19 Apr, 2024 @ 17:15
2 mins read

Town dubbed the ‘Mykonos of Spain’ blasts disrespectful tourists as it joins calls for stricter controls on the industry

Town dubbed the ‘Mykonos of Spain’ blasts disrespectful tourists as it joins calls for stricter controls on the industry

A MENORCA fishing village branded as Spain’s answer to the Greek island of Mykonos- due to its white buildings- has demanded measures to stop ‘disrespectful’ tourism during the summer.

An estimated 800,000 tourists walk through the streets of Binibeca Vell during the high season, taking photos at viewpoints during sunset, and then walking around the narrow streets well into the evening.

“They go inside houses, sit on the chairs, took things, step on the walls, have a drink… Well, there’s a little bit of everything, and if this is not regulated, it happens again every summer,” said a resident.


In 1964, plans were conceived to build a copy of a ‘typical Mediterranean village’, and Binibeca Vell was born in the south-east of Menorca as part of the Sant Lluis municipality.

The 195 property owners want solutions from the Menorca Island council to stop noise and overcrowding issues from happening again, and are angry that a deal struck last year has not been renewed.

Community president, Oscar Monge, said: “The truth is that this was never a fishing village, but it is a private urbanisation,” he told news portal elDiario.es

For some years, Monge and the residents have pressed authorities to take action over mass tourism and they demanded action again in March.

In 2023, the property owners signed an agreement with the Island Council that included the limitation of visiting hours, the training of official and authorised tourist guides and a contribution of €15,000 by the authority to help pay for the maintenance and cleaning of the area.

As a result of the deal, Binibeca allows only from 10.00am to 10.00pm within the alleys leading to residential areas, while the areas surrounding the town and the small cove that connects the urbanisation with a hotel remain open.

But the agreement has not been renewed for this year, due to a disagreement between the community group and the council, with residents claiming the authority has let it down over deciding what can or cannot be done in Binibeca and who is responsible for it.

Oscar Monge said: “This is not an argument over tourists but a lack of respect for agreements signed with the council.”

“It is mind-boggling that politicians who are dedicated to tourism are telling the owners of a private development for public use that the only alternative left to keep the place clean is to close it and privatise it or charge it,” he added.

“The Community’s intention is not at all to charge or economically exploit the site but the council are leading us to a citizen conflict, to an unnecessary problem.”

Menorca’s director of Tourism Promotion, Begoña Mercadal, said that the agreement has been voided by the owners.

“It was the community of owners of Binibeca Vell who did not want to renew the agreement,” insists Mercadal.

“The agreement establishes that it was automatically renewed if the two parties requested it before December 19, 2023, and did not do so, therefore we understand that they were not interested.”

“We completely insist that it is a private property and, therefore, if they want to close it, they are within their rights,” she added.

Oscar Monge sees things differently: “The Council urged us to meet twice a year to follow up on the control of tourist guides and the rest of the terms, but we never got a call.”

A bar owner called Luis told elDiario.es that he’s against any visitor restrictions with his business running for 20 years.

“I think it’s a bad idea since the village is empty all year round and only inhabited from July to September, but I have to live all year round on what I earn here,” he said.

“If tourists don’t come, what do I do?,” Luis asked.

He described suggestions to close the village as ‘barbaric’ and suggested that many of the complaints come from people who ‘don’t live here all year round’.

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