Gay Sitges: Europe's gay gem

With her ancient white washed buildings, banging nightlife and lush beaches, Sitges sits a brief 45 minutes south of Barcelona as one of Europes gayest--and largely undiscovered--gems.

The season peeks during the spring and summer months but this town hardly closes down during winter. Some shops and bars may scale back hours but special events like Sitges Gay Carnival, one of the best-known gay events in Europe, takes place here during Februarya full week of Spanish style parades, parties and performances. Sitges Bear Week during the last week of April has become one of the most popular in Spain.

Fiesta San Joan kicks off the non-stop months of summer partying, followed by the famous Tuesday night Gay Beach Parties from July through September. Theres no shortage of gay bars dotting the small cobble stone streets of Sitges. Theyre best on the weekends, but you certainly wont be bored Monday to Thursday.

Since the 19th century, Sitges has attracted artists and writers to her shores and in the the 70s Spains first gay bar opened here. Youll even find the homomonument on a jetty on the gay beach La Playa De La Bossa Rodona along with a sea of handsome fellas. Theres also two nude beaches, Playa de las Balmins and Playa del Muerto where plenty of gays hang out at too.

Straight tourists also flock to Sitges and for the most part know they are heading to a major gay destination.

Because Sitges is not a commercial destination, you wont find too many hotels. Here, many tourists opt to stay in lofts or apartments that residents rent out. You can stay by the beach, but the towns hillside location and narrow dimensions make inland rooms just as special.

Sitges proximity to Barcelona not only makes it accessible. Trains depart from the airport and taxis will take you (though that can be expensive).

Restaurants to check out