One of the greatest things about living in Europe is that it is surrounded on three sides by the sea. Thanks to this, you can guarantee somewhere, somehow you’ll be able to get to a beach. And with its top hen weekend beach destinations spread across the continent, there’s plenty to choose from. Let’s look at the UK and Spain and pick a couple of winners from each.
A party town. That’s probably the easiest way to describe this miniature ‘London by the sea’. Brighton hen weekends are hugely popular in the UK, and not just because of all the bars and nightclubs; Brighton beach has been drawing holidaymakers for hundreds of years. There’s no sand – well if you look at low tide, you’ll spot a few patches – and in many ways this is a good thing. The beach has a life all of its own, and has a firm place in Brighton’s cultural offerings. Hen parties mix with tourists and locals, BBQ food gets washed down with champagne – it’s a crazy place. And it gets a little crazier past the beach volleyball facility; the farther east you walk, the more likely you are to stumble into Brighton’s very own nudist beach!
Bournemouth’s less controversial, but it wins hands down when it comes to comparing sandy beaches – it has seven miles of it! Again it’s on the south coast of England, but this time farther west, in Dorset. Bournemouth hen weekends are a tried and tested favourite, not least because it has one of the few beaches that in good weather can really make you feel like you are sunning it in Spain. Despite having an unconventional layout – and quirky central gardens with an oddball helium balloon ride – it’s packed with hen night haunts, clubs and pubs. There are also top performances and year-round cultural events. Bournemouth invented the beach hut, so hire one and chill before a big night out with the girls.
There are not many cities that offer a taste of beach life to complement urban high life: Barcelona is one of them. As the second largest city in Spain, it has all the contemporary treats you’d expect from a growing 21st century metropolis, but set to a backdrop of Gothic architecture. Rich in Catalonian history, you’ll also find buildings by Gaudi that will leave you and your hen party gaping – once you’ve quit shopping, that is. But what of the beaches? Between Port Veil and Port Forum, you have nine beaches to choose from. Sporting around 5km of sand and all the associated watersports options on offer, you’ll quickly leave the town centre and take the ten-minute trip to the beach. Here you’ll find smaller beach sections, supported by cafes, bars and eateries, and fronted by the inviting Mediterranean, known for its warm, welcoming waters. You could certainly do a lot worse than a Barcelona hen weekend!
Another Spanish beauty. Yet Marbella doesn’t feel like a global capital, more like a proper tourist beach resort. Marbella Old Town is traditional Spanish – all whitewashed town houses and narrow streets. The resort of the same name is slap in the middle of the ever-popular Costa Brava and laden with glitz and glamour. The numerous beaches that serve this lively destination come in all shapes and colours: there’s both light and dark sand here – all of it very hot underfoot in the summer months. A tree-lined promenade just back from the shore helps unite the sands, and also helps you find your way back, once the hen party has finished with Marbella’s bars and clubs. So, if you want to experience the glamorous night life and top up the tan by day then a Marbella hen weekend is well recommended!