Expat in Spain shares what she 'hates' about living there - and issues advice to visitors before they go

Antoanetta / Valencia, Spain

Tourists and expats will have to adjust to Spanish timings

YouTube / Antoanetta Now / GETTY IMAGES
Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 08/04/2024

- 20:19

Updated: 08/04/2024

- 22:47

Shopping and eating out in restaurants may pose a difficulty to some people visiting Spain

Spain is a popular destination for Britons who want to relocate. But it's not all sun, sea, sand and sangria.

One expat revealed what she "hates" about life in Spain, encouraging people to "watch this before you come here". She warned those considering holidaying or moving here that shop and restaurant opening times can be annoying.

Antoanetta, who goes by Antoanetta Now on YouTube, warned people going to Spain that they may need to change their routines based on Spanish timings.

She said: "I still cannot get used to it. You have to remember that in most places - especially in Valencia, in Barcelona I'm seeing it less - stores close in the afternoon." The expat said that huge department stores may stay open, however.

Couple eating in a restaurant

Spanish restaurants are closed at intervals throughout the day


The same can be said for restaurants, which typically close for several hours in the afternoon.

She lamented that if she wants to eat out at 5pm for a late lunch or early dinner, this is often impossible in Spain.

The expat explained: "They serve lunch from 1pm to 4pm and then you can't get it. Breakfast you can't get at 12:30pm or 1pm - you have to wait for lunch to get it in a specific window. Then dinner is really late."

Essentially, non-Spaniards must learn to be flexible with their mealtime and shopping habits.

Otherwise, they "have to live on tapas" during the intervals between mealtimes, or drinks, cakes and coffee.

"But what if I want to have an early dinner, what if I want to eat at 7pm", she asked. The expat claimed that nowhere is open apart from chain restaurants.

Antoanetta said she struggles to do her grocery shopping for the same reason, as she often finds that stores are closed on Sundays.

This can pose problems for people with atypical working hours, as they may find it difficult to visit the supermarket during the week.

Indeed, the rest period during the day - or 'siesta' is a major part of Spanish culture.

The Spain experts at Barcelona Exclusive Private Tours said: "The siesta, which means 'a midday or afternoon rest or nap', has become a big part of Spanish culture.


Picking up vegetables in grocery store

Spanish supermarkets are typically closed on Sundays


"Many businesses in Barcelona and other parts of the country still shut down every day so that siestas can take place.

"If you're planning a trip to Spain, you should prepare yourself for plenty of siestas."

Antoanetta also warned that bureaucracy can be arduous. She suggested that things can take a lot of extra time for no apparent reason.

Another expat shared what he hates about life in Spain. He referred to a particular Spanish food as his "arch nemesis".

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