Visit & relax in Sitges
Known as the St Tropez of Spain, Sitges is situated just 35 kilometres down the coast from Barcelona. Delightful, appealing, atmospheric, it is a holiday destination but also many people have their homes in Sitges.
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Holiday in Sitges
Can you imagine? Even though we live in Barcelona, and we have been there many times before we thought a recent visit would give great insight into this delightful town right on the Mediterranean.
The train from Barcelona to Sitges takes about 35 minutes. We got on from the station at Paseo de Gracia, Platform 2, but the train also can be boarded at Sants station. It is not long before the train leaves Barcelona and hugs the coast, giving spectacular sea views. Sitges train station is in the heart of the old town and it is only a 10 minute stroll through lovely old streets, past the likes of the restaurant el Xalet (pronounced Chalet) before arriving at the beach in Sitges. And oh my, what an experience. In fact, there are several beaches but you don't need to know their names, just enjoy the views. With the church built on a small headline to the left and a sweep of beaches to the right it is just gorgeous.
On our first night we literally crossed the road to PicNic, a bar and restaurant on the promenade and about 2 metres from the beach. The bar is half open, as are many bars and restaurants in Sitges, with comfortable sofas where we met the rest of our group. Whilst we had only come from Barcelona, Sitges is such a great place it had been chosen as the meeting place for our whole Spanish and French team, some of whom we had not seen for nearly a year. So, much catching up on a balmy evening.
We then went through to the restaurant. With windows open to the beach, there was a beautiful gentle sea breeze and the sound of the movement of the sea. I have to admit though our chatter soon drowned out the sea sounds. Good food was enjoyed by all.
Next morning, this was the view that greeted us. A spectacular sunrise over the beach in Sitges. Whilst the photo captures the event it doesn't really allow us to express the feelings inspired by such a view. Anyway, it was then off to work. At the end of the day several of our group took a promenade along the beach. The promenade is several kilometres long and there is two distinct parts, one either side of the church. Down the coast is the traditional Spanish promenade, up the coast from the church is a new rebuilt promenade which has a completely different, almost exciting, feel to it. Some of us went for a swim. The beaches are safe and we were able to swim out several hundred metres to a bouy, without concern. It was glorious. Despite the date, 5th october 2011, the water was warm and it was the perfect antidote to having been stuck inside all day.
After showers we then regrouped at the bar at PicNic before walking for 10 minutes or so through the town to a traditional Catalan restaurant. Have you ever eaten sausage hanging from a tree? Well, that was just part of the starters, an assortment of the traditional Catalan sausages, pan con tomate, croquettes, jamon and more. Main course was a traditional grill of various meats or beautifully cooked salmon.
After the meal, some strolled along the promenade to return home, others drank mojitos, overlooking the mediterranean and others adjorned to livelier establishments, clubs and bars in the town, for entertainment that went on through the night. In fact, whatever your preference you can probably have it satisfied in Sitges.
The next morning was an intense morning of work which finished at about two o'clock. We grabbed great value calamares before catching the train from Sitges to Barcelona and back to recite the tale here!!!
Sitges Interesting Facts
In 1814 Facundo Bacardí, founder of the international rum brand Bacardi, was born in Sitges before emigrating to Cuba where he set up his company. Sitges economy was mostly based on the production of wine until the economic boom of the 1960s, after which it became a tourist destination. Now it doubles up as both a holiday venue and a really cool place to live.
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. Some are designated Nudist beaches.
Sitges is 30 minutes from Barcelona airport
Xató is Sitges' most typical dish. It appeared in the press for the first time in a report about Maundy Thursday published in a local newspaper Eco de Sitges on 16 February 1896. The report refers to a meal that three days before had gathered together a selected group of Catalan artists and intellectuals, including Santiago Rusiñol, Miquel Utrillo and Gaietà Buigas. The name “xató” comes from an expression pronounced years before by Canudas, a member of the Rusiñol's group.
The main ingredients of xató are escarole salad, cod, tuna, anchovies, aubergine and black olives. However, the essence of the dish is its sauce, made with scalded chillies, toasted almonds, garlic, olive oil, salt, vinegar and hot peppers. The complete xató meal consists of some different omelettes or fricandó (a typical Catalan hot meal) and as a dessert coca de llardons (typical Catalan cake, made from pork scratchings), served with a bottle of Penedès black wine.
Apart from the xató, there are some other typical Catalan sailor's dishes which are very common in Sitgetan cuisine and which turn fish into an unequivocal sign of identity. 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. Such variety guarantees the extraordinary richness and singularity of Catalan's and Sitgetan's gastronomy.
Sitges Film Festival is World famous as is the Sitges Carnival. Whilst not quite rivaling Rio in terms of size it certainly rivals it in terms of spectacle.
Things to do in Sitges
Being right on the coast you can participate in many watersports including sailing, jetskis, swimming, canoeing and waterskiing. There is also golf, tennis and bicycle hire.
Just inland behind Sitges is the cava and wine growing region. There are many walks through vineyards, through gentle hills. Organised tours are availalbe from such famous wine growers as Torres. Book your wine tour easily online here, to find out more about & try the wines & cavas of the Penedes wine region of Catalunya.
There is a beautiful walk from Sitges to Villanova along the coast. At Villanova you can catch a train back to Sitges.
Montserrat is only 40 minutes from Sitges.
The famous Universal Studios Portaventura Park is also only 40 minutes away at Salou. With some really exciting rides in the beautiful mediterranean climate it is a thrill seekings dream.
For history buffs Tarragona is also about 30 minutes away from Sitges. The headquarters of the Roman Empire in this part of Europe there is a spectacular amount of history here and much to see.
And, of course, we shouldn't forget Barcelona, just a short train ride away. With food, culture, history, architecture, more beaches and many, many events, festivals and fiestas.
Travel to Sitges
From Barcelona: You can get there by train or by car. The easiest way is by the Spanish Railways (RENFE). The journey by train from Barcelona costs €3.50, and takes around 35 minutes. Direct trains leave from Passeig de Gràcia or Sants stations - from Plaça de Catalunya a change is required at Barcelona-Sants. There are four trains an hour - two fast trains and two stopping trains.
By car, there are two routes - either via the C-31 (a local road which winds its way around the cliff faces) or the C-32 (a toll motorway). The C-32 is recommended for speed and safety, however it costs around €5, while the C-31 is free.By Air, the closest international airport is Barcelona El Prat (BCN) airport (Sitges is accessible by train, changing at El Prat de Llobregat station). Reus/Tarragona (REU) airport is an alternative, for regional flights. (Sitges is accessible by train changing at either Sant Vicenç de Calders or Vilanova i la Geltrú). Girona/Gerona (GRO) airport is over 125 km in Costa Brava.
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