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Located in Barcelona province, just a few kilometres from the capital, we find Garraf county. This coastal area is known for its unique Mediterranean beauty: wedged in between the sea and the mountains, our county features crystalline beaches with kilometres of fine sand stretching towards the Garraf Massif, a karst formation with spectacular cliffs and hidden spots created by erosion.
In addition to the natural beauty of its landscapes, Garraf county also has numerous towns with cosmopolitan, medieval, Modernisme and fishermen’s buildings. Sitges is the main town in this county and the best example of this. If you’re thinking of coming to Sitges and want to visit more than just our little Mediterranean gem, this post includes some charming towns near Sitges.
We couldn’t start the list without mentioning Sitges itself, a jewel of the Mediterranean that has now become a coastal classic in its own right.A hub of culture, art and leisure, Sitges has numerous attractions throughout the year (including the Sitges Carnival, International Fantastic Film Festival, Corpus Christi and more), not to mention its history (which we already told you about in this post on the history of Sitges).
Next on our list is Vilanovai la Geltrú. Capital of Garraf county with roughly 66,000 inhabitants, Vilanovai la Geltrú is less than 20 minutes from Sitges. The city has a wide variety of leisure and culture activities, including the feast of Saint Anthony (co-patron saint) on 17 January, which features the winter festival and the Tres Tombs parade. Carnival in Vilanovai la Geltrú, which has been designated a Festival of National Tourist Interest, also attracts many visitors. On 5 August, Vilanovai la Geltrú celebrates its Festa Major de les Neus with parades, correfocs (fire runs), giants and human castles filling the city streets.
Vilanovai la Geltrú is one of the towns attributed with coming up with xató, a typical sauce made of hazelnuts, oil, almonds, bread and nyora peppers.
See the Vilanova i la Geltrú official tourism website for more information.
Our next stop is Vilafranca del Penedès, another charming town near Sitges. Vilafranca del Penedès is 25 minutes from Sitges, heading away from the coast into the interior of the county.
And this town is synonymous with a unique taste experience, as it is a winemaking capital and heart of the marvellous DO Penedès. So, wine-lovers will enjoy the VINSEUM, the Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia, as well as the numerous wineries where you can taste this beverage paired with top-quality cuisine.
And in terms of history, the city has been home to various cultures since it was founded in the early 12thcentury (medieval, Gothic, contemporary, etc.). For all of these cultures, wine was present in all sorts of ways: architecture, industry and cultural activities.
See the Vilafranca del Penedès tourism website for more information.
Known simply as Ribes, just 4 kilometres to the north of Sitges lies Sant Pere de Ribes. The geography of this town of less than 30,000 inhabitants clearly reflects its main activities: farmhouses, vineyards and small homes inside Garraf Park, as well as a small bit of coastline.
Its location right in the heart of Garraf Park makes Sant Pere de Ribes a perfect place to set off on hikes to get to know the area. For example, from the centre of Ribes, you can walk to Puig Montgròs, which at 358 metres above sea level is the highest peak in the county.
And our final stop on this tour of the charming towns near Sitges is Olivella, a small town with fewer than 4,000 inhabitants located 15 kilometres from Sitges. It is surrounded by forests and vineyards, and is the gateway to Garraf Natural Park.
The first human settlement in Olivella was at the old castle on top of Puig Molí in 992. After the Black Death, from the 14th century, the population grew exponentially and consolidated around several farmhouses on the outskirts of the town, which give it its characteristic look. There is also a city centre, however, with the town hall, new church and several neighbourhoods that are home to the majority of the population today.
See the Olivella website for more information.
If you’re considering visiting any of these charming towns near Sitges, our town is a great place to stay. We do recommend booking ahead, however, especially for popular dates. Check out our fantastic holiday rentals in Sitges.