The coastal village of Sitges is a beach getaway for residents of nearby Barcelona, and a favorite vacation spot for gay people from all across Europe. With at least three dozen gay restaurants and clubs, scores of shops, and plenty of gay beaches, it's no wonder gay people flock to its cobblestone streets.
While you can get by with English or Spanish, you'll hear many other languages in this cosmopolitan community. French is very common, as is Catalan, the local language, in which most street signs are written (we use Catalan names). The offerings in the restaurants are equally diverse, with dishes from around the world.
Gay people are an important part of the local culture, so there are few tensions. Same-sex couples can hold hands on the beach or walking between the numerous cafes in the streets, and never get a second glance. In recent years the gay scene has become ever more concentrated in and around Joan Tarrida and Bonaire, but bars, restaurants and clubs of interest can be found on nearby streets for several blocks, mostly to the north and east. GaySitgesPride takes place in June.
The euro is the local currency. ATMs give a better exchange rate than currency exchange offices, but check with your bank before leaving home for possible partner banks to save on withdrawal fees. Credit cards don't usually require a PIN in Spain, but you'll likely be asked to flash your passport to verify identity if your card is without the chip.
In Spain, battles like same-sex marriage have been won since 2005, when the Socialists were in power. Church leaders object, but polls show two thirds of the population doesn't mind. Gay nightlife thrives, but it often remains discreet at home in that Mediterranean way, behind closed doors. Men of any sexual orientation can show public affection for one another here, even as news reports say that effeminate boys are sometimes harassed in school. Blatantly sexual gay parades raise few eyebrows, and cops don't go out of their way looking for men having sex in woods, on beaches, or the back rooms of bars.
Barcelona International is the closest airport. Renfe trains or shuttle buses take you to Barcelona Sants Station, where a local train will get you to Sitges in around 20 minutes, for about $5. Driving here can be more trouble than it's worth, as parking in Sitges is expensive and sometimes hard to find.
Walking is the best way to get around. Many streets in the center are closed to traffic. Taxis around town aren't expensive as distances are short.
Media & resources
A good general public website in Spanish can be found at Sitges Vida.
See our map & listings section for locations and weblinks to all the businesses listed below, and more.
Sitges's popularity makes reservations a must in summer. Book as far in advance as possible. Check out our complete listings in our lodgings/ map section.
Antonio's Inn (Passeig de Vilanova, 58; 34-938-949-207), luxury and elegance with 6 bedrooms, all en-suite with terraces, near beach and bars.
Avenida Sofia Hotel Boutique & Spa (Av. Sofia, 12; 34-938-113-500), 77 rooms and suites, international cuisine restaurant, spa, sauna and steam, oxygen chamber, sky bar and roof pool, 24-hour gym, free WiFi.
El Xalet (Illa de Cuba, 35; 34-938-110-070), grand edifice, spacious rooms, beautiful courtyard garden bar and restaurant, breakfast poolside.
Hotel Calipolis Sitges (Sofia, 2; 34-938-941-500), modern rooms and suites overlooking the beach, swimming pool, Mediterranean restaurant, WiFi.
Hotel Liberty (Illa de Cuba 45; 34-938- 110-872), gay guesthouse near station, short walk to beach and bars, generous breakfast, shady tropical garden, open year-round; also apartment rentals.
Hotel Renaixenca (Isla de Cuba 7; 34 938- 948-375) gay-friendly lodging, old-world luxury, breakfast, open year- round.
Hotel Romantic (Isidre 33; 938-948- 375) old-world atmosphere, 19th-century villas, terraces overlook gardens.
Life Journey Spain (Sitges; 34 634-212-933) large house, panoramic view, pool, yoga, Qi-Gong, tango, wellness workshops, private parties.
Los Globos Hotel (Sra. de Montserrat; 34 938- 949-374) gay-friendly option, overlooking the water.
OUTLET4SPAIN (Francesc Guma 20; 34 938-102-711) holiday rental apartments in Sitges, Barcelona and Gran Canaria.
Parrots Hotel (Joan Tarrida 16; 34 938-941- 350), modern gay hotel in the middle of town, center of gay nightlife, two minutes from beach; sauna, restaurant/bar.
There's a beautiful local guesthouses in the countryside beyond the downtown bustle.
Hotel Masia Sumidors (Garraf National Park, Sant Pere de Ribes; 34 938-962-061), a 400-year-old Catalan house with pool, solarium, and aromatic sauna, open all year.
Bars & Clubs
Most nightlife here begins after late dining hours, so bars open at 10 or 10:30pm. Many have happy hours to coax folks out before midnight. After 3am, the bars close and the discos take over.
There are some early exceptions to a late-night gay club scene, including some cafe-bars. A few stay open all day, even during what once was called "siesta." Look for these around Calle Mont-roig, a busy pedestrian street lined with tables that fill with the after-beach crowds. It's gayest around Placa de la Industria.
Carousel Terrace Bar (Joan Tarrida 14), gay cocktail bar from 5pm, terrace seating and shows on busy street; the old Ruby's site.
Central Bar Café (Plaça Industria 5), 9am-3am summer terrace cocktails bar, cakes/coffees cafe, ground zero center of gay scene. Part of Parrot's group.
El Horno (Joan Tarrida 6), gay men's favorite, locals and tourists, denim and leather crowd, popular dark room, open daily 5:30pm to 2:30am.
La Locacola (Bonaire 35), tranquil music, lovely aperitifs, great for conversation, a bit Dutch, a lot French, opens 7pm.
La Morocha Bar (Sant Pau 19), cocktails, beer & copas from 5:30pm; art shows, intimate live music performances.
