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When thinking about Spain, two of the first things that come to people’s mind is “fiesta and siesta”. These two elements are a very important part of the Spanish culture, however, there are other interesting habits and aspects of the Spanish culture you might want to know before you visit Madrid. We’ve made a short selection of the unique habits of the Spanish people and culture.
Let’s start with the most well-known habit – siesta. Although “siesta” means “nap”, most Spaniards do not actually sleep in the middle of the day in major cities. Instead, during siesta time -from 2pm to 4:30pm approximately- most small shops close and people go home to have lunch and relax with their families. After siesta people go back to work until 9pm.
While in most countries dinner is the largest meal of the day, in Spain it’s actually lunch, which usually starts around 2:30pm. Dinner time is usually around 9pm to 11pm, and in the meantime you can go for tapas so you don’t have to starve to death! In this regard, and as a general rule of thumb, try to avoid restaurants with pictures of food, usually the food is not very good.
3. No tips necessary
Tipping in Spain is optional and not very common. Spaniards generally never tip and if they do it’s an insignificant amount because there’s usually a service charge included in the bill. However, if you do want to tip always use cash instead of credit card, otherwise the money will go directly to the owner.
Spaniards greet each other with two kisses, one on each cheek. If it’s the first time you meet someone from Spain, usually they would start the interaction with two kisses. However, men usually greet other men with a friendly handshake. Keep in mind that in a professional environment the usual greeting is a handshake, despite the gender.
Let’s finish this list with the other most known habit – fiesta. Spaniards are well-known for mastering the art of partying. People usually gather around midnight and go to a friend’s house, a bar or a park to drink. Clubs usually fill up around 2am-3am and people leave at around 6am or even later! Some people even have breakfast in a bar after partying and before going back home.
Keep in mind that this is just a list of the general things Spaniards do and there are many other unique aspects to the culture.
*Illustration: James Rae
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There’s a popular Spanish phrase that says “de Madrid al cielo” meaning “from Madrid to heaven”, which reflects that one of the best things the city has to offer is its sunsets. There’s no better plan than to spend a sunset sipping on a cocktail or enjoying a glass of Spanish wine on one of Madrid’s ultra-chic roof bars. Here’s our selection of the very best.
1. Azotea del Circulo de Bellas Artes
Probably the rooftop with the best views of Madrid. It is located right in the middle of the city center, at Calle Alcalá between Gran Vía and Plaza de Cibeles. The entry price is 4€ but the 360º panoramic view of Madrid makes the visit definitely worth the money. You can buy the ticket at the entrance of the building and make sure to get there early to avoid long queues and get to see the beautiful sunset! Address: Calle Alcalá, 42.
www.azoteadelcirculo.com // +34 913 60 54 00
2. The Roof
One of Madrid’s most popular nightlife venues can be found at the Plaza de Santa Ana. This ultra-chic and elegant rooftop is located on the roof of the Hotel ME Madrid Reina Victoria, and it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail, the music and the great views of the city. Address: Plaza de Santa Ana, 14.
www.melia.com // +34 917 01 60 00
3. Terraza Cibeles
Terrace located in the sixth floor of one of Madrid’s most iconic buildings, the former city’s post office and the current city hall. The entry price is only 2€ and at the top you can have a cocktail, a coffee and or a meal at an elegant restaurant where you can have a unique gastronomic experience. Address: Plaza de Cibeles, 1.
www.adolfo-palaciodecibeles.com // +34 915 23 14 54
4. Urban Hotel Terrace
One of the most spectacular rooftops is located in one of Madrid’s most exclusive hotels, the Urban Hotel. It is the perfect place to go on a summer night to enjoy a fancy cocktail and a unique view of Madrid’s skyline. Address: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 34.
www.hotelurban.com // +34 91 787 77 70
Close to Callao Square and overlooking the Church of San Martín de Tours you will find the Gymage terrace. The place has different areas with sofas, chill out area, hammocks… and if you get a drink you can even access the pool. Address: Luna, 2.
www.gymage.es // +34 91 532 09 74
We hope you’ve liked our top picks and that you enjoy the summer nights in Madrid from above the city streets.