Spanish police fine 'beach hoggers'

Two towels under beach umbrella on beach (lens flare)

Holidaymakers at a resort on Spain's Costa del Sol are being fined for reserving a spot on the sand with towels or umbrellas.

Authorities in Torrox, southern Malaga introduced the new law for the summer season, with police officers patrolling the town's beach to look for parasols and towels with no owners.

See also: Ten ways to spot a Brit abroad

According to The Local, local police wait a few minutes to see if the owner is nearby and confiscate the items if they believe they belong to a 'beach hogger'.

Owners can reclaim their towels for a fee of 30 euros (£21).

The BBC reports that more than 30 seizures have been made this year.

Torrox was targeted by officials due to the lack of space on the beach after towels, umbrellas and even tables are left on the sand.

A Torrox council spokesman told TravelMole: "It is infuriating to arrive at the beach and find all the space taken by towels and umbrellas, but hardly any people.

"Our new policy seems to having the desired effect, and as a result there is less wasted space on the beach and more room for everyone."

Leaflets are being handed to tourists with information about the new rules.

Embarrassing things tourists do abroad
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Spanish police fine 'beach hoggers'
Save your bikini for the beach! While men walking around topless and women wearing Daisy Dukes and a bikini top to hit the shops may be accepted in your local town, not covering up abroad could get you arrested. Majorca recently introduced a bikini ban meaning tourists caught topless or wearing swimwear on the streets could be fined £500.
Last year, a tourist in Rome was chased and threatened by three street performers for not tipping them. While the men were rightly arrested over their behaviour, you might want to find out the tipping etiquette of the country you're visiting. But don't worry if you haven't mastered this as even our Prime Minister isn't the best holiday tipper. David Cameron was criticised for not tipping a waitress on holiday in Tuscany a few years back. Dave paid for his coffee with a 50 euro note but failed to leave any coins for the waitress. Embarrassing!
Most people like to relax with a drink on holiday but when you find yourself running through the streets naked or hanging off the hotel balcony, you know you've had too much. Drinks tend to be a lot stronger in other countries too and in some places the alcohol isn't even measured. A recent study by found that 37 per cent of Brits have their first holiday tipple within an hour of checking in to their hotel.
We get that most tourists like their home comforts and slip a few tea bags in their hand luggage so they can sip a nice brew as they watch the sunset from the hotel balcony, but is it really necessary to pack a potato peeler and sardines? A British Airways survey found that other silly things holidaymakers pack for a holiday abroad are kettles, Marmite and tomatoes.
You don't want to be the tourist who damaged a 500-year-old sculpture so follow the 'Do not touch' rules. A Chinese tourist who etched his name on an ancient Egyptian monument last year caused outrage in China. The 15-year-old boy wrote 'Ding Jinhao wuz here' on the almost 3,500-year-old Luxor Temple. Then there was the time an American tourist visiting Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo accidentally snapped a finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary. Patrick Broderick, 55, who happened to be a surgeon, was trying to compare his finger to one on the marble statue when it broke off. Cringe!
How difficult is it to remember to leave the animals alone? Some of the most embarrassing things tourists have done to local wildlife include riding manatees, getting drunk and charging at an elephant, manhandling a dolphin for a photo and even catching and cooking a rare octopus! The woman who thought it was a good idea to touch and ride a protected manatee in Florida was forced to hand herself in to police when photographs of her were taken. Luckily the harmless animal wasn't hurt, but the holidaymaker could have been locked up for 60 days.
Ivory, knock-off purses and exotic animals are some of the souvenirs that could land you in trouble at the airport. In 2012, a British holidaymaker was stopped at Cardiff Airport when she returned from a trip to Morocco with a handbag made from a WHOLE iguana. The bag, which included the animal's head and claws, was quickly confiscated by custom officers as iguanas are on a list of endangered animal skins and is illegal in Britain. Alex Lawther, assistant director of the Border Force in Wales, warned tourists about not buying animal skin bags at markets and bazaars on their exotic holidays. "My message to holidaymakers is simple - don't do it," he said. "At best, you will have these items taken off you and at worst you could face a criminal conviction."
Getting arrested while on holiday is one way to make a bad impression and it often happens when tourists don't make the effort to find out the local laws. A Foreign Office poll found that two thirds of Britons don't find out the laws of the country their visiting, putting themselves at risk. Wearing camouflage in Barbados, making satirical jokes about the Thai royal family and wearing a bikini in the streets of Barcelona are all crimes that could get you arrested.
Carrying a bumbag, wearing a visor and talking loudly are all signs that shout 'tourist'. Taking your behaviour down a notch and adopting a country's style with your clothing, will help you blend in. If you don't want to look like a typical tourist, you might want to avoid carrying your massive backpack everywhere and leaving the socks with sandals look at home.
Innocent hand gestures at home don't always mean the same abroad. For example, the okay sign with your thumb and forefinger are highly vulgar in Greece and Turkey. Be careful where you're pointing when asking for directions too as it's rude to point in so many countries that you may just want to use an open hand instead. And don't use the thumbs up sign in the Middle East as in many countries it means 'up yours!'

