Sitges is located about 30 km south of Barcelona and is one of the most popular resorts in Southern Europe. It’s packed in summer, mostly by young Northern Europeans. The resort has largely drawn prosperous middle-class industrialists from Barcelona for years, but those old days are gone. Sitges has long been known as a city of cultural value, thanks to its residential artists, such as the Bohemian mystic Santiago Rusinol. The town is bursting at the seams with famous art deco buildings, and the seafront promenade is lined with palm trees. Its 17 beaches are some of the best on the Mediterranean coastline.
Sitges is mostly a beach destination; however, it does have a handful of other attractions to offer. These include three museums dedicated to art and old artifacts, a cinema, an old cemetery, and a beautifully renovated church. Sitges’ microclimate gives you an average of 300 sunshine days a year. It also hosts significant film, dance and culture festivals such as Fantástico and the Carnival. Sitges is worth visiting all year round.
The 19th Century modernism movement began primarily in Sitges, and the town remained the playground of artistic encounters and demonstrations long after the movement waned. Sitges continued to be a resort for artists, attracting the likes of Salvador Dalí and poet Federico García Lorca. The Spanish Civil War erased what has come to be called the “golden age” of Sitges. Although other artists and writers arrived in the decades to follow, none had the name or impact of those who had gone before.
Festivals in Sitges
As with all Spanish towns, festivals make up an essential part of Sitges’ culture. The town hosts a varied array of festivals. Throughout the year festivals include a tango festival, a cinema festival, and a vintage car festival. Without a doubt, Sitges’ most legendary festival is Mardi Gras in February. The streets become filled with carnival processions and people wearing fancy dresses for a whole week. It is one of the best times to be in town.
Sitges’ Carnival is one of the figureheads of the Catalán calendar. For more than a century, the town celebrates the days before the beginning of Lent. People are dressed up in fancy all over Sitges and Barcelona, floats, feathered outfits, and sequins spice up this event. The party begins on the Thursday before Lent with the arrival of the King of the Carnestoltes and ends with the Entierro de la Sardina -Burial of Sardine- on Ash Wednesday. This is a symbolical burial of the past to allow society to be reborn, transformed and with new vigor. Activities reach their flamboyant climax on Sant Bonaventura where the gay community holds their celebrations.
There are many activities to do on your day trip to Sitges. For bike riding, there are numerous bicycle hire shops all over Sitges. Why not play some golf on a cold afternoon. The three closest golf clubs to Sitges are Vinyet mini-golf, Terramar golf course, and CTC golf club. There are also tennis clubs which enable you to play tennis throughout the local sports centers in Sitges. Additional activities include jet-skiing, sailing, charter schools, and other water sports. Finally, there are several beaches in Sitges, 17 to be precise and three pools where you can laze about on a sunny afternoon.
The beaches in the city are lively and clean. They are sandy with clean Mediterranean water and well served, with walkways to the waterfront and chiringuitos (beach huts; small bar-restaurants) selling food, drinks and pedalo hire. Behind the beaches is a picturesque promenade, followed by rows of restaurants, bars, and ice-cream parlors. In general, all the beaches are both family and gay-friendly. However, certain beaches are considered to be more family-orientated, nudist or gay.
One of the best ways to pass an evening in Sitges is to walk the waterfront esplanade, have a leisurely dinner, then retreat around 11 pm to one of the open-air cafes for a nightcap and some serious people-watching. If you’re straight, you might have to hunt for a bay that isn’t a little left of the center. There are numerous gay bars; in fact, there is a distributed map pinpointing them. Nine of them are concentrated on Carrae Sant Bonaventura in the center, a 5-minute walk from the beach. If you go bored with one, you have to take a few steps left or right, and you’ll find the next one.
Sitges has specific areas which consist of whole clusters of bars and nightclubs. Most people heading to Sitges for a night out will have heard of the infamous ‘Street of Sin’ (Carrer del Pecat’) – Carrer 1er de Maig. It is called this because it is lined with places to drink, dance and practice your chat-up lines! It is the home of smaller clubs such as Titos and Pacha’s official bar, Pachito. It is also worth checking the smaller side streets that come off from the Street of Sin. These are full of small clubs and bars. Another famous street for bars and clubs is Carrer Santa Bonaventura. This street is the home to some smaller and, at times more strictly gay clubs, including Man.
Good To Know
- Address: Sitges Barcelona, Spain.
- Transport: By Car – via C-31 or C-32 | By Train (RENFE) – R2 from Passeig de Gràcia or Sants stations | By Bus – MonBus from Plaza Espanya and Ronda Universitat | By Plane – El Prat de Llobregat (BCN) airport or Reus/Tarragona (REU)
Wherever you stay in Barcelona, Sitges is not far for a day trip, its just a train ride away from Barcelona. You can experience all the amazing sites and activities that Sitges has to offer. Most importantly, it’s a great day out with the kids, for couples or even with friends, the city is quite diverse and holds so much to do. So plan your day and come to visit Sitges!