Spain has one of the more distinctive cultures in all of Europe with its customs playing a major role in attracting the throngs of tourists that flock to this Iberian nation. Spain has long been an immensely popular tourist destination, not only the cities where Moorish palaces and Gothic cathedrals standing in stark contrast to the traditional and modern contemporary buildings, but also the smaller remote Spanish towns ooze history and pastoral charm. Cultures vary immensely from region to region, but several prevailing traditions stand out as iconic elements of the country as a whole.
Perhaps one of Spain's best-known cultural facets is the siesta. Seeking to balance work with pleasure, Spaniards have long practiced the tradition of siesta. Traditionally, because Spain is such a hot country, the workers in the fields would take shelter from the heat during the day, taking a nap after the midday meal and then work until late in the evening. It has remained a popular tradition in Spain bringing a sense of calm and tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
For many visitors to Spain it is merely a cause of frustration and confusion due to the many businesses shutting down between the hours of 2pm and 5pm. However, 21st century Spain is gradually moving away from this tradition and bigger cities such as Madrid and Barcelona have mostly moved on in favor of full work days. However, the siesta remains prominent in smaller towns and cities throughout the country.