From our archives
North America strips
From our archives
Is all art about sex?
If you haven't signed up for the free MyGuide service you are missing out on the following features:
- Monthly email when new
issue comes out
- Customized "Get MyGuys"
- Comment posting on magazine
articles, comment and
NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Sitges article click DailyXtraTravel
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 why 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 street names). The offerings in the restaurants are equally diverse, with
dishes from around the world.
Gays 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 and never
get a second glance.
The euro is the local currency. ATMs
give a better exchange rate than
currency exchange offices. Credit cards
do not require a PIN in Spain,
(unlike elsewhere in Europe), but you'll
be asked to show your passport.
In Spain, battles like same-sex marriage
have been won since 2005, when
the Socialists returned to 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. It's another
world, to be sure.
Sitges's popularity makes reservations a must in summer. Book as far in
advance as possible. Check out complete
listings under "accommodations" at left.
El Xalet (Illa de Cuba, 35; 938-110-070) grand edifice, spacious rooms, beautiful courtyard garden bar and restaurant, breakfast poolside.
Liberty (Illa de Cuba 45; 938-
110-872) near station, short walk to beach and bars, generous breakfast, shady tropical garden, open
year-round, also apartments.
Hotel (Joan Tarrida 16; 938-941-
350) modern gay hotel,
two minutes from beach, at center of gay
Romantic (Isidre 33; 938-948-
375) old-world atmosphere,
19th-century villas, terraces overlook
Renaixenca (Isla de Cuba 7; 938-
lodging, old-world luxury, open year-
Life Journey Spain (Sitges; 634-212-933) large house, panoramic view, pool, yoga, Qi-Gong, tango, wellness workshops, private parties.
Hotel (Sra. de Montserrat; 938-
option, overlooking the water.
OUTLET4SPAIN (Francesc Guma 20; 938-102-711)
apartments in Sitges, Barcelona and Gran
multilingual staff, locations in Sitges
and Spain, excellent rates, diverse selections.
Two beautiful local guesthouses are in
the countryside beyond the
Casanova (938-188-058) former
farmhouse, luxurious suites,
private baths, clothing-optional pool,
sauna, hot tub.
Sumidors (Garraf National Park,
Sant Pere de Ribes; 938-962-061)
400-year-old Catalan house, pool,
solarium, aromatic sauna, open all
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
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
(Sant Pere 3) French-run bar, open year-
round, dark room, opens 6:30pm.
(Jesus 55) Anglo-American bar and grill,
breakfast from 10am, screens English-
(Bonaire 14) brand new bar, sleek decor, big video screens,
stylish crowd, open daily 5pm to
(Joan Tarrida 6) draws locals and
tourists, denim and leather crowd, popular dark room, open
daily 5:30pm to 2:30am.
(Bonaire 35) tranquil music, lovely
for conversation, a bit Dutch, a lot
French, opens 7pm.
Vikingos (Mont-roig 7) family
restaurant inside, terrace
tables fill with gay men afternoons and
early evenings, as do those of the Mont Roig Cafe (Mont Roig,11-13) next door.
Pub (Placa de la Industria)
snacks, terrace tables, summer only,
11am to 3am.
(Bonaventura 10) intimate men's music
bar, welcoming vibe,
Spanish, German and English spoken.
(Gaudenci 7) video bar, many languages,
naked parties, strippers.
(Bonair 17, upstairs) cruisy men-only video bar,
St Andrew's cross, naked parties.
(Port Alegre 10) near Platya de Sant
Sebastia, cafe and
terrace bar, popular with Brits.
(Bonaventura 13) drink discounts all
events, sexy darkroom, open weekends
Bears (Pau Barrabeitg 5) bear
bar with darkroom and
(Taco 4) mature crowd, drag shows every
and weekends in winter.
(Carreta 9) big dance floor, videos,
hot young guys, big summer Sunday shows
(Bonaventura, 37) cabaret piano bar,
European performers, easy conversation,
(Bonaventura 19) industrial decor,
summer theme events.
(Joan Tarrida 14) a cafe-bar for
Mediterraneo (Bonaventura 6) open Carnival and
late-night dance crowd, vaulted glass
ceiling, bougainvillea- and
(Bonaire 13) energetic international
music bar, dancing,
summer strippers, cruisy darkroom, open
(Espalter 7) small and intimate local
4) favorite of local guys, drag shows,
nude strippers, live sex shows.
(Bonaire 24) young and beautiful dance
dancers, male strippers.
(Bonaire 17, downstairs) fun and diverse crowd at center of gay Sitges, open daily in Summer with Thursday Lady Diamond shows. Open in winter, weekends only.
