When people think about what to do in Sitges (pronounce like “See-tches” or sit-jet) the first things that comes to mind are usually Sitges Carnival, the infamous Sitges annual film festival in October or the gay pride parade; however, after my last day trip from Barcelona, I can confidently say there is a lot more to do in this small town than first meets the eye. My friends and I had planned on going to witness the Sitges Carnival parades in all their glory last Sunday but after some hard-partying at Barcelona’s mega-club Razzmatazz on Saturday night, none of us were fit for the train, much less sitting in the sun all day. Alas, we were still determined to make this day trip from Barcelona a reality. So the following Saturday, we woke up around 9:00 am, faced our varying degrees of hangover, and headed for the train from Sant Cugat to Barcelona to find out for ourselves what to do in Sitges.
Getting to Sitges
If you live in Barcelona, getting to Sitges is easy by Renfe train. It is approximately 35 kilometers southwest of the city, which means it’s close enough to be just a day trip from Barcelona but far enough away to feel like visiting a different part of Spain. You can leave from either the Sants or the Passeig de Gracia station and the train ride takes only thirty minutes.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how much it costs to get to and from because there is some discrepancy depending where you look. Online it will say that the trip each way costs around 4 euro but if I remember correctly my roundtrip ticket cost almost 14 euro. That being said, when you do go to buy your ticket, look carefully and make sure you’re getting the right one!
A Brief Description
Choosing between two beach staples should help you to determine what to do in Sitges: the art scene (daytime) and the night scene (gaytime). Sitges history as a gay community can be traced back to the 18th century when the Catalan painter, Santiago Rusiñol, took up residence and made it a destination for Barcelona’s most renowned intellectuals, artists, and sculptors. Later when Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso began to frequent Sitges it became a sort of best of the best of Spanish counterculture. And it continued to be a liberal stronghold even through Franco’s regime. Sitges is quite literally the “pride” of Catalunya, much in the same way that South Beach is the “pride” of my home state.
Many of its residents have emigrated from other parts of Europe (France, Scandinavia, Great Britain, and the Netherlands) to enjoy the Mediterranean shipping village which ironically became one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world.
Now, enough about history and back to my day trip from Barcelona. While we weren’t able to explore all possible things to do in Sitges, I can give you a few tips and point you in the direction of a couple places I really enjoyed.
The first stop, obviously, should be Sitges’ beach. The best way to get there is to walk straight out of the train station and follow the signs to Carrer de Sant Pau. From the end of the street, you’ll have the beach in front of you and the church to your left. Take a minute to walk up the church steps and get a few pictures of the sea then hightail it back from whence you came for the next step.
What (I suggest) You Do In Sitges
I can only recommend drinking on the beach based on my personal experience. This is where it pays to be a little bit cautious – do not, I repeat do not, get TOO drunk on the beach in Sitges, or anywhere else. One of two things could happen, best case, you could end up with a sunburn and a headache, or worst case, you could potentially drown. It is dangerous so if you’re going swimming, do it before you get boozy and set a time limit for beverages under the sun if you don’t want to end up looking like a lobster. Off the soapbox now. You might want to bring your own liquor or wine because it will be more expensive the closer you get to the beach. Tourists buy it and they’re always willing to pay more. Beer is not advisable as it will quickly warm up and generates more trash than you want to deal with.
After you’ve had some cocktails or whatever I recommend checking out a place called “Restaurant Pic Nic.” The staff are super friendly, and the service in unbelievably fast. My friend and I both ordered a mini-hamburger and fries and got them before our Sangria even hit the table. They have a terrace out front, a bar and a private dining room indoors, and an outside porch area incased in glass which overlooks the water. Did I mention the Sangria? 15 euro for a liter. Restaurant Pic Nic reminded me of home – breezy, friendly, and fun, and the bill was a pleasant surprise at less than 25 euro for 2 people. Highly recommend!
The last thing to remember when deciding what to do in Sitges is that you’re going to the beach so the point is to relax! Enjoy the time outside the city, just chillin’ on the warm sands and listening to the waves. Maybe I’ll see you there.
You can find out more about Barcelona’s best beaches in our free E-book.
What do you like to do at the beach? What things are essential to bring with? Do you have any other recommendations for daytime/nighttime in Sitges?
~edited by T.Vu~