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New Balearic Islands tourist laws explained

Photo of Jacob LewisPhoto of Jacob Lewis
By Jacob Lewis

15 May 20244 min read

Aerial view of the beach of Son Matias in Magaluf, Majorca, Spain

Spain’s Balearic Islands, including the popular party islands of Majorca and Ibiza, have introduced new laws effective from May 2024 to curb excessive tourism and alcohol-fuelled rowdiness.

The archipelago's government has voted to ban the sale of alcohol in shops between 9.30pm and 8am in areas such as Llucmajor, Palma, Calvia (Magaluf) and Sant Antoni. The changes come ahead of the holiday season and will remain in effect until at least 1 January 2028.

Additionally, party boats are prohibited from sailing within one nautical mile (1.852km) of these towns or picking up passengers from them. Violators could face fines ranging from €1,500 to €3,000 (£1,290 to £2,580).

The new rules build upon the 2020 restrictions on happy hours, pub crawls and two-for-one drink offers.

Here’s what it means for your holidays and how to avoid getting caught out by the new rules.

How much stricter are these new rules?

While the new laws may seem significantly stricter, they are essentially a modification and extension of the 2020 decree designed to combat excessive tourism. The main changes include the specific ban on alcohol sales between 9.30pm and 8am in certain areas and the increased fines for non-compliance. However, these rules only apply to shops in the designated zones and not to bars, restaurants or clubs.

Are there restrictions on drinking alcohol in public spaces?

Yes, there are restrictions on drinking alcohol in public spaces in the Balearic Islands. The new rules introduced in May 2024 specifically prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public thoroughfares within the designated areas of Llucmajor, Palma, Calvia (Magaluf) in Majorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza. This ban does not apply to consumption in authorised areas such as licensed terraces, bars and restaurants.

If you are caught drinking alcohol in public spaces outside of authorised areas, you could face fines ranging from €500 (£430) to €1,500, or even up to €3,000 if your behaviour is particularly disruptive.

Can I still enjoy a drink at a bar or restaurant after 9.30pm?

Yes, the ban on alcohol sales between 9.30pm and 8am only applies to shops in the specified areas. You can still purchase and consume alcohol at bars, restaurants and clubs during their regular operating hours.

Is it true you can be fined for having your shirt off in public?

Yes, it’s true that you can be fined for wearing swimwear or walking around shirtless in public areas that are not beaches or pool areas in many parts of Spain, including the Balearic Islands. This is considered a violation of public decency laws. If you are caught walking around without proper clothing, you could receive a fine of up to €300 (£258).

So make sure to cover up when leaving the beach or pool area and entering public spaces like streets, promenades, shops or restaurants.

Additionally, there is a higher fine of up to €750 (£645) for public nudity outside of designated nudist beaches. So, make sure to dress appropriately when not on the beach or by the pool to avoid any legal issues or fines during your holiday.

What other general tourism rules should I be aware of?

In addition to the new alcohol regulations, there are several other rules to keep in mind:

  • Smoking is banned on several beaches across the islands to promote health and reduce litter.
  • All-inclusive hotels in Magaluf, El Arenal, Playa de Palma and Sant Antoni limit guests to six alcoholic drinks per day (three during lunch and three during dinner). You can, however, buy additional alcoholic beverages if you wish.
  • Some restaurants have dress codes that prohibit items like football shirts, strapless vest tops and swimsuits.
  • Many restaurants in Majorca now require a credit card number when making a reservation, and failure to show up without prior notice could result in a charge of up to 20% of the anticipated bill.
  • Attending illegal parties or gatherings can result in hefty fines for both organisers and party-goers.

Will the rules impact my holiday experience?

While the new laws aim to curb excessive drinking and rowdy behaviour, they shouldn't impact responsible tourists who want to enjoy the beauty and culture of the Balearic Islands. As long as you're aware of the regulations and behave respectfully, you can still have a wonderful holiday experience. The rules are designed to promote a more sustainable and enjoyable environment for both tourists and locals.

Will these new rules affect my all-inclusive holiday?

The new rules do not directly impact all-inclusive holiday packages. However, a previous regulation from 2020 limits the number of alcoholic drinks included in all-inclusive packages in certain areas. If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort in Magaluf, El Arenal or Playa de Palma in Majorca or Sant Antoni in Ibiza, you will be limited to six alcoholic drinks per day as part of your package. Any extra alcoholic beverages will need to be purchased separately. This 2020 rule remains in effect alongside the new regulations introduced in May 2024.

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