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Almost everything in Catalunya - shops, museums, churches, tourist offices - closes for a siesta of at least two hours in the middle of the day. Basic working hours are 9.30am-1.30pm and 4.30-7.30pm, though some shops do now stay open all day. Nevertheless, you'll get far less aggravated if you accept that the early afternoon is best spent asleep, or in a bar, or both

 

Museums and churches
Museums , with the exception of the big showpiece collections in Barcelona, follow the standard rule, with a break between 1pm and 4pm. On Sundays most open in the morning only and on Mondays most are closed all day. Admission charges vary, but there's usually a reduction or free entrance if you show a student or youth card.

Getting into churches can present more of a problem. The really important ones operate in much the same way as museums and almost always have an entry charge to see their most valued treasures and paintings, or their cloisters. Other churches, though, are usually kept locked, opening only for worship in the early morning (around 7-8am) and/or the evening (around 6-9pm). So you'll either have to try at these times, or find someone with a key. This is time-consuming but rarely difficult, since a sacristan or custodian almost always lives nearby and most people will know where to direct you. You're expected to give a small tip, or donation. For all churches "decorous" dress is required, ie no shorts or bare shoulders.


National holidays
Official national holidays can disrupt your travel plans. On the days we've listed, and during scores of local festivals you'll find everything except the odd bar closed. In addition, everyone in Spain seems to go on holiday in August : Barcelona is semi-deserted, and many of the shops and restaurants, even museums, close. In contrast it can prove nearly impossible to find a free bed in the more popular coastal and mountain resorts at these times; similarly, seats on planes, trains and buses should be booked well in advance.
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