Many of the museums in Barcelona (such as the Contempary Art Museum) close early on Sunday. In general, the museums are closed all day Monday. If you want to go to the Picasso Museum on Sunday, get up REALLY early. The lines are a mile long.
The department stores are closed. Food shops, if they do open, open much later than usual. The outdoor markets, such as St. Josep on the Ramblas, are closed. Some restaurants are closed, although you can still find plenty that aren't. The Metro closes down every day at midnight.
For a bit of entertainment on Sunday, you can watch the locals (mainly the old folks) dancing the Sardana, the Catalan national dance, in the square in front of the Gothic Cathedral or at Placa Sant Jaume. At noon, people begin to gather there and do this circle dance to the accompaniment of a band. The dance consists of just a few steps and is quite slow.
After a while, I found it a bit tedious, but it's interesting to see the characters who turn up for this event. Note the special cloth shoes that some of them don for the dance.
I was impressed with the combined architecture Old & New together. The modern architecture was highlighted by the old Roman Walls which seemed to encase it in a lost in time effect. I like to see architecture preserved - too many lovely buildings have been destroyed in our cities to make way for what some might call progress.
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In Barcelona nearly all of the smaller neighborhood farmacies close from 2-4pm or from 1-5 pm. However if you are in dire need of something right away and find the closest farmacy is closed you should look on the door and there will be a list of other farmacies that are open. There are also many 24 hour farmacies one near Sagrada Famila and at least two or three near the ramblas and the town center.
Yes! It does exist, and it can be very anoying sometimes. Small stores do close from 1:30 (sometimwa 2 or 2:30) until 4 (or even 5), for lunch. And they are very strick with their time. If you are in a store at closing time, you will be kickced out. Most places don´t open until 9 or 10, and close at 8 or 9. So plan accordingly. Restaurants, and stroes at Ramblas do stay open, but ask at a Tourist Information Center or Hotel if you are in doubt so you can take advantage of all your time and vacation. Oh yes! Sundays are a rest day also. And in August, you won´t be able to find to much either!
Locals in Barcelona have their siesta between 1–4pm, and work later on in the evening, finishing about 8pm. Because of the late finish, they eat later (about 10pm) so expect queues for good restaurants at this time. Try to eat earlier to avoid the rush, especially at the weekends.
I got right into the custom of having a little siesta around 6 pm, having a drink at one of the café/bars which sit at almost every street corner in town before going to eat dinner at 10 pm or 11pm. Around midnight or 1 am the nightlife begins, and that on any givien day of the week. It was something different that I took a lot of enjoyment out of.
It's well known that the Spanish people do not have their dinner till about 9.30-10.00pm (sometimes even at 11.00pm!), but don't worry, most restaurants in Barcelona will serve food to you even if you get there early (like 8.00pm!)! Alternatively, there's always McDonald's or Burger King's!
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