Customs & Hospitality
The Siesta - 1:30 to 4:30 PM, when shops close down; restaurants stay open during this time but usually close from 4:30 to 9 PM.
The Spanish, like many Latin cultures, make the mid-day meal their biggest, stretching it out for hours. From midday to mid-afternoon, everything shuts down, except of course for the restaurants. Then, after this long, leisurely meal (and sometimes even a nap), they return to their workplaces and continue into the night. The evening meal is quite late -- anywhere from about 9 PM to midnight. While most of us are not accustomed to eating dinner so late, you might consider indulging in the Spanish favorite, tapas, as a light supper, although no real Spaniard would ever do this. Tapas are snacks and dinner is dinner --even if it is at midnight!
Meals include the gratuity although tipping is customary, with 10% being quite substantial.
Restaurant hours: 1:00 - 4:30 PM for lunch; 9:00 to 12:00 midnight for dinner.
Menu del Dia - Not usually very exciting, this prix fixe meal is required of restaurants. Better to ask for the real specialties.
Like most Latins, Spaniards greet each other by a hug, an abrazo, and kissing on both cheeks. Same-sex hand holding or walking arm-in-arm is also common.