f you find yourself standing in front of a closed supermarket on a random Wednesday, are wondering why lots of Spanish friends seemed to have left the city, and feel a good Sunday vibe on the streets, then chances are it’s a public holiday.
There are plenty of public holidays in Spain throughout the year, those days are sacred to most Spaniards. There are national and regional holidays, it can be quite confusing to sort out this puzzle (we’ve been there), so we’re here to help! Save some time, get some practical tips, and learn a little bit more about the culture with this guide.
Valencianos love public holidays and bridges
Most Valencianos love public holidays, it’s very common for them to leave the city for a long weekend away and if they don’t, you’ll find them spending the day joining the festivities or eating good food on a terrace. We were already aware that they know how to enjoy life, right? It’s one of the things I love the most about the people here. When I suggest teaching my private classes on a public holiday, I already know that most people are gonna say: “no.” They’re mostly very surprised about my offer and often tell me I should take the day off too, which I think is very sweet. It says more than enough about the culture.
Valencianos are also passionate about bridges. Does that sound like a random fact? Okay, even though there are some pretty awesome bridges in Valencia, this has nothing to do with construction work. Let me explain: in some countries, holidays are moved to Mondays or Fridays to create long weekends. This is not the case in Spain, so if a holiday falls on a weekday, they take some extra days off to have four or five day long weekends. This is called puente which means bridge.
Things to keep in mind & practical tips
Before I start sharing the dates with you, I’ll give you some practical tips, things that you have to keep in mind.
- Most supermarkets are closed. There are only a few that are open on public holidays such as Charter and Suma. It’s usually really crowded in supermarkets a day before a public holiday, so do your groceries two days before or before Spanish mealtimes.
- All public offices close. If you have anything important to fix, do it before or after the public holiday.
- Most shops are closed. If you do wanna go shopping, just check the opening hours of your favorite shop on Google Maps. Oftentimes, it will show you whether or not it’s closed due to the public holiday.
- Public transport services are limited. Make sure to use the apps to get accurate information, you don’t wanna wait for a bus that’s never gonna show up. Been there done that ;-)
- Medical and emergency services are limited too.
- Taxi fees might increase a little and the demand is usually high, so if you have to be somewhere, leave your house a bit earlier than planned.
- If you use Google Calendar, you can easily add Spanish holidays to your calendar. It shows you all the public holidays, including the regions. Saved me a lot of time!
- 1st of January: Año Nuevo - New Year’s Day
- 6th of January: Epifanía - Epiphany / Three Kings day
- Viernes Santo - Good Friday: This falls on a different date in late March or early April each year.
- Lunes de Pascua - Easter Monday: This falls on a different date in late March or early April each year.
- 1st of May: Día del Trabajador - Labor Day
- 15th of August: La Asunción - Feast of the Assumption
- 12th of October: Día de la Hispanidad - National Holiday of Spain
- 1st of November: Todos los Santos - All Saints Day
- 6th of December: Día de la Constitución - Constitution Day
- 8th of December: La Inmaculada Concepción - Immaculate Conception
- 25th December: Navidad - Christmas Day
- 19th of March: San José - Feast of St. Joseph
- 24th of June: San Juan - Summer Solstice
- 9th of October: Día de la Comunidad Valenciana - Day of the Valencian community.
As Madonna would say: “Holiday, celebrate! Come on, let’s celebrate ;-)”