A white-washed coastal town dripping in magenta bougainvillea vines, Sitges is just 35 minutes from Barcelona – the ultimate day-trip destination.
World-class shopping opportunities, tapas bars galore and, most importantly, glorious Mediterranean beaches. Families flock to Sitges in their droves, while couples come to indulge in what is unquestionably one of the most romantic beach resorts in Europe. Here’s why Sitges makes for the best day-trip from Barcelona.
Welcome to Sitges: The “St.Tropez of Spain”
This mini-metropolis was conceived by wealthy idealists. They wanted to create a refuge where they could find peace and spend their hard-earned money on lavish waterfront properties.
Many of those who catch wind of Sitges’ sun-drenched credentials mistake it for being purely a summer and/or spring destination, but with its fortunate microclimate, which sees over 300 days of sunshine a year, and year-round festivals, it really is a real blast in the autumn and winter too.
Seafront Dining – Sitges’ Best Restaurants and Tapas Bars
The promenade is lined with sunny restaurant terraces, wine bars and chic cafes. Isabel Sanchez owns the ever popular Alenti Restaurant, which is housed in the glorious 4* Alenti Hotel and serves classic Mediterranean cuisine and Spanish wines. “It has two very popular terraces,” she boasts, “one on Calle del Pecado – the street on which to ‘see and be seen’ in Sitges – and another private terrace that’s perfect for romantic dining.”
What to eat & drink in Sitges: Sanchez recommends Sitges’ excellent seafood tapas and paella dishes, as well as the must-try local dish, xató salad, which is made with escarole leaves, cod, anchovies and olives.
“Maritime Promenade has tons of great restaurants,” she says, although when pushed for recommendations it’s La Nansa Restaurant that tops her list. “You should also check out Casa Bacardi for an after-dinner mojito!”
It’s a fact: Bacardi may be known the world over for its Cuban rum, but its founder, Facundo Bacardí Massó, was actually from Sitges and lived here until he was 16.
Fashion Forward Euphoria – Best Shopping in Sitges
Between the beautiful Modernist buildings and glitzy restaurants you’ll also find an irresistible selection of fashion boutiques and quirky stores.
Lauri Llera is a local fashionista and manager the ultra-hip Morgan de Toi fashion boutique. She believes “it’s Sitges’ shop owners’ tendency to shun mainstream brands in favour of more exclusive, harder-to-find labels” that makes it such a dream for shoppers.
Her favourite spots include streets such as Calle Major, Carrer San Fransesc and Carrer Parellades, where she says you can find “everything from casual essentials to one-off collections from independent boutiques”.
Example stores include Escales, a Parisian brand that Llera says is “famous for its chic cashmere garments” as well as “Sweet and Cool for womenswear and the famous Doble R store for high-end men’s fashion”.
The Sands of Time – Discover Sitges’ Best Beaches
When all’s said and done, it’s Sitges’ expansive beaches that steal the show. There are 17 of them in total and they’re perfect for sun worshipping, family frolicking, all-day lazing and even watersports.
Platja Sant Sebastiá is one of the quietest and most idyllic beaches in Stiges and is made all the more beautiful by its proximity to the Church of St. Bartomeu & St. Tecla, which is the most recognisable landmark in Sitges.
Platja de l’Estanyol and Platja de la Riera Xica are the most central beaches and are busy with all sorts of different groups of people, as is Platja de la Rodona, which is the town’s most popular gay beach.
Families in Barcelona regularly skip their local beaches in favour of Sitges’ seductive sands. Many consider Platja de la Fragata to be the best beach for families in Sites, where you will always find lots of happy children and parents playing volleyball and throwing frisbees, as well as would-be sailors taking to the water for pedalo adventures.
Small Scale, Global Reach – Sitges’ Famous Film Festival
Visit in October and check out the world-renowned Sitges Film Festival, which has been been running since 1968 and sees some of the horror film industry’s most influential producers and directors meeting to celebrate their thrilling medium.
And second only to the legendary carnivals of Rio de Janeiro, the flamboyant Sitges Carnival is one of the most extravagant fiestas in all of Spain, filling the narrow streets with dancing, music and parades for a whole week every February.
Where to Stay in Sitges
Sitges is all about being by the sea, and there are plenty of waterfront options to choose from (and more budget friendly options within strolling distance.
Budget Hotels in Sitges: If you’re after a little luxury on a budget, check out the bargain Sitges Beach Hostel, El Hotel Xalet or the Utopia Beach House, all of which are stumbling distance from the beach.
Luxury Hotels in Sitges: The 4* Sunway Gold and Spa Hotel and Hotel Subur Maritim are both excellent options, although if you’re craving some serious luxury then you simply have to stay at the fabulous 5* Dolce Sitges Hotel.
Want more day trips from Barcelona?
You definitely need to consider Cadaqués, the “Pearl of the Costa Brava”…
And the handsome Medieval city of Tarragona…