The days are about to get shorter. / sur

When do the clocks change in Spain?

Very soon the days will seem shorter it will get dark earlier


On 21 September it was the autumn equinox, the official farewell to summer. At that time the sun was on the equator, so the day and night in both hemispheres were exactly the same length. This is the forerunner to the change to the hour, to the new time which will last until next spring. The clocks go back by one hour at this time of year and then the days are shorter and it gets dark earlier. So when do we have to do that in Spain?

As usual, the change will be on the last Sunday in October so at 3am on 30 October we have to put the clock back one hour, to 2am. In the Canary Islands, which are always one hour behind mainland Spain, the clocks will be changed at 2am. At least it means we can all enjoy an extra hour’s sleep, but the days will seem shorter from then on.

EU directive

The change in the hour is part of EU Directive 200/84CE, which also establishes when the clocks will go forward again in late March. This is obligatory in all EU countries and the aim is to save energy and make the best use of natural light. In 1999 the European Commission argued that the measure benefits sectors such as transport and communications and is also advantageous in terms of road safety, working conditions, health, tourism and leisure.

Then in 2018 the same institution held a public survey among all EU citizens in which more than 80% of the 4.6 million who responded were in favour of doing away with the changes to the hour. The Commission then proposed that the hour should remain the same all year, but a lack of consensus among EU states and the studies into the impact of the measure meant the decision was delayed until 2021.

However, nothing was done about it last year either, and so here we are again, about to change the hour and try to adjust to the difference accordingly.