If you are anything like me, then whenever you are packed away in the long ques for museums or the crowded streets filled with tourists- you get an overwhelming feeling of needing to escape. Well in this challenge, we are getting you to escape Barcelona- leave all of the horrible parts of the busy city and go to Sitges. Sitges offers all of the festivities for a big city while maintaining the charm of a beautiful Mediterranean Sea town. Sitges has been known as the top destination for the LGBTQ community for decades, as you walk the city you can find all sorts of impromptu events and gay friendly parties. Be prepared to start using merci more often than gracias, as the farther into real Catalonia you travel- the less prevalent that Castellano Spanish becomes. So, escape Barcelona, escape the tourist chaos and take this challenge to enjoy a more genuine side of Catalonia! Let’s go!
Passeig Maritim is the general term for the board walk area of any town. So, if you are looking this up on the internet be sure to specify Sitges. Sitge’s board walk is really cool though, offering the normal amazing views of the beaches and water, offering mouthwatering restaurants along the way but also weaving in a bit of the old town. They say that you can judge how touristy a spot is by how many locals go, what we love about the Passeig Maritim is that locals use it just as much as visitors. The “Parròquia de Sant Bartomeu” right next to the marina is probably the most famous part of the board walk, but it is a beautiful spot to sit and watch the water and to enjoy the fresh air. Check out the steps to the church, where you can find the most photographed bench in Catalonia.
Now if you are the adventurous type, and you don’t like to eat at the same fast food chains for all of the meals. Then this is the experience for you. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t dumb here, the food in Barcelona is to die for. However, you have not had fresh until you have had seafood along Spain’s Costa Brava. Stige’s seafood and meals are guaranteed fresh, no matter what type of seafood you get, you will not be disappointed. Just be sure that you do not fill up on pa amb tomàquet, or the bread with tomatoes that is served at every meal. You probably won’t need to specify, but when you eat out and order a salad, be sure that you are trying the Xató sauce. This sauce is locally made from recipes that change from town to town and are typically served on most salads.
Carnival or Carnestoltes as it is known in Catalan is unfortunately a seasonal one. Therefore, this experience may be difficult to take part in if you aren’t traveling to the area in February or March. Carnival is a religious holiday that precedes the Lent season in most Christian parts of the world. Carnival offers an unforgettable experience where there are costumes, parties and various festivities throughout the city. And with this, the small town of Sitges becomes filled with people everywhere. Sitges is known in Spain as one of the main places to travel to for Carnival. While we wouldn’t be surprised to see masked or costumed people throughout Barcelona, they are probably all on their way to Sitges for the parties! Grab a costume and enjoy! Always remember to be safe but be sure you don’t forget to bring your camera since some of these costumes are incredibly beautiful. 23 February 2020 14 February 2021 27 February 2022 19 February 2023
An important aspect about learning about a new culture is the history of that place. This part of the experience will take you a bit farther away from the beaches so be prepared to spend a portion of the day with this experience. Located about fifteen minutes by car- the Olèrdola complex offer a very cool look back into the various ages of the area. From the Romans to the Catalan Civil War, this area was used as a stronghold and fortress because of its strategic importance. The complex is made up of a church, castle and crypts. Of course, we ask you to pay attention be respectful when you are in the areas of the church and crypt. But do explore! Some of the gravesites there are date back hundreds of years! It is hard to find another place in the area that has such history associated with it!
Catalan Modernist movement or Art Nouveau as it is known in other countries, is an important part of the cultural renaissance that took place in Catalonia. at the end of the 19th century. These artistic works and styles are throughout Catalonia, most specifically Barcelona, and are a significant part of the cultural identity of the Catalan people. Explore the streets and museums of Sitges to learn more about this movement. As you walk the streets of Sitges, see if you can find some of the same influences. Sitges was home to one of the more famous artists of the period, Santiago Rusiñol. He tried to create a new movement where art would be the new region. While his influence is throughout the city- if you are feeling up for it the Cau Ferrat Museum, right along the Passeig Maritim offers a great collection of ceramics, ironworks and paintings of Rusiñol.