Welcome to Valencia, the city of paella, oranges, and yes, the siesta! If you’re new to Spain, you might be wondering about this famous tradition. The siesta is a mid-afternoon break that many Spaniards still enjoy, particularly in the warmer southern regions. It’s a time for rest, relaxation, and a chance to escape the midday heat. But how do you, as an expat, adapt to this unique aspect of Spanish culture? Let’s dive in!

Firstly, it’s important to understand that culture is relative. What might seem unusual in your home country could be the norm in Spain. Embrace this difference and view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Be open-minded and curious about the siesta and other Spanish customs. This will not only help you adapt but also enrich your experience living in Valencia.

Observation is key when adapting to a new culture. Watch how the locals do it. When do they start their siesta? How long does it last? What activities do they engage in during this time? You’ll notice that many shops close around 2 pm and reopen later in the evening. After you enjoy your lunch, the perfect time to take your siesta is around 4pm when the daily temperature is at its peak.

a depiction of a siesta in a spanish garden

It’s okay to feel a bit anxious or confused about adapting to the siesta lifestyle. Change can be challenging, but remember, it’s okay to make mistakes. You’re not expected to understand everything immediately. Give yourself and others around you the permission to slip up as you navigate this new cultural landscape.

Taking care of your physical health is crucial during this adjustment period. The siesta can actually be a great way to ensure you’re getting enough rest. Use this time to take a short nap, read a book, or simply relax. This can help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day.

Find a cultural ally. This could be a local friend, a fellow expat, or even a group or club. They can provide invaluable insights into the nuances of the Spanish culture and help you navigate the siesta and other local customs.

Seek out support from other international residents. Valencia has a vibrant expat community, and they can offer advice, share experiences, and provide a sense of camaraderie. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey!

Lastly, be patient with yourself. Adapting to a new culture takes time. Don’t rush the process. Enjoy the journey of discovering Valencia and its unique way of life.

Embracing the siesta is more than just adapting to a schedule; it’s about embracing a slower pace of life, prioritizing rest, and enjoying the Spanish way of life. So, when in Valencia, do as the Valencians do – embrace the siesta!



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