Plan a perfect hen weekend in Lisbon, Portugal with the help of Sun Scribes! As bridesmaid to my future sister-in-law I helped plan a hen to remember in beautiful Lisbon!
Long gone are the days of tacky bachelorettes and male strippers! These days, hen parties are a great excuse for good food, good wine and great friends. More and more are choosing destination hens and with a July wedding around the corner, we knew a quick weekend getaway was in order for a tan top-up!
As we were travelling in peak-time (June), we wanted a city break that wasn’t too packed but still had sunshine. The likes of Rome, Barcelona and Madrid are all far too busy this time of year, and the Algarve, Marbella, etc are too crazy for the chilled hen we wanted.
Lisbon, recently the winner of Destination of the Year with the Travel Media Awards, seemed like a good pick! Beside the coast, a small city that’s easily navigable, and guaranteed sunshine!
We flew with Ryanair for €60 return, a decent price with about €20 extra added for a carry-on bag. We chose to fly at 6am, allowing us to arrive and get settled into our air bnb all before 11.30am. We then had the rest of the day to potter around and explore. The downside however, was we were all shattered come 11pm!
Where Did We Stay
Organising accommodation for eleven women proved a challenge, but my fellow bridesmaid found a great town house on AirBnB, split into three apartments over three floors.
Generally, it is said the best places to stay in Lisbon are Chiado, Baixa, Principe Real, Bairro Alto and Avenida da Liberdade, if you want to be based in the heart of the city and within walking distance of all major sights and restaurants.
Our AirBnB was situated in Bairro Alto, a trendy neighbourhood of Principe Real. There were fabulous cafes and restaurants right outside our door and the tramline ran right passed us (though it’s noisy in the evenings).
If you’d like to check out where we stayed, you can view the place here.
What To Do
Restaurants and Cafes
As with every major EU city, the best thing to do is? You guessed it – eat!
Breakfast was scoffed on-the-go for us with a takeaway coffee in a cute sidestreet cafe. We strolled the cobbled pavements, cappuccino in one hand and a pastel de nata (a delicious Portugese pastry you HAVE to try!) in the other.
Finding a brunch spot for 11 people, including a picky eater (moi), a vegetarian and a vegan, proved a bit of a conundrum. As it is peak season, seating 11 was difficult and bookings often had to be made. Time Out Market was the answer to our prayers! This food haven is an indoor market with dozens of different food stalls, bars and cafes.
A special mention needs to be given to the restaurant we ate in on our final night! Lost In Restaurant was just around the corner from our AirBnB, and was the best find of our trip!
Booking is necessary as this spot is so popular, and it’s easy to see why. The views from the elevated restaurant were to die for! As we cheersed of cocktails to the bride-to-be, the sun set slowly over the terracotta roofs of Lisbon city.
When researching things to do in Lisbon city, tuk-tuk tours seemed like the done thing. Having done my fair share of city tours, I was very aware that with 11 hungover women on a hen in Lisbon, this may be a bit of a bore.
I was on the search for something different and memorable, that would agree with a group of hens on holiday!
I decided renting a yacht would be a great way to see the city from a new angle, all the while topping up the tans! I booked a three hour cruise (10am-1pm) on a twelve person yacht for €385. Split between ten people we paid just under €40 each!
As it was a nice morning, we walked the 40 minutes to the harbour instead of getting a taxi, picking up coffees along the way.
Alcohol was served on board (wine, prosecco and beer) for just €1 a glass – as you can imagine it was a boozy breakfast all round! Our skipper Joseph was very attentive to our needs, he refilled our glasses, told us the history of Lisbon, pointed out places of interest, and even let us drive the boat!
The company we used were called Activities In Portugal and details of the yacht hire can be found here.
As there was a big group of us all with different likes and interests, we kept the itinerary lose. Other than the yacht and dinner reservations, we didn’t keep anyone to a strict schedule for the hen. For the most part, we strolled around beautiful Lisbon, stopping for pictures and happy hour!
June is the month of the Festival of Saints with plenty of celebrations and street fairs to enjoy. We made our way to the Arco Da Rua Augusta, the main tourist and shopping area.
The shopping is great here and we all designated an hour to hit the sales! Some of us bought outfits for the upcoming wedding while others chilled on the street with a beer while watching the street performers.
We reconvened back at a set bar just in time for Happy Hour where we ordered rounds of mojitos for everyone!
Taxis in Lisbon were cheap around the city. The taxi from the airport was pricey as is the case in all countries. They add on a luggage charge of €1.60 per bag.
Having travelled around Asia for so long I’ve become wary of taxi drivers, but it was a pleasant surprise to only pay €15 for the journey to our AirBnB from the airport.
There is a minimum fair of €3.25 and the tram is obviously a main source of transport. For the most part, however, we just walked everywhere, enjoying the sites while burning off those pasta del nata!
Taxis generally aren’t hailed from the street as I found out the hard way, standing like a moron with my arm flailing about. Rather, they are got via an app (Uber) or from a taxi rank.
Do NOT get in a tuk tuk for a journey. We made the mistake of hailing one, and, while it was fun, and the driver was lovely, he charged us €15 for a five minute journey up hill. They are a rip-off and target tourists.
General Tips For A Successful Hen In Lisbon
Cash – Trying to split the bill between a dozen people five sangrias in is a job for Rain Man! To make everyone’s lives so much easier, insist that everyone brings some cash. Luckily there were lots of ATMs around the city, so when we spotted one, we all lined up and filled our purses.
Free Time – While a schedule is important to keeping things lively, remember that people have spent their time and money to come on this trip. Some may have even used their annual leave, so it’s important to have some flexibility and free time during the weekend.
Be Clear In What To Pack – Are you clubbing? Let the group know! Are you booking a yacht? Tell the girls to pack a swimsuit! Make sure everyone packs comfortable footwear as Lisbon is hilly!! Whatever you’re doing, let your group prepare accordingly.
Set a Budget – People have different expectations when it comes to travel. Some. like me, love to travel budget style and eat cheaply. Others, love to splash out on holidays. Make sure you are clear about the budget from the start. Run activities and prices by everyone before booking anything, and and any other costs that might arise.
Lisbon really blew my expectations away as a destination for a hen weekend! Portugal is one of my favourite countries, and I’ll definitely be returning! If you’d like to read more about my trip to the Algarve, Portugal, click here.