Spain issues fine warning over strict new beach rule in holiday hotspot
Holidaymakers jetting off to Spain this summer risk being landed with a fine if they break strict new rules on smoking.
Barcelona has banned smoking on all of its beaches in a bid to protect the environment and allow beachgoers to enjoy a clean, unpolluted space, free of smoke and cigarette butts.
The new rules, which took effect on 1 July, mean tourists who light up on any of the beaches in the city will be issued a 30 euro (£25 fine).
The move follows a successful trial last year which helped to massively reduce the rubbish caused by smokers, including leaving cigarette butts on the beach.
The move makes Barcelona the first major city in Spain to ban smoking on beaches, but 115 Spanish beaches have now banned smoking in total.
This includes Majorcan beaches Santa Ponsa, La Romana (Paguera) and Carregador (Palmanova), where anyone caught smoking can be charged up to £1,700.
The rules have come into power after a law was passed in Spain last year which gave local municipalities the power to issue fines to smokers.
What other rules do tourists face?
The crackdown on smoking is just one of several strict rules being enforced in Spain.
At all Spanish beach showers, it is illegal to wash with soap and shampoo because the products are harmful to marine life. Those caught breaking the rules can be fined up to £620.
Holidaymakers who go nude on a non-nudist beach could also be issued with a £620 fine.
Eleven seaside restaurants on the island of Mallorca have banned tourists from wearing certain clothes associated with “drunken tourism”. In these restaurants, mostly in the Playa de Palma, shirtless, costumed or football-jersey-clad holidaymakers will no longer be allowed entry, according to Juan Miguel Ferrer, the chief executive of Palma Beach.
Swimwear, trunks and novelty accessories bought from roadside vendors are also said to be banned.
Many parts of Spain have also clamped down on people being inappropriately dressed on public streets, with authorities dishing out fines for men walking around with no shirts on, or women only wearing bikinis or swimwear on the seafront promenade or the adjacent streets, according to travel advice issued by the UK government.
In Barcelona, people can only wear bikinis on the beach and those caught wearing one in the town centre could face a fine of up to £260. Bikinis are also restricted to beaches in Majorca, with fines of up to £500 for those who flout the rules. The rules also apply to shirtless men in both areas.
City leaders in the city of Vigo, in north-western Spain’s Galicia region, have ruled also that urinating “in the sea or on the beach” is now a punishable offence.
The city council has branded public urination a “minor infraction” and “an infringement of hygiene and sanitary regulations”.
Under the new rules, anyone who is caught relieving themselves could be hit with a fine up to £640 (€750).
To combat the habit, the council said it plans to install public toilets on beaches during the peak season.
Officials are also said to be considering sanctions for other bad habits, including using soap in the sea, leaving rubbish on the sand, or taking barbecues or gas cylinders to the beach.