Sitges, Spain is a peaceful and picturesque beach resort that put me in mind of a love child born of Hawaii and the eastern coast of Italy. (Sitges is pronounced “SEE-tches”)
Catalonian architecture (I prefer the way the Catalans spell it – Catalunya. Cat-ah-looooon-ya) has the same European flavor found in Barcelona, Brussels, Paris and Venice – but it is deeply unique by way of the whimsy of Gaudi and the bright blues and apricots, yellows and rusty orange-reds of the sky and sea.
The Costa Dorada (Golden Coast) (there are seven coves separated by curved, rocky spits) has soft gold sand and surf that sparkles with flashes of fairy dust (or pyrite if you are not as romantic as I am). Tinkerbell surely blessed this beach. It took me five minutes to get any more than ankle-deep in the sea, so mesmerized was I by the shining flecks of light. The camera cannot capture the magic – you need to see this with your eyes.
That magic sums up Catalunya for me. They have many books with photos to bring back home, my camera strained at the seems to hold all that I took – but the beauty of this place requires eyes on site. The light, the sea – oh, the soft sound of the surf in the morning as you sip a cappuccino watching the sun rise! – the mountains, the people. It’s an in-person experience.
Did I mention that I came home with money still in my wallet? Yes. Even with the currency conversion, everyday items like milk and bread and eggs cost half of what they do in the state. It is my habit to rent a vacation apartment with a kitchen and feed myself from local markets all but one meal a day, and while I always save money doing this, Catalunya seemed a particularly cost-effective place to eat. Even the touristy (but still DELICIOUSO) restaurants and cafes lining the beach were not especially pricey compared to other places in Europe. (Barcelona is a different story, I’ll post on that later.) We had squid cooked three different ways, all of them eye-rolling-back-in-your-head delicious, for about what a hamburger and fries would cost in the U.S.
I give the Beaches of Sitges a 21-star salute.
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The boardwalk in Sitges extends from the Hotel Sunway Playa to the historic church, graced by statues and entertainment and restaurants. We loved the calamari at “Picnic”.
Be aware on beaches, I personally witnessed a beach massage that became a distraction theft and several purse and sunglasses vendors walking about peddling their wares. You don’t have to be paranoid, just know it happens everywhere and keep your valuables protected. Also, the UV level was 9 this early in June so sunscreen is not optional.
All photos property of Diane Mawr, copyright 2013. May not be used without permission of owner.