Sleeping in public to smoking on the beach: What are the new rules for Brits travelling to Europe?

Smoking is banned on Barcelona beaches. Credit: AP

By ITV News Content Producer Elisa Menendez

More popular European holiday destinations are clamping down on tourists' anti-social behaviour.

One of the UK's favourite holiday destinations Spain has introduced and tightened a raft of rules this year, including bans on smoking, carrying inflatable naked dolls, and proving funds at the border.

Croatia and Greece have also tightened laws around dress codes and rowdy behaviour in public that could leave holidaymakers facing hefty fines of up to thousands.

When heading abroad, it's best to check up-to-date travel guidance on regulations and advice on local cultural norms. Here, ITV News rounds up some of the newest rules.


The Croatian city of Split has become the latest European tourist hotspot to crack down on holidaymakers' rowdy, drink-fuelled behaviour.

City councillors approved new regulation ahead of the busy summer months, giving officers the power to issue on the spot fines of up to €300 (around £255) for visitors who fall asleep or vomit in public areas, and walk through towns shirtless or in bikini tops.

Dubrovnik previously banned people from going shirtless or wearing swimwear in the streets. Credit: AP

Other parts of Croatia have introduced similar legislation - such as Dubrovnik - with fines of up to €4,000 (£3,400) for anti-social behaviour, including fighting, verbal abuse and drunken antics.

The UK Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Croatia following the recent changes. New guidance warns authorities may issue "on the spot fines" for behaviour deemed locally inappropriate, such as:

  • walking through towns shirtless or in swimwear

  • wearing clothing that promotes drug use

  • sleeping in public areas

  • climbing on top of monuments

  • urinating in public spaces

  • drinking alcohol near protected public spaces (e.g. schools)

  • vomiting in public areas

"Most towns have signage to advise about actions that are prohibited by local law. Take notice of your surroundings, including signage, and seek local advice," the UK Foreign Office advises.


The Foreign Office has also warned Greek police will not tolerate "rowdy" or "indecent" behaviour, especially where excess drinking is involved.

Even some fancy dress costumes worn out on the town in Greece may land British holidaymakers in trouble.

"The police will make arrests and the courts are likely to give heavy fines or prison sentences if you behave indecently," warns the Foreign Office.

"Some fancy dress costumes may be regarded as offensive and therefore against decency laws. Your travel insurance may not cover you after drinking."

Official travel advice also states nitrous oxide - otherwise known as "laughing gas" - is illegal to buy or sell for recreational use. Travellers found to be in possession of it can be arrested or fined.

And tourists heading to some of Greece's most famous ancient monuments are also reminded that it is illegal to wear high heels. Those found in breach face hefty fines.

Wearing heels at ancient Greek monuments, like the Acropolis, is illegal. Credit: AP

Since 2009, it has been illegal to wear heels to sites such as the Parthenon and the Acropolis in Athens and the Epidaurus Theatre in Peloponnese, or any other ancient marble and stone historic site.

Meanwhile, holidaymakers heading to the picturesque island of Skiathos must now refrain from taking a famous white pebble from Lalaria Beach, or face fines between €400-€1,000 (£340-£855).

Local officials are concerned over Lalaria's drastically and fast-changing landscape as a result of the beach's hundreds of daily visitors pocketing pebbles as a souvenir.


No inflatable naked dolls

In a bid to reduce the number of rowdy stag and hen dos taking over the Costa del Sol, officials in Malaga have further tightened anti-social behaviour laws.

As of February, holidaymakers face hefty fines of up to €750 (£640) if they are caught in the nude or wearing only their underwear in public.

Those who carry naked inflatable dolls and inflatable genitals, or wear accessories that resemble genitalia, also face fines.

Malaga council said it has tightened regulations in a bid to "preserve public spaces as a place for meeting, coexistence and civility", following the rising number of tourists engaging in "behaviours associated with nudism" over the last few years.

The region previously banned drinking on public roads and the use of megaphones, or other types of loud speakers in public areas.

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Smoking bans

Travellers looking to light up while taking in the rays on the beach or at bar terraces across Spain should think again, as more regions ban smoking on their coastlines.

Javea, Alicante, and dozens of beaches across the Balearic Islands - including Ibiza, Menorca and Mallorca - have banned smoking on beaches to tackle the problem of cigarette butts being left in the sand.

