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Immerse yourself in Spanish culture

Getting in step with the Spanish lifestyle makes for an easier holiday. Here’s our guide to getting the most out your time in Spain, siesta included.

Eating and sleeping habits are somewhat different in Spain compared to Scandinavia. What to bear in mind when you're on holiday here:

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In the morning

Breakfast is not seen as the most important meal of the day in Spain. A coffee and a sweetish pastry hit the spot when Spaniards eat El Desayuno (breakfast). So, if you want to adopt the Spanish lifestyle, forget long hotel breakfasts with a big buffet. Order some tapas a bit later on in the morning instead, if your tummy starts to rumble before lunch. But don't eat too much. Your impending lunch should be the biggest meal of the day.


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At lunch

La comida (lunch) is served during the siesta. Siesta means midday rest and the tradition originated on farms where workers needed to get out of the hot sun for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. This was before stores and buildings had air conditioning. Spanish society is changing and siestas are no longer as common as they used to be. Larger shopping malls and supermarkets often don’t close for a siesta nowadays, however smaller stores and restaurants still shut in the afternoon and open again in the evening. Therefore, make sure you do as the Spanish do: Eat a big and long lunch to charge up your batteries for the rest of the day.


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Afternoon shopping

There are two different siestas in Spain. Stores and retailers close from around 2 to 5pm. Restaurants are closed from around 4 to 8pm. So, the best time for shopping is after you've eaten lunch and the temperature has dropped a touch. It can also be a good idea to have la merienda (snack) as dinner will be served later than Scandinavians are used to.


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Time for dinner

La cena (dinner) is served between 9pm and midnight and is a much lighter meal than lunch. It's not uncommon for the evening to continue after dinner is finished and the hour is past midnight. Many Spaniards are night owls who love to socialize into the small hours.

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