7) edge of downtown, popular gay
hangout, expats and
tourists, particularly British
Tarrida 7) dancing downstairs, serious
Dance Clubs & Afterhours
When the bars close, everyone heads for
late-night discos to dance
Club (Bonaire 15) Europop,
techno, house, and Spanish
music, shirtless guys, summer only from
Disco (Angel Vidal 36) loud,
hard, cutting-edge sound,
strippers, darkroom, shampoo parties,
summer only from 1am.
(Sant Pau 25) mostly straight but gay-
Atlantida (Passeig Maretim)
summer Tuesdays, gay beach party
midnight to dawn. Free bus at beach by
(Centro Commercial, Oasis 28) after-
darkroom frolic, and summer sex
Many restaurants close from 2 to 5pm, or
open at 8pm in true Iberian
fashion. Dinner is often a late affair,
beginning 9 or 10pm.
Restaurant (Taco 16) French
cuisine, duck specialties.
(Sant Pau 34) eclectic Australian-Asian
(Sant Pau 32) breakfast, pastries, coffee
pizza, paninis, baguettes 6-10pm;
terrace garden wine.
Hidalgo (Sant Pau 12) dinner
menu with Galician and
northern Spanish cuisine.
(Jesus 55) homemade burgers and ribs,
grilled meat, movie memorabilia, open
10am to midnight.
El Arte del
Cafe (Sant Pere 29) full English breakfast, coffee of all
kinds, weekend crepes and vegetarian
Vell (Bonaventura 21) Catalan
food, warm and rustic
(Bonaire 26) French and international
beautiful garden patio setting.
Restaurant (Mossen Felix Clara 3)
worth the trip, impeccably
prepared food, romantic old-world
(Pg de Villafranca 4) Catalan tapas
restaurant and bar,
breakfast served from 10am.
(Bonaventura 5) traditional Catalan
Restaurant (Bonaire 28) French
with international twist, garden
tables, Saturday cabaret.
(Pg de la Ribera 8) terrace bar and
beach, lunch, dinner and English
(Sant Pau 36) location now closed, but after vacation time off Pablo & Ben will consider future projects.
(Carreta 10) Neapolitan Italian
Restaurant (Joan Tarrida 18)
terrace seating, Swiss and
Pecado (Parellades 76) not gay,
but good, quick,
inexpensive slices of 25 different
(Goudenci 9) Mexi-Cali tacos,
hamburgers, seafood and fresh
Sitges (Espalter 11) hot steamy
fun from 4pm, frequent special
events like foam parties.
Sauna (Joan Tarrida 16) small
gay men's sauna below the
(Parellades 39) body
enhancements with ink or piercings.
Clothing boutiques are everywhere in
(Bonaventura 18) exuberant men's
(Joan Tarrida 3) men's fashions at
Pere 5) men's underwear and beach
Boutique (Bonaire 20) men's off-
(Parellades 26) men's clothes, moderate
Fashionwear (Gaudenci 12) men's
(Francesc 22) men's fashions, sexy
(Sant Josep 6) swimwear, edgy fashions.
Many galleries sell paintings,
mostly local scenes harking back
to Sitges' fishing village past.
Nicolas (Paseo de Vilanova 43)
studies of male form,
drawings, and paintings, classically
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
cost no more than $15.
Gay and nude beaches
The downtown gay beach is between the
Red Cross hut and Picnic
Restaurant on the boardwalk. A more
exclusively gay nudist beach, Playa
del Muerto, is a 45-minute hike south,
past the last hotel and the golf
course, up the hillside path beyond the
L'Atlantida parking lot to the
pebble beach on the other side. You can
cut 30 minutes off the journey
if you take a taxi to L'Atlantida
Another nude but mixed beach to the
northeast, Playa dels Balmins is
along the coastal path, up the hill and
beyond the cemetery. You'll
know when you've arrived.
There's active cruising all day
among the rocks behind the Playa
del Muerto gay beach, and among the
trees across the train tracks above
the beach. Be wary on the tracks, as
trains tear out of the tunnel with
The city's beachfront esplanade
gets cruisiest after families go
home. Some young guys leaning on the
walls or seated on the benches are
February 11 - 17, 2010
Unbridled festivities from Dijous Gras, Thursday before Lent, to the Burial of the Sardine effigy on Ash Wednesday. Thousands of costumed revelers, dozens of floats in Debauchery parade Thursday, followed by Sunday Extermination parade of drag queens in black. Huge crowds, many parties in the clubs.
The Sixth International Bear Meeting
April 29 - May 20, 2010
Dinners, bar parties, beach picnics, pool parties, paintball
Sitges Gay Pride
July 9 - 11, 2010
The first Pride event for Sitges will include a Saturday street parade from 6pm.
Note: article last updated December 2009