Do Spain Still Do Siestas?

Let’s talk about the siesta

Hello, friends, ¿cómo estáis? Here is a video from a section I am calling ‘Spanish On The Fly.’ Why? Because they are videos I shoot in between lessons, covering topics that were just asked about during a lesson. I’ve decided to share them with you all in short videos. I hope they are useful for your learning process.


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Do Spain Still Do Siestas? 


Siesta – a word that conjures images of leisurely afternoons, sleepy villages, and the quintessential Spanish lifestyle. But in modern times, with bustling cities and fast-paced lives, does Spain still hold onto this cherished tradition? Join us as we delve into the world of siestas, exploring their significance in Spanish culture and whether they still endure in today’s society.

Until now, you have heard that in Spain, people close businesses and take a siesta. Perhaps now you have the feeling that it is a country that comes to a standstill and prioritizes sleeping rather than working. Has this happened to you?

In this video, I will be talking about where eating establishments close, which places remain open, or which professions allow for siesta time due to the current circumstances we are experiencing.

Students often ask me about this. The reality is that many people don’t take a siesta. For example, my job doesn’t allow it. And other people may have the opportunity but have family responsibilities or hobbies.

The History of Siestas in Spain. Why is the siesta so important in Spanish culture?

The siesta has deep roots in Spanish history and culture, dating back centuries to a time when agriculture was the primary occupation. In the scorching Mediterranean climate, taking a midday break provided respite from the heat and allowed workers to recharge before returning to their fields.

In the video, I will talk a bit about the type of businesses that close their doors to go home for lunch and where this is still common. It’s not the same for a large chain of stores, which can have many employees working different shifts, as it is for a person who owns a store and doesn’t have employees. Additionally, it’s not the same for a big city as it is for a small town.

The Evolution of Siestas in Modern Spain

Is the tradition of the siesta fading in modern Spanish society?

In recent decades, however, Spain has undergone significant economic and social changes. With the rise of globalization and the adoption of Western work practices, the traditional siesta has come under scrutiny. Urbanization, longer work hours, and the influence of technology have all contributed to a shift in lifestyle, leading some to question the relevance of the midday nap.

Are naps common in Spain?

Despite these changes, napping remains a common practice in Spain, especially in smaller towns and rural areas where traditional values hold strong. Many businesses still close for a few hours in the afternoon, allowing employees to rest and rejuvenate before returning to work.

The Duration of Siestas. How long do Spaniards nap?

The length of a siesta can vary depending on personal preference and individual circumstances. Some people may take a short power nap of 20-30 minutes, while others may indulge in a longer siesta of up to two hours. The key is to find the right balance between relaxation and productivity.

This personally seems like madness to me, but I’ve seen it in people who go to bed very late every night. They adopt a lifestyle of only 5 hours of sleep at night and then, after lunch, ‘recover’ some of those missing hours. In reality, people who are capable of taking a two-hour nap every day don’t lead healthy lives in my experience, and they themselves know it and laugh about it. Someone who sleeps enough or nearly enough during the night will only need twenty or forty minutes of nap.


In conclusion, while the tradition of the siesta may be evolving in modern Spain, it remains an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage. Whether it’s a leisurely break in the afternoon or a quick power nap between meetings, the siesta continues to symbolize the Spanish commitment to work-life balance and wellbeing.