Gay Sitges – Our Favorite Gay Beach Town in Spain
By far the best reason to visit Sitges are the beaches, and there are 17 to be exact. Of the most popular gay beaches, our hands down favorite is Playa del Muerto or Beach of the Dead. For a little history, Playa del Muerto has been a popular gay nude beach since the 1930's (and the world's first according to the sign)! Getting to this beach is part of the fun as it's located 45-50 minutes hiking along the sea and railroad tracks just beyond the southern limits of Sitges (technically, southwest). You'll be rewarded with stunning views along the way and a gorgeous beach with super sexy guys on arrival! In addition to the beautiful blue waters for a swim, there's a cafe above the beach for refreshment.
Overview – Situated just 35kms (approx. 22 miles) southwest of Barcelona, Sitges is the perfect day trip, weekend getaway, or extended gay travel destination. It’s the birthplace of the founder of Bacardi rum and home to the world’s first gay beach, Playa del Muerto, since the 1930’s. Sitges has long been a popular retreat for the LGBT+ community as a seaside escape full of art, excellent food and wine, and the freedom of self-expression. From Carnival to Gay Pride to Bear Week, Sitges has something for everyone, and it queerly punches above its weight!
Things to See and Do in and Around Sitges
Explore the old town -Climb the stairs up to Plaça del Baluard square where you will find the iconic seventeenth century church of Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla along with spectacular views of the Balaeric Sea. Enter the old town and journey back in time with cobblestoned streets, medieval walls, whitewashed buildings, and historic museums.
Head to a gay beach -Hire a lounger and umbrella in town at the main gay beach at Bassa Rodona or hike to clothing optional Balmins or Playa del Muerto (our favorite)! See below for more info on the best gay beaches in Sitges.
Have drinks at Parrots -After the beach, head to Parrots Pub & Terrace which is the most popular gay bar in town (also our favorite) and a great spot to start your night 'out out' as our British friends would say. The people watching can’t be beat, and the bar staff are fun and flirty.
Take a stroll along the promenade -The Passeig Maritim promenade is a wide pedestrian walkway that fronts the beaches and provides great views of the church, seaside mansions, and again, excellent people watching. You'll also find the rainbow bench along this stretch and the Bacardi monument dedicated to the founder of his eponymous spirit.
Watch sunset from the marina -If it’s an amazing sunset your after, head to the rocks on the other side of Balmins Beach at the entrance to the marina. From here, you'll be treated to a gorgeous sunset with a skyline view of Sitges and its iconic church.
Eat tapas and bar hop -You're in SPAIN! Tapas and Pinchos along with local wines and beers can be found everywhere! We enjoy eating and bar hopping along Carrer Jesús and Carrer Major. For a slightly more upscale option (reservations required), try La Pícara.
Go wine tasting in Penedès -Take the train (or inquire about the bus options at the tourist office) to visit the vineyards near Vilafranca del Penedès. One popular tasting tour is by bike. Of note, about 95% of Cava, Spanish sparkling wine, is produced in the Penedès region.
Take a day trip to Barcelona -Start early morning with a visit to Park Güell for panoramic views of the city followed by a self-guided tour of Sagrada Família. With ongoing construction, this Gaudí masterpiece is always worth a visit as is his famous Casa Batlló. After sightseeing, walk over to the gay Eixample neighborhood for happy hour. We love gay bar La Chapelle with its unique decor and massive negronis!
When to go – As a beach town, Sitges is most popular during the summer months of July through early September when Bear Week occurs! We also like the shoulder season months leading up to high season from May to June, including Sitges Gay Pride!
Getting here – Unlike many gay beach towns, getting to Sitges is super easy and convenient. Barcelona’s El Prat Airport (BCN) lies southwest of Barcelona on the way to Sitges, so a taxi can have you to your hotel in about 30-minutes. If you are already in Barcelona, you can hop on the train at the main train station, Barcelona-Sants, or at Passeig de Gracia near the gay Eixample neighborhood, and be in Sitges in 40-minutes.
Where to stay – Our top pick for where to stay is the Hotel MiM based on its location and luxury boutique feel. We are obsessed with their grand staircase as well as their rooftop pool and Sky Bar! There’s a fab gym and spa, and it’s also just a stone’s throw to the main gay beach.