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The best beaches in Spain (according to Tripadvisor)
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Spanish police fine 'beach hoggers'

Endless sea, fine sand, spectacular views and Ibiza on the horizon. No wonder this beach takes pride of place in Tripadvisor's best beaches in Spain. What visitors say: “You have the sea on both sides, which makes it unique. The views are amazing. The water is crystal clear.”

This beach in Galicia, on the Cantabric coast has been declared a national monument. With its sea caves and natural arches, it's wonderful for exploring at low tide. What visitors say: “The beach itself is gorgeous, but just the view of the sea from the top of the rocks makes one dizzy.”

La Concha, which  means 'shell' in Spanish - this beach is shell-shaped - is one of the most famous urban beaches in Europe and one of the loveliest in the Basque Country. What visitors say: "Beautiful scenery and very clean beach. Well worth a visit. If you want a place to recharge your batteries this is it."

This beautiful sandy bay near Cadiz is singled out for its unspoilt beauty. Sun worshippers in this area usually head for the joys of Tarifa, so the beach here remains largely unspoilt (although it's a favourite with Spanish families.) What visitors say: “This is a fantastic empty beach, at least in May.” 

The sandy windswept beach on the Peninsula de Jandia is spectacular and gloriously empty even in peak season. The relentless surf pounds the beach all day so it's not for swimmers - but its beauty is undeniable. What reviewers say: "Amazing... I will never forget it." "It's like being in another world."

Being so close to the Strait of Gibraltar, this is precious environment is ideal for bird watching during migration periods, as well as whale watching. "There is nothing bad about this place. Clean sea, excellent food and calm ambiance. Ideal for a romantic walk at dusk," says one reviewer.

With some of the cleanest, clearest water and the softest golden sand in Ibiza. Situated on the west coast of the island, this is also one of the most popular beaches in the area. What visitors say: “Lovely bay, busy though even in October.” 

The "jewel in the crown" of Gran Canaria, Playa de las Canteras is a long strip of sand protected by a natural reef that stretches for miles along the bay. Locals say it's one of the Spain's best urban beaches: people flock to this fantastic beach because of its ideal conditions for eater sports, too (the waves at one end are perfect for surfing). Reviewers rave about its  cleanliness and "amazing atmosphere"."The best beach in the world," says one.
This beautiful wide, soft stretch on the Atlantic coast boasts miles of fine clean golden sand it's so huge that doesn't feel crowded, even in the height of summer. Plenty of bars and immaculate rest rooms are singled out here too. "This really is a terrific place to spend your day," says one reviewer.

The breathtakingly beautiful wild beaches on the north west coast of the island boast lovely little coves give a deserted feel that is perfect for anyone wishing to get away from it all. There are lots of secluded spots (and plenty of naturism) and plenty of amazing snorkelling in the lagoons. What the reviewers say: "Seemingly endless, beautiful beaches. A perfect mix of volcanic bizarre looking rocks and Sahara sand."


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