Top destinations for women only vacations
Women only vacations tend to fall into one of two categories: cultural or wellness. If you’re signing up for a cultural vacation to Iran, Morocco or Jordan, you’ll join a small group and follow in the footsteps of women who live in these countries. Women only vacations to Mongolia are usually tailor made to your (and your Mongolian hosts’) preferences. Wellness vacations are also small group trips. Although you’ll get free time to roam, these tours are more about exploring yourself than the landscape. All in all, these vacations are for fans of immersive travel, so leave aside one or two weeks.
Atlas Mountains, Morocco
1. Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Life slows right down in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, ancestral home of the Berber villagers. Women often outnumber the men here, who go away to work in the cities. Life goes on in the villages, though, where women cut grass, grind wheat, collect water and look after the young and elderly as a community – usually to a soundtrack of song and dance.
Iran isn’t what you think it is – as a women only vacation will show you. Chat to the glamorous entrepreneurs in the beauty parlours of Shiraz. Learn how to tie a headscarf in Tehran, where female designers are filling shop windows with outfits straight off Fifth Avenue. And spend the night in a Fars village, with Turkish pastoral nomads who’ll show you the ways of land.
Fancy finding out what life’s really like for women in Jordan? Join a tour that’ll whisk you around the cooking schools, women’s co-ops, Dead Sea beach resorts and Bedouin campfires – areas where women would have to cover up around men. Of course, no trip to Jordan is complete without heading to Petra, where columned temples and tombs are carved out of pink sandstone.
4. Marrakech, Morocco
Hospitality is everything in Morocco – especially when you travel with barrier-breaking all-woman group. Women’s weaving cooperatives show you how storytelling and rug-making are inseparable. And you can learn how to make couscous with the real experts at a cooking class. This is all set against the nonstop stage that is the fabled trading city of Marrakech.
A women only vacation to Mongolia is a real myth-buster. You’ve probably heard about the eagle hunters, and you’ll meet them. But what about the linguists, felt-makers and teachers in the frontier city of Ulaanbaatar? And the female herders who are charged with keeping the animals? For once, the snow-dunked mountains and glacier lakes take second billing to the cast of characters you’ll meet.
Looking for total peace? The Portuguese countryside is your place – and the ideal setting for women’s wellness vacations. Retreats here are all about empowerment through learning, so you’ll get the lowdown on how your menstrual cycle affects everything from your body temperature to your mental health. It’s almost like going back to school; just swap biology with botanical medicine and gym class for yoga.
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Women only vacations advice
Jenny Gray from our supplier, and women only vacations pioneer, Intrepid Travel, tells us why she recommends women only vacations.
Behind the scenes
“Going to the local salon with some of the female tour leaders in Iran was hands down one of my favourite travel experiences ever. It’s off limits to men, so headscarves and coats can be removed, music is blaring, and the conversation is lively. It makes you realise how very off compass your original perception of Iranian women is.”
“Traveler feedback has been phenomenal. They say they experienced the women of Jordan in a very personal way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, and loved every minute of it.”
Times are a-changing
“This message of female empowerment is spreading like wildfire. More and more people, businesses and figureheads are taking a stand for gender equality. There’s a long way to go but there is encouraging progress.”
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