Our newest location is one of our most exciting yet. Lisbon in Portugal is a sun-soaked choice for any hen do looking for a combination of high temperatures and low prices. As you should all know from your geography classes at school it is the capital of Portugal and the biggest city in the country. For a country of only 10 million though this largest city title still only means 500,000. This makes it a very accessible city as everything is within easy reach and not too daunting for new visitors.
We want to shout from the picturesque rooftops about why this city is such a cool destination, but this being the digital age, we decided to put together a neat top 10 list!
Here are the reasons you should be choosing a Lisbon hen weekend.
The first box that Lisbon ticks is the weather. It is spoilt for sun being a southern European country, similar to Spain, but thanks to its western face colliding with the Atlantic it never becomes too hot like it does in central Spain! The sea breeze cools everything down leaving you with just the sunshine. Lisbon has 2799 hours of sun every year, which is more than Athens and Madrid! It is the fifth hottest capital in Europe.
A hen weekend here is going to come with a tan! The good weather also makes the city perfect for the outdoors lover. If you are doing hen activities or just eating a meal everything will take place outside here because the weather is so agreeable.
Lisbon has a unique nightlife culture which is very sociable and relaxed. Most bars have little indoor room making the street the place where people gather. Portugal is also a country who loves their music and like Britain has had influences from all over the world giving the city a very unique style. One club could be filled with Latin hits while the next will have a flavour of Africa from the former colonies of Angola and Mozambique. There are two big places for nightlife in the city. The first is Bairro Alto which boasts 100 bars and restaurants in a very small space. The next hub is Cais Do Sodre which is down by the riverside and is full of cool warehouse conversions and the odd rave.
Portugal is a nation full of history, most of which is tied to it being such a massive seafaring nation. The country found Brazil, landed in parts of Africa, India and even China. Lisbon was the heart of all this discovery and is filled with historic sites that make it a fascinating place to visit. Sao Jorge castle sits above everything else in the city overlooking all seven hills of the city. The battlements are imposing, but definitely worth making the trek up the hill for. On the banks of the river Tagus you will find Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower with their unique architecture style and bright white colour. These are icons of not only Lisbon but all of Portugal. There are countless more sites like these to discover if you are a history buff and definitely worth a slice of your attention on a hen do.
Fado is Portugal’s answer to the Blues. A sorrow filled music style that can be heard coming out of the tiny café and bars and onto the streets of Lisbon. Of course, it is all in Portuguese but you can feel the pain and emotion in the songs even if you don’t know what they are saying. It plays an important part in Portuguese culture and if you get the chance then we would definitely recommend you check it out to get a real authentic feel for Lisbon.
Lisbon is often compared to the American city of San Francisco. I am sure if you had the chance, time and money you would go on your hen weekend to the famed Californian city. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far then may we can suggest Lisbon. The city has a scary amount of parallels with the American city. First is the ‘25 de Abril bridge’ which like the Golden Gate bridge juts out across the water with a red hue. The bridge looks eerily like its American counterpart and was even built by the same company.
Lisbon is built on seven hills and the steepness of them remind you of the famous hills of San Francisco. Lisbon also came up with the same solution and is world renowned for the tram system. The tram cars are imported from America in the same period as those ones in San Francisco were made and so they look almost identical.
The city of Lisbon is hub for exciting arts and culture and this artistic nature pores onto the streets, literally. Graffiti adorns the walls here like it’s a standard from of painting on the houses. This artistic liberal feeling could have been taken right out of the San Francisco rule book.
Portugal has a proud history of seafaring and discovery. The famed sailor Vasco da Gama set sail from these very shores for India and Brazil. Portugal is also a surfer’s paradise. The entire west coast utilises the Atlantic ocean for incredible waves and beaches. You are only a short distance from all of this in Lisbon.
Lisbon also sits on the giant river Tagus and on a hen weekend here you can take to the water in a kayak or catamaran. It should be a right of passage for all visitors to see the city from the water but if you do it for your hen weekend you will be one of few who get the privilege to experience the city from the water.
When you’re travelling around Europe, language can change very quickly. A day’s drive can see you come into contact with three distinct languages. In Lisbon it’s Portuguese and if there are any of you out there who think it will be anything like Spanish you will be sorely mistaken. When written down there are definite similarities but when spoken it is like chalk and cheese. Some of the most obvious words are also completely different in Portuguese from its Latin cousins.
What a relief therefore that English is so widely spoken. France is only across the channel but they struggle with English much more than the Portuguese. The younger generations are especially adept, and you should have no problem on your Lisbon hen do in bars and shops getting by with English if only sometimes slightly broken.
Being surrounded by sea makes Lisbon a seafood lovers heaven. Almost every restaurant has award winning fish dishes and whether you like yours healthy and poached, or greasy and fried Lisbon has it. The seafood here is fresher than anything you get in an English city. This means your hen weekend can’t really go wrong with a meal in the city, unless you pick the local McDonalds! If you really don’t like seafood, then you can always have the chicken. Afterall, Nando’s has put Portugal on the map for the flightless bird.
One of the best reasons to visit Lisbon in the travel aspect. The plane journey takes just two and a half hours. That’s pretty short time to step out into hot sun! One of the big pluses of Lisbon too is that it is in line with London on the globe and therefore in the same time zone. There will be no jetlag or excuses for going to bed early. Time your flight right and you could be stepping off the plane and right into the party on a Lisbon hen weekend.
The airport in Lisbon is actually in the city too. Unlike London with its many different airports and ways into the city, Lisbon International is just a short drive from the city centre. So that means no time wasted in transit.
For the time being Portugal is an attractive destination because it is relatively cheap. Usually to experience these sort of prices you have to go to eastern European countries but in Portugal you get all the sun of southern Europe with none of the high cost that comes with places like Marbella. All the important aspects of your trip from transportation, accommodation and food will be pleasantly less than you are expecting.