The Spanish Bar

A center of life – the bar in Spain

Spain is the land of bars. However, this should not be taken to include the usual restaurants with a rather dubious reputation in other countries. The Spanish bar is a solid establishment with an important social function.

The bar is a meeting point for everyone at any time of the day. Since Spaniards usually don’t have breakfast at home, this often happens in the bar before business starts: a cup of black coffee, perhaps a sweet donut, and then you go about your business. The »café solo« corresponds to the espresso common in Germany, a »café cortado« contains a shot of warm milk and a »café con leche« is a strong coffee with milk. Most of the time, the guests are at the counter because the service at the table is more expensive.

Ever since King Alfonso X ordered in the 13th century that alcohol could only be served with food, in Spanish bars a bite to eat has been served with every alcoholic drink. According to the royal directive, every glass should have a “tapa” (“lid”) with a piece of bread or a small snack. This led to the development of “tapas”, small appetizers that can take on the size of mini-menus and are now part of the Spanish way of life. Visit for Spain travel guide.

The Spanish bar is generally always busy, and it is seldom completely quiet. At lunchtime, the guests come to eat a few “tapas” and have a drink. During the evening rush hour, the bar fills up again, and it goes on until late at night. Often you don’t just visit one bar, but also switch to another. This is especially true on the weekends.

The bar is a socio-cultural necessity for all Spaniards – regardless of whether they are young or old. Because the apartment is a private retreat into which strangers – including friends – are not allowed to enter. The architecture also makes this clear: many houses and apartments are built around an inner courtyard to which windows and doors open. On the outside, facing the street, there are at most the windows of the rarely used living room.

Another, but socially increasingly controversial tradition is the Spanish bullfight (Toreo). A bullfighter (matador) tries to kill the bull (toro) through various rituals in front of an audience in the bullring. The red cloth (muleta) is particularly well-known; the bull aggressively attacks the bullfighter by swiveling it quickly. Bullfights are particularly widespread in the Spanish region of Andalusia. In contrast, they are now banned in the Canary Islands because of animal cruelty, but also because of the risk of injury to the public. The most popular Spanish public event is football (Fùtbol). The Spanish professional league (Primera División) with the world-famous clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, ​​which maintain an intense and long-term sporting rivalry, is considered to be one of the strongest in the world. Numerous top players of world football are used in the Spanish league. But the Spanish national team (Selección) is also one of the best in the world as world (2010) and multiple European champions (1964, 2008, 2012).

The Spanish Bar

World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)

  • Former Umayyad Mosque (cathedral since the 13th century) and old town of Córdoba (K; 1984)
  • Old town of Granada, Alhambra and Generalife Palace (K; 1984)
  • Burgos Cathedral (K; 1984)
  • Escorial Monastery and its surroundings (K; 1984)
  • Park Güell, Palau Güell and Casa Milà by Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona (K; 1984)
  • Altamira Cave (K; 1985)
  • Old town of Segovia with aqueduct (K; 1985)
  • Churches of the Kingdom of Asturias (K; 1985)
  • Old town of Santiago de Compostela (K; 1985)
  • Old town of Ávila and churches outside the city wall (K; 1985)
  • Mudejar architecture of Aragon (K; 1986)
  • Old town of Toledo (K; 1986)
  • Garajonay National Park on the Canary Island of Gomera (N; 1986)
  • Old town of Cáceres (K; 1986)
  • Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo General de Indias in Seville (K; 1987)
  • Old town of Salamanca (K; 1988)
  • Cistercian monastery in Poblet (K; 1991)
  • Roman and early medieval buildings in Mérida (K; 1993)
  • Guadalupe Monastery (K; 1993)
  • Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (K; 1993)
  • Doñana National Park in Andalusia (N; 1994)
  • Old town of Cuenca with fortifications (K; 1996)
  • Silk exchange “La Lonja de la Seda” in Valencia (K; 1996)
  • Las Médulas with its gold mines (K; 1997)
  • Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona (K; 1997)
  • Yuso and Suso monasteries in San Millán de la Cogolla (K; 1997)
  • Mountainous landscape of Monte Perdido (Mont Perdu) in the Pyrenees (K / N; 1997)
  • Old town and former university in Alcalá de Henares (K; 1998)
  • Rock paintings in Eastern Spain (K; 1998)
  • Rock carvings in Portugal and Spain (K; 1998; 2010 extended)
  • San Cristóbal de la Laguna (Canary Island Tenerife) (K; 1999)
  • Balearic island of Ibiza (K / N; 1999)
  • Archaeological sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Province of Burgos) (K; 2000)
  • Romanesque churches in the Vall de Boí (K; 2000)
  • Archaeological Ensemble of Tarragona (the ancient Tarraco) (K; 2000)
  • Palm grove of Elche (N; 2000)
  • Late Roman fortifications of Lugo (K; 2000)
  • Aranjuez cultural landscape (K; 2001)
  • Úbeda and Baeza (K; 2003)
  • Transporter Bridge Puente de Vizcaya (K; 2006)
  • Teide National Park on Tenerife (N; 2007)
  • Tower of Hercules of La Coruña (K; 2009)
  • Cultural landscape Serra de Tramuntana on Mallorca (K; 2011)
  • Historic sites of mercury extraction: Almadén (Spain) and Idrija (Slovenia) (K; 2012)
  • Antequera dolmen sites (K; 2016)
  • Old beech forests and primeval beech forests in northern Spain (N; 2017)
  • Caliphate city of Medina Azahara (K; 2018)

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