Spain is cracking down: the new rules you should know or risk being fined

Jul 1, 2022

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Spain is calling time on unruly Brits wreaking havoc on its golden shores.

Local authorities up and down the country have enshrined a raft of new measures to reign in loutish behaviour by tourists.

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They include fines for urinating in the ocean, charges for drunk swimmers who have to be fished out of the sea, drinks limits in all-inclusive resorts, shampoo bans on beaches, and outlawing football strips in certain bars.

Here’s a breakdown of the new clampdowns.

No more peeing in the sea

Authorities in the northwest coastal town of Vigo have told holidaymakers that they face a fine of €750 (£645) if they are caught urinating in the crystal waters that hug its shores.

Spanish authorities have called on tourists to stop using beaches as public bathrooms (Photo by Gaizka Portillo Benito-Getty Images)

The rule is part of a wider operation to “sanitise” local beaches for the summer rush. Officials have said temporary public loos will be erected at peak times, but that anyone caught urinating on the beach or in the sea will face the long arm of the law.

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One person took to Twitter to ask: “I’m fascinated… how would they know? Will someone be scanning the sea with binoculars searching for those tell-tell smiles of relief perhaps?”

A red card for anyone wearing football shirts in bars

A chain of restaurants on the popular island of Mallorca are cracking down on loutish behaviour by banning certain clothing associated with “drunken tourism”.

The venues — all part of the Palma Beach brand in the party resort of Playa de Palma — have outlawed a range of items including football shirts, swimwear, novelty accessories bought on street stalls such as glow-in-the-dark sunglasses, and t-shirts that promote drinking.

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So far, 11 restaurants are enforcing the ban, with more expected to join.

Drinking limits on all-inclusive resorts

British sun-seekers looking forward to a boozy holiday in the Balearic region may have had their hopes dashed after authorities introduced new rules banning limitless drinking on all-inclusive packages.

Part of the Balearic Government’s new “tourism law” — which was passed in early February 2022 and aimed at attracting “quality tourism” — authorities hope to rid resorts of the kind of “loutish” behaviour which some British tourists have unleashed on its picturesque towns and beaches for decades.

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According to a letter sent by tour operator Thomas Cook to customers confirming the new rule updates, “all-inclusive” no longer means “unlimited drinks”. Instead, holidaymakers will be allowed three drinks at lunch and three drinks at dinner as part of their package. Any more and they’ll have to pay for them.

Meanwhile, drinking on the street in certain cities such as Barcelona and Madrid could land tourists a fine of up to €600.

Megaphone bans and whispering tours

Barcelona residents are tired of great gaggles of tourists flapping up and down its winding cobbled streets. So officials have put a limit on the number of people allowed to take part in a tour.

La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by visualspace/Getty Images)

In the city centre tour groups are now capped at 15 — increasing to 30 in more spacious parts of the city. Megaphones have also been banned, and guides have been told to talk quietly in narrow streets or only explain their points in open areas, such as squares.

Guide groups can only flow in one direction and are limited to 24 streets.

Pay for your own sea rescue

Revellers who get into trouble in the sea after a few drinks will now have to foot the bill for their own rescue in San Sebastian.

Top brass in the town made the rules after two drunken swimmers — one from Spain and the other from Brazil — had to be fished out of the ocean by coast guards in an operation involving 20 responders, and which ultimately cost the Spanish taxpayer £5,200.

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So, in a bid to “make people think twice” before taking a dip after a night on the tiles, officials in the Basque city say swimmers who get into trouble as a result of negligence or recklessness will be charged for their own rescue.

Smoking on the beach

If you’re the type that likes your nicotine boosts under a hot sun with sand under your feet, watch out.

Smoking is banned on some beaches including ones in Barcelona, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. Look out for signs and designated smoking areas, or ask someone about the rules before you spark up.

If you’re caught smoking in areas where it is banned you could face fines of up to €2,000.

£51,600 fines for balcony jumping

‘Balconing’ is the practice of flinging oneself from a hotel balcony into a swimming pool below. Or, no less perilously, jumping between the balconies of a high-rise hotel.

Trouble is, it’s not as death-defying as some have thought and has been responsible for a number of fatalities at Spanish resorts in recent years.

And so, unsurprisingly, authorities in the Balearic islands have told holidaymakers they face a €60,000 (£51,600) fine if caught in the act.

The end of topless tourism

Authorities in Barcelona and on the island of Mallorca are keen to bring an air of sophistication to their towns. And so they have banned women in bikinis and topless men from walking about city centres.

(Photo by Stefanie Hiebl/Getty Images)

In some areas it’s even prohibited to walk from your car to the beach without a shirt on, an offence that can carry a fine of up to €300 (£258). If there are any rules holidaymakers have no right to get shirty about, it’s this one.

Less power in the shower

Not so much a clampdown on drunken tourists, but rather the clean ones, as authorities across Spain have exerted their power over beach showers by banning shampoo.

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But it has a legitimate cause. The chemicals in certain soaps, shower gels and shampoos have been found to be harmful to marine wildlife, so releasing your suds into the sea across Spain now carries a fine of up to €750 (£645).


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