While it may be true that you can’t have it all, the Catalan seaside town of Sitges comes pretty close. With a huge amount of visitors every year, the reasons why people come in their droves are endless. Located just 20 kilometres from Barcelona’s international airport, the town is an ideal stop for tourists wanting to see more that Catalonia has to offer.
What makes this former fishing village stand out from the numerous other resorts that line the Catalan coast is that it caters for a cosmopolitan crowd, without relinquishing its individual local character. At the same time it is modern and traditional, developed yet unspoilt, glamorous but bohemian.
Read on to find out just how much Sitges has to offer…
As Sitges is located on the Costa Dorada, you would be right in thinking that it enjoys the fine Mediterranean weather. But it actually has its own microclimate which means it maintains particularly enviable conditions throughout the year with mild winters and not overly hot summers.
Talk to any locals and they will tell you that, even if the weather is bad in Barcelona, you can usually hop on the train to Sitges and in less than 45 minutes be able to bask in brilliant sunshine – in fact, there are almost 300 days of sun a year!
Undoubtedly one of Sitges’ main attractions are its beaches and with 17 in total, tourists are spoilt for choice. A far cry from anything you´d find in Barcelona itself, these beaches are lined with silken sand, all offering something different – whether it’s small private coves, wide family beaches or more urban beaches close to the historic town . The beaches close to the town centre are usually busier but have great amenities with showers, toilets and bars, so they’re great if you are with kids. If you’re after somewhere more tranquil, head a bit further down the coastline to discover some romantic and secluded spots.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this quaint seaside town isn’t the place to go if you were looking for unforgettable fiestas. But once again, Sitges delivers! It’s not only home to one of the first ever Pacha, which has gone on to be an internationally renowned chain of nightclubs, but also the birthplace the founder of the global brand Bacardi. Two things which certainly bode well for a great night out!
The first port of call for socialising in Sitges has got to be the ‘Street of Sin’ which is packed with bars and clubs. As well as this, Sitges hosts many hugely popular festivals throughout the year. Some of the highlights are:
- Carnival in February – over a century old, it attracts thousands of young party-goers who enjoy the colourful and crazy street parties. A real spectacle!
- Gay Pride in July – Sitges is known for being a very popular destination for gay travellers all year round but this huge celebration is a particular highlight in the calendar. Concerts, parades, parties, and activities are all rolled into a huge 5-day event.
- Festa Major de Sitges in August – celebrating the patron saint of Sitges, this festival is a chance to experience numerous traditional Catalan festivities such as Castellers (human towers) and Sardana dancing.
- Sitges Film Festival in October – a world-famous film festival specialising in fantasy and horror films, attracting tourists and celebrities alike. Here you can see exhibitions, presentations, and screenings of the best films in this genre.
Churches and museums
Wandering around the picturesque town, you will come across wonderful examples of centuries’ old architecture. Of particular mention is the 17th-century church of San Bartolomè i Santa Tecla. Located right on the water’s edge overlooking the sea, from the terrace of this little church you can admire a breath-taking view. Or perhaps step inside to admire the Gothic sepulchre and beautiful altar piece and paintings.
Take some time out to visit some museums, such as the Cau Ferrat Museum. This was the home and studio of Santiago Rusiñol, one of the leading figures of Catalan Modernisme. For art enthusiasts, another must is the Palau Maricel which houses a wonderful medieval collection of art.
For those looking for a bit of adventure, Sitges can offer both nautical and natural activities with its 4km of beaches, the 12,376 hectare Garraf Nature Reserve, and three marinas (the largest number of any town in Spain).
In Sitges itself and around the Garraf region there are over 30 companies offering some great deals on action-packed activities such as windsurfing, horse-riding, sailing, mountain biking and even Tai Chi for the more relaxing afternoons.
How to get there
- Train – there’s a train from Barcelona Sants station to Sitges approximately every 15 minutes, with the journey lasting 40 minutes. Visit the official Renfe website.
- Bus – for information on buses running between Barcelona and Sitges (including night buses) visit the official MonBus website or call (0034) 93 893 706.