The new rules to know before visiting Europe’s beaches this summer

From bikini bans to fines for peeing, several destinations are introducing new rules for this summer

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London
Playa de Rodas, islas Cies Vigo

Judging by the chaos at airports worldwide, travel is very much back to its old popularity this summer (even if the industry hasn’t quite caught up). But over the past few years, some destinations have had a taste of a world without tourists – and now several European beach hotspots have decided that, as we return to normal, they want to do things a bit differently.

From trying to get rid of ‘drunk tourism’ to placing more emphasis on care for the local environment, over the past few months beach destinations across Europe have begun introducing rules to try and encourage a more pleasant, sustainable kind of tourism – and make their towns a little bit nicer this summer.

Here are five new rules that you might need to look out for this summer.

Sorrento: no bikinis off the beach

Popular Amalfi Coast spot Sorrento recently banned toplessness and the wearing of any swimwear (including bikinis, swimsuits and swimming trunks) if you’re not at beaches and pools. If you’re caught breaching the rules, you could get fined a whopping €500 (£425, $512).

And Sorrento isn’t the only place to have banned swimwear off the beach. Barcelona has had a similar ban in place since 2011, while other Spanish destinations Malaga and Palma de Mallorca both enforce bans on wearing swimwear in the street.

Barcelona: no smoking on the beach

As of July 1, smoking on Barcelona’s beaches will get you a €30 (£25, $31) fine. It’s all about trying to reduce the number of cigarette butts in the sand and keep the beach cleaner.

Majorca: no football shirts

Back in June, eleven restaurants in the resort of Playa de Palma in Majorca grouped together to enforce a new dress code. In the firing line are football shirts, strapless tops, accessories bought from streetside vendors and any clothing bearing the logos of alcohol brands. Wearing any of this stuff won’t get you a fine, but you will be banned from entering any of the relevant restaurants.

Sardinia: no towels

Spiaggia della Pelosa in Sardinia is one of Europe’s most pristine stretches of sand – and locals want to keep it that way. Visitors now have to pay €3 (£2.60, $3.10) to enter and there’s a strict daily cap of 1,500 visitors. Once you’re in, to show you’ve paid, you now have to wear a yellow ID bracelet. And you’re also not allowed to bring a towel for sunbathing: they trap too much sand.

Spiaggia isn’t the only Sardinian spot to enforce a visitor cap: both Lu Impostu (1,500 people per day) and Brandinchi (3,330) now do so too.

Galicia: no peeing in the sea

Finally, in one of the more bizarre beach rules to pop up this year, the Galician city of Vigo has slapped a €750 (£640, $770) fine on anyone caught urinating either on the beach or in the sea. The rules are designed to make the city’s beaches a bit more hygienic and sanitary, specifying a ban on ‘physiological evacuation on the beach or in the sea’. (And yes, it includes pooing, too.) Vigo city council has also banned people from using soap and shampoo to wash in the sea, as these can contaminate local marine habitats.

Did you see the European airports with the most delays and cancellations right now?

Plus: 10 ways to make sure you avoid holiday hell this summer.

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