Sitges, Catalonia, Spain is a small city about 35 kilometres southwest of Barcelona renowned worldwide for its Film Festival and Carnival. Between the hills and the sea, it is known for its much-frequented beaches, nightspots, and historical sites.
While the roots of Sitges' artsy reputation date back to the late 19th century, when Catalan painter Santiago Rusiñol took up residence there during the summer, the town really came into its own during the 1960s, when it was the only centre for the counterculture on the mainland of Spain (then still under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco), and became known as a sort of "Ibiza in miniature".
Today, Sitges can be considered a dynamic cultural oasis, basing its economy on tourism and culture offering more than 4,500 hotel beds, half of them in four-star hotels. The firm commitment for quality infrastructures has converted Sitges into a first-class destination in terms of tourism of congresses, conferences, seminars and company meetings in the Mediterranean area.
Sitges is very international. Almost 35% of the ca. 25.642 inhabitants are from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Scandinavia whose children can attend international schools.
Real Estate Edit
Sitges is also called 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 the surrounding Parc Natural del Garraf. Proximity to Barcelona airport is also a major advantage.
1853:First play of Sitges Ball de diables in "Festa Major". (Festa Major is an Annual Festival celebrated every 23 and 24 of August. In a "Festa Major" you can find a wide range of different activities and events to look at or join).
1958:First Barcelona-Sitges Antique Car Rally.
1991:'Festa Major' is declared an event of national interest.
1994:First running of Barcelona-Sitges Veteran Motorbike Rally.
For over 100 years, Sitges has been celebrating nonstop –between the months of February and March, according to the liturgical calendar- Carnestoltes, or Carnival.
The festivities begin on Dijous Gras, or Fat Thursday, with the arribo, King Carnestoltes’ spectacular arrival. From the moment this character appears until the burial of the sardine – late afternoon on Ash Wednesday – you could well say that life in Sitges moves to a new beat.
Here there is even room for youngsters to step into the limelight with children’s "ruas", or Carnival parades, on Sunday and Tuesday afternoon.
Folk dances and xatonades (traditional local salad served with assorted omelets) are also characteristic carnival elements. The two most important moments are the Rua de la Disbauxa, or the Debauchery Parade, on Sunday night and the Rua de l‘Extermini, or Extermination Parade, on Tuesday night. Some forty-odd floats with more than 2,000 participants leave a jam-packed Sitges completely breathless.
Modern Sitges, preserving important references from the Middle Age and the old farmers’ and fishermen’s town, offers visitors an impressive architectural and cultural heritage, the result of initiatives by artists, cultural energizers and patrons like Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas, Miquel Utrillo or Charles Deering. Thanks to them, Sitges was a reference point for writers, musicians and other intellectuals and became an important center for disseminating Modernism and the "Americanos", who, after returning with their "fortune" from their American adventure, commissioned large mansions from Modernist and Noucentista (post Art Nouveau) architects.The museums, guided tours or walks around the old quarter allow us to visit and relive this important legacy. This creative impetus has made it possible to create new projects like The International Barcelona-Sitges Vintage Car Rally, the International Film Festival, the International Jazz Festival or the Summer Concerts Series.
Maricel Museum : The American Charles Deering (1852-1927) had the Palau Maricel built to house his art collection in an attempt to copy the precedent set by Cau Ferrat. In 1921 Deering returned to the U.S. and the palace was emptied. In 1969 however, the building regained the use to which it had seemed destined since its creation, by welcoming a major private collection, a donation by Dr. Pérez Rosales, mostly dedicated to medieval art.
Museu Romàntic "Can Llopis": The Museu Romàntic "Can Llopis" is a perfectly preserved 19th century house which allows us to take a closer look at the lifestyle of a family of Catalan householders who lived their splendour during the years of Romanticism. It was built at the end of the 18th century in a neo-classical style with sober, elegant lines and very little decoration. Faithful to the Mediterranean tradition, the house has a central patio with a staircase leading to the main living quarters. The interior design shows how tastes changed from the time the building was built - when they were strongly influence by aristocratic styles - to the triumph of the forms of bourgeois Romanticism.
Xató is Sitges' most typical dish. It appeared in the press for the first time in a report about Maundy Thursday published in the local newspaper Eco de Sitges the 16th of February of 1896. The report refers to a meal that three days before had gathered together a selected group of Catalan artists and intellectuals, Santiago Rusiñol, Miquel Utrillo, Gaietà Buigas and others. 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 and arbequine 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). And to drink a good bottle of Penedès black wine.
Apart from the xató, there are some other typical dishes from Sitgetan cuisine, which turn fish into an unequivocal sign of identity. Rice in the Sitgetan way, stewed sepia with potatoes and all-i-oli (typical Catalan garlic sauce), bull de tonyina (typical sailors´ dish made with tuna fish), fideuà (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 our gastronomy.
As for drinks, malvasia is the most representative one. We are talking about an oloroso and delicate liquor wine, excellent for desserts. The name “malvasia” comes from the Peloponnesian port Monembasía. In Sitges, the Hospital Sant Joan Baptista continues producing and marketing malvasia according to the traditional method and 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 sand beaches. Four of them are in the East: the first one called Les Botigues at the beginning of the coast, next to the beachs of Castelldefels and the other three are following the coast of Garraf (Road C-31). There are eleven urban beaches and two in the west. These last two have difficult access. The last one (Playa del Muerto) is the gay beach.
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.
Motor Racing Edit
Sitges is part of the long history of motor racing in Catalonia, from 1908-1920 events were staged over public roads from Sitges to Canyelles to Vilanova i la Geltrú, and from Mataro to Vilassar de Mar and Argentona. In 1922 and 1923 the Real Moto Club de Catalunya ran the Penya Rhin Grand Prix over a 9 mile circuit around the town of Vilafranca del Penedès until it was replaced by a short lived purpose built circuit, the banked Autodromo Sitges Terramar. Albert Divo won the only Spanish Grand Prix held at the banked 'Sitges Terramar' driving a Sunbeam
- Tourism Services in Sitges, official site.
- Gay Guide to Sitges, GaySitges.com
- Gay Guide to Sitges, Gay Sitges Guide.
- Sitges Tango Festival, official site
- Sitges International Film Festival, official site.
- Ajuntament de Sitges English-language portal page, official site.
- Artistic and historical buildings (in Catalan)
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