Tourism For Members

FACT CHECK: No, Spain's Balearics haven't banned tourists from drinking alcohol

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
FACT CHECK: No, Spain's Balearics haven't banned tourists from drinking alcohol
Ibiza and Mallorca plan on banning drinking on the streets. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

Over the last few days, there have been a slew of sensationalist headlines mainly from UK media stating that Mallorca and Ibiza have banned alcohol.


Anyone having read the news about Spain in the UK over the past few days would be forgiven for thinking that drinking alcohol had been completely banned on the 'party' islands of Mallorca and Ibiza, but that's not exactly the case. 

GB News went with ''I cannot believe this!' Britons fume at 'tough' new alcohol restrictions in popular parts of Spain', while the Daily Mail wrote: 'A kick in the Balearics for boozy Brits'.

Euronews reported 'No more ‘sun, sex and sangria’ tourism in Ibiza and Mallorca under new alcohol laws' and The Drinks Business simply said 'Balearics bring in booze ban'.

It's easy to understand why holidaymakers are confused and there has already been quite a lot of backlash, particularly from Brits.

Most of these articles concede further down that the truth is that the islands have only updated and toughened up laws on drinking in the street, and have also put a stop to shops selling alcohol late at night.

All this is in a bid to try and curb anti-social behaviour which many locals have been protesting against recently.

In fact, the rules don’t even apply to the whole of the Balearics or even the whole of Mallorca and Ibiza, they only apply to three resorts in Mallorca – Palma, Calvià and Llucmajor and one in Ibiza - Sant Antoni de Portmany.


As well as a ban on drinking in the streets in these areas, shops in these locations will also be forced to close between 9.30pm and 8am.

It's not only that they will be banned from selling alcohol between these times, like many reported, but that they will have to close completely. 

The Governing Council of the Balearic Islands approved the modification of the Decree Law 1/2020 at the proposal of the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sports, which regulates 'excess tourism'.

The changes aim to promote responsible tourism and the improvement in the quality of tourist areas.

The ban also extends to one nautical mile or 1.85km off the coast, in a bid to put a stop to party boats from coming in too close to shore or picking up extra passengers.


This doesn’t mean that you can’t drink at all at night. Bars, clubs and restaurants in these resorts will still be serving booze late into the night, you just can’t walk down the street with your bottle of beer.

Anyone found breaking the rules will be subject to fines between €500 to €1,500.

The government of the Balearics also approved an annual spending of €16 million from tourist taxes which will be allocated for the modernisation and improvement of these areas and enforcing the ban.

The new laws came into effect on May 11th and the government has confirmed that they will be in effect until at least December 2027. 


What has changed from before?

The new decree reinforces laws that were brought in in 2020 banning alcohol offers such as two-for-one drinks, happy hours and bar crawls in these areas. These will also be extended until 2027. 

The prohibition of alcohol sales between 9:30pm and 8am was also already in place, but now the shops will be forced to close entirely.

The main change that will affect holidaymakers will be the ban on drinking alcohol on the streets.

Nothing new

But this is nothing new when it comes to Spain. Aragón, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia, Valencia, Extremadura, Madrid and La Rioja all have some type of ban on what is known in Spain as botellón, essentially drinking alcohol with friends in a public place (street, square etc).

The Balearics are simply catching up to a large majority of the country, where this is already the norm.

All of this comes on the tail of mass complaints from the locals, particularly in Ibiza, where residents are planning to take to the streets at 8pm on May 24th to call on authorities to act on the impact tourism is having on locals' living standards.  

It started with calls online to “imitate the protests that took place in the Canaries” in April, with many locals feeling that the issues that Ibiza faces are even worse than those of the Atlantic Archipelago. 



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