La Villa (Joan Tarrida 8), small, central gay summertime 7pm-2:30am daily cocktails bar, terrace; off-season weekends.
Mojito & Co. (Joan Tarrida 20), gay cocktail bar at gay-central location, terrace seating, special mojitos, open from 5pm daily. Part of Parrot's group.
Parrot's Pub (Placa de la Industria), after-beach afternoon cocktails, snacks, terrace tables to see and be seen at center of gay Sitges, summer only, 11am to 3am.
Summer Lounge (Plaça Indústria 8), gay cocktail lounge and tapas bar with terrace at the center; part of the Parrot's group of gay businesses.
Yummy Terrace Bar (Joan Tarrida, 2), gay pizzeria/ cocktails and tapas bar at center of the scene, one of the largest terraces in town; part of Parrot's group.
Barcode (Bonaventura 10) intimate 10pm-3am nightly men's music bar, newest music videos, welcoming international vibe. Was Bar Azul.
Bear's (Bonair 17, upstairs) cruisy men-only video bar, darkrooms, sling, St Andrew's cross, naked parties.
Beso Bar (Primer de Maig 6), 10pm-3am daily gay summertime cocktail bar, DJs, drag shows.
Bourbon's (Bonaventura 13) - CLOSED? - nightly men's theme party bar, music videos, DJs, open nightly 10pm-3am, popular darkroom.
Bukkake (Joan Tarrida,17), gay men's cruise bar, open 5pm-5:30am nightly; slings, maze, cabins.
Bunker (Bonaire 15), men's cruise bar, summer nights until 5am, part of Parrot's group.
Comodin Bar (Taco 4), mature crowd, drag shows every summer night and on weekends in winter.
Dark (Bonaire 14) men's cruise bar, dark room, guest porn stars, live sex shows, theme parties.
El Piano (Bonaventura, 37), cabaret piano bar, talented diverse European performers, friendly international staff, easy conversation.
Prinz (Nou 4) favorite of local guys, drag shows, nude strippers, live sex shows.
Seven (Nou 7) edge of downtown, popular gay hangout, expats and tourists, particularly British crowd.
Union Bar (Bonaire 13) former Orek's, energetic year-round international music bar, nightly parties, Sunday amateur stripper contests.
XXL (Joan Tarrida 7), men's cruise bar, dancing downstairs, serious darkroom action upstairs.
Zona X (Carreta 9), men's sex and cruise club, naked and underwear, leather and fetish nights; live sex shows, former El Candil location, .
Dance Clubs & Afterhours
When the bars close, everyone heads for late-night discos to dance until dawn.
Organic Club (Bonaire 12), Europop, techno, house, and Spanish music dance club, shirtless guys, summer only from 2:30am at the former Route 66 site. Summertime Sitges Foam Parties on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Privilege (Bonaire 24) young and beautiful dance club crowd, table dancers, male strippers; diva emcees.
Ricky's (Sant Pau 25) mostly straight but gay- friendly, especially in off-season months when gay clubs close.
Many restaurants close from 2 to 5pm, or open at 8pm in true Iberian fashion. Dinner, as in most of Spain, is often a late affair, beginning 9 or 10pm.
Boccalino Restaurante (Plaça d'España 1), Mediterranean cuisine, seafood, pizzas, pastas, grilled meats and veggies.
Cafe Hidalgo (Sant Pau 12), dinner menu with Galician and northern Spanish cuisine; seafood specialities, steaks, pastas, daily menu platos del día.
Chai Indian Restaurant (Sant Pau 36), South Asian Tandoor-cooked meats; lunch and dinner, veggie options, eat-in/take-out.
El Pou (Bonaventura 21), Catalan wine and tapas bar/ restaurant, warm and rustic environment, local meat and fish. Formerly El Celler Vell.
El Trull Restaurant (Mossen Felix Clara 3), worth the trip, impeccably prepared food, romantic old-world setting.
L'Angle D'Adriana (Plaça Industria), traditional-style French bistro dining, Sunday brunch; large terrace at the center, daily menu, quiche specialities, tasty desserts.
La Borda (Bonaventura 5), fine dining, old-world atmosphere, traditional Catalan cuisine.
Le Patio (Bonaire 26), French and International dining, extensive menu, fine wines, daily specials, garden terrace.
Ma Maison Restaurant (Bonaire 28), long-time gay favorite French restaurant, international twist, garden tables, Saturday cabaret.
Parrots Restaurant (Joan Tarrida 18), terrace seating, Swiss and Mediterranean cuisine.
Pizza del Pecado (Parellades 76), not spefically gay, but good, quick, inexpensive slices of 25 different pizza pies at town center.
Sitthai Restaurant & Lounge (Bonaire, 29), Asian fusion Thai, Japanese, Chinese cuisines; curries, sushi, meat, seafood and vegetables.
SoCa (Goudenci 9), Mexi-Cali tacos,gran burros, nachos, quesadillas, hamburgers, seafood and fresh salads; lunch and dinner, take-out or delivery.
Sauna Sitges (Espalter 11), hot steamy fun from 4pm, wide range of guys, frequent special events like foam parties.
Parrots Sauna (Joan Tarrida 16), small gay men's sauna below the Parrots Hotel.
Shopping and services
ES Collection (Sant Francesc, 9), men's underwear and beach attire; the Barcelona brand with the internationally famous ads.
Tattoo Art Sitges (Sant Pau 41), body enhancements with ink or piercings - see gallery online.
Testimoni (Sant Josep 6), men's underwear, swimwear, edgy fashions.
Many galleries sell paintings, mostly featuring local scenes of the quiet old days of Sitges as a fishing village.
Blanca de Nicolas (Paseo de Vilanova 43), studies of male form, drawings, and paintings, classically posed nudes.