You are planning to do some shopping when you get to the next town. You get there and find that everything está cerrado (it’s closed). And you don’t understand why… After all, it’s only the middle of the day.
Well, that’s exactly why everything is closed!
Lunch is the main meal of the day in Spain. And, although things are changing in the bigger cities, it’s common in smaller places for people to go home for lunch. In addition to that, the weather (especially in the summer months) can be too hot in the middle of the day. It’s just safer to stay indoors during the hottest hours.
That’s why, for instance, it is not advisable to walk the Vía de la Plata during the months of julio (July) and agosto (August) and why you should still be careful in junio (June) and septiembre (September).
So, most tiendas (shops) will close for lunch. Yes, for lunch. Not for siesta, sorry!
Some shops have horario continuo, meaning they don’t close in the middle of the day. This is more common in the bigger cities and also in the case of bigger shops: big supermercados, hipermercados or grandes almacenes (department stores).
In smaller towns, almost everything will close a mediodía; a mediodía literally means at midday, but we really use this expression to refer to lunch time, which could be anything between 1.30 and 4.30pm.
¿A qué hora abren?
What time do they open?
Shops opening and closing times may vary a bit from one establishment to another. But they will be similar to the one in this picture.
First of all, in Spain, when writing the time, we don’t use am and pm, as you can see in the picture. We use the 24-h clock. But just in writing.
The second thing you can see in the picture is that shops have some hours for weekdays (lunes a viernes – Monday to Friday) and different ones for sábados (Saturdays). It’s common for shops to be closed on Saturday evenings.
Almost everything está cerrado (is closed) los domingos (Sundays) except for bars and restaurants. Panaderías and pastelerías (bakeries and cake shops) open on Sundays too, but in the morning only.
Los bancos (banks) open in the morning only, usually from 8.00 or 8.30am till 2.00 or 2.30pm. They don’t open in the evenings or sábados.
Las farmacias have an on-call system, so that at least one is always open. You can check how the system works in El botiquín.
So, are you ready for some Camino shopping now?
For the pronunciation of supermercado, panadería and pastelería, check Shopping on the Camino.
For the pronunciation of junio, julio, agosto and septiembre, check Vía de la Plata.
¿A qué hora abren?
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You want to learn more about the time in Spanish, like asking about schedules? Check this workbook.