Barcelona Tourist and Expat Guide – I'mMovingToBarcelona



If you come from customer-driven capitalist countries where all shops are open on Sundays and where customer service is highly valued, you might be slightly surprised after settling in Barcelona.

Not only are almost all shops closed on Sunday (yep, Zara too) and many close at 2 pm on Saturday but some of them might also close for the whole month of August. When the last occurs, you will usually find a note on the closed doors saying “Closed for vacations from 1st till 31st of August” or more with a straightforward approach like “We’re on vacations! Will be back on August 23rd!”. If you don’t believe me, see below:

closed for vacations barcelona

Closed for vacations

The establishments that close for vacations in Barcelona

You may wonder what kind of establishments close for vacation – the answer is basically all kinds of small and medium family run businesses like the butcher’s, hardware store, service stations, motorcycle dealerships, etc. What’s more, some companies also close for a few weeks in August giving their employees obligatory holidays. Of course, the vacation days are deducted from your overall annual holiday’s count.

Kindergartens also close for vacations in Barcelona

I was always wondering who goes on vacation in the peak period i.e. August. It’s crowded and expensive and, well, very expensive… When I arrived here I was told that if you have kids you need to take vacations in August as all the kindergartens in Barcelona are closed during this month. So, parents have no other option then take care of their kids, unless they’ve got the grandparents nearby. If you are looking for a piece of good advise, here’s one for you – while you can enjoy your holidays any other time than in August!

An abandoned city

The advantage of the general August vacations in Barcelona is that the city becomes very quiet and pleasant to wander around. Of course, the hoards of tourists are still there but in the less touristy neighbourhoods one observes less traffic on the roads and fewer people on the pavements. It all gets much quieter.

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