A Guide to Sitges Carnival – One of Spain’s Best Carnivals!

Sitges Carnival is known as one of the top ten carnival celebrations in the world. Situated in the Spanish Mediterranean this winter carnival is famous for its debauchery. Here is everything you need to know about celebrating carnival in Sitges!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Days to start

Don’t forget to follow us @_carnivaland

One of Spain’s Biggest Carnival

sitges carnival

Welcome to the Sitges Carnival, one of the biggest carnivals in Spain and the favourite of the gay community. Once a year the small and beautiful town of Sitges (right next to Barcelona) goes crazy for carnival throwing one of the biggest carnival celebrations in all of Spain.

While carnival is celebrated all over the world Sitges is considered to be one of the world’s top ten carnivals. It is certainly one of the world’s wildest carnival celebrations.

Sitges Carnival is the last change before the onset of Lent to give in to all temptations, you can let your hair down, dress up and get your freak on. Sitges truly is one of the most perfect places to get wild, gluttonous and join the party.

Sitges Carnival in Numbers

Data brings us closer to the truth because they do not require explanations and instead let the facts speak for themselves so let them speak.

For seven magnificent days the Sitges Carnival features:

  • 50 Floats
  • 3000 participants
  • 300,000 people attending
  • 24/7 non-stop party

As you can see the facts speak for themselves the streets are full of huge crowds of people.

Sitges Carnival Costumes, Colour and Music

sitges carnival

Everyone both young and old dress up in colourful carnival costumes. The costumes you see at Sitges Carnival are more like the ones seen during Brazilian or Caribbean carnivals then the more satirical carnival costumes featured in neighbouring Spanish or European carnivals.

Sitges Carnival is regarded as one of the safest street carnivals celebrations in Europe. Another amazing thing about the Sitges Carnival is it places a big emphasis on live music heavily featuring live music groups such as Markatú Batucada and Sabor a Xocolat over sound systems.

Sitges is the Gay Capital of Europe

sitges carnival

Sitges is the self-proclaimed gay capital of Europe and follows a single law which is ‘in carnival, anything goes’, so throw all your inhibitions out the window because this is a community that knows how to party.

Sitges is famous for its tolerance so everyone is welcome to join the party. Four days prior to the official Sitges Carnival Celebrations there is even a Gay Pride Parade where the streets are filled with colour, music and dance.

Sitges Carnival celebrations have a reputation for debauchery and are one of the reasons why Sitges Carnival is so unique. So, don’t be fooled it may be Winter time in Europe but for these four days before the official carnival celebration, Sitges is the hottest place in Europe.

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When is Sitges Carnival 2020?

When is Carnival? Sitges Carnival always starts on the Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday. In 2020 Sitges Carnival will begin on Thursday 20th February and ends on Wednesday 26th February 2020.

Sitges Carnival officially begins when the King of Carnival arrives into town and ends when he leaves on Ash Wednesday the first day of Lent.

The Day of Extermination

sitges carnival

There are all sorts of events and activities that occur during Sitges Carnival, but the better-known ones are the Parade of la Rua de la Dibauxa held on the Sunday, and the Day of Extermination also known as Rua del Exterminio that is celebrated on Tuesday during carnival week.

Rua del Exterminio is the biggest carnival event during Sitges Carnival and because there are no neighbouring towns celebrating carnival everyone from the surrounding areas head to Sitges to celebrate carnival.

History of Sitges Carnival

What is the history of carnival? The origins of the Sitges Carnival are over 100 years old. Its roots stem from a legend about a man who was alive over 700 years ago called Carles de Can Torras.

He died on Ash Wednesday but the people of Sitges continued to remember him but over the years his name was continuously mis-spelt and came to be known as Carnestoltes.

The King of Sitges Carnival is a fictional character who is based on this man. The Carnival King officially opens Sitges Carnival when he arrives into town and on the following Tuesday because he is so tired and burnout from all the partying he closes the carnival.

The Sitges Carnival War

sitges carnival

Another great story about the history of Sitges Carnival is that at the end of the nineteenth century there were two societies, one that supported industrialisation and the other which opposed it.

Both societies were in control of Sitges social life and when the carnival arrived there was great competition between the two groups to see which of the two made the best carnival celebrations.

Without this “war” we are sure that the Sitges carnival would not be what it is today. This competition kept pushing the carnival celebrations to be bigger and better every year.

Highly Recommended! – Viareggio Carnival!

We highly recommend if you are already planning on attending carnival, that you extend your trip and visit two of the world’s best carnivals! Unfortunately, most carnivals take place at the same time, in the days prior to Lent. But Viareggio Carnival in Italy occurs not once, but five times in the lead up to Lent! So, it’s one of the only other pre-Lenten carnivals in Europe that you can also visit!

And what is more fun than celebrating carnival once, is celebrating it twice! Viareggio Carnival is one of world’s most renowned carnival celebrations, and rightly so because this Italian town puts on a carnival that is like nothing else in the world! What separates this carnival from the rest, is their awe-inspiring floats! Viareggio Carnival holds the title of having the ‘world’s best carnival floats!’ No other carnival even comes close!

And at Viareggio, carnival is just icing on the cake! Because this carnival takes place in gorgeous Tuscany, one of Italy’s best regions! A region that is famous for its art, architecture, history, culture, picturesque landscapes, great food, great wine and the best of Italian hospitality, that you can enjoy while experiencing the magic of this carnival!

Read more about Viareggio Carnival here.

Where is Sitges?

For those who don’t know where Sitges is, it is a very cute town next to Barcelona approximately 15 kilometres away. So, not only can you party at the Sitges Carnival, but you can also visit one of Spain’s most visited city Barcelona and sightsee.

Sitges sits on the Mediterranean coast and has a mild temperature for winter, so you can enjoy partying outside on the streets.

What to see in Sitges?

sitges carnival

Sitges is a very picturesque Catalonian town that sits on the Mediterranean Sea. Sitges is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this part of Spain.

Visitors come to Sitges because of its crazy nightlife, mild temperatures and long beautiful beaches. Also, because Sitges is known as one of the most gay friendly places in all of Europe.

How to get to Sitges Carnival?

Well there are plenty of public transport options that will get you to Sitges. It is only a half hour train trip from Barcelona so it easily accessible by road, bus, train. Barcelona is also the closest international airport. For European rail tickets please go here. For airplane tickets get a quote here. 

Where to stay in Sitges?

There are plenty of hotel options for all budgets and again you can easily stay in Barcelona because of the short commute to the carnival.

Check out some accommodation options here.

For more information about tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more click here.

You might also be interested in Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival or Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival which are two of Spain’s best carnivals! 

Don’t forget to follow us @_carnivaland

Before you go!
We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance! Never travel without coverage! Being protected on your travels gives you an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads!

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