BARCELONA – It started last December with illegal migrants pitching their tents and camping on Barcelona’s beaches. It has since been joined by an increasing number of European backpackers who do not want to or cannot pay for accommodation.
Early bathers wanting to enjoy the sunrise are increasingly seeing tents set up on the beach. Or people quickly folding their tents. On weekends, young people also often sleep their off their excesses after partying. Consequently, local residents are worried and avoid the beaches. They see that the number of tents is increasing and the police do not intervene.
Travellers want to save money
This summer, backpackers have also discovered sleeping on the beach. They are mainly Europeans who decide to spend their holidays in Barcelona and want to spend as little money as possible on accommodation.
This trend has led to groups of young people using the beach as their own private hotel. On weekends, they are also joined by young people who, after a night of partying in the nightclubs of Port Vell or near the promenade, crash on the beach.
Barcelona does not fine, Badalona does fine
Moreover, local police still do not fine those who sleep on the sand. Barcelona’s Guardia Urbana now only has an informative function. ‘They remind everyone that it is not allowed and give them information,’ say sources from the Catalan capital’s municipal council.
The residents’ association of Barceloneta, the neighbourhood to which the beaches belong, demanded solutions. The residents denounce that this is a ‘stuck situation’ that lacks real solutions from the city council. These practices pollute the beaches, argue the residents, who regularly find cans and plastic bottles on the sand and ground.
However, in Badalona, camping on the city’s beaches can lead to a €600 fine. Regulations penalise not only sleeping on the sand, but also placing camping tables, umbrellas with opaque sides, tents or marquees.
Camping or sleeping on beaches is not allowed
In Catalonia, free camping on beaches is strictly forbidden. Under no circumstances should a tent or other camping item be set up on the sand with the intention of spending the night there.
In the past, some municipalities allowed this practice, but over time the regulations have become increasingly more strict to protect the coastline. However, the rules are less clear for overnight stays without a tent, i.e., in a sleeping bag or directly on the sand of the beach. Some municipalities allow it, but more and more are choosing to ban these activities, both for the safety of people and the preservation of the ecosystem.