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What is a siesta and when do the shops close in Barcelona for siesta?

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Tourists, travellers and shoppers are in Barcelona again, hip, hip hooray! Last Sunday, for the first time in a long time, tourists were shopping in the city, and there was a cool group of travellers on the beach chewing the fat about Barcelona, so I pushed down my shades, cranked up my listening technique and ear-wigged as they discussed designer shops and queried, 'What time do shops close in Barcelona for siesta and what is a siesta all about?'

What is a siesta?

A siesta is a daily practice of an afternoon power-nap. It is part of Spanish culture, during which many (but, not all) shops in Barcelona close in the afternoon heat.

The word siesta is a Spanish word that derives from the Latin phrase "sexta hora", which means the sixth hour, or noon. Noon takes place six hours after dawn, making it the sixth hour of the daytime.

The history of a siesta

A siesta is commonly associated with Spanish-speaking countries in the Mediterranean and Latin America. It’s basically, commonplace in countries with 30-degrees of the equator, such as Greece, Israel and Nigeria. Some countries only practice siesta four times a week, such as Mexico, Ecuador, Nigeria and some parts of America also practise siesta, with 40-50% of Floridians taking a siesta at least once midweek.

The siesta appears to have originated from the Romans. Historically, the siesta started to allow people to take a break from the sizzling heat as many shops and work was performed outside in the heat.

After the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s', a siesta became commonplace for people who worked two jobs therefore they needed to travel from one shop location to another.

The evolution of a siesta

The afternoon heat invariably beats down in hot countries, with many people working more than one job and managing a long daily commute, however a siesta is increasingly less necessary in modern age shopping environments were air-conditioning is installed and healthy respectful working conditions are standardised.

Siestas are said to be one of the reasons why Spanish and Catalan people on average eat dinner later and go to bed later than other European countries, and apparently, Spaniards on average sleep 40-minutes less than other European countries.

Is a siesta good for your health?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are working from home globally and in Barcelona, so if you live in a hot climate taking a 10-20 minute power-nap is good for your health and well-being.

A recent study found that people in good health will benefit from a regular siesta as a regular power-nap is said to reduce the risk of death from coronary heart disease and heart attack by up to 37%.

A lady dressed head-to-toe sleeping on a rock
A lady dressed head-to-toe in yellow taking a siesta on rock

Although, other sleep studies found a weak association between siesta and mortality in men without chronic conditions and no association in women. These sleep studies only recommend a short siesta;

  • A short siesta (less than 30-minutes) boosts energy levels, positively impacts alertness, and enhances learning ability and cognitive performance 3-hours after a siesta.

  • A long siesta (over 2 or 3-hours) is still associated with a higher risk of mortality, from heart disease, the risk of becoming obese or another cause.

What time do shops close in Barcelona for siesta?

Whether you are shopping in Barcelona for leisure or with intention, some small independent retail shops and businesses close for siesta, except for bars, restaurants, and well established apparel retail shops.

10 apparel shopping malls that stay open during siesta in Barcelona

  1. El Corte Ingles - Address: Carrer de Potosí, 2, 08030, opening hours: 09.00-09.30PM

  2. La Maquinista - Address: Carrer de Potosí, 2, 08030, opening hours: 09.30-10PM

  3. El Raco Maremagnum - Address: Moll d'Espanya, 5 Local 09, 08039, opening hours: 11-11

  4. Diagonal Mar - Address: Avinguda Diagonal, 3, 08019, opening hours: 9.30-10PM

  5. L’illa Diagonal - Address: Avinguda Diagonal, 557, 08029, opening hours 09.30-10PM

  6. Galeries Malda - Address: Carrer de la Portaferrissa, 22, 08002, opening hours 11-9PM

  7. Splau - Address: Av. del Baix Llobregat, s/n, 08940 Cornellà de Llobregat, opening hours: 09.30-10PM

  8. Las Arenas de Barcelona - Address: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 08015, opening hours: 10-10PM

  9. Gran Via 2 - Address: Avinguda de la Granvia de l’Hospitalet, 75, 08908 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, opening hours: 09.30-10PM

  10. Glories - Address: Avenida Diagonal 208, 08018, opening hours: 09.30-10PM

Fashion outlets that stay open during siesta

A fashion outlet shop that stays open during siesta
Two people shopping during siesta

Viladecans, The Style Outlet

Viladecans, The Style Outlet is a 10,000 m2 fashion outlet with popular apparel brands and products at discounted outlet prices. You can find everything from sports wear to fashion, accessories, footwear and cosmetics and you can eat, dine and relax at Viladecans.

Travel from Barcelona: 1-hour by train/bus (5-euros) and 30-minutes by car/taxi.

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday - 10.00-22.00

Address: Carreterta de la Vila, 90, 08840, Viladecans.

La Roca Village

La Roca Village is located outside of Barcelona. It houses 130 luxury apparel boutiques, with an outlet price range of up to 60% discount. If you travel to the UK to shop at Cheshire Oaks, you will most certainly enjoy La Roca Village.

Travel from Barcelona: 1-hour by train/bus (5-euros) and 30-minutes by car/taxi (60-euros).

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10.00-21.00

Address: La Roca Village, s/n 08430 Santa Agnes de Malanyanes.

Som Multiespai

Som multiespai sells a wide selection of high-street brands, such as Mango, Diesel, Bershka, Lefties, Desigual, and many other brands at discounted outlet prices.

Travel form Barcelona: 20-minutes by car/taxi and 30-minutes by train/bus (5-euros)

Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 09.30-21.00 (summer) and 09.30-22.00 (winter)

Address: Av, Rio de Janeiro 42, Pl 0 local 20, 08016.

Custo Barcelona Outlet

Custo Barcelona Outlet sells bright, bold, head-turning clothes, shoes and accessories for people who like a splash of colour. If you love Custo, you will love their outlet discount.

Travel from Barcelona: 1-hour by train/bus (5-euros) and 30-minutes by car/taxi.

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday at 10.00-21.00, on Sunday 12.00-20.00.

Address: Placa del Pi, 08002, Barcelona.

Shopping in Barcelona

When you are shopping in Barcelona, fear not as all well-established shops, for example. Alfodo Dominguez, Stella McCartney, Max Mara, Prada (the list goes on), moreover, high-street favourites Zara, COS, Uniqlo, & Other stories (again, the list goes on), stay open and are open during siesta.

As mentioned, it's only local, independent, shops that 'tend too' close during siesta, for example Be store, on Carrer de Bonavista, 7, Gracia, 08012, Barcelona, closes during siesta.

Be store shop front in Barcelona, Spain
Be store in Barcelona

Here are the opening hours for small independent apparel shops in Barcelona that close during siesta.

  • Shops open at 10.00-10.30-11.00 (on average)

  • Shops close for Siesta at 14.00

  • Shops reopen at 16.00

  • Shops close for the day at 20.00-21.00 (depending upon the shop).

Opening hours for convenience shops, supermarkets, and bread shops

  • Corner shops open at 9.00-23.00

  • Supermarkets open at 9.00-21.30

  • Coffee & bakery shops open at 7.00 until 20.00-21.00 (these opening times will vary).

Buy local, or bye-bye local shop sign
Buy local, or bye-bye local shop sign

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