Spanish Eating Traditions – La Buena Vida

With busy and hectic working lives; there is rarely an opportunity for people get a moment to pause and appreciate time with friends and family. Busy commuters often keep their heads down and set their heart on getting from A to B with little distraction and as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Food and meals are often eaten on the move; with a surge in popularity of fast-food chains and coffee joints. In Spain, however, things are done a little differently and eating is considered a very important pastime – certainly an event where the whole family are sat together around a table.

Pullmantur Cruises honour Spanish dining traditions and stepping on board is like stepping into a whole new world of culture which you may come to appreciate and enjoy.

Three Hour Lunch Breaks

To slow down the hectic lifestyle that a job can impose; many workers in Spain are offered two to three hour lunch breaks. This large time frame allows workers to travel home to be with friends and families to enjoy a delicious and hearty meal.

A lot of shops and businesses close in the early afternoon to accommodate for such a significant break – but this allows workers to refresh themselves from a busy morning and prepare for the afternoon. The combination of a heavy intake of food with high temperate climates can result in post-lunch drowsiness, but what follows such a hearty meal is considered unusual by most of the rest of the western world…

La Siesta


"Siesta" is derived from the Latin hora sexta meaning "sixth hour". This "sixth hour" is counted from dawn and therefore roughly means "midday rest". This is a short nap taken in the early afternoon after a meal and allows workers to return to their jobs refreshed and ready for the afternoon – thus preventing post-lunch drowsiness. The siesta usually lasts between 15-30 minutes and is a short period of rest.

It is thought that the siesta was brought about by the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939) – where many Spanish citizens suffered a severe level of poverty and were forced to take on multiple jobs. Many workers were working unusual hours and the siesta was set as a designated period of time in which workers had to take a break to have lunch.

Another theory suggests that it was down to Spain’s dictator: General Francisco Franco; who changed the country’s time zone to align with Germany as an act of solidarity in 1942 – resulting in later eating times.

Whichever angle is taken to view the situation; the truth is that this way of life has become embedded in Spanish culture for the last 70 years. If you’re sailing around the Mediterranean, Iberia, Caribbean or even Iceland – there are plenty of opportunities to take a short nap in style after a hearty lunch on board a Pullmantur Cruise.

Late Dinner

Following a long lunch break and siesta; many Spanish workers will not finish their working day until much later in the evening – resulting in an evening meal at either 8pm or 9pm.

Pullmantur Cruises maintain this tradition and offer early seating dinner at 7:30pm – although food is also served in the many bars and cafes on-board throughout the day. The evening restaurant opens at 7:30pm and will not close until 11pm – with the late dining option being just after 9:45pm. This, again, allows for the whole family to be together at the end of a busy working day to enjoy time together and give the family meal its pride of place.

Nightlife – Shows


With such a late evening meal, the evening entertainment will reflect such a time frame and this is also true to Spanish tradition. In the Spanish mainland, bars will often be empty before 10pm and the nightlife scene will only start to get lively at midnight. Going out in the evening in Spain is an all-night affair and many people will still be out in the early hours of the morning. You will very rarely hear anyone in Spain claiming to want an "early night" and this is down to the siesta, which helps to break up the day.

The late dining time on board a Pullmantur Cruise provides passengers with the option to: enjoy a show; visit the casino; return late back from an excursion; or simply spend time together as a family before dinner.

Pullmantur Cruises offer a variety of dining options; with a wide range of bars, cafés and restaurants on board and open throughout the day in addition to 24 hour room service.