The Spanish city of Sitges is a small city 35 km south-west of Barcelona. In the late 19th century Sitges started to become a mecca for artists and a center for Modernist and post Art Nouveau architects. During the 1960s (under the conservative dictatorship of Franco) it became a center for the counterculture in Spain.
Nowadays, Sitges’ economy is based mainly on upscale tourism and business meetings and conferences. Unlike most other coasts in Spain which were taken over by cheap mass tourism in the 1970s and 1980s, Sitges fortunately preserved its special atmosphere of a charming and pleasant (but also more expensive) place to relax and have fun.
That attracted also more and more gay tourists and expatriates, and in the 1990s Sitges became a gay hotspot. Especially in July and August Sitges is packed with gay men from all over Europe.
Although Sitges isn’t short of sights, architectural features and museums, most queer folk probably come to Sitges for beach holidays.
The part of Sitges’ beach that is mainly gay is beach Bossa Rodona while Balmins, is a mixed straight and gay beach.
There are also some small bays with clothing-optional beaches south-western of Sitges, approx. 4 kilometres from the center of Sitges. The last kilometre to get to the gay beach l’Home Mort (with beach bar) you have to walk along the railway track – look out for the fast trains!
After a day on the beach the gay night life starts slowly in the evening and takes off after midnight till early morning. Bars and clubs in Sitges tend to get busy just for one or two hours each night. It seems as if an invisible power assigned a certain time slot to each location. If you visit a location outside these time slots you could easily be the only guests.
Although some of the gay bars in Sitges attract a young clientele or fetish crowd or Bears, you will find almost all bars quite mixed by age, nationalities, preferences and style. All the gay bars and clubs are located within walking distance of each other, so you can easily have a look and find your favourites.
Sitges is also well connected by rail with Barcelona (30 min).
Sitges Carnival in February or March, Sitges Gay Pride in July, Festa Major in August and the International Fantasy Film Festival in October are some of the annual festive highlights in Sitges.
Unfortunately, Sitges also has a problem with pickpockets. Some of them have specialized in gay tourists, especially in darkrooms but also on the streets around the gay bars. A common trick of many thieves is to distract their victim by some kind of body contact with one hand (slapping shoulders, shaking hands or arms, asking for directions etc.) while checking the pockets with the other hand. A healthy dose of caution can save you a lot of hassle.