After a couple of days in Barcelona (see separate review) my friend, who was visiting from Canada, and I headed off for a week in Sitges. Sitges is situated about 35 kilometres South West of Barcelona and is renowned for it’s film festival and carnival. We took the Rodalies de Catalunya Train direct to Sitges. It was very cheap (less than 5 euros) and very efficient. The most challenging part of the journey was finding the train station in Barcelona as locals kept directing us to the Metro station which had the same name!
Once in Sitges we took a taxi the short distance to our hotel. The Sunway Plaza and Golf Hotel is slightly out of the main part of town but there is a small tourist road train that runs regularly. In fact it is only a 30 minute pleasant walk into the Old Town along the sea front. We actually only used the road train once. The hotel has a lovely pool are, a spa on the top floor and 3 restaurants, a cafe type open air restaurant, a pizza place and a fine dining restaurant. There is also a shop underneath the hotel for those late night snacks! The rooms were spacious and very comfortable and we had a huge balcony with a sea view which was spectacular. We were a little disappointed that the beach right near the hotel was very pebbly but over the next few days we discovered lots of sandy bays within a 5-10 minute walk from the hotel. When we arrived the hotel gave us a free voucher for a welcoming drink which we enjoyed on our first night there. Neither of us are keen on air conditioning so we agreed to leave the balcony door open each night and the sound of pebbles being rolled over on the beach was very relaxing and soothing.
We spent our days in Sitges mainly sunbathing on the beach.There are six bays in Sitges. Sun loungers can be hired but be aware that prices differ in each bay. Usually we paid 6 euros each for a days hire but at one beach they tried to charge us 50 euros! (We soon packed up and moved on!) Each beach has a small beach cafe and I indulged myself each lunchtime with a Bocadillo de Tortilla which is basically a Spanish omelette in a baguette. It is delicious and extremely filling. Late afternoon we would walk into the Old Town to sight see or shop. The main feature of the town is the church of Sant Bartomeu and just beside this is the Museu Cau Ferrat in which artist Santiago Rusinol bequeathed his collection of ceramics, paintings and ornate ironwork. One evening we saw a performance by local people wearing traditional costumes. Walking past the Church and Museum we walked through Sebastiao Bay on the other side of Sitges and the bays here are larger and more popular and one of them is a nudist beach. We viewed these from the clifftops above and carried on to the Marina.
We visited Sitges in early September and unbeknown to us the week we chose was “Bear Week”. We had no idea what this meant but welcome posters and signs were in all the shops and restaurants and there was a “bear Village” set up in one part of the town which had beer stands and music. We were curious about this and looked it up (good old Google!).We discovered that a “Bear” is a certain type of gay guy and and they have these “get togethers” all over Europe. It was easy to see why the term “Bear” was used, there were lots of rather large hairy men (mostly Germans it seemed) in all the bars and restaurants. One night we had a bad storm and took shelter in a small bar that was full of Germanic “Bears”. It turned out to be a very hilarious evening!
Shopping in Sitges is great. There are lots of reasonably priced shops, most of them in the attractive winding streets of the Old Town. There were a lot of places to eat and most of the bars also served tapas. Our favourite restaurant was a very casual rooftop restaurant called ‘Soi 99’ which had a strange mix of tapas and sushi on the menu! They also did superb cocktails!
Our hotel was situated right at the end of the Promenade and from our balcony we could see where the sea and a river joined together. Since our arrival we had seen people wading through the water at certain times on a sandbar to reach the other shore. We spent days wondering what actually was so popular on the other side and had also spent time watching the people, who later at night, in the dark, tried to come back the same way only to find the sandbar had been swallowed up by the sea and they could not cross! Finally we decided to investigate. The sandbar wasn’t accessible so we took the long way round via the hotels golf course and a small bridge. What we found was a small shack like bar set right on the pebbly beach with a few sun loungers and with lights strung all around. This bar, called The Hola Beach Club turned out to be a place to head to if you wanted to see a good sunset It was situated in the perfect spot and late afternoon a DJ started playing so that you could have cocktails and music whilst watching the sun go down.
Our visit to Sitges overall was too short. It was a little crowded because of “Bear Week”. I would like to return at another time as it is a very authentic, friendly and welcoming Spanish town.