New Spanish alcohol law affects foreign holidaymakers

by Lorraine Williamson
alcohol law

PALMA – A new law introduced by the government of the Balearic Islands to limit excessive alcohol consumption in all-inclusive resorts in Mallorca and Ibiza has consequences for Dutch holidaymakers who go on holiday to these parts of the Balearic Islands.

A maximum of 6 alcoholic drinks per day may be served per person. Of these 6 drinks a maximum of 3 can be served at lunch and a maximum of 3 at dinner. Guests must pay for additional alcoholic drinks. 

See also: First complaints from tourists about alcohol restrictions in the Balearic Islands 

The restriction on alcohol consumption was already introduced in January 2020 as part of a broader law to reduce excessive alcohol consumption. However, due to the pandemic, it has received little attention so far. Tour operators such as TUI and Thomas