I visit Spain every month – and I've found the best seaside town loved by locals that Brits never go to | The Sun

I VISIT Spain all the time – and there is a seaside town that the locals flock to that Brits often skip over.

UK holidaymakers often visit popular beaches nearby such as Lloret de Mar.

And while Barcelona has plenty to see and do, it can get very busy – especially in the summer.

But for quieter beaches and restaurants, one of my favourite spots is a place called Sitges. 

Just a 30-minute train ride from the bustling streets of Barcelona, this small beach town is a Catalonian hidden gem that not many British tourists go to.

Also dubbed the “Brighton of Barcelona” (due to its close proximity to the city) Barcelonian locals visit for a break from the busy capital.

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Here's everything you need to know about Sitges.

What is Sitges like?

Sitges is a scenic seaside escape where sun-drenched beaches- it as has an average of 310 sunnday days a year – meet charming cobblestone streets.

Here, quaint cafes and tapas bars line picturesque plazas and promenades, offering a taste of authentic Spanish culture away from the crowds of tourists.

As someone who visits Spain sometimes as often as once a month, Sitges is a coastal haven perfect for those looking for a more relaxing time away but like having Barcelona at a safe distance.

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You can easily find €3 glasses of wine in SitgesCredit: Lee Bell
Locals love the place – but Brits are yet to make it popular with the UK marketCredit: Lee Bell

Where to go

Sitges’ biggest landmark is the 17th-century Church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla, which sits proudly on a hill between two of the town’s biggest beaches.

On one side you'll find the larger and more popular Ribera beach and on the other is the slightly quieter San Sebastian beach, which is overlooked by a lively promenade lined with the inviting terraces of independent bars and restaurants.

One of my favourite places to do just that is the little-known restaurant El Náutico.

Part of Sitges’ very own sailing club, this eatery is popular with locals and offers unique views across the sea from its terrace, which extends out to the ocean, sitting on the water like a small pier.

This allows you to watch the waves lap against the shore right beside your table for a super special dining experience.

The best time to go is at lunchtime during the week when you can grab a great-priced “menu del día” (menu of the day), which includes three courses and a drink for around €20 (£17). 

When in need of a break from the beach, I like to cool off at the rooftop pool at Sky Bar in Hotel MIM, which is owned by Argentinian football legend, Lionel Messi which has panoramic views of Sitges.

For something more low-key, Terraza de Rafa is a great shout. This local restaurant is known by locals for its paella, friendly service and low prices.

There’s also Parrots bar – a down-to-earth spot that’s great for daytime drinking.

With a huge terrace overlooking a busy square, it’s great for people watching while sipping on a €3 (£2.60) tinto de verano, a more local, less sweet sangria. Stick around and you might catch a drag show or two.

Looking for the wow factor? Head over to the rooftop bar at Hotel ME Sitges Terramar, which overlooks what’s known as one of Sitges’ most beautiful yet quietest beaches of the same name.

The hotel’s huge terrace is especially impressive at sunset, where you can watch the sun disappear behind wide stretches of golden sand and crystal-clear waters while sipping on cocktails. 

All the while, live DJs play mellow tunes for a relaxing beach club experience.

Off-season Sitges

While summer in Sitges is the best for those wanting sun, sea and sangria, there’s plenty happening outside of the holiday season.

In February, the town hosts Sitges Carnival, known as the “wildest winter party in Spain”. 

The event sees 250,000 people flock from all over Spain and descend on the coastal town to celebrate the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. 

The Carnival is famous for its colourful parades, extravagant costumes and lively street parties. 

If February is too far away, happening every October is Sitges Film Festival, which is essentially the Spanish equivalent of Cannes but with a focus on fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres.

Running since 1967, the festival showcases cutting-edge and cult cinema, attracting filmmakers, industry professionals and horror movie enthusiasts from around the world.

Around and about Sitges

There’s plenty to do outside of Sitges if you want a change of scenery.

Just two stops on the train is an even smaller town, Castelldefels.

A short walk to the beach is an Argentinian chiringuito (beach bar) called Mira Vos, which is enjoyed by locals for its top-quality food and drinks. 

If you’re in the mood for something a little upmarket, just one stop from Sitges on the train is the small village of Girraf where you’ll find the Soho House beach bar, La Caseta. 

This upmarket bistro serves up top-notch cocktails and local cuisine. And best of all, you don’t need to be a member to go.

Getting there

For those going for the day from Barcelona, Sitges can be reached by train directly from Barcelona Sants station, which takes just over 30 minutes. Tickets cost around €7 (£6) one way or €13 (£11) return. 

Or, if you want to skip the hustle and bustle of Barcelona city centre completely, you can head straight to Sitges from El Prat airport easily via a bus from Terminal 1, which goes directly to the town and only takes 25 minutes.

Called MonBus, the buses run every hour during the week, every two hours on Saturday, and four times a day on Sundays and holidays. Tickets cost €7 (£6) each way.

For those who prefer to skip public transport altogether, you can get a taxi from any of the terminals in Barcelona EL Prat airport but it’ll cost you significantly more at around €60 (£50).


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Once you’re in Stignes you won’t need to travel around much as the town is small and walkable. You can walk from one end of the promenades right to the other in around 30 minutes.

Flights to Barcelona from the UK start from £18 and take around two hours.

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