with a wide-range of luxury hotels like the Hotel Pulitzer, the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel, and plenty more, as well as some of the finest, most unique cuisine, and fun, different experiences found in no other travel destination.
For activities, Dawn says to try the Bikes & Dykes Tour in a city truly designed for cycling, or take an evening dinner cruise amid the gorgeous backdrop of the canals. Here’s what makes Amsterdam a female-friendly destination:
- Beautiful sites for beautiful women. Take the best selfies at windmills, fields of tulips, floating homes, and a ballet of bicycles crossings over every bridge!
- If shoes are your thing, Amsterdam offers a vast range of shoe retailers, such as Shoebaloo, United Nude and more.
- The official language is Dutch, but most people in Amsterdam speak English, as well as multiple other European languages.
- If you go during the summer, people will be out from 10pm onwards, and you will never feel bored, alone, or vulnerable at night.
- Most importantly, people in Amsterdam are friendly!
5. Milan, Italy (by Sabrina)
Fashion is what comes to mind first when thinking of Milan, but visitors can find cultural highlights throughout the city as well. The Duomo di Milano is a must-see, and Sabrina recommends taking the steep stairs to the rooftop of the cathedral for an unobstructed, 360 degree view of the city plus more than 3,000 statues. Find these points of conviction for placing Milan on the list:
Milan doesn’t just offer world-class shopping opportunities, but these shopping opportunities are in some of the most breathtakingly fabulous venues (see Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful shopping malls).
- You also mustn’t miss Teatro alla Scala and Sforza Castle, two of Milan’s most stunning architectural sites.
- Yes, of course, there are marvelous fashion shows.
- There are plenty of hip and elegant restaurants like Clandestino Milano – an Italian Sushi restaurant, or Cracco – the most awarded restaurant in Milan, and of course many, many more.
- Visit the spa clubs and relax while sipping champagne, meditate in sound chambers, and sooth your legs in a hot tub while chatting with the locals.
6. Sydney, Australia (by Wendy)
Nearby Byron Bay and anywhere in New Zealand can be bunched into this list, and Sydney is an outstanding tourist destination in general, and particularly for women.
For beach-girls at heart, Australia’s East Coast is a paradise with friendly locals, and the coolest of surfers to chill with! Here’s why Sydney is on the list:
- Sydney has a beautiful mixture of adventure and swanky city life.
- Spend the day climbing or biking the Sydney Harbour bridge or hang out at Bondi beach.
- Spend the night catching a unique show in the Sydney Opera House. It’s not as expensive as you might think!
- Just a short drive away, you can hold koalas and get up close and personal with koalas and kangaroos at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
SIDE NOTE: I also received some contradictory opinions when the topic of female-friendly destinations was discussed. Cities in Japan failed to make the list because, even though Tokyo is often ranked as one of the safest cities in the world, there are women-only passenger cars in subways originally created to keep female students safe from harassment. These cars are an option for women who feel safer riding in a different car from men, however, they are not required to ride these cars.
Dubai is another destination that is not often chosen by western women as being particularly female-friendly. However, it is safe, contemporary (expats make up more than 88% of the population), and is loaded with clean, modern public buildings and attractions. That being said, there is lingering oppression as noted by one conventioneer that visited last year. A stated restriction within a major travel trade show is that unmarried women under the age of 30 are not allowed on the convention floor (unless from the UK or the USA).