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The humble hen do (the bachelorette party in the U.S.) used to be a simple get together, a few drinks with the bride-to-be the night before the wedding. Today this has evolved into a huge event in the UK and no matter where you travel in Britain, you’re bound to stumble across a group of stumbling hens on an indulgent long weekend together. Even long weekends can be too short for some, instead opting for destination-dos throughout Europe. Here are the top ten most popular hen do destinations in Europe:
1) Barcelona, Spain
Providing culture, clubs and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s little wonder Barcelona tops the list. The girls can sleep/recover on the beach during the day, enjoy delicious tapas for dinner and then party all night long. La Terrazza and Razzmatazz are favorite clubs. This is a stylish destination which offers incredible architecture by Gaudi, of which it would be a shame not to explore.
2) Ibiza, The Balearics
Still clinging on to its crown as the number one clubbing destination, Ibiza attracts those that are searching for the ultimate club experience. With some famous DJs doing their stuff, you might also encounter some big name acts performing – Lady Gaga and David Guetta have been known to entertain the masses. Ideal for party girls, Space, Amnesia and Privilege beckon. Ibiza Town offers some more upmarket relief from the madness of San Antonio.
3) Paris, France
The city of love boasts arguably the most iconic landmark of all, the Eiffel Tower and any hen do in Paris should certainly incorporate a climb to the top. The cobbled streets, pretty streets and general atmosphere is infinitely romantic, but don’t be fooled, there’s a thriving club scene going on behind closed doors. For some sophisticated shimmying, head to Le Baron, Le Showcase or Silencio. Grab a croissant for ‘breakfast’ on the way home.
4) Edinburgh, Scotland
No need for a passport, vibrant Edinburgh is perfect for a short break. With great shopping, a plethora of activities, bars, clubs and fabulous restaurants, what more could you want? To determine whether what they say about men in kilts is true, no doubt! There will be ample opportunity when exploring the city’s watering holes. Espionage and Mood welcome hen groups. Or for something completely different, try Frankenstein’s.
5) Albufeira, Portugal
The centre of the sunny Algarve is a great destination, being only a two-hour flight away and being located close to Faro Airport. It is a lively spot, which mixes a traditional old town with the neon-lit tourist haven. With long sandy beaches and great food, not to mention a jug of sangria or two, Albufeira covers many bases. Head to Rua Cândido dos Reis for bustling nightlife, where Bank and Bar Twist and favorites. The nearby marina with its strangely-colored apartments offers a few bars and restaurants away from the crowds.
6) Riga, Latvia
Though the city might attract beered-up stags, keep the British end up by enjoying a stylish hen do in the Latvian capital. A stunning place, you can go snowmobiling or bob sleighing in the winter. However, Riga is all about heels and cocktails as far as the ladies are concerned. Trendy bars include Skyline, with its fabulous views and Omas Briljants.
7) Marbella, Spain
Having gained further notoriety as a hen do destination after the cast of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ frequented it, ‘Marbs’ has become even more popular with hen parties looking to top up their tans and mingle with sultry Spaniards before the big day. It’s not all beaches and bars, why not try scuba-diving or a catamaran cruise? Just ensure the holiday insurance covers such activities. Nightlife is better in nearby Puerto Banus, which ‘boasts’ a famous Lineker’s Bar, among others.
8) Prague, Czech Republic
This beautiful city often tops the list of stag dos, but equally offers much to hens. Whether its shopping at the flea market, visiting the gorgeous Staromestske Namesti square, walking across the romantic Charles Bridge or taking a horse drawn carriage around the old town, Praha has it all. Not to mention its varied nightlife. Daring divas might like to try the Absintherie, or achingly cool Alibi, while Ice Bar offers a unique experience.
9) Bath, UK
For a thoroughly ladylike and relaxing hen do, Bath is the place to head. Unsurprisingly, the number one activity undertaken in this pretty spa town is the spa, where discerning ladies can relax in the roof-top thermal pool with champagne in hand. The town boasts strong connections with Jane Austen and many hens head to the museum dedicated to her life and works, though most harbor secret hopes of meeting their own Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth in swish drinking establishments, OPA, Circo or Central Bar. Bath makes for a far classier hen do, that’s for sure.
10) New York
Okay, this one is not in Europe, and the notion of a hen do in the Big Apple might seem a little extravagant, but let’s be honest – the city that never sleeps is an unforgettable destination! Famous sights abound, each one familiar from film or TV. The party could catch a show on Broadway, enjoy the thumping nightlife or attempt a food challenge. Eat breakfast outside Tiffany’s or wait for Tom Hanks/ Cary Grant at the top of the Empire State Building. Then channel your inner Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte by quaffing Manhattans at Onieal’s, Monkey Bar or Tao’s, which all feature in ‘Sex & the City’.
There you are, Europe’s top ten hen do destinations. Hopefully the above will provide inspiration for the next time you plan a hen party, either as a bridesmaid or the bride herself!