Hit chic boutiques and bars on an overseas hen do

Hit chic boutiques and bars on an overseas hen do

"Hen do"A hen weekend abroad is a great excuse for you and the girls to treat yourselves, especially if you’re booking it as your main holiday of the year. If you’d like to stay away from tackiness and would rather do something refined, there are loads of available options.

I think shopping and cocktails are probably my perfect combination, and throw in somewhere overseas and I certainly will sign up to a hen do! So, where are the best destinations to head to with a group of ladies in order to celebrate upcoming nuptials? I’ve listed my favourite ones below.

Madrid, Spain

While guys will probably think of football when asked to describe the best thing about Madrid, the first thing that pops into my mind is the shopping! I’ve had my eye on the so-called Golden Mile in the city’s Salamanca district, which is packed with luxury shops. I know I’ll probably end up stood outside the window displays dreaming about what I could, one day, afford, but I reckon it’ll still be fun to pop in with my friends to have a browse!

After a busy morning spent (window) shopping, it’s time to tuck into piles of tapas and jugs of sangria at a classy restaurant or bar. When perusing the menu, keep an eye out for casseroles, Iberian ham and other cold meats and picked local vegetables. Madrid is home to some of the most noted chefs in the world including Ferran Adria, Paco Roncero, Santi Santamaria and Sergi Arola. So, if you and the girls are foodies, the city is the place for you.

"Flamenco dancer in Madrid"


Dublin, Ireland

Dublin might be famous for its Guinness, but it’s also home to brilliant shops, a great nightlife and some of the best restaurants in the whole of Ireland where you will certainly enjoy amazing cocktails and yummy food.

In fact, the city boasts several Michelin-starred restaurants, with perhaps the most famous one being Patrick Guibaud. This is because on the 2012 ratings, it’s the only one in Dublin that has not one but two stars. On the current menu, some of the dishes you can choose from include pan-roast duck foie gras with pickled cherries and almond milk and young farm rabbit with chorizo, pea and lemon. Some of the other restaurants that are Michelin-rated include Thornton’s, L’Ecrivain and Chapter One.

As tempting as it is to spend all of your time in Dublin eating and drinking, make sure you hit the shops. The central retail area stretches to Grafton Street from O’Connell Street, while you’ll find lots of second-hand and independent boutiques if you’re looking for something different, especially in and around Temple Bar.


Algarve, Portual

You can find a lot more hen weekend destination ideas at www.maximise.co.uk, but my final one that makes the grade for its perfect cocktail and shopping combination is the Algarve, in Portugal. This part of the country is very popular with keen golfers due to the array of well-maintained courses that can be found here, and these facilities – as well as the stunning scenery and refined bars – have resulted in several sportsmen buying property in the Algarve.

It’s certainly a classy place to come to for a hen party and you’ll find lots of upmarket independent boutiques to treat yourself in. Once you’ve purchased the perfect outfit, you can wear it later in the evening when enjoying a large plate of fresh seafood and a cocktail or two.

Will Stearn splits his time between trying out extreme activities in exotic locations, and working in London for Maximise.co.uk.

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