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What you need to know before having a barbecue in Spain

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What you need to know before having a barbecue in Spain
Photo: Daniel Lobo/Flickr
08:57 CEST+02:00
Spaniards may prefer to meet friends at bars and restaurants to eat and drink but for many foreigners who are used to barbecuing in their home countries the question remains: is it legal to have a barbecue in your Spanish home?

Spain gets plenty of sunshine and good weather throughout most of the year, so if you live in the country and have outdoor space at home, you may have considered whether it’s worth investing in a barbecue.

So is it legal at home?

Yes, by and large cooking outdoors on your property in Spain is legal.

There is no nationwide law that prohibits barbecues in private properties, although there can be municipal decrees that ban the practice.

For example, authorities in the touristy Tenerife town of Arona banned barbecues on balconies and terraces in shared residential buildings (as well as hanging laundry outdoors).

But there is little other mention of anywhere else in Spain where it is explicitly prohibited to have a ‘barbie’ at home.

So if you’re lucky enough to rent or own a penthouse, attic apartment or loft with a balcony or terrace, you should be in the clear. The same goes for if you have a house with a garden or outdoor area.

We still recommend that you put in a search online or ask at your local town hall to be completely sure that police won’t come knocking on your door one balmy Sunday afternoon.

What is for certain is that you might run into trouble if you light up a barbecue in your building’s common area, patio or communal rooftop, as that is no longer considered private property and the residents association has a say in such matters, also having the law on their side.

Photo: Deposit Photos

How about if I have a balcony and I’m not on the top floor?

It’s mostly a case of exercising common sense with this one.

If you have a tiny balcony, and there’s smoke billowing from your barbecue to all the neighbours’ flats up above, on a hot summer’s day when they’re likely to have all their windows and doors open, maybe think twice.

There are clauses on Spain’s Propiedad Horizontal (Horizontal Property) decree that give neighbours the right to complain about cohabitation annoyances relating to noise, smells and any potential fire hazard in their building or surroundings.

Think about your particular circumstances: Is your home too small and are the flats in your building packed together very closely? Would it be better to invest in a gas cooker rather than charcoal or wood barbecue? And ultimately, will it be worth the trouble?

In 2017, an Italian couple living in Madrid was ordered to pay a €2,000 fine by a judge after their neighbours complained about the constant send of fried food emanating from their barbecue

How about outdoor barbecues in Spain?

If it’s not on your property, the chances are you won’t be able to pick a park, beach or forests area at random and get a barbecue going.

There are strict regulations across much of Spain against outdoor barbecues, that often become mandatory for the whole territory’s forested areas during the blistering summer months.

The same can be said for beaches and parks, as municipal decrees across most of the territory have put a stop this. 

It’s possible in certain places such as Malaga, but you have to get written permission from the town hall first.

Photo: Ayuntamiento Roquetas de Mar/Flickr 

That’s not to say that there’s nowhere at all in Spain where you can barbecue outdoors. Try searching for “areas recreativas” or “merenderos” that “permiten barbacoas” (allow barbecues).

For example, in and around Madrid there’s Las Navas, La Alberca and La Panera (in Segovia).

In Alicante there’s Parque de la Vallesa, Serra d’Oltà, Xorret de Catí and Sant Cristòfol.

And in Barcelona there’s Espai de Natura I Lleure El Caribol, Torret de Can Coll, Can Xec among others.
 

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