If you can’t decide on whether city or beach best suits your stag or hen weekend then here’s a thought to throw into the mix: Lisbon! There aren’t many major capital cities around the world, and certainly not in Europe, where you can combine the non-stop vibe of big city life with a chance to chill out on stretches of golden sands. But with mile after mile of blue flag beach and spectacular Atlantic surf just a short hop from the centre of this beautiful ancient city, beach life is very much a part of the Lisbon cultural landscape.
Lisbon is one of the classic old cities of Europe, with its coastal location affording it a rich, maritime linked history – dating back to the Roman era. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is no more than a place of old ruins and monuments for the snap-happy day tourists off the cruise liners.
No way Jose.
Lisbon represents a mix of all that makes for a classic stag or hen destination. Among the stunning old architecture and the narrow, mazy streets you’ll find a throbbing city of food, culture, wine and late-night partying that’s the rival of any of the other – traditional – stag and hen cities across the continent.
It’s a Lisbon way of life; a trip to the beach to start or end the working day or, in the case of many a stag and hen outing, the ideal spot to recharge the batteries and nurse the head from the night before.
You’ll see the local cars, surfboards strapped to rooftops, making the short drive to the coast from the heart of town while the trains can take you straight from the city to the sand.
From raging surf to quiet coves, long stretches of golden sand that fills with locals and tourists alike in the summer months, to quiet dunes upon which to chill, kick-back and enjoy the sea air, the beaches of the Lisbon area make a perfect contrast to the pace of late-night in the Portuguese capital.
This is the heart and hidden gem on the coast; just 20 minutes by train from the centre of Lisbon. A former fishing village this beach town has, over the years, transformed itself into a trendy, cosmopolitan extended arm of the capital; replete with fashionable bars and designer shopping. Between Cascais and Lisbon there are a number of stretches of beach front such as the popular Carcavelos.
And, from the town itself you have access to Praia De Conceicao, a beach of soft sand and sun-loungers beside a calm blue sea. For those who want to savour the surf, however, then you need to head a little further along the coast to Guincho, a beach well-known among surf aficionados as it offers some real Atlantic swell (think Cornwall with bluer skies).
Heading south of the city and you have even greater choice of some of the best beaches in Europe and all, again, just a short hop from the heart of the city.
For those who are happy to let it all hang out (literally) then Meco offers the chance for a spot of nude sunbathing (don’t forget the sun-block!) whilst the secluded, sheltered sands of Praia Da Adraga might be a little further out of the city to venture, but if you truly love beaches then this stunning sea-front is worth the effort. From soft, golden sand and the white rush of cool Atlantic surf to the brown stone jagged face of the surrounding cliffs; all combining to make this consistently rank as one of the best beaches on the continent.