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Leisure and Entertainment

Spain - Leisure and Entertainment

Public holidays in Spain are held on the same date each year. However, as with the UK, this can change depending on whether the feast day or day of celebration falls on a Sunday. Celebration days can also be region specific as some areas have their own feast days to commemorate certain patron saints.

National holiday dates include:

- January 1st, New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
- January 6th, Epiphany (Epifanía del Señor)
- Easter falls on various dates each year and consists of national holidays on both Good Friday and Easter Monday. The dates can vary by as much as a few weeks, sometimes Easter can fall at the end of March, sometimes early April, sometimes late April.
- May 1st, Labour Day (Fiesta del Trabajo)
- June 23rd, Corpus Cristi, (this is observed in several regions although not all)
- July 25th, Santiago (This is observed in some regions although not all)
- August 15th, Feast of the Assumption (Asunción de la Virgen)
- October 12th, Spain’s National Day (Fiesta Nacional de España - also called Día de la Hispanidad)
- November 1st, All Saints Day
- December 6th, Constitution Day
- December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception (La Inmaculada Concepción)
- December 25th, Christmas Day (Natividad del Señor)

As with the UK national and public holidays many businesses will be closed. Banks will most definitely not be doing business on these days but some shops may decide to continue operation. If the national holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday then the Spanish have a term ‘haciendo puente’ which means ‘doing a bridge’. They will often choose to take the Monday or Friday in between the weekend and the feast day as a holiday to extend their break to a 4 day weekend.

Many of the festival days of Spain have a religious origin, but nowadays the religious significance tends to be lost within the celebrations. There are many well-known festivals such as the Fiesta de San Fermin held in July in Pamplona. This is known around the world as the Running of the Bulls. As a matter of fact each month somewhere across Spain there is at least one festival taking place. From carnivals to folk songs, whatever your taste there is a festival in Spain to suit you.

There are many other leisure options in Spain as well as the festivals. There are 12 cities in Spain that have UNESCO World Heritage Site status, Alcalá de Henares, Ávila, Cáceres, Córdoba, Cuenca, Ibiza, Salamanca, San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, Tarragona and Toledo and a total of 42 sites around the country that have the same status. This is second only to Italy, a country which has a total of 45 sites. The larger cities of Madrid and Barcelona are popular with tourists looking for a cultural city break, and both these cities have historical significance. There are buildings with amazing architecture and the shopping in both areas is fantastic. Holiday makers often opt of the coastal areas of Spain such as the Costa Brava, Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol on the Spanish mainland, and the islands of the Canaries and Balearics. In these areas there are plenty of seasonal activities, water sports, nightclubs and bars and for those looking to relax and unwind miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Some of these areas still attract winter tourism even though temperatures are milder, they do tend to be less harsh than winter temperatures in the UK.

Following on from a 4 year partial no smoking ban, Spain now operates a full smoking ban on every indoors public place. Restaurants, bars and cafes can no longer allow their patrons to smoke indoors. Hotels must have no more than 30% smoking rooms and smoking is even banned outside in public areas that are purpose built for children such as playgrounds and play parks. Childcare facilities are no longer allowed to let anyone smoke either in or outside of the premises. Mental hospitals, jails and care homes for the elderly are currently allowed to have a public smoking area that workers may not enter, but general hospitals are forbidden to allow smoking in or around their buildings. If smoking bans are continually violated then the authorities have the power to shut down the premises.

Visiting the cinema is a popular past time in Spain, however most English speaking films will be provided with Spanish subtitles or be dubbed. If a showing has “VO”, “VOSE”, “VOSC” beside it then it will be screened in English.

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