If you like to take photos that show the Mediterranean essence, you mustn’t miss visiting Sitges. This town is a real Mediterranean jewel. It is located 38km south of Barcelona (Catalonia), on the coastline. You can come from Barcelona even by public transportation. By train it will take around 30-40 minutes. The town has wonderful beaches, churches, beautiful streets and great restaurants and clubs. Sitges combines the Mediterranean essence with an extremely lively atmosphere. Important cultural events happen in Sitges all over the year: The international Sitges film festival (renowned worldwide), the carnival, the Corpus Christi… the list is endless. In addition, the town’s night life is also pretty intense, especially in the summer. Sitges has some of the most well-known clubs in Spain such as Pacha or Atlatida. If you are an event photographer you should have a look at Sitges calendar before planning your trip.
Right now you can imagine how interesting Sitges is, photographically speaking. You can find a lot of practical information about the town in several websites. I recommend checking the tourism website in order to organize your trip and check a list of places to see in the city. If you do a Sitges google search and you focus on the images, you will probably find gorgeous photos showing one of the beaches of the town and the Church of Sant Bartomeu & Santa Tecla. This is by far the most common photo of the city. Don’t misunderstand me. I do think that these typical images of Sitges are beautiful and most of them are great technically and compositionally. You should definitely have a look at them. However, my intention in this article is to give some tips and ideas that might help you to get other perspective of Sitges.
Colls-Miralpeix is a natural area between Sitges and the town Vilanova i la Geltru which is located to the south. One of the way of access to the reservation is in Sitges, close to a famous and luxurious hotel called Dolce. Not so many tourists reach this area. For that reason you can enjoy hiking trails and viewpoints that show a much calmer side of Sitges. From Colls-Miralpeix you will be able to take photos from a not so common perspective.
Although the place where this small sanctuary is placed has been related with worship to the Holy Mother since the middle age, the most part of the actual building is from the 18th century. The legend says that a figure of the Holy Mother was found there by a Muslim slave that worked in the vineyards. Although he tried several times to bring the figure to the owner of the land, the Holy Mother kept coming back to the vineyards somehow. For that reason they decided to build the sanctuary in the vineyards and call it el Vinyet, that in fact means vineyard in catalan. Legends aside, this place is almost unknown by tourists. You can go inside and enjoy the images of the Holy Mother. I was surprised to find ship decorations hanging from the ceiling. If you want to take good photos inside, bring coins with you because the light of the sanctuary turns on thanks to kind donations. The light doesn’t last long, so you need to be quick with your photos (or have an assistant near the donation box…)! I didn’t have enough coins and for that reason I don’t have any good photo of the inside! Don’t repeat my mistake!
The Palau Maricel (Maricel Palace) is a gorgeous museum close to the Church of Sant Bartomeu & Santa Tecla. Both the museum and the surroundings are one of the most visited places in town. I highly recommend you to visit it during the week days because in the weekends the place is full of people.
However, if you have no other option and you find yourself surrounded by a crowd, you can still take interesting photos of the multiple details you can find on the walls, windows and doors. You just need to look up to find many interesting decorative motifs that will give a new perspective to your photos from that area.
You can find lovely details all over the old town
Sitges main streets can be really busy in the sunny days. If you want to take photos without too many people around you will need to do it during the week days and early in the morning. You will have more chances to find empty streets in the low season (winter, autumn). But take into account that in sunny days of the low seasons Sitges will also be full. To this equation you have to add the different events going on. For example, during the International Sitges film festival the town is also pretty crowded (although taking photos of such an event has its own potential too!). But if you find yourself in Sitges on a crowded day, you can still take photos of lovely streets by avoiding the main ones. It is pretty amazing how tourists accumulate in just the few commercial streets. Have a look to the side streets and you will find beautiful photogenic corners.
Extra tip: if you are willing to venture out of Sitges in order to see something special, you must stop by Garraf and visit the “Platja de les casetes” (Beach of the little houses). Garraf is between Sitges and Barcelona. You can access to this beach either by car or by train (Garraf station). The peculiarity of this beach is that it has this line of little houses that belonged originally to fishermen. Houses have been kept in their original form, making this beach one of the most photogenic in the area.
I hope my article will give you new ideas about photographing Sitges. Feel free to contact me with any question. I will be happy to tell you whatever I know (also about the more touristic or well-known areas of the town). I would like to thank Rafael Pino for guiding me around Sitges and showing me a different perspective of such a wonderful town. Have a happy shooting!!!