26 Oct, 2015 @ 23:49
1 min read

The nonsense of Spanish opening times

cerrado e
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Cerrado | Closed

MANY would argue that a successful business opens at convenient times, or indeed 24/7. The extension of opening hours to accommodate somewhat haphazard daily activities has meant that many expect services to be open, exactly when they want the service.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Cerrado | Closed
SIGN OF THE TIMES: Cerrado | Closed

You will never find this in Jerez.

Some more international regions in Spain, like Madrid and Barcelona, have modernised their opening times. Many areas, however, still remain in the doldrums.

Tourist sites in Jerez religiously open during the normal weekday hours. Many also very kindly extend opening hours to Saturday.

Museo Arqueologico de Jerez, opens from 10:00 – 14:00 on Saturdays. This isn’t very useful for anyone planning a long weekend here. Indeed, it somewhat neutralises the attraction of even having the museum.

Good luck finding anything that opens on a Sunday.

Jerezanos are also bitten by business opening times. Piscina Jose Laguillo (swimming pool named Jose Laguillo) takes the crown for the most stupid opening times that I have ever seen.

Located in a pleasant neighbourhood, this state owned sports centre boasts a state of the art pool and tennis courts. However, your chances of ever using it are slim.

In order to access it you have to buy membership. This can only be bought from the office whose opening times are 9:00 – 14:00 Monday to Friday.

It may surprise the Spanish authorities to learn that many people tend to work during that time. Purchasing membership is absolutely impossible unless you’re unemployed or a housewife.

Even locals agree that these opening times are stupendously inconsiderate.

“We do have jobs you know.”

“How are you meant to buy membership if you have a job?”

Accompanying these issues is the Spanish Sunday Fever.

Woe betide anyone who even suggests visiting something on Sunday that isn’t a church. Jerez remains firmly in the grip of God’s fifth commandment.

“remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it Holy.” Exodus 20:9

The only thing that you can do in Jerez on a Sunday is go out for tapas. Museo Arqueologico – Closed. Bodegas – Closed. Gimnasio – Closed.

However, it isn’t all bad news. Alongside the omni-open bars of Jerez, is Zoobotanico de Jerez. This budding establishment, showcasing some of nature’s finest animals, is open every day of the week from 09:00 – 19:00.

You must visit it on Sunday if you want to see more than the bottom of a glass of sherry.

Luke Andrews

Fresh from Durham to Jerez de la Frontera, the change in my life has been huge. I was born and raised in London where I worked as a tour guide. From there, I went to study an Anthropology BA at Durham University. This year is equivalent to a 'year abroad' for me, although not department endorsed. I had been learning Spanish for two years, and took the decision to come out to Jerez to gain experience of a different culture and life. My interests include swimming, drawing, writing (of course) and playing the piano.


  1. I am puzzled by the small mindedness and Anglo-centrism of Mr.Andrews.
    Did his studies of anthropology leading to his BA (Dunelm) not teach a starting point of RESPECT for cultural differences?
    Has he never heard of the mission statement of Spain’s greatest Minister of Tourism, Manuel Fraga Iribarne : “SPAIN IS DIFFRENT”.? People in Jerez are very happy, thank you very much, without British atheism and agnosticism, which make Suday shopping a substitute religion. They might well advise Mr.Andrews to spend more time in Durham Cathedral, rather than Waitrose, when he gets back !

  2. The saying should have been “Spain is indifferent” – much more accurate lol. If people want to shop in Spain on a Sunday, then let them. Whenever there is a Sunday opening, the shops and malls are full to the brim. As for religion, Spain must surely be one of the prime examples of a European country that is abandoning religion.

  3. I basically agree with Luke Andrews. Besides the shopping example of Jerez there are many other cases where opening hours are counterproductive to the needs of tourists. Here some examples:
    – The Jardin Botánico El Castillejo north of El Bosque in the Sierra de Grazalema, in May and September opens from 10-14 and 18-20h. But tourists who are interested in this botanical garden usually take a walk on the famous Rio Majaceite path from El Bosque to Benamahoma. On their way back tourists may want to visit the botanical garden where they usually arrive between 14 and 16h.
    – Many intercity buses in the rural areas do not run on Sundays, sometimes even not on Suturdays. Therefor they cannot be used by hikers and other tourists. An example for this is the bus between Marbella and Istán which is operated by private bus company Transandalucia. The same is true for the bus connecting El Bosque to Grazalema or Manilva to Casares.
    – Hikers in Andalucia often miss restaurants on their routes. If they happen to find one, it often will be closed between 13 and 17h which normally is the time where a hiking tourist from North or Central Europe would look forward for a hearty snack.

    Of course the Spanish are free to celebrate their culture of time management. But then they have to accept that they cannot get that peace of the tourism business pie which normally would be reserved for them.

  4. Hilarious,
    the only one who says it like it is, is a Fascist sycophant – Manuel Fraga – the arch Fascist who employed a mass murderer from Argentina (the Naval School of Buenos Aires) – you could’nt make it up!

    For the other posters – if you want the American way of life (or death if you happen to encounter a nutter with an assault rifle) go there and enjoy.

    In case you did’nt know, Spain is in Europe. Their opening times are their business. the only real problem I had with Spain is the corruption – America awaits you.

    • Opening on a Sunday is hardly the ‘American way of life’, and I don’t think nutters with assault rifles pick Sunday specifically. Let Spain hold a referendum and decide on their opening hours. Would that not be fair? When you say “their business” who is that exactly? The businesses, the people?

  5. Fred,
    Sunday opening is American and has no place in Europe. When I lived in the Netherlands, there was one night a week in all cities where everything stayed open late until 19.30, that way everyone could have the time to go to a bank,assurance company whatever, bosses always allowed people that option.

    Saturday, everything except for cafes,restaurants shut at 13.00. a great system that allowed people to spend time with their families and friends. One time the Netherlands showed the reality of American TV – it was horrendous, crap programmes with incessant ads. some of which was subliminal. The outrage next day was enormous – keep that stront out of our country.
    Fast forward and this onslaught of the ‘American way’ is nearly complete.

    Is business a function of society or is society a function of business – answering this question will show whether a person should live in America or Europe.

  6. Stuart, so the Netherlands people had their say, but have the Spanish people? Let us confine ourselves to shop opening times and not TV and junk food etc – we are in agreement that the USA has so many undesirable things, but shop opening times are in the “lesser evil” category I think. I think people should be asked, that’s all.

  7. Yes! Viva the crappy economy of Spain… In this increasingly interconnected, vibrant world it’s a great idea for Spain go to bed from 14:00 till 17:00 and miss the important commerce activity that takes place during these hours in every single other country. And then when its 17:00 and time for knocking off in the rest of the planet lets get back to work so we can sit there scratching our butts.
    But just to top it off I think it’s a marvelous idea to completely ban Sunday opening in Spain, unless you happen to be from China…
    Yay for Spain and its genius economic strategies.

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