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In late August Mike and I hit Spain for an end-of-summer beach holiday weekend. We’re used to doing this in the states to celebrate Labor Day. Even though we now live abroad, it seemed fitting to get away one last time and celebrate the end of summer. Two of our Danish friends joined us and we decided on Sitges, the beach town south of Barcelona. Sitges gay scene is famous around the world and Sitges beach reputation is equally impressive. It was settled, a Sitges holiday was the perfect boys’ weekend to end summer and explore a new area of Spain. We had a great Sitges gay beach holiday and here’s what we learned so you can plan your own.
Barcelona to Sitges - How to Get There
Sitges is easy to get to from Barcelona Airport and the city center. In fact, Mike arrived by bus from the airport and I took the train from Barcelona. I spent a few days there with one of our friends and Mike flew in from Copenhagen with the other. Even though we took different methods of transportation, getting to Sitges was easy and quick. The total travel time is about 45 minutes on the airport shuttle as well as the train from Barcelona Sants station.
Where is Sitges?
Sitges is located on the Costa Daurada about 35 kilometers southwest of Barcelona. The Costa Daurada is known for its natural golden sandy beaches, clear Meditteranean water, and a shallow, calm surf. By late August, the water temperatures were warm and refreshing. You reach the sand by climbing down a naturally rocky outcrop. Despite being gorgeous, the beaches of Sitges are not overcrowded. That’s probably because there are 17 so you’re not competing for space on one single Sitges beach.
The seaside town is outlined in a coastal promenade that includes cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, and souvenir stands. It’s lined with palm trees and vacationers enjoying the sun and the sound of the sea. Stiges promenade is the perfect place for a stroll or to sit and people-watch. There are also plenty of options to grab a snack or a drink to break up your beach time.
Where to Stay in Sitges - Best Neighborhoods, Hotels and More
Finding Sitges accommodations with home sharing platforms
Finding a place to stay in Sitges is pretty easy. The charming seaside town has a compact old town with plenty of options on Airbnb and for luxury and mid-range hotels. If you book through Airbnb, use this link to create your account and save up to 30 USD. Search for a property in the old town between the train station and the sea. You can’t go wrong in that area and want to stay near the center of town. The farther out you stay, the quieter you can expect the area to be. Sitges is a party town, so there will be noise pollution and all the excitement that goes with such a destination.
We found a great apartment to share between the 4 of us. The location was perfect and only steps to the beaches and nightlife in the old town. We used Misterbnb to book, it’s like Airbnb but for LGBTQ+ travelers. Hosts are often members of the LGBTQ+ community and cater to the unique needs of gay travelers. We received fantastic recommendations for food, bars and the gay beaches from our host. That type of information from locals is why we love Misterbnb. If you book with this link you’ll receive a 10€ discount on your first Misterbnb booking.
Best Hotels in Sitges
There are many great Sitges hotel options. Here are some suggestions that are perfect for a Sitges gay beach holiday. We’ve named a luxury, midrange and budget option for you to consider and provided booking links. Also check out the search box below to find the ideal one for your trip.
Hotel Dolce Wyndham, Sitges
Hotel Dolce by Wyndham, Sitges is a luxury 5-star hotel with a full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools and near Sitges beachfront. There is a shuttle into the city center as the location is slightly outside of the old town. This also means you’ll have more quaint and quiet surroundings. Click here for current rates and additional information.
Kalma Sitges is an upscale 4-star hotel with an outdoor pool that’s steps from the beach. It’s very close to the clothing-optional gay beach and is popular with gay travelers to Sitges. Check rates and find out more through this link.
Hotel Medium Sitges Park
Hotel Medium Sitges Park is a 3-star option with an outdoor pool, pool bar, and free breakfast buffet. It’s a short walk to the beach and the price matches the no-frills level of the hotel. Rooms are all you need, and not much more, but a good value for the price. Check rates and availability here.
Or search for your own hotel that checks all of your boxes. Use the search box below, powered by Agoda.
There are plenty of great food options in Sitges. As you would expect, the glory of Spanish tapas is at your disposal. When in Spain, you have to get tapas – I don’t make up the rules. The Catalonia region has unique tapas to the rest of Spain and you won’t be let down. While the tapas may be unique, the etiquette is universal. Dinner is later in the evening in southern Europe. Most nights we left for dinner around 9 pm and spent each evening eating at the best tapas places in Sitges. Here are a couple that we highly recommend.
This gem is conveniently located in the old town of Sitges. It’s tied up in the winding streets and sits on the corner. The windows are tall and pull in a breeze. The ambiance is simple and the focus is the delicious food. They have a standard menu and specialty tapas which are a bit more complex. Try some a mix of them both, their take on the classics like patatas bravas was delicious and their specialty tapas have won awards. If you’re going to try something new, El Cabel is a great tapas place to experiment.
The staff and the food were equally wonderful at La Picara. We filled up on tapas here the before heading out to the bars and it was the perfect start to the evening. The tapas here are Basque-style and have a unique menu from the Basque region. It’s small inside, so be prepared to wait or make a reservation. It’s busy for a reason – the food is amazing. You can order tapas that are freshly made and displayed on the counter. When you pick your tapas, you retain the toothpicks inserted in them. After your meal, they are counted and you pay per toothpick. There are other made-to-order tapas available on their menu for higher prices. However you choose to order, you’ll be impressed with the deliciousness of the tapas.
Sitges Nightlife - Gay Bars, Drag Shows and More
The nightlife in Sitges is why most people visit. While gay Sitges draws a large LGBT crowd, there is a diverse nightlife scene. There’s really something for everyone in Sitges with bars, clubs, drag shows, and late-night clubs. On Friday and Saturday nights they even overflow and it seems like the party is up and down the street.
The start to your Stiges gay evening should be Placa Industria. It’s an intersection surrounded by gay bars with outdoor seating at bars like The Parrot and Central Bar. The seats are all turned to face the center of the intersection – it’s like a stare-down. It’s also a fun place to see and be seen in the gay Stiges epicenter. From there you can move down the street Carrer de Joan Tarrida. The street is lined with all types of gay bars and mobbed with people until at least 2 am.
There are also several bars and clubs open to the after-hours crowd. As you may imagine, some of them cater to… after hours activities. Other after-hours bars are simply places to drink after 2 am when the city expects more public bars to restrict noise pollution.
What to do in Sitges (besides beaches and gay bars)
There’s a lot to do in Sitges besides gay beaches and gay bars – you can also take pictures of a church! Here are a few recommendations that we think are a perfect way to spend a rainy day at the beach or to check out if you’re too hungover or sunburnt for the beach.
Museu del Cau Ferrat
Make sure to check out the Museu del Cau Ferrat. It’s a mansion on the sea that exhibits Spanish and Catalan art. The mansion was built in 1890 by Catalan artist Santiago Rusiñol. Inside, you can check out his work as well as the work of other regional Modernist artists like Picasso.
Iglesia de San Bartolomé y Santa Tecla
Your Instagram feed is not complete unless you visit the Iglesia de San Bartolomé y Santa Tecla. It’s a beautiful seaside church built in the traditional style and open for tours. If you don’t want to check out the interior, you can admire the structure from outside and enjoy the views of the church built beside the sea.
We mentioned the beautiful seaside promenade in Sitges, but you can make a day of exploring the coastal walking street. It’s full of shops, cafes and beach bars. You can people watch at a coffee shop or enjoy the view of the sea at a beach bar. It’s a great place to explore if you’re looking for unique souvenirs and keepsakes to bring home.
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