A modern hen weekend is more than a trip to the local wearing an L-plate, veil and garish, LED-embedded garter. Now it seems essential to decamp to a fabulous location where you can relax, shop, dance or drink to your heart’s content. Preferably you’ll also come back with a tan that didn’t come from a bottle. European cities are perfect for this kind of contemporary hen weekend. Anthony Fray of Last Night of Freedom has narrowed down the top hen party city break locations…
Barcelona is one of the most popular hen party city break locations outside of the UK. It offers a brilliant mixture of culture and entertainment unlike any other European city.
The cosy cocktail bars and underground clubs nestled amongst the tall alleys of the BarriGòtic (Gothic Quarter) offer a great atmosphere for groups. Then there’s the fabulous Port Olímpic promenade. Huge venues like Shoko and Opium are upmarket restaurants through the day and high-end nightclubs through the night.
During the day Barcelona‘s beautiful stretches of underrated beach are perfect for sipping a mojito and dipping your toes in the Med. When you’re not engaging in retail therapy or exploring the local landmarks, that is.
With beautiful beaches and a picturesque port, the sheer splendour of Valencia makes it an easy selection for this list.
Valencia‘s growing reputation as a pulsating party city is well deserved. It’s not just about the handsome historical buildings and monuments, such as the 13th century cathedral. You’ll also find a large provision of bars, restaurants, salsa and flamenco venues and nightclubs filled with young, olive-skinned locals and enthusiastic foreign visitors.
The amazing man-made structures and sculptures of the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences), an entertainment-based cultural complex, give a clear indication that this is a modern metropolis which is pushing for a contemporary, vivacious atmosphere, without overwriting the past.
Great sailing trips are available, and the city is allegedly the home of the best paella on the planet. Boasting a reliable Mediterranean climate, Valencia hen weekends wrap it all up in one big bow.
Lisbon is a capital city filled with colour and character. It’s regarded as a rising star in the competitive hen party city break market.
The Portuguese capital is so colourful that you might have to blink a few times to let your eyes adjust. Once they have you’ll find yourself admiring a stunning array of iconic landmarks. You can then navigate the cosy networks of alleys and cobbled streets that open out into breathtaking squares.
Look a little closer against this backdrop and you’ll find Lisbon‘s illustrious nightlife manifesting itself in the chic wine bars, trendy jazz clubs and effortlessly cool cocktail bars of the Bairro Alto district.
If you’re peckish, take a daytime wander down to legendary café and bakery Pastéis de Belém. It’s the home of Portugal’s famous custard pastry, Pastel de nata. Spoiler alert: they’ll be better than the ones in Nando’s.
Few cities in the world, let alone in Europe, offer the variety and quality of nightlife found in Madrid.
Madrid is filled with the palatial buildings and important monuments that befit the capital of an ancient and significant country like Spain. It doesn’t have the beaches of Barcelona or Valencia, two cities it’s vying with for your weekend attention. However, it does boast a mixture of olden and contemporary culture that would make most other cities green with envy.
After the locals wake up from their siestas, find them welcoming the dusk in charming tavernas and wine bars. It’s only around 11pm or midnight that the clubs start opening their doors and getting busy in Madrid. But, once the huge variety of venues are bouncing, they stay that way until around 9am. From the cheesiest pop to the loudest of house music, there’s something for everyone.
The next day, explore the world-class shops until you, well, drop!
The fantastic Polish city of Krakow offers rich history, brilliant activities and raucous nightlife. Most importantly, all at a very reasonable price, so the hen party kitty will stretch a bit further.
Krakow is one of many classic stag weekend locations that are becoming popular hen party city break locations. It’s a bit of a wildcard entry to round off this list, but it has the capacity to host a cracking and affordable weekend break.
Don’t let the historic architecture of Krakow’s Old Town and famous market square fool you. It hides an underbelly that’s anything but old or decrepit.
Stimulated by a huge student population, Krakow’s buzzing nightlife offers quirky wine and cocktail bars to suit all hen weekends. This is as well as the taverns and pubs that have been the stomping ground of stags for years. Hen and stag groups will also both enjoy dancing into the next morning at the massive variety of nightclubs.
Article by Anthony Fray of Last Night of Freedom