Sitges Travel Guide
Tarragona © Provincial Government of Tarragona Tourism Board
With over 3 miles (5km) of golden shoreline, Sitges is the perfect weekend break for tourists wishing to experience Spanish resorts without straying too far from Barcelona. One of the most popular holiday resort towns south of Barcelona is Sitges, 21 miles (45km) from the city. With more than 17 sand beaches, many of them with EU Blue Flag status, it is easy to see why Sitges has been called 'the playground of Barcelona'. Renowned for its swinging nightlife, Sitges attracts thousands of holidaymakers, including day-trippers from Barcelona, many of them young and well-heeled.
The city has a reputation for being gay-friendly, expensive, and decidedly arty, having been the town where the modernist movement began when it attracted artists such as Bohemian mystic Santiago Rusinol and later the likes of Salvador Dali. Rusinol's home in the town has been turned into a museum, displaying some of his works. Beachgoers and holidaymakers in Sitges can enjoy a number of activities and sights in and around the town. Sitges also plays host to the popular Sitges Film Festival, which specialises in fantasy and horror film genres. Most people, however, visit Sitges for the beautiful sandy beaches it offers. Between the church at one end of the town and the Terramar Hotel at the other extremity there are nine breakwaters, each sheltering gently sloping golden beaches equipped with showers, refreshment kiosks and sun-loungers for rent.
Shopping in Sitges generally revolves around a number of small boutique stores and a range of chain stores such as United Colours of Benetton, Lacoste and Adolfo Dominguez. Most shops in Sitges are located along Calle Major and Calle Francesc. Shops are open from 10am until 8pm with a siesta break at around 2pm.
Supermarkets in Sitges stock all the groceries and food items that holidaymakers would need for a fun beach vacation. Buying your groceries from shops located close to the beach is more expensive, while the larger supermarkets in towards the back of the town are more reasonably priced. Many visitors to Sitges prefer to shop at the local markets, such as the food market next to the train station, for more specialised items there are a number of bakeries, butchers and delicatessens scattered throughout the town. Tourists looking for holiday souvenirs and great photos of Sitges should head to the Friday market.
Sitges has a fine selection of restaurant options and perhaps the most difficult part of dining out in Sitges is choosing from the long list of fine dining options available. Mezzanine on Carrer de Espalter, Fragata and La Salseta have all garnered rave reviews. As with most Spanish coastal towns seafood and tapas are the dishes of choice, but diners should be wary of ordering seafood on a Monday as the catch may not always be fresh.
Sitges caters for all tastes but the gay community is particularly prominent and the local Gay Pages booklet publishes a monthly list of some of the most hip and happening pink parties and clubs in Sitges. Other popular nightspots include Trailer for its weekly foam parties, Organic and Atlantida. Poppular pubs and bars in Sitges are Parrots pub, which is great for people watching, as well as Mediteraneo, El Cantil, XXL and Bourbons. Being so close to one of Europe's top party cities, many Sitges holidaymakers choose to party in Barcelona on weekends - particularly on Saturday nights.
With 17 excellent beaches to choose from, sunbathing is undoubtedly the main activity in Sitges. However, Sitges also offers all the usual watersports including jet skiing, surfing, scuba diving, wind- and kitesurfing. The resort also has a host of things to do away from the beach. Adventurous visitors can opt to go hiking, quad biking, skydiving or hang gliding. For the less active or more culturally inclined Sitges claims to be the birthplace of the modernist movement and the town has three museums eager to show off their works by Picasso and El Greco among others. Visitors can take a stroll around the old town complete with beautiful Catalan architecture as well as many other treasures and charm, particularly the 17th century church located at the waterfront.
Two worthwhile excursions are Garraf Natural Park and the scenic vineyards of Peñedes. There are also numerous festivals during the year, most notably Carnival (February - March), Corpus flower festival (June) and the Santa Tecla folklore festival (September).
During the peak summer season, and Carnival at the beginning of year, Sitges can be crowded and expensive - those travelling at this time will need to book well in advance. Sitges is also one of Europe's premier gay holiday destinations and there are many nude beaches. Although Sitges has plenty of family beaches there are also a number of nudist and gay beaches or beach areas, visitors of a more conservative disposition and those with young children should bear this in mind.