When you go down to Sitges in early September you will be sure of a big surprise as the bears are having their picnic. Bears Week in Sitges is huge, being one of the most popular bear festivals in Europe with more than 5000 bears, cubs and their admirers, all partying together for 10 days. Bears arrive in Sitges in all shapes and sizes; hairy bears, muscle bears, bears with cubs, bears in leather, tattooed and pierced bears, dancing bears and even nude bears on the nude beach.
The bears start parading around Bear Village at about 9:00pm each night with the Parrots Pub and Central Bar Cafe being the most popular places for a first stop. The central village square is brimming with bears by 11:00pm all relaxing around in open air bars drinking, looking, eating and chatting to new and old friends. There are plenty of bars for bears in Sitges. The Bear Bar is of course packed, as is XXL, El Horno and Carousel Terrace Bar, which are all the closest to the square. The bars are at their busiest between 11:00pm and 2:30am with many bears drinking in the small crowded street (Carrer de Joan Tarrida).
We found XXL bar to be one of the best places with very friendly bears, great music downstairs and a busy cruise area upstairs. El Horno (the oven) is also a hot spot. The bar is in a traditional Spanish style with an actual old oven at the back of the pub. At around 3:00am most bears start moving off to the dance clubs like New Organic, Union, Privilege and Queenze. These clubs have different theme nights and New Organic‘s infamous foam parties are held every Wednesday and Sunday nights and are very busy, sexy and just a little bit ‘dirty’.
On other nights New Organic suited us for late night clubbing. It is spacious with a large sunken dance floor and enough room to move around upstairs with excellent music and lights with an entry cost of 10€ (which includes your first drink). On the nights we were there the place was full of bears of all ages, all sizes and with no attitude. There are several cruise clubs Bukkake, Dark Sitges, Zona X and Bunker being the newest club in town for horny bears.
The nude beach can be found left of the church when facing the sea and a few hundred metres past Restaurant Vivero. During Bears Week you are likely to find a couple of thousand bears here. This small beach below the cliff was packed every day. There are a few dozen sun beds and umbrellas available for hire but most bears spread out on their towels on the sand, very close to each other. You will find bears in the calm shallow waters giving bear hugs, playing paddle tennis and frisbee but most are happy to splash around with their friends. There are showers and loos at the top end of the beach as well as a bear bar. Some bears drink at the bar naked but most are a little more discreet.
On just about every night during Bear Week there are special events starting around 11:00pm on the waterfront at Sitges Bear Village. Early in the week there was Mad Bear Madrid and then mid week we tried out White Night. These events are another place for bears to casually meet. The White Night gathering coincided with a full moon reflecting on the water. Surrounded by 500 bears, good music and a few drinks, the hours passed easily. On Saturday night a contest for Mr. Bear Sitges 2014 was held in Bear Village, with a live performance by David Jonson. Then Mr. Bear Sitges Party was held at BSC Disco and “RUTA 66” revved up later in the evening.
There are several hundred restaurants in Sitges and when we were there they were full at lunch and dinner times. You will find many bears in the village in restaurants with outside seating like the very popular Los Vikingos, having beer, pizza and tapas at all times of the day. We ate at several places. La Picara, a small tapas restaurant, has a super friendly host and staff and the tapas were some of the best we had in Sitges. We especially liked the stuffed muscles, white asparagus and artichoke salad and the homemade meatballs, all perfectly cooked and the service was very friendly.
We also ate at 33 Fusion Kitchen which was a little more of an upmarket experience. The food was an innovative and contemporary twist to the traditional Spanish style of cuisine. The lamb with citrus crust was perfectly cooked, as was the pan seared tuna with sesame seeds. Bonita Bonita, a tapas and cocktail bar run by two expat Australian guys, is something a little different and great for lounging around for tapas and cocktails (see our full article on Bonita Bonita).
Bears do like to shop, especially for food, and we found them in the largest of the supermarkets, just beside the train station. Here bears find most of their supplies and the supermarket is open long hours. Upstairs from the supermarket there are lots of speciality food shops for bears who like seafood, meat and cheese delis. Be aware that in Spain siesta starts around 1:30pm until 5pm and many small shops in Sitges will close for this time. The small stores around the village know their gay market very well and there is an excellent range of designer label stores including Bar Code, Diesel and two ES stores and many other speciality shops, including a sex shop called Mask.
Whether you’re in Sitges for a day or a month, we suggest you plan your visit here around either of the two Bears Weeks (May and September), Fiesta Mayor (late August), Carnival or Pride Week and you will be assured of lots of surprises. The fireworks around the old church on the waterfront have to be seen to be believed. However, the Spanish love to go out late in the afternoon and promenade along the waterfront walkways and around the squares and quaint village streets, which makes every night in Sitges feel like a fiesta. Olé!
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