Sitges is often referred to as the Saint Tropez of Spain. I can see why. It is very well known for its carnival atmosphere, with an eclectic mix of locals, tourists, expats, party animals (on the “Street of Sin”) and fashionistas/os strutting their stuff on the beaches.
Quite fascinatingly, almost 35% of the approximately 26,000 people who live in Sitges are from the Netherlands, the UK, France and Scandinavia, whose children attend international schools in the area. You get the best of both worlds here, a beautiful town on the coast with 17 nearby beaches (including a nudist one if you’re that way inclined) to choose from, only a short train ride away from central Barcelona.
If you’re considering Sitges as an area to live however, beware of the ridiculously heaving summers when the tourists descend. You also need to consider the cost of the C-32 toll road if you are thinking of travelling everywhere by car instead of public transport. It really can add up. The current charge is around 6.70 euros each way. You do have the option to avoid the toll by taking a longer coastal route but if you suffer from travel sickness like me I really wish you luck, it’s also a little scary at times!!
Sitges cuisine includes many Catalan sailors’ dishes such as rice Sitges style, stewed sepia with potatoes and allioli (Catalan garlic sauce), bull de tonyina (made with tuna fish), fideua (similar to paella, but with noodles and seafood) or stuffed peppers with cod. It’s also the first place I tried a Crema Catalana (basically a creme brûlée Catalan style).
Malvasia is a delicate liquor wine served in Sitges, primarily with dessert. The name “malvasia” comes from the Peloponnesian port Monemvasía. In Sitges, the Hospital Sant Joan Baptista continues producing and marketing malvasia according to the traditional method from its own vines and within its own cellars. The proceeds go to charity. The annual production is approximately 4,000 bottles.
Weather wise, Sitges is surrounded by mountains which means it has its own”micro-climate”. This makes it possible to enjoy outdoor activities almost every day of the year. So you might find that it’s pouring in Barcelona and yet clear blue skies in Sitges.
It’s definitely a place to make time to visit if you are in Barcelona on a short break. A real contrast from the city centre.