Sitges is a small city in the province of Catalonia, and about 35 kilometres southwest of Barcelona and renowned worldwide for its Film Festival and Carnival. Lying between the hills in the background and the sea at it's front, Sitges is probably best known for its much-frequented beaches, nightspots, and historical sites.
While the roots of Sitges 'arty' reputation dates back to the late 19th century, the town really came into its own during the 1960s. Today, Sitges is a dynamic cultural city, based on the economy of tourism and culture.
Sitges is very popular as a gay tourist destination - especially in July and August when gay men and lesbians visit Sitges as "one of the most popular gay holiday spots in Europe". The city is very international with a large number of it's residents coming from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Scandinavia. There are 17 beaches along the coast of Sitges.
Sitges has been referred to as the St. Tropez of Spain, with property prices approaching those of the most expensive European cities, the main reason for this being the beautiful setting by the sea and that the city has been celebrating nonstop for over a century, between the months of February and March. There is even room for youngsters to step into the limelight with children’s "ruas", or Carnival parades, on Sunday and Tuesday afternoon.Modern Sitges is preserving the important parts of the town dating from the Middle Age when it was an old farmers’ and fishermen’s town, but now it offers visitors an impressive architectural and cultural heritage.For decades Sitges has been a reference place for writers, musicians and intellectuals.
Apart from the xato - which is said to be Sitges most popular dish, there are other typical Catalan sailor's dishes which are very common in the local cuisine. Rice in the Sitgetan way, stewed sepia with potatoes and allioli (typical Catalan garlic sauce), bull de tonyina (typical sailors dish made with tuna fish), fideuada (typical sailors dish similar to paella, but with noodles and seafood) or stuffed peppers with cod.As for drinks, malvasia is the most popular one. It is an oloroso and delicate liquor wine, excellent for desserts. In Sitges, the Hospital Sant Joan Baptista continues producing and marketing malvasia according to the traditional method and is sold for charity. The annual production is approximately of 4,000 bottles (produced by the vines owned by the Hospital). The Sitgetan malvasia is produced and matured in the wine cellars of the Hospital.
Sitges has 17 sandy beaches. Four of them are in the East: the first one called Les Botigues at the beginning of the coast, next to the beaches of Castelldefels and the other three are following the coast of Garraf. There are eleven urban beaches and two in the west. These last two have difficult access. The last one (Playa del Muerto) is frequented mostly by gay tourists. All the eastern and urban beaches have access facilities, flags indicating the state of the sea and most of them have quality diplomas and blue flags awarded by the European Union.
There is a frequent and good train service to Barcelona, which is along the coast, and this makes it ideal for a day's outing to the big city.