Travel planning

A day in Spain

Spain is famous for the Siesta and late dinners, but what about the other parts of a typical Spanish day?

Spaniards arise around 8 a.m. (earlier in rural locations).  Breakfast is usually a quick coffee before work. Most shops open around 9-10 a.m. Often people take a mid-morning coffee break with a snack (toast, pastries or little sandwiches) around 10:30-noon.  Around this time, the proper greeting is “Buenos días.”

Most shops close during the “siesta” from about 2-5 p.m.

The comida (sit-down lunch) is the main meal of the day and is a very leisurely and filling experience. While this may not be the best idea for cyclists or walkers, you should try to enjoy a traditional lunch at least once. Around this time, the proper greeting is “Buenas tardes.”

Around 5 p.m., life begins to pick up again on the city streets, and stores stay open until 8 p.m. or later. Around this time of the evening, people leave work and either head home or often to a nearby bar for tapas. Tapas are hors d’oeuvres, as simple as marinated olives or often more elaborate salads or sandwiches, served with beer, wine or sherry. It is a very social time, and depending on which part of the country you are in, it can be quite an event with the whole family meeting up to say hello!

Dinner, or la cena, doesn’t really start until 9 or 10 p.m. Hungry cyclists or walkers will want to make sure they experience the tapa hour and maybe a rest and shower before dinner. It is quite a schedule, but really is designed to take advantage of the hotter Mediterranean weather. Before going to bed, or when leaving a bar or restaurant it’s normal to say “Buenas noches.”