August in Spain – where is everyone?

August Holidays in Spain

August in Spain – where is everyone?

The answer to that is that the world and his wife goes on holiday in Spain in August, and that applies to the Spaniards themselves, as much as it does to the tourists that flock to the second most popular holiday destination in the world.

Schools and universities wind down during June, and they won’t be back at their desks until mid-September, so it’s the perfect time for families to relocate en masse to their summer houses or family villages for a long summer break.

According to Spanish electricity company Endesa, “In summer 1 out of 3 residents of Madrid and Barcelona leave the city and go away on holiday.”

While of course not everyone takes the full two months off, there’s no doubt that August is NOT the time to try and get anything “official” done in Spain. The public administration offices, Trafico, local Town Halls, courts, you name it, all run on reduced staffing levels and therefore everything either takes longer to get done, or just doesn’t get done until September.

Work to live, not live to work

Don’t forget that Spain has some of the best quality of life in the world so maybe a month off in summer isn’t such a bad idea.

Even if not everyone takes a full month off (or two!) many offices and businesses will operate summer hours or even close altogether, depending on their sector. Summer hours are early start/early finish, and it’s not unusual to see signs in city centre shops saying “cerrado por vacaciones” (closed for holidays) for the full month. Some Spanish work contracts even stipulate that employees have to take time off in August.

Plan ahead and roll with it

Remember that Spanish Embassies and Consulates also take the summer break, so don’t take it for granted that appointments will be available on your desired day and bear in mind that a decision on your application may well be delayed for a few weeks.

If you’re in the throes of preparing your visa application, then August is the perfect time to get documents organised in your home country, so they are ready to go once September kicks in. 

It’s not just Spain

Europe as a whole has a bit of a reputation for summer go slow – France, Italy, even Germany – with paid vacation time enshrined in labour law and used by the manufacturing sector in particular to do scheduled maintenance on machinery to minimise impact on the business as a whole. Win-win!

So when can you expect normal service to be resumed?

During the first full week of September, offices, public sector services and schools will start opening up again. 

What are Upsticks doing this summer?

While the Upsticks team will be working summer hours (9am-3pm Monday-Thursday and 10am-2pm Fridays) and taking some well-earned downtime with family and friends, clients can rest assured that we’ll be here to help if needed. Send an email to [email protected] and we’ll reply as soon as we can.


The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last reviewed/updated 05.08.2022

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