Hotels in Sitges, Spain
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Enjoy sun, sea and sand in laid-back Sitges
Distinctive and open-minded Sitges blends beautiful beaches, artistic haunts, interesting annual events and nightlife galore on the Catalan coast in north-eastern Spain. This attractive resort boasting upscale hotels and restaurants, eye-catching architecture and 17 beaches on the Mediterranean Sea has always been cool for Catalans. Today, Sitges is one of Spain’s best-known gay-friendly holiday destinations, but it also appeals to families, culture vultures and those taking last minute holidays. Better still, it’s only 25 miles from Barcelona, the exciting capital of Catalonia, which is easily reached by road and rail. Furthermore, Sitges is just 20 minutes’ drive from Barcelona Airport.
Laze on the beach or get active
Wherever your hotel is in Sitges, beaches will be nearby. With 17 sandy beaches to choose from, beachgoers will be spoilt for choice. The charming town centre and main promenade, which stretches for more than a mile, play host to family-friendly strips of sand, while there are also gay-friendly beaches. Secluded nudist beaches are also available in out-of-the-way coves. Framed by the rolling green hills of the coastal Garraf Massif, many of the town’s beaches have won awards for their excellent water quality.
If doing nothing but soaking up the sun on the beach doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then Sitges and its hinterland will still hold plenty of appeal for those who like to stay active. On its beaches there are myriad opportunities for water-based activities like sea kayaking, paddle-surfing and boat trips. In the surrounding countryside hikers can enjoy scenic walks in the Parc Natural del Garraf. This protected landscape overlooking Sitges features walking trails, many of them leading up hills offering terrific views along the coast.
Experience colourful nightlife plus Catalan cuisine
Nocturnal animals will be pleased to know there’s usually a party going on somewhere in Sitges. There are lively bars, nightclubs and restaurants aplenty in the town centre, including several gay-friendly nightspots in the gay village on the Carrer de Joan Tarrida. Moreover, at the height of the holiday season in July and August, the friendly and energetic party vibe spills onto several beaches, which become the backdrop for sun-soaked shindigs. Although Sitges has a reputation for its hedonistic vibe, you’re unlikely to encounter rowdy stag parties, dropped kebabs or broken glasses because the compact town retains a classier, easier-going and more cosmopolitan atmosphere than rival resorts further to the south. Indeed, Sitges was an established holiday destination popular with Spaniards long before the boom in international tourism.
Foodies, meanwhile, can sample Spanish tapas or savour their favourite international cuisine at eateries across Sitges. Regional Catalan dishes characterized by simple, robust flavours are also served at several restaurants. These include bread infused with tomato, known locally as pa amb tomàquet, and typically served with hearty sausages such as fuet or botifarra. Seafood dishes like salted cod are popular as is garlic soup. Further regional specialties include xató sauce made with red peppers and nuts, and aioli garlic sauce, which often furs the tongue with its intense flavour and high garlic content.
Discover a packed calendar of events
Fans of fantasy and horror films might catch a sneak preview of future hits when the annual Sitges Film Festival is held, usually in early October. As one of the most prestigious events for films in its genre, the festival has an international pedigree, having crowned Blue Velvet, Oldboy and Moon as previous winners of best film. The main venue is situated within the Melia Hotel in the Aiguadolç area next to the town centre.
Not to be outdone by other Iberian settlements with extravagant local customs, Sitges celebrates carnival annually. Taking place in February or March, the spectacular festivities last a week and are called Carnestoltes in Catalan. Not even Franco could suppress the event during his regime, when such festivities were largely curtailed across Spain. The town centre’s attractive 17th century parish church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla becomes a focal point for the occasion and visitors can expect to see folk dancing, performers walking on stilts, impressive pyrotechnics, colourful processions and parades of floats snaking their way around the town’s quaint, narrow streets. Various events occur between so-called Fat Thursday, when the carnival king arrives in Sitges, and Ash Wednesday, when the burial of the sardine takes place. This custom sees townsfolk destroy a representation of a sardine at the end of a funeral-style procession to symbolize renewal. Other highlights of the fiesta include the flamboyant Debauchery Parade, on Sunday night, and the Extermination Parade on the Tuesday. Gay carnival events take place alongside the main fiesta, and there’s also a gay pride bash every June.
Explore artistic haunts in Sitges
Catalan artists who spearheaded the Modernisme movement made Sitges their coastal retreat at the turn of the 20th century. Today, its museums and galleries are a popular draw for visitors. Poet and painter Santiago Rusiñol lived in the town in the 1890s, and developed a religious zeal for art and literature, which went on to influence the great Pablo Picasso. Rusiñol’s one-time studio of Cau Ferrat near the Sant Sebastià beach now hosts his personal collection of art, which he left to the town. Barely able to contain the extensive collection it houses, there are works by the painter himself plus Picasso and El Greco. Nearby, the refurbished Maricel Museum showcases some 3,000 artworks, many of them with connections to Sitges artists.