For a mid-range option that is very popular with the LGBT+ community, check out Hotel Calipolis which is located directly across the street from the main gay beach behind the Picnic Restaurant.
If you are looking for an excellent budget option, look no further than Hotel Liberty. It’s well situated just across from the train station and fab supermarket/food hall at Mercat de Sitges. There is an included breakfast served in the garden, and gay owners Thomas and Dieter will make you feel right at home.
Where to eat and drink – After a month in Sitges and returning to so many places we knew of from previous visits or enjoying new places that came highly recommended to us from friends living here, we’re going to share our absolute faves that have us coming back time after time.
Let’s begin with our hands down favorite restaurant in Sitges which may feel a bit unexpected based on its location. It’s called Villa Marina Sitges located in the marina which requires a decent walk to the other side of Balmins Beach away from town. The food is just delicious, and for sure, they have have the best pastas in town. They also give you little side plates as a taster of what your table mates order or even a dish from another table if you’re on your own! We love this simple but nice touch. Some of the best menu items are the Pirata salad, Sorrentina pasta, and of course, house Tiramisu for desert. Bottles of wine are also extraordinarily well priced. It’s a tiny place so reservations are required.
For lunch, head over to uber gay Montroig cafe for delicious sandwiches and salads, and of course, excellent people watching. It’s located just a few doors down from Parrots gay bar and the gay epicenter of Sitges. Also, very popular with the LGBT+ community is Beach House.
To find the best rooftop restaurant, pool, bar, and views of Sitges, don’t miss Skybar at Hotel MiM. Also, be sure to take the stairs up or down for a well curated art collection.
If you love pizza and gelato as much as we do, head to Massimo Pizzeria followed by Gelati Dino across from the beach promenade. We love to pick up a scoop or two of their pistachio gelato and walk the promenade at sunset.
For vegetarian or vegan options, Spice Garden and its sister restaurant Cinnamon both have AMAZING Indian food. The friendly service and relaxed vibe (along with a delicious lunch special) give Spice Garden the edge in our opinion.
If it’s traditional Catalan food you’re after, request a table outside at La Nansa Restaurante. If you don’t see one available just ask as the wait staff who continually add white linen-lined tables on wood pallets down the street as the night progresses.
On the fancier side, La Estrella will impress with excellent Japanese cuisine, sushi, and perhaps the best Champagne selection in town. Like many of the best restaurants in Sitges, please reserve in advance during summer.
Where to find the best gay beaches – In Sitges, you’re spoiled with not one, not two, but THREE gay beaches. We’ve dedicated this blog post and the YouTube video above to help you decide among them!
Where to find gay nightlife – Most of the gay bars and clubs are located on Carrer de Joan Tarrida (THE gay street in Sitges), including our favorite at the intersection with Plaça Industria, Parrots Pub & Terrace. Parrots is the perfect place to enjoy very happy hours with their extensive cocktail list. You will no doubt make friends at nearby tables, who along with the sexy and fun bar staff, will help you decide the hottest places to go each night. On our last visit, many of the late night clubs were closed due to the pandemic, but typically the Joan Tarrida gay street is PACKED and you can bar hop from Parrots to El Horno-Bar XXL which is also super fun!
Banking – There are a variety of banks (and ATMs) along one of the main thoroughfares such as Carrer de les Parallades and Carrer Jesús, including BBVA, CaixaBank, and Santander among others.
Barbershop – To keep it fresh, Arte & Corte (Carrer d’Espalter, 31) is perhaps the best barbershop in town, and is consistently busy with gay men. Don’t forget to take a number on arrival.
Fitness/Gym– If your hotel or Airbnb doesn’t have a gym, no worries. You have two main options. First, for the closest option in town, there is a small gym called Tiger Warriors that offers day passes. It’s no frills and compact. Second, if you are looking for a more complete gym, then head to the municipal gym on the opposite side of the rail tracks (there is an underpass near the train station). This facility includes a huge pool for swimming laps as well as extensive cardio and weight training machines. They offer day passes as well as a 10-visit option and of course monthly options at good value.
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Hola amigos and welcome to our gay travel blog! We are Andy and Trai, a gay couple traveling the world with PRIDE 🌈 …and our rescue dog, Pattie!
After meeting in San Francisco in 2018 and later moving to Chicago, we decided to quit our jobs in 2021, sell everything, and become Two Gay Expats!
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