Between the Garraf Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea

Set between the Mediterranean Sea and the Garraf Mountains, Sitges seems to have its own microclimate and the sea breeze manages to keep its skies cloud-free for around 300 days a year.

If you combine this with its beaches, its nightlife, its open friendly people and the fact that its so close to Barcelona, it all makes Sitges an absolutely brilliant place to be.

The actually a very long sprawling municipality, which covers an extensive stretch of coastline and the northen limit starts at what I would call Castelldefels and continues down to the Port of Garraf.

Then there's a long relatively unaccessible stretch of coastline before you get to Sitges proper, which starts at the Aiguadolç Marina.

The main town stretches down from the train station to Turó de la Punta, where the Ajuntament and the Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla are located.

From here the Passeig Marítim takes you down the long sandy beaches past the residential neighbourhood of El Vinyet to the Terramar Golf Course.

If you're here on holiday it doesn't really matter too much where you stay because the whole area is lovely.

However, as it's only 45 minutes away from Barcelona on the local railway service , Sitges is very popular with daytrippers, who tend to spend most of their time in the old town and at the two central beaches.

Another excellent option is to book one of the organised Day Trips to Sitges,which leave from Barcelona City Centre daily.


The Old Town and the Beaches

With a population of around 30,000 inhabitants, this sprawling municipality goes a long way up the coast through Garraf and its northern section includes a part of what I would call Castelldefels.

What most people consider the town of Sitges itself is shown on the map and covers a long stretch of coastline that begins at the Terramar Golf Course and runs as far as the Aiguadolç Marina.

The even more compact town centre runs inland from the Turó de la Punta, where the Church of Sant Bartolomeu i Santa Tecla and the Ajuntament are located.

This tangle of streets, which centres on the Carrers Major, Parrelades and Jesús and runs up as far as the RENFE railway station, is most people's idea of Sitges.

From a holidaymaker's point of view the central beach is opposite Passeig de la Ribera, on the right of the church as you walk down from the station.

In fact, this whole section is very nice and even Aiguadolç Marina is within walking distance of the town centre.

Obviously, the summer months are the prime time to visit Sitges but in many respects, I prefer taking a walk along the seafront out of season when it's less crowded.

The town is open 365 days a year so you'll always find the bars, restaurants and shops open and this is probably the best time to visit museums such as Santiago Rusiñol's magnificent Cau Ferrat Museum.

The further you walk along the Passeig Marítim seafront, the further away you are from Sitges town centre and the Terramar Golf Course at the far end is really a car or bus ride away from where it's all happening.

Speaking personally, my favourite beach is actually the Platja de Sant Sebastià on the other side of the church - it's much quieter and less touristy.

I also love visiting on the weekend of Corpus Christi, which is 60 days after Easter and generally falls in late-May or early-June..

The floor of all the pedestrianised streets in the old town centre is decorated with cut flowers and grass cuttings and you have to tiptoe your way around - at this time of year, the summer heat hasn't fully kicked in and the smell is overpoweringly wonderful.

Carnaval and Gay Sitges

Although famous as a Gay Resort, it is actually a town where most of the residents - young and old alike - seem to get on with life in a very matter of fact fashion and despite its party reputation, I've always found it to be extremely laid back and relaxed.

I have an image in my mind that will always sum up the wonderfulness of Sitges for me.

Many years ago, following the Carnival Procession, we stopped off at a town centre bar and sitting at the next table were a transvestite in full regalia and a farmer dressed as if he'd come directly from work - they were locked in a heated discussion about crop rotation!

Sitges' Carnival or Carnestoltes in February is something to behold, and the procession along the Calle del Pecado - the Street of Sin - really does justice to the town's reputation as a Gay Capital.

Ajuntament de Sitges

If you understand some Catalan, you can find up to date news about Sitges on the Ajuntament de Sitges Website, which is obviously run by the Ajuntament or Town Council.

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