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carcassone Feb 19th, 2007 07:41 AM

Spain - How to manage siesta?
If you've been to Spain, what do you do during the siesta? Do you go with the flow and take a nap? Are the museum/catherals open during these hours? I don't see siesta closure listed in the guidebooks.

I'll be travelling with kids ages 13 & 15 and wondering what's the best way to utilize these hours.

Thanks in advance.

laartista Feb 19th, 2007 07:43 AM

In the major cities alot of things are open during siesta, especially around the tourist areas. I usually get lunch at around 3 and then hit a museum or some other attraction

OReilly Feb 19th, 2007 07:45 AM

None of my Spanish friends nap, but they do take long lunches. Many shops will be closed, but I have always found a museum or gallery open. Its also a perfect time to explore as the streets tend to be quiet.

Check your guide books for opening hours

Alec Feb 19th, 2007 07:53 AM

In cities like Seville, Granada and Toledo, during siesta (usually 1-4/5 pm), only a few major sights are open, like the cathedral and bigger churches. Almost everything else is closed - including most shops (exceptions are El Corte Ingles, supermarkets and most souvenior shops). Bars, cafeterias and restaurant of course stay open, where lunches are served quite late by North American or Northern European standards, 1-3 pm. At the height of summer, it's sensible to take things easy and stay out of heat. Siesta is often a good time for driving, as there's less traffic, or for taking a train ride to arrive just as shops and sights are reopening. And street parking is usually free during siesta time.

jgg Feb 19th, 2007 10:21 AM

We have travelled to Italy twice with our kids (ages 11 and 14) where they also close down from about 1-4, and we will be in Barcelona in a little over 3 weeks.
My one recommendation is that you have to get an earlier start on the day than you might need to here in the states I would suggest you try to be up and have eaten breakfast by 9am so you can get in several hours before lunchtime. Have a leisurely lunch, then there is usually something to see, whether a church or museum, or just wander a neighborhood, or yes, go back to your hotel and siesta like the locals. Particularly in Spain where I hear the usual dinner hour is at 9pm or 10pm (a good hour later than even Italy).

My husband and 14 yo daughter could easily sleep to 10am. If I let them do that and then get ready and have breakfast, by the time we got out for the day, things would be starting to close. If you start your day earlier, you won't have a problem when things slow down a bit in the afternoon, as you may be ready for a rest as well.

annhig Feb 19th, 2007 10:26 AM

WE're off to Madrid for 3-4 days on Saturday, so I'll let you know when I come back!

laartista Feb 19th, 2007 10:29 AM

I was just in Spain a few weeks ago (Madrid, Valencia)and especially around the sites and in the main shopping areas, not alot was closed, suprising. Even in Madrid on Sunday alot was open.

NEDSIRELAND Feb 19th, 2007 02:12 PM

Our last visit to Andalucia was in the heat of Summer (Sevilla in Aug). Our Hotel had a small swimming pool, so after our midday meal, we would come back, take a swim and a siesta. That left us in very good condition for nighttime activities.

Many of the smaller shops in the Center of town would be reopening when we got back (16:30 - 17:00), so it didn't seem like we had missed out on anything.

J_Correa Feb 19th, 2007 03:27 PM

In Germany last summer during the heat wave, even the Germans seemed to adopt siesta to stay out of the heat. Things got pretty empty after lunch and then everything was busy again by about sunset. It was a darned good idea that we got on board with :)

worldinabag Feb 19th, 2007 03:32 PM


We travelled in Spain for 3 weeks and never had any of our plans or actvities "disrupted" by the siesta. There was always something to do.

chevre Feb 19th, 2007 04:44 PM

I was in Barcelona last year with a friend. We were just starting to get the rythym of the place on our last day, (we were there a week) My advice is to start later in the day. Like around 10 or 11 in the morning. Have a leisurely and late lunch. Then you're ready for the late nights. I am not a night person but nothing seemed to get going until 10:00 and we were there in Winter during the week! People were out well past midnight on weekdays.

emmalee_71 Feb 19th, 2007 05:10 PM

When in rome do as the Romans do. It's amazing how I fell into the siesta's some afternoons after lying on the beach on morning :-)

SusieIowa Feb 20th, 2007 02:00 PM

We found a lot of things closed during Siesta in Andalucia, only the major tourist sites were open. If we did not get going early in the day, we had only an hour or 2 and things were closed. We got in the habit of eating our main meal then when it is less expensive. Also driving. Grocery stores were usually open then too.

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