24 Jun, 2024 @ 19:00
3 mins read

How to be a ‘good tourist’ in Spain this year: A must-read guide amid protests by ‘fed-up’ locals 

A local police officer talks with tourists in Punta Ballena, the main club strip in Magaluf, Majorca, Spain, where West Midlands Police officers, PC Martina Anderson and Sergeant Brett Williams, have joined Spanish colleagues to patrol in tourist hotspots including beaches, airport terminals and town centres, during a trial funded by the Foreign Office.

ANYONE visiting Spain this summer would be forgiven for thinking they are not welcome given the wave of ‘anti-tourism’ protests sweeping the country. 

While it is true that many locals are fed up with the industry, they are mostly upset with their governments for doing nothing to control the ‘excessive’ model. Many protesters insist their movement is ‘nothing personal’ against individual holidaymakers. 

Nevertheless, there are certain ‘dos and don’ts’ that visiting outsiders should adhere to if they don’t want to draw negative attention to themselves. 

Below is a comprehensive guide by the Olive Press team. 

Keep your clothes on 

No matter which resort you are visiting, if you are walking around the town or even nipping to the corner shop, put on a t-shirt, or some sort of coverage if wearing just a bikini. 

Walking around topless is in fact illegal in many resorts, including Marbella and Mallorca – and can result in a fine of up to €3,000 for the worst offenders. 

Consider booking a hotel 

The main gripe with tourism among locals is how the surging number of tourist apartments is causing local housing crises. 

Residents claim platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com are seeing bars and businesses turned into tourist lets, stripping cities like Malaga and Sevilla of their character while depleting housing supply. This in turn causes rent and property prices to surge. 

So if you want to be a conscientious visitor this year, try to book a hotel instead of an Airbnb or tourist flat.

Keep the noise down 

If you are staying at an Airbnb, keep in mind that the homes around you may not be accommodations for tourists. 

It’s very likely they are filled with locals who have jobs to get to in the morning, so keep it down when coming back home from a day or night out. 

And bear in mind that tourists caught making excessive noise can be fined in resorts like Alicante, with sanctions starting from €600. 

Stub it out 

For visiting smokers, please be aware of the laws when it comes to puffing on restaurant terraces or beaches. 

This year it became illegal to smoke on any beach in Spain, with anyone caught doing so risking fines of €2,000. 

The nationwide ban followed in the footsteps of many resorts, including; Javea, Alicante, the entire Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Lanzarote and Tenerife. 

Meanwhile, it remains illegal to smoke on restaurant terraces across the Balearic Islands and Valencia region, including Benidorm. 

Keep it classy 

Spain is a massive destination for hen and stag dos, but there are many rules you must follow to avoid being fined – depending on the region. 

Punters in Platja d’Aro on the Costa Brava, for example, could be handed fines of up to €1,500 if they fall foul of new legislation which outlaws ‘clothing representing human genitals’. 

The new law explicitly bans visitors from being ‘on the public thoroughfare without clothing or only in their underwear or with clothing or accessories representing human genitals or with dolls or other accessories of a sexual nature’.

Last year, Sevilla mayor Jose Luis Sanz said new rules forbid people from wearing costumes ‘that may violate the moral or sexual integrity of another person,’ as well as ‘performing or inciting the performance of acts that violate sexual freedom…or committing acts of obscene exhibitionism.’ 

It followed in the footsteps of Malaga in 2022, which said it would fine people €750 for walking topless or naked in the streets or for carrying ‘offensive’ inflatable dolls, particularly those with ‘sexual connotations’. 

Do not attempt balconing 

It goes without saying that the deadly ‘tradition’ of balconing must be left in the past. 

Not only are you risking your own life, but in the case of Mallorca, anyone caught jumping from their accommodation balcony can be fined €30,000 and even be banned from the island. 

This has already happened to a group of British holidaymakers last year. 

Don’t be a litterbug 

After enjoying a day at the beach, make sure you don’t leave behind any litter – or you may face an unwelcome fine. 

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, for example, anyone caught leaving trash on the beach will receive sanctions ranging from €750 to €3,000. 

It is also illegal to feed stray animals in the resort as it is considered as contributing to littering. 

Don’t drink alcohol in public

The Balearic Islands has made it illegal for anyone to drink in the street this year, with rulebreakers facing fines of up to €1,500. 

Many other regions have similar laws against public drinking, including Barcelona, which hands out fines of €600. 

It is also illegal to drink in the street in Madrid, while Malaga has laws against public drinking parties, aka ‘botellon’, with fines of up to €300. 

Eat locally

Try to eat in local restaurants so you know your money is at the very least supporting local trade.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

GOT A STORY? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call +34 951 273 575 Twitter: @olivepress

1 Comment

  1. Isn’t it a shame that the so obvious needs to be explained to people with only their own self interests at the forefront of their minds.

    Location : Andalusia

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