Anywhere billed as both ‘Ibiza in miniature’ and ‘the Saint Tropez of Spain’ has a lot to live up to. But if you’re up for the buzz of the Mediterrean basin without the hustle and big city bustle of Barcelona, then Sitges could be just the place for you. A resort town famed for its beautiful beaches, cornucopia of carnivals and clubs, and year round festival atmosphere, it’s also a place of class and sophistication; the perfect mix we think. If you’ve come to party but with a bare itinerary and a broad mind, we’re here to guide you, with these; our 5 IDEAL festivals and events in Sitges, Spain.
SITGES CARNIVAL, FEBRUARY & MARCH
Spain’s biggest party, and that’s saying something, takes place at the tail end of February into the beginning of March every year. It’s one of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations on the planet, one of the world’s most popular and wildest carnivals in fact, and is particularly popular with the LGBTQ+ community.
If a week long fiesta of frivolity and fancy dress is a little too much for you, at least make sure you’re in town for the Rua de la Disbauxa (‘The Debauchery Parade’), which falls somewhere in the middle of the seven day extravaganza. This march through town sees upwards of forty floats of crossdressing, stripping, and generally a risque, no holding back vibe.
Unfortunately, you’re going to have to stand by until 2020 for the next one, but it might be wise get your hotel booked up well in advance; Sitges gets busy for the fortnight surrounding the carnival. Moreover, remember that Stiges is a small town, therefore has relatively few hotel rooms. That said, the town does its best to accomodate everyone; whether that be with an allergy friendly hotel or an abode that comes with free bicycles.
GAY PRIDE, JUNE
This year will see Sitges celebrating its Gay Pride event’s ten year anniversary. What began as something fairly low key has blossomed into a huge, all out extravaganza to rival the Carnival atmosphere of three months previous. Kicking off on the 1st of June, the next ten days sees a schedule of foam nights, pool and boat parties which makes the most of the blissful climate of the summer months and Sitges’ location on the Med. Though much of the event takes place on the streets, tickets are required for some of the private parties, so book well in advance if you’re keen on the full experience. Prices rocket as places and parties sell out.
NOCHE DE SAN JUAN, JUNE
As if June hadn’t seen enough glitz and glamour, the Noche De San Juan also falls during this month, on the 23rd. A celebration all across Spain to welcome in the summer months, St. John’s eve falls on the shortest night of the year, and although it’s not unique to Sitges, the town goes all out as a place so famous for parties only knows how. The spectacle centres around fireworks, set off late once the night falls. This is one for the kids, so make the most of a good afternoon siesta so they’re able to stay up late enough!
SITGES FESTA MAJOR, AUGUST
Phew, we’ve had the whole of July to rest, and we’re waking up from that hibernation with wide-eyed enthusiasm and a renewed sense of vigour. You’re going to need it for Sitges Festa Major, billed the ‘Greatest Party of Sitges’, a claim with some seriously stiff competition, we think. Though the vibe is raucous, rowdy and eccentric, the week long festa doesn’t neglect paying respect to tradition. In fact each day follows various ritual and rigid routine which anchors the festival before everyone gets a little loose later on.
The first day sees the all important pregón (speech) to kick things off, while at 2:15pm on the third day, the festivities begin in earnest with dragons and devils making an appearance in the fancy dress parade. The same evening sees a fantastic firework display, and early the next morning, with many revellers still up from the previous night, flowers are handed out to the women of the town. Basically, there’s always something going on to keep you entertained; a great way to engage with the tradition and ceremony of this fantastic town.
SITGES FILM FESTIVAL, OCTOBER
Though the end of the summer months see a more low key vibe in the town as a whole, there’s still lots going on. The Sitges Film Festival is the biggest event of Autumn here, and another opportunity for the usually exclusive town to open its arms to throngs of visitors once again. This year will mark its 52nd (its Catalonia’s oldest festival of its kind) and the focus, as always, will fall on horror and fantasy films. Of course, being Sitges, this means the town goes all out in the fancy dress stakes; expect to see zombies stalking the streets for the ten days of film and frolics. The Maria awards, internationally recognised and respected, bring the festival to a close.