The Sitges Carnival is known to be one of the greatest parties in Spain. Sitges Carnival features a string of colorful parades with scantily dressed partiers, street music, live bands, and revelers with superlunary costumes. The two largest parades of the festival each feature around 50 floats and annually over 3.000 people participate in the event.
For the LGBTQ+ community, Sitges organizes a LGBTQ+ Carnival, which takes place 4 days before the main event. The city offers a great variety of activities, including the famous Pink Night and Widow Night.
What to do in the Sitges Carnival
Each day of the week-long Sitges Carnival will feature a full schedule of events, including folk-dancing, theatrical performances, live music, children’s activities, and more! Don’t miss out on tasting the famous xatonada of Sitges, a delicious salad made with the region’s traditional xató sauce.
The Carnival will officially commence on February 4th with the arrival of King Carnival (”Rei Carnestoltes”) at the Pont d’en Domènech and with the opening ceremony that follows. Shortly after, the Carnival Queen will be presented at la Fragata and will parade with her court along the main streets of the city center. The event will continue until Ash Wednesday, the 10th of February. On this day the festival will come to an end with the traditional Burial of the Sardine (”Enterrament de la sardine”).
# Shrove Thursday
The King officially opens the festivities on Shrove Thursday. We have lunch with egg sausage (la botifarra d’ou), and we have dinner with an omelet! The Catalan culinary tradition even includes the coca de llardons. This is a flattened bun with grilled pork rind (chicharrones) and pine nuts spread on it.
# The Taronjada
The taronjada has recently become a central act of Carnival. A battle of confetti, balloons, and orange streamers. This tradition comes from the Middle Ages when the battle was done with real oranges! It is a kind of confrontation between the monarchs, his subjects, and the 7 ambassadors of the king (dressed in the colors of the rainbow and representing the 7 deadly sins), all accompanied by music!
# Burial of the Sardine
The “burial of the sardine” marks the end of the festivities on Ash Wednesday. A large sardine, dressed or decorated, hanging from a fishing rod or in a coffin, is taken to the stake after a big collective snack. At the end of the abundance, we enter the period of fasting.
Indeed, Xató is a sauce made with almonds and toasted bread crumbs, vinegar, garlic, oil, salt, and chili or romesco pepper, typical of the Garraf and Penedès region on the Catalan coast. It can also have other ingredients like tuna. This sauce accompanies a green salad with anchovies, tuna, and cod.
The origin of xató is in the world of wine. Once the wine was ready to drink, it was necessary to aixetonar (“put a tap on the barrel”), a very important ceremony in the process. This moment marks the beginning of the festival of the new wine, a celebration accompanied by a snack made up of salty ingredients, such as fish raised in the farmers’ houses, leaves served with vegetables of the winter season, and salad with a special sauce, the xató. This food ritual, which accompanies the ceremony of opening the wine barrel, is the source of the current xató sauce.
The Debauchery Parade & The Extermination Parade
The two most festive parades of the carnival are the Debauchery Parade (”Rua de la Disbauxa”) and the Extermination Parade (”Rua de l’Extermini”). Indeed, these parades both take place in the evening.
- The Debauchery Parade
When: Sunday 7th of February
Route: Cap de la Vila, Sant Francesc, Espalter, Pl. Pou Vedre, Bassa Rodona, Ribera (montaña), Fragata, Ribera (mar), Av. Sofia, Pl., Mossèn Llopis, Pou Vedre, Espalter, Sant Francesc y Cap de la Vila
Sunday is marked by the somewhat self-explanatory Debauchery Parade (‘Rua de la Disbauxa’), which kicks off at 7:30 pm with floats trawling along the beach promenade before heading into Sitges’ medieval streets. Also, in terms of partying this is the second wildest night of the festival!
- The Extermination Parade
When: Tuesday 9th of February
Route: Cap de la Vila, Sant Francesc, Espalter, Pl. Pou Vedre, Bassa Rodona, Ribera (montaña), Fragata, Ribera (mar), Av. Sofia, Pl., Mossèn Llopis, Pou Vedre, Espalter, Sant Francesc y Cap de la Vila.
Throve Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, and Fat Tuesday, is the biggest celebration of Carnival, and the final night before Lent officially begins. This, in others, words the last chance for everyone to go crazy until Easter. Besides, Sitges is marked by the Extermination Parade (Rua de l’Extermini), with around 50 floats and 10,000s of revelers, ending on the beachfront. The parade starts at 9 pm.
This is the best night to attend Carnival, and if you want to join from Barcelona, then you can either catch the train independently or go with Stoke Travel and lots of other international party people.
Find accommodation near the two parades in one of our favorite Sitges Carnival Apartments.
How to get to Sitges from Barcelona
Moreover, if you’re looking for a more quiet Carnival celebration to enjoy with your family, we recommend heading over to Carnival in Barcelona. Barcelona is only about 30 kilometers from Sitges and very easily accessible. Also, there are three ways to get from Barcelona to Sitges and back:
The C-32 toll road connects Barcelona with Sitges. You will be there in about 30 minutes.
The bus company Monbus can bring you from Barcelona to Sitges and back. Check their website for timetables and prices.
Railway company Renfe has train connections between Barcelona and Sitges. The trip will take around 40 minutes. You have to take the R2 Southline. For timetables and prices check the Renfe website.
Where to stay
During Carnival week, the city of Sitges floods with party people. Bars and nightclubs host a seemingly endless list of parties all week long and stay open until the wee hours of the night for the younger crowd. Thus, for some of our favorite venues, check out the Best Clubs of Sitges. Additionally, in terms of accommodation, check out our apartments in Sitges; even so most importantly for your stay, there are spectacular apartments to rent for family holidays, visiting with a group of friends, or even rooms for couples.
So, are you planning a trip to Sitges and looking for somewhere to stay? So, why not take a look at the available apartments on our website! Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.