The move comes after Barcelona, Lanzarote and Tenerife introduced beach smoking bans last year.

Meanwhile, those travelling to the likes of Ibiza, Mallorca or Benidorm are reminded they also cannot smoke at outdoor bar and restaurant terraces.

The Balearic Islands and the region of Valencia are the only autonomous governments in Spain that have maintained the ban introduced in 2020 as part of Covid regulations.

Proof of funds entering Spain

All visitors entering Spain from outside the EU must prove they have enough spending money for the duration of their trip.

The lesser-known rule, introduced by the Spanish government after Brexit, requires travellers to prove at the border that they have over the minimum requirement of funds for the duration of their trip.

As of 2023, the minimum amount is €108 (£92) per person per day, or a minimum of €972 (£830) in total.

Visitors entering Spain must prove they have enough funds for the duration of their trip. Credit: AP

Travellers can prove their funds to border officials with cash, traveller's cheques, or cards with bank statements proving there are enough available funds on them. However, bank letters and online bank statements alone are not accepted, says the Spanish government's guidance.

Holidaymakers must also prove when entering Spain that they have a return ticket.

Alcohol consumption

Last year, tourists were told alcohol consumption in all-inclusive hotels in parts of the Balearic Islands was to become capped.

Under the rules - which apply to Magaluf, Playa de Palma, Mallorca, and San Antonio, Ibiza - guests can only drink alcohol during mealtimes.

There is a maximum of six alcoholic drinks per person per day that can be served and these will only be provided during lunch and dinner.

Meanwhile, in designated areas of the resorts, there are prohibitions on happy hours, open bars, the sale of alcohol from vending machines, self-service alcohol dispensers and the organising of pub-crawls and party boat trips.

Alcohol limits have been imposed in places like Magaluf, Mallorca. Credit: AP

The law prohibits "off-licence" sales between 9.30pm and 8am.

Hotels and other establishments are also obliged to evict clients found to be behaving dangerously on balconies, with fines for both the client and the establishment, according to travel advice issued by the UK government.

Palma's police force has said the rules will come into action for 2023 from Monday, May 1 and last until Sunday, October 15.

Authorities in Mallorca, as part of an additional measure for this year, have launched a campaign to combat excessive tourism in the region.

Businesses will be reminded of their responsibilities to adhere to the regulations and that failure to do so could result in a fine of up to €600,000 (£532,000) for the most severe breaches.

Crackdown on illegal parties

Measures have now been introduced to prevent serious accidents from occurring from people attending illegal or "irregular commercially-promoted" parties in villas and private homes on Ibiza and Mallorca.

Licensed clubs and bars are required to meet safety and security standards, including emergency exits and capacity limits, and to have trained, licensed security staff.

Irregular commercial parties may not meet these standards and, as such, heavy fines can be imposed by local authorities to anyone attending them, official travel advice states.

Dress codes

Visitors to Mallorca will also need to be aware of certain clothing items which 11 restaurants - mostly located in the Playa de Palma strip - have banned due to their association with so-called "drunken tourism".

Anyone who arrives wearing a costume, football jersey or is shirtless will be barred from entering, according to Juan Miguel Ferrer, the chief executive of Palma Beach.

Other items which are blacklisted include swimwear, trunks and novelty accessories bought from roadside vendors.

Mr Ferrer said: "You're not going to come here in beach clothes or come straight from drinking in the streets."

Meanwhile, in Barcelona, people who walk bare-chested along the street can be fined up to £250.

Some local councils will also impose fines if you’re caught wearing swimwear on the seafront promenade or the adjacent streets.


Vigo, in the Galicia region of north-west Spain updated its beach regulations last summer as part of a drive to clean up local hotspots, often popular with tourists.

The region's council has, for example, made any use of outdoor space for lavatory purposes - including in the sea - an offence, which carries a maximum fine of £650.

"Physiological evacuations in the sea or on the beach" will constitute a breach of health and hygiene laws, according to the regulations.

Fines for using soap in water on the beach, grills or gas cylinders, or discarding litter of any kind in the sand are also among Vigo's beach bylaws.

At all Spanish beach showers, it is illegal to wash with soap and shampoo, and you can be fined up to £620 if caught doing so.