Is Magaluf about to turn into a 'police state'?

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
Is Magaluf about to turn into a 'police state'?
British tourists on a night out in Puente Ballena last summer. Photo: Jaime Reina / AFP

Magaluf has introduced tough new laws designed to clean up the image of the tawdry resort, and after only one day local bar owners are already moaning about the heavy police presence.


But while business owners complain about the host of new by-laws introduced in a bid to stamp out drunken and sexually debauched behaviour, the tourists themselves appeared oblivious to them.

The new regulations came into effect at midnight on Monday night but locals reported that there was little in the way of change from the sort of behaviour that has made the resort infamous, despite a boosted police presence and a proliferation of warning signs.

In an attempt to rid Magaluf and the strip of Punta Ballena of its down-market reputation, tourists will find themselves liable to a ticking off, a fine and even criminal action depending on the extent of their misbehaviour.

From now on tourists will be asked to dress appropriately when walking the streets away from the beach and anyone caught spitting, urinating or defecating in the street could face harsh fines.

But the harshest measures will be meted out to those caught drinking after hours in the streets or acting in a debauched manner - last summer the resort made headlines over a viral video showing an 18-year-old British holidaymaker performing oral sex on 24 men during a pub crawl.

In the aftermath of such bad publicity, the council approved measures to limit "organized group pub crawls” and rid the resort of its “drinking tourism".

In a bid to encourage more mature tourists back to its hotels, the measures will tackle street noise between the hours of 10pm and 8am and limit the sale and consumption of alcohol in bars and clubs after midnight.

The rules also include strict sanctions on those stupid enough to attempt to jump from balconies into swimming pools in the dangerous “balconing craze” fined between €750 ($850) and €1,500.

 Drinking on the streets has now been banned between 10pm and 8am. Photograph: Jaime Reina/AFP

An extra 36 officers have been drafted into the resort to police the streets. They will be aided by CCTV cameras.

But according to local reports businesses are fearful that the change in atmosphere will put people off coming to the resort.

Alejandro Jara, who owns several businesses in Magaluf and Palmanova, told El Mundo that the police were too heavy-handed. He said he had already been fined after live music in his bar went on a few minutes past the new curfew of 11pm.

The newspaper ran an article with the title: "Magaluf business owners denounce the police state of Punta Ballena" carrying a litany of complaints from local nightclub owners who fear their businesses will suffer.

Several other Spanish newspapers carried video footage taken in the streets where tourists and locals alike insisted that they knew nothing of the new ban on street drinking. ABC newspaper reported that the new regulations had no visible effect at all on tourist behaviour.

Meanwhile British tabloid reports indicated that tourists attracted to Magaluf had no intention of curbing their holiday drinking habits  

"We're here for a reason, we're here to get f****** mortal and just love life, we're not here to worry about drinking on the street, I do enough of that in Scotland,” Hannah MacDonald, 19, a mental health nurse from Perth in Scotland told The Mirror.

"Fine me, do whatever you want, I'm going to get mortal on the street and I don't care."


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