Spanish in Spain


An old-fashioned building face with an analog clock

In Spain, the 24-hour clock is used when time is written, and the 12-hour clock is used when time is spoken. Media programming, transportation schedules and other official references to time always use the 24-hour clock.

Shops, businesses, and government offices open between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. and close at 2:00, to reopen at 5:00 p.m. and close between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. Banks are open from 8:00 to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with one day during that time when they stay open until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. Businesses close on Saturday and Sunday. Most shops stay open on Saturday until 2:00, and occasionally, malls are open Sunday afternoons.

There is some flexibility when it comes to being punctual in Spain. Unlike many countries, when one receives an invitation to visit a home at a specific time, it is not considered rude to show up early. It is also acceptable to arrive as much as one half-hour late. When meeting friends in a public place, one has a grace period of up to one half hour but to be any later than that is considered rude.