Spain: Siesta Time


Mar 9th, 2010, 12:46 AM
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Spain: Siesta Time

My wife and I plan to travel to Spain for the first time in April. We've heard a lot about siesta time and are just wondering what tourist-things you can/can't do during siesta time? We plan to visit Barcelona, Seville and Madrid ... do any museums, churches, tourist attractions etc. stay open during siesta time? Or should we just plan to relax for 3-4 hours and pick up again when siesta time is finished? Would be really grateful for any advice.
gj05 is offline  
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Mar 9th, 2010, 01:53 AM
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Only the largest tourist attractions will stay open during siesta. Seville Cathedral will be open all day, but other churches will be closed, around 1-4 or 5 pm. Same with museums. Prado and Reina Sofia will stay open, smaller museums don't. Shops, other than a few large stores (e.g El Corte Ingles) or supermarkets, close similar hours. Restaurants, bars etc will of course stay open. So to get the most out of your visit, you need to plan in advance how to work round siesta closures.
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Mar 9th, 2010, 02:51 AM
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There are a lot of myths about our "siesta" (nap) time. I personally know nobody that can do it (except my retired parents and aged people), due to our working times. It´s more a question of schedules: we normally have breakfast at 0730-0800, lunch is at around 2PM until 3PM or so (in weekends it starts and ends later) and dinner is rarely before 0900 PM (at home) and definitely not before 0930 or 1000 in restaurants (except in tourist places), until very late. Working times for shops are 0930-1000am to 1330-1400pm and then 04:00pm-04:30pm to 0800pm-0900pm, depending on the city.

Due to this long break in the shopping sector, many people have lunch (it´s a two course meal plus dessert) and if they are home, they take a half hour nap, that recharges your batteries, as we say over here.
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Mar 9th, 2010, 06:07 AM
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It seems to dying, at least in Madrid and Barcelona. With people living out of the city and the economic changes of world, it does not seem to as widespread except in the amaller shops.
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Mar 9th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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In Sevilla siesta is definately still an tradition. Most of the cute shops on Calle Sierpes etc were closed for siesta.
And not in any hurry to re-open lol.
However there are cafes open and you could do as the locals do and use that for a long lunch.

In Madrid it is not so much an issue but still many of the family owned shops are closed. In places like Segovia I would say 99% of the shops are closed for siesta.

I would definately make a list of the attractions open during siesta to make good use of your time. As you mentioned you could always relax, go to a hamman or similar... remember the real "evening" starts quite late.
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Mar 9th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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I´d do in Rome as Romans do...go back to the hotel, relax, take a siesta and go out again by 6 or 7, when we go out for socializing and strolling...cities are empty from 3 to 6.
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Mar 9th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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To me it is more on a consideration in summer when you do not want to be outside in the afternoon and stay up late instead.
My favorite activity is walking, so if not seeing any sites in particular, you can always stroll to your hearts' content and check out some architecture or pleasant neighborhoods.
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Mar 10th, 2010, 05:16 AM
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Thank you all for your advice. Really appreciate it! Guess we need to have another look at our plans. I think we'll also need to consider how to factor in museum closures on the Monday we're in Barcelona. Thanks again!
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