Things to do in Sitges

Things to do in Sitges

Just half an hour along the coast from Barcelona, the Mediterranean beaches of Sitges are one of Spain’s most gay-friendly holiday destinations. Away from the Saint Tropez tans of the beachfront, Sitges boasts an attractive old town where cafes, restaurants, and gay bars tumble out onto the sun-drenched streets, while there is also an impressive calendar of cultural events. But let’s start with the best places to stay in Sitges.

Where to stay in Sitges

The clean white lines of Dolce Sitges look out onto the Mediterranean a mile from the beach. Rooms include a private terrace from which to take in views of the coast, as well as the use of four outdoor pools. Guests also have access to a spa and 24-hour fitness centre. Just five minutes from the heart of Sitges, in an early twentieth-century noucentisme mansion, Hotel Casa Vilella boasts the period features of a stately home and the elegant rooms to match, in addition to a large terrace, pool, and wellness centre. The nearby ME Sitges Terramar combines an exceptional location with a private beach club for stylish contemporary stays amid the Sitges scene. Barely a block from the beachfront, Hotel Capri promises a wonderful Spanish ambience thanks to the use of terracotta tiles, dark wood, and light interiors. Meanwhile, in Sitges proper, Platjador’s pared-back rooms will be familiar to anyone who’s holidayed in Spain before. It’s only a few paces from the beach and has a sunny rooftop deck and a small outdoor pool.

Hotel Room

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As a modern bodega (wine cellar), La Incidencia Del Factor Vi draws its main inspiration from the wines of Spain

Where to eat in Sitges

Making the most of the region’s long list of excellent products, from Iberian ham to Galician octopus, Fragata has been serving fine Mediterranean cuisine for half a century from the bastion of the Church of Saint Bartomeu and Santa Tecla on Sitges promenade. As a modern bodega (wine cellar), La Incidencia Del Factor Vi draws its main inspiration from the wines of Spain. Its selection of local vintages can be accompanied by a menu of contemporary Catalan dishes, including suckling pig and roast kid. The seafood menu of steamed rock mussels, lobster, and prawns may sound familiar, but the manner in which they are delivered from the kitchen at Maricel certainly isn’t, adding a touch of elegance to these coastal favourites. When it comes to tapas, there’s nowhere better in Sitges than Nem, a relaxed and welcoming restaurant with a menu that changes monthly to make the most of seasonal offerings. Equally laid back is Komokieras, whose name translates to ‘as you wish’ and where dishes have a homemade or bistro-like flair.

Photo: Fabrizio Magoni

What to do in Sitges

You’re sure to spend some time on Passeig Maritim, the promenade that stretches along the seafront, whether you know it or not. Lined with beach-facing cafes, ice cream parlours, and restaurants, it comes particularly alive at sundown as Sitges residents take their daily walk in the cool of the evening. Popular with hikers and cyclists, especially on the weekend, is Garraf Nature Park. An area of limestone hills dotted with caves, pine forest, and vegetation typical of the region, it’s just a couple of miles from Sitges. If the beach is more your natural territory, Platja de Sant Sebastia is a picturesque stretch of sand with a family-friendly atmosphere. Bassa Rodona Beach, meanwhile, is open to all, but largely frequented by gay travellers. Its proximity to the centre of Sitges ensures a couple of lively bars, pedaloes, kayaks, and a lifeguard. The most accessible nudist beach to Sitges (although clothing is permissible) is Balmins, which is located in an attractive area of coastline among rocks and whitewashed houses.

Sitges

While on the art trail, be sure to visit the Maricel Museum, which records the evolution of the region’s art from the tenth century to the modern day

What to see in Sitges

Though small, the narrow, winding lanes of Sitges Old Town are definitely worth a wander. Sights not to be missed include the old white and blue fishermen’s homes, fifteenth-century Church of Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla, and Museu Cau Ferrat. The former home of Catalan artist Santiago Rusiñol, the museum contains within its grand architectural interiors an artistic cabinet of curiosities, ranging from ancient pottery to Picasso originals. While on the art trail, be sure to visit the Maricel Museum, which records the evolution of the region’s art from the tenth century to the modern-day. With the Penedès and Cava wine regions close to Sitges, a visit to historic vineyards and wine cellars makes for a perfect day trip. Offering a further alternative to the showy beach life of Sitges is Palau Novella, a Buddhist monastery in Garraf Nature Park. Guided tours of the small museum explore the collection of Tibetan artefacts, while the monastery also runs courses on Tibetan Buddhism and the art of meditation.

Photo: Lautaro Chamo

Photo: John Canelis

Cultural events in Sitges

February’s Carnaval de Sitges is one of the best anywhere in Spain and sees more than 250,000 people descend on the city for a fiesta that includes 50 street floats, live music, and dancing. Running along the promenade of Passeig Maritim, Sitges Pride (or Orgullo) makes the most of the fine June weather for a series of concerts, shows, and themed parties that have the whole city flying the rainbow flag. Alternatively, one of Stiges’ more niche events is Bear Week, a celebration of all things hairy that culminates in a Mr Bear Sitges contest. Dedicated to horror and fantasy, the annual Sitges Film Festival in October is eccentric from start to finish. As well as hosting luminaries including Quentin Tarantino and Sir Anthony Hopkins, it is also the reason for the city’s Zombie Walk, which sees hundreds of suitably-clad walking dead parade through the streets before a ball to end all balls. In the same month, the city also goes wine crazy at the Festa de la Verema wine festival. The festival is timed to celebrate the grape harvest and incorporates contests such as competitive grape treading alongside gourmet food stalls.

Photo: Jasmin Sessler

Photo: Blanche Peulot

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