This is part three in my trip report series from my July 2016 trip to Spain. For an introduction, see this post.
Sitges is a beach town in Catalonia, about 20 miles to the southwest of Barcelona. It has a bit of an artsy vibe, but its main industry is tourists. It’s developed a particularly large gay crowd, with multiple gay beaches, bars, clubs, and other businesses. I’d never been, and don’t know a ton of people who have. There were not many Americans there, but loads of Brits, Scandinavians, and other Europeans.
One of the draws of Sitges is how easy it is to get there. There is a bus that runs directly from Barcelona’s El Prat airport, and then a cheaper train option. Since I was in no rush, I went with the train, which involved taking a short bus to the other terminal at BCN, which is where the Renfe commuter rail stops, then taking the train from there one stop to El Prat Llobregat, before changing to the direct train to Sitges. It was a really pretty ride, though even more so on the way back. All in, including ticket purchase, transfers, and walking the 10 minutes from the train station to my hotel, it took me an hour from the time I left the airport til my arrival at the Avenida Sofia Hotel.
There are a lot of hotels in Sitges. Some of the big resorts are located on the ends of town, farther from the main beaches and nightlife, and some are deeper in town. I was generally happy with my choice, which was one of the nicer and newer boutique hotels in town, the Avenida Sofia. The hotel was a block from the beach and a few blocks from the gay beach. There are no oceanfront rooms due to its location, if that matters to you. I paid about $160 a night after a 20% off Cheaptickets coupon.
I arrived at noon, and the hotel had my room ready. The hotel was new, gleaming, and spotless, and is definitely one of the nicest hotels in town. It’s right next to the Calipolis hotel, which is the hotel right on the beach which is more of the gay party hotel. The Avenida Sofia was a mix of straight and gay tourists from all over Europe.
The room wasn’t huge, but not cramped by any means. Unfortunately, the king size bed was two twins pushed together, which isn’t super helpful when you’re sleeping alone. The bathroom was very large, with two sinks, and high quality Molton Brown amenities. In addition to the door to the bathroom, the toilet also had its own door, which can be useful with multiple guests.
There was lots of storage, and a small/fridge minibar. The free wifi was very good. There was a view of the street, which wasn’t too loud. The hotel has a lot of signage about being the most sustainable hotel in Spain and one of the most in Europe, so, if that matters to you, that’s good.
On the roof of the hotel is the Skybar, which has a small pool surrounded by chairs and a few cocktail tables, as well as a restaurant. The pool isn’t great for swimming, and gets pretty crowded, but it is still a nice place to hang and relax for a bit. I ended up having pre-dinner drinks up there all of my nights in town, which were reasonably priced for a nice hotel bar. One thing that is odd is that the tapas offering ends around 6 or 7 in the evening, at which point you can’t get any food at the bar tables, only the full restaurant offering. Presumably this is because the kitchen is pretty small.
It also took me awhile to figure out that there were beach/pool towels available. You have to go to the second level basement spa reception to get them, which was listed in in the hotel guide in the room. I’d suggest they add that to the welcome note.
I could pretend to talk about what there is to do in Sitges, but I didn’t really do much – by design. There are some museums and an old church, but except for a brief wander around the city on my first afternoon, my time in Sitges was spent on the beach, napping, eating, or outside bars.
As for the beach, I spent 2 days at La Playa De La Bossa Rodona, which is the gay part of the main beach right by the Calipolis hotel. You can rent chairs and umbrellas, for about 6-7 euros each. One thing that takes awhile to get used to is the constant noise of vendors selling drinks. Some affiliated with bars, men walk down the rows of beach chairs shouting “Cerveza, coca cola, agua…”, and then sometimes adding some other stuff. In the morning there was “sangria”, the afternoon had “tequila” or “Viagra.” You could order a mixed drink, and they would return with it. It was a bit annoying at first, but you eventually tune it out. I actually dozed off a little.
For nightlife and dining, the traditional early evening stop is Parrots, on what a new Norwegian friend calls “Judging Street”, as you sit at tables facing out on Carrer Marques Montroig, a busy street with lots of restaurants and bars. Foodwise, I didn’t have much memorable in Sitges, though I did enjoy a meal at a French restaurant, L’Angle D’Adriana, which was reasonably priced and tasty.
My nightlife experience may not be terribly typical, as I ended up not going to any clubs, and basically stayed out until 3am drinking in the street outside several bars with large crowds, going inside just to get drinks or use the facilities. 3am is early for Sitges, though!
In all, I’d definitely return to Sitges. It lacks the breathtaking beauty of other Mediterranean beach destinations, particularly the Greek islands, but it was so easy to get to, and prices were far more reasonable than more remote destinations. It’s easy to combine with Barcelona, or anywhere else in Spain given Spain’s domestic flight and train network. Unlike Mykonos, getting to the beach isn’t an ordeal, and it was just that much easier to just relax on the water. It’s definitely on my list of places to return. And I’d stay at the Avenida Sofia again.