When do most Spaniards have dinner?

Why do Spaniards eat lunch and dinner so late?

I'm surprised no one mentioned the siesta.

In Spain and many other subtropical and tropical climes, they tend to take naps in the hottest parts of the day. You would logically have to work that much later to do the same amount of work. That would push back your entire calendar as well, including dinner.

It's actually Northern Europeans who are weird to work all day and have dinner so early. Noel Coward even wrote a pretty famous song about Mad Dogs and English

Crazy dogs and English people go out in the midday sun. The Japanese don't care, the Chinese wouldn't dare, Hindus and Argentines sleep soundly from twelve to one. But the English loathe - a siesta.

In the Philippines they have nice screens to protect you from glare. In the Malay states there are hats like plates that the British will not wear. At twelve noon the natives pass out and no further work is done, but crazy dogs and English people go out in the midday sun.

Apoorv Khurasia

Siesta is a widespread custom in the Indian state of Orissa - it gets incredibly hot during the day (even by subcontinent standards). They also have some fermented rice dishes on their lunch menu and during my trip there I felt the need to take an afternoon nap. My guide explained it was the rice but it could very well have been the outside temperature.


I'm not sure if "siesta" applies to this case. Mostly because napping isn't as common as guide books can get you thinking. It can be during the summer vacation when people Have free time and yes, August can be quite unbearable in some areas. My question is still about meal times throughout the year. Italy and Portugal would have similar temperatures and an incredibly similar culture, but meal times are earlier.

Lennart Regebro

This is the correct answer. Source: theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/26/… (there are plenty of other sources if you're looking for "Spanish working hours" or something similar). But yeah, bat got the point that it's not about that nap but about the long break in working hours associated with the siesta.

Dan Fox

While I do not intend to disagree with the claim, it is wrong to refer to Spain as "subtropical" or "tropical". Madrid and New York City are roughly on the same latitude.

Mikel Urkia

While I see the point in this answer, I believe it is based on a wrong assumption. I'm here with @fledermaus siesta is not as common as people think. I can't talk about southern Spain but where I am from (Basque Country, Northern Spain) is siesta unusual all year round, with the possible exception of summer holidays.