A BACKPACKER’S GUIDE TO SITGES
Located not far from Barcelona, along the road to Valencia, lies Sitges, a stunning seaside resort and the gay capital of Europe. Sitges is the perfect mix of country Catalunya, Mediterranean suave, gay hedonism and old-European charm, as well as being the location for one of the biggest and best carnivals on the continent.
FACTS ABOUT SITGES
Population of Sitges: 28,000
Languages spoken in Sitges: Catalan, Spanish, plenty of English, Grindr
Average summer temperatures in Sitges: high 26°C, low 19°C
Average carnival temperatures in Sitges: high 13°C, low 5°C, feels FUCKING STEAMY
GETTING TO AND AROUND SITGES
Getting to Sitges from Barcelona: Public transport runs well and regularly to Sitges from Barcelona, with trains on the Rodalies R2 line from Estacio de Francia, Passeig de Gracia and Estacio Sants taking around 40 minutes to reach Sitges, at a cost of around €4 each way. The problem with the train is that the last train from Sitges to Barcelona leaves at 10:54PM, which is in the middle of dinner, on the Spanish schedule. After 11PM you can take the nightbus, which operates regularly, but you should check the timetable. For busy nights, like Carnival, it’s best to have a private coach because those buses fill up and you don’t want to be left out in the street covered in glitter wanting to go home.
Walking around Sitges: Sitges is a smaller seaside town and walking around it is a breeze. You will probably get lost, but what a wonderful place to be lost, wandering around the boutique-filled alleys, always stopping to browse, take a small snack and a coffee and/or wine. When you are lost in Sitges you can always just follow the slope downhill that will always take you to the seaside, and from there you can walk the boulevard along the length of the town. The majority of the action that we’re interested in happens on Calle Marquès Montroig, otherwise known as the Calle del Pecado, or street of sin, which runs perpendicular from the beach, almost splitting the town down the middle.
SITGES ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
Where to stay in Sitges: to be honest, for backpackers Sitges is more of a day trip option, or somewhere to all night and catch the night bus, or first train, back to Barcelona. They call it the Spanish Saint Tropez, and like the Saint Tropez Saint Tropez that’s partially because it’s fancy and fancy means expensive. There are some hostels and budget hotel options available, but they are difficult to book as there are a shortage of beds there. If you really want to stay the night, check booking.com and hope for the best.
SITGES FOOD AND DRINK
What to eat in Sitges: as a part of Catalunya you can expect to find much of the same food in Sitges as you would in Barcelona, as well as dishes from all around the world given Sitges’ high population of foreigners. There are some dishes that are unique to Sitges, or at least this part of the Catalan coast, including arròs a la Sitgetana, Sitges rice, that draws on the town’s maritime tradition and combines seafood with local produce in a dish that’s a little juicier than a paella, and el xató, a summer salad made from anchovies, tuna and cod, olives, other things, and a delicious nutty dressing. They’re very proud of their xató so you should try it if you get a chance. There are plenty of late-night fast food places along the party strip if you need some post-disco stomach liner.
What to drink in Sitges: everything you can, especially during Carnival, but if you want to taste something truly special try and track down some dessert wine made from the Malvassía grapes, once a Sitges staple but now only farmed on two hectares of land that only produce about 4000 litres a year.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SITGES
Best Sitges beaches: for a small town Sitges boasts 17 beaches, so there’s no shortage of sand space for everyone and anyone. Being a gay mecca all beaches are open and welcoming to LGBTQI frolikers, like all beaches in Spain, but the main gay beach is the central Platja la Bassa Rodona, which is often also the most crowded. For those who like to sizzle the sausage, Platja dels Balmins and Platja d’Aiguadolç are the nudist beaches and you’ll find tanned buttholes 15 and 30 minutes walk north from the Sitges church.
Sitges sights: the church by the sea is probably Sitges’ most well-known site, and is impossible to miss when you’re walking along the seaside. Behind the church is Sitges old town, that is worth a wander, and if you’re really curious you can check out the cemetery, that not only houses dead people, but also statues and artworks and is as nice as cemeteries can be. Really, though, the biggest attraction is the Calle del Pecado, where all the interesting Sitges nightlife emanates from.
SITGES FESTIVALS AND PARTIES
Sitges Clubs: there are plenty of bars along the Calle del Pecado that are perfect for getting the night started with some drinks and people watching. There’s one little crossroads where the Parrot Bar sits that provides some great terraces for sitting back and watching the talent stroll by. Pachito is another cool bar along this strip, and Coco Rico injects a little latin flavour. You can cruise this street and find something that is up your alley. Later at night the focus shifts from this street to the club scene, with Calle Bonaire being the most popular with the gay partiers, while Pacha by the port satisfies the fancy Sitges set.
Cultural Festivals: the Sitges festival worth worrying about is surely Carnival, especially on Fat Tuesday, with a fabulous and elaborate parade through town acting as the centrepiece to a wild street party. This is the busiest night in Sitges and accommodation is booked well in advance, while public transport can be a nightmare. Skip all that by rolling with Stoke from Barcelona to Sitgeson our private round-trip coaches. Sitges also hosts an internationally renowned horror and fantasy film festival every October.