I love hanging around in the city. There is so much to see, so much to do. But sometimes I just need to escape from the crowded big city, a change of environment. When living, or just on holiday, in Barcelona that’s really easy. There is enough to explore outside the city. In less than one hour by train you can be in Sitges for example. Where you can also have a cup of Specialty Coffee!
Sitges is most famous for the beautiful beaches, long boulevard and lot’s of shops in the narrow cosy streets. And there is the famous Carnaval in February and the film festival, Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya, in October. And let’s not forget the gay and party scene here. Sitges counts 28.000 habitants, but in Summer this will rise up a lot. But Sitges is more than all of this. It has a rich history and it’s worth to explore. And the first Specialty Coffee place is open, so good coffee guaranteed. Let’s go!
Like I said, it’s easy to reach by train. In less than one hour you will be in the centre of Sitges. Take the R2 from Estacio de França, the train station next to Barceloneta. The train goes four times per hour. (For more info about the timetable of the train check Renfe) You can buy a return ticket for €8,20. This train starts at Estació de França, but it will also cross Passeig de Gracia and Sants. So you can catch R2 at three different stations in Barcelona. Easy-peasy no? Enjoy the view!
Now you know how to reach this old fishers town, now it’s time to start the walking tour. My name is Mariëlla and I am your guide for today. If you behave well we will have a lovely cup of coffee and a slice of cake on the end of the tour. If you do this tour and you have a lack of caffeine, I recommend to go to Vita Brevis first! I already had a beautiful flat white in Barcelona, so I am good for a couple of hours).
When we walk out of the station we will turn right and we are heading to the “Los Americanos” area of Sitges. Walk around in Carrer de L’Illa de Cuba (N˚37 Villa Avelina), Carrer de Sant Isidre and Carrer de Francesc Gumà (check out the casino). In these street you will find big beautiful houses in different building styles. They are not just houses, but there is a story behind it.
In 1778 there was a free trade decree, under Charles III, with America. Which made it possible to travel over there. Some people did and they made money oversea, for example Facundo Bacardi. Facundo went to Cuba. When they came back in Sitges they “Los Americanos” built these big houses to show off that they made a fortune. Next to this they also helped building the town to invest in railways and station, banking, vineyards. Well, you have to see the houses by yourself, because the streets are so narrow and the houses so big that it was impossible to make a decent photo. Or check it out in my video at the end of this post!
Now we walk to Plaça del Cap de la Vila where you can see Casa Bartomeu Carbonell or Casa del Reloj (house of the clock) and when you look at it you know why. There is a gigantic clock on the top and a beautiful tower. From here we are heading to Carrer Major. Don’t worry if you are attracted to the small shops in this street, you can step in and have a look. We are not in a hurry today. Keep your head up an look to the right. You see small cute streets that leads to the beach.
Carrer Major ends up at Plaça de l’Ajuntament. Here you can see the beautiful Ajuntament (council) building known as Casa de la Vila, some castle leftover from 1889 and the biblioteca Santiago Rusiñol (the white building with brown details). Rusiñol is an important name in Sitges. He was a painter and a poet and one of the leaders in modernism movement here in Catalunya. He also left a couple of modern buildings in the town. There is also a monument from him next to the beach. Around the corner in Carrer d’en Bosc, on of the oldest streets of Sitges, you will find Casa Bacardi located in the old market Mercat Vell. Facundo Bacardi, another important men in Sitges, who made his rum business in Cuba.
Now it’s time to see the beach. We cross the old castle leftovers and around the corner is the main entrance of the parish church Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla. This church was destroyed in 1649, but rebuilt in 1670 and finished in 1688. They also call it La Punta.
Later on we will go down to the beach, but first we visit Palau de Maricel which is around the corner of the church. Maricel comes from a theatre piece by Angel Guimerà, which is a beloved writer here in Catalunya. Palau de Maricel was build in 1919 to house a millionaires art collection. The building is really beautiful and I can recommend to do a tour inside. You will be amazed.
Now we walk back to the church and take the big stairs down to the beach. You can walk all the over the boulevard, Passeig de la Ribera. Enjoy the beautiful view, beach and atmosphere.
I think it might be time for a cup of coffee that get some more energy after all the walking. We are going to Vita Brevis! A specialty coffee place in the centre of Sitges. We actually already crossed it this morning when we were walking in Carrer Major, so we are going back to this street. Vita Brevis is using coffee from Nømad Coffee in Barcelona. Next to espresso and milk based coffees, they have filter coffee. I enjoyed a Rwanda french press before and it was really good prepared. Full of flavors.
Next to coffee they serve a lot of different other drinks like teas and smoothies. And the cakes are totally a yes aswell!
It’s almost the end of the tour, and now we are full of energy again we walk down to the church again, cross Palau Maricel, walk over the boulevard and we walk up a small hill to the Vinyet Sanctuary. From here you will have a beautiful view. I hope you enjoyed the walking tour today. Believe me there is still a lot to tell and explore, but I keep that for next time. Thanks for joining!
Check here the video about Sitges: