Sitges is a great place to start for anyone looking for a day trip outside Barcelona. Just 35 minutes by train from the city, this coastal town has a laid back vibe and is known for its fantasy film festival, flower festival and fantastic Carnival celebrations. Sitges is also extremely gay-friendly, having been known as a gay resort since the 1960s. The whitewashed buildings and beautiful beaches just add to its charm.
What to see and do in Sitges
Visit Casa Bacardí
Sitges is the birthplace of the founding father of Barcardí, Facundo Bacardí Massó, who lived in the town for 16 years until he emigrated to Cuba and started his life’s work of building the Bacardí brand and changing the image of rum, from a rough sailor drink to something more refined. At Casa Bacardí you can learn about the history of the company, how it’s made and enjoy a cocktail in their lounge bar or on their terrace. Beaches Relax on one of Sitges’ 17 sandy beaches. Take in the sun and bathe in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Try a local delicacy Sitges has its very own special local delicacies. Xató is a typical salad made from endives, anchovy, tuna, salt cod and a special sauce made from almonds, hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt, and the nyora pepper. The salad is popular in many towns on the coast south of Barcelona and many form part of the Xató route where you can go to each town and taste their variations of this traditional dish. Much of the classic Sitges cuisine focuses on seafood and there are many dishes which were once typical dishes for sailors and fishermen. Another Sitges delicacy is Malvasia wine, a fortified sweet wine usually served with desserts.
Take a photo outside the San Bartolomé and Santa Tecla Church
The San Bartolomé and Santa Tecla church is one of the icons of the Sitges. Stood on a hill, right on the water’s edge, this church presides over the town, beaches, and the sea. The almost white stone of the building stands in stark contrast to the often bright blue sky and is the perfect place to take a few photos to remind you of your day trip to Sitges.
During the celebration of Corpus Christi Sitges springs to life with its annual flower festival. Various patios and squares in the town are decorated with flowers with prizes being given for the best each year. During the week of Corpus Christi, there are also many activities relating to Sitges and the flower festival such as workshops on flower arranging and cultivation and special menus in certain restaurants celebrating the town’s most famous dishes.
The Carnaval de Sitges is one of the best in Spain alongside Cádiz and the Canary Islands. Celebrations last a whole week all presided over by the Rei Carnestoltes and the Queen of the Carnival who encourages the people of Sitges to enjoy themselves with costumes, parades, concerts and games before the Lent period begins. Tango Festival Just outside the center of Sitges, in balmy June, is the International Tango Festival, attracting dancers from all over the globe for a week-long dance celebration. The festival includes master-classes from the top tango professionals as well as milongas on and off the beach that last until, and often after, sunrise.
Fantasy Film Festival
The Sitges Fantasy and Horror Film Festival started in 1968 and is now recognized as one of the best fantasy film festivals in the world. The festival has played host to the biggest names in the business; from Quentin Tarantino to Guillermo del Toro, Sir Anthony Hopkins to Park Chan-Wook, it has become a global reference in the fantasy film industry. Screenings last all week, often well into the night for those brave enough, until the winners are announced on the last day of the festival. The winner of the best fantasy short film is automatically entered into the selection process for the Oscars. The festival normally takes place in the first weeks of October.
Where to eat and drink
With white, rustic décor and a beautiful patio, Alfresco is the perfect place for a romantic meal. The kitchen offers creative cooking with produce fresh from the market and the menu varies seasonally. The waiting on staff cannot do enough to make you feel at home and have the perfect evening. A fantastic option for an intimate dinner.
La Taberna del Puerto
With a forty-year history and a terrace with some of the best views in town, La Taberna del Puerto is one of the most popular restaurants in Sitges to try traditional Catalan and Mediterranean dishes with only the freshest fish and seafood. Ask for a table on the terrace which overlooks the Port d’Aiguadolç and enjoys their charcoal cooked seafood with a glass or bottle from their plentiful bodega. El Cable A Sitges institution since 1940 this is one of the busiest meeting points in the town for a wide-ranging crowd wanting cold beers and spicy patatas bravas (apparently the best in Sitges). Still owned by the same family who owned and even built its current premises, this bar is extremely popular both for its traditional tapas and the laid back ambiance.