Sitges - Resort for Alternative
Lifestyles by Jakob Jelling
Hotels - Return to Cataluña
Travel & Accommodation Guide
|Located on the Costa Dorada,
Sitges is wildly popular among the southern Europe resorts, particularly
with gay tourists. It gets very crowded during the summer, and most of
the tourists at this time are young swinging Europeans. Yet Sitges never
gets tacky, as so many gay-oriented resorts do.
Instead, Sitges is a city
rich with culture and Bohemian ideals. The Spanish modernismo movement
sprang from the artists and craftsmen here, and Sitges still is at the
core of much of Spain's arts. Dali and Federico Garcia Lorca both visited
here during the heyday of Sitges, which ended abruptly with the Spanish
Civil War. Sitges is still a city of art, but it has never regained its
In addition to its rich heritage,
Sitges is convenient to Barcelona (a 30-minute train trip or 45-minute
What to Do
The Carnaval of Sitges, just
before Lent, is a kaleidoscope of fancy dress, feathers and sequins, and
vibrant floats. The King of the Carnestoltes starts the party on the Thursday
prior to Lent, and the carnival ends on Ash Wednesday with the Burial of
a Sardine. Sant Bonaventura is when the gay population of Sitges hold their
own grand celebrations.
Corpus Christi Celebrations, Catalonia
Sant Bartomeu I Santa Tecla Church, Catalonia, Spain
|If you're gay, this is a
perfect place to party while you vacation. Sitges has beaches and bars
close together, but it's not so large that you get lost in the crowd. Summer
and Carnival are the times to mingle with the gay crowd; in the off season,
Sitges gets quiet.
During summer, though, one
beach is primarily gay, while the other is very much a nudist beach, further
out of town between Sitges and Vilanova. If you can't find the nude beach,
stop at the L'Atlantida disco and ask for directions.
There are other beaches,
of course, and water sports from swimming and sunbathing to waterskiing
and scuba diving. The beaches to the east tend to be quieter -- Aiguadoic
and Els Balomins are examples of these. The Playa San Sebastian, the Beach
of the Boats, and Fragata Beach cater to families. The Playa de la Ribera
is where the younger crowd go. All beaches here are top-optional for women.
For more intellectual pursuits,
there are three excellent museums in Stiges. The Museu Cau Ferrat, in a
building that was once two 16th century cottages, was Santiago Rusinol's
home, and today holds his works as well as paintings by El Greco and some
small Picassos. The Museu Maricel holds Gothic and Romantic paintings and
sculptures as well as ceramics from Catalan. And the Museu Romantic, you
can see how a Sitges family of wealth lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Where To Stay
San Sebastian Playa is probably
the best hotel in Sitges. Located right across from San Sebastian beach,
it has a wedding-cake facade and an Art Deco interior. Each guest room
has a balcony overlooking the sea. Its amenities include a restaurant,
bar, and private garden, as well as babysitting for anyone who needs it.
If you prefer to be inland,
the Hotel El Xalet is a ten-minute walk from the nearest beach. This contemporary
Modernista hotel almost looks like a Gothic church. Antique mosaics in
the lobby give the hotel a unique atmosphere. You'll also find a small
pool in the private garden and a refreshing roof terrace to have breakfast
on. The restaurant is open only during the summer.
El Velero, on a beachfront
promenade, is one of the best restaurants in Sitges. The glass greenhouse
terrace holds the best seats. The food is excellent, with a focus on fresh
With cocina del mercado,
or whatever's fresh in the market, cuisine, Els Quatre Gats is named for
an old Barcelona cafe that Picasso favored. Enjoy fresh grilled fish, lamb
with local herbs, veal kidneys in sherry sauce, and garlic soup, this restaurant
is sure to please your palate. And the restaurant's only a few steps away
from Passeig de la Ribera.
The nightlife in Stiges is
hectic, colorful, and primarily gay, so if you're straight you may have
trouble finding a bar for you. Look for the maps that are distributed to
show you where the gay bars are.
The largest gay disco bar
is Mediterraneo, in a restored 1690s house. You'll love the covered terrace,
the Iberian garden, and the company. Bourbon is another great gay bar for
the younger set.
For a mixed crowd, try Ricky's
Disco. It's near the beach, and has a really great dance mix.