These rules apply to beaches in Spain
There are vacationers who throw all inhibitions overboard when travelling. But you don’t have to go that far to get in trouble or even a fine on Spain’s beaches. If you want to avoid this, you should know a few rules.
When the forecasts from airlines and tour operators come true, Spain’s beaches will be crowded again this year. People are drawn to the sea and the sun. Not everyone is happy about that: Even in the years before the pandemic, it had already become apparent that the sun holiday strongholds of Andalusia, Catalonia and Mallorca were no longer willing to simply accept the consequences of mass tourism in favor of profit.
Mallorca tightened the reins on excessive beach behavior a few years ago, with other regions following suit. Beach vacationers should therefore know the following rules, otherwise the vacation can be expensive.
No smoking on the beach
Former smoking mecca Spain has long had one of the strictest anti-nicotine laws in Europe. But only since the end of 2021 has it been possible to enforce a smoking ban on many beaches. The municipalities can use the new garbage ordinance to ban smoking by the sea on the grounds that throwing away cigarette butts is prohibited.
This not only keeps the beach cleaner, but above all protects nature: According to the Nature Conservation Union, a cigarette butt contaminates up to 1000 liters of water. Failure to comply can result in a fine of up to 2000 euros.
Barcelona, for example, plans to ban smoking on all beaches from July 1st. The Catalan Mediterranean metropolis has ten beaches with a total length of around ten kilometers. The smoking ban should not only benefit the environment, but also protect passive smokers. But illegal smokers are only going to be fined around 30 euros. Smoking bans are already in place on other beaches in Spain – for example on the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country, Galicia, Andalusia and Valencia.
Keep your distance when playing ball games
Especially on Andalusian beaches such as Málaga, ball games of any kind may only be played in certain designated sections. This is understandable, because the small groups usually take up a lot of space.
But there are also regulations for such simple fun as beach ball, which is played as a simple “paddle” game by two people only: Here you have to keep a distance of at least six meters to the surrounding beach visitors.
Closure of the beaches at certain times
There are no private beaches in the whole of Spain, access to the sea must always be possible for everyone. However, that does not mean that individual municipalities are not allowed to limit this access in terms of time. On the busy Costa Blanca around Benidorm, for example, there are often timeslots when the beach is closed.
Visits are usually restricted at night from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. so that the sea shore can be cleaned undisturbed. At the same time, the beach closure is also a safety measure, because of course there is no lifeguard on duty at these times.
Consumption of alcohol restricted in Mallorca
For many years, Mallorca has tried to stop drinking tourism. Alcohol is not expressly forbidden on the beach, but public drinking sessions, called “botellones”, have been, for example on the notorious Playa de Palma, and have been since 2019. In addition, the sale of alcohol has been limited in time, and all-inclusive hotels are no longer allowed to offer unlimited free drinks serve alcoholic drinks. Alcohol bans on the beach also apply in Benidorm.
Bikini and shirtless only allowed on the beach
Many tourists apparently think they can walk around the city half-naked. Barcelona was among the first metropolises to take offense. Ten years ago, it was therefore forbidden to walk around bare-chested or in a bikini on the other side of the city beach. Anyone who comes from sunbathing by the sea has had to put on something since then.
The same rule now also applies to Mallorca. Away from the beach you have to cover up a little more. What happens if someone doesn’t comply? The first time he is warned, the second time there is a fine of up to 300 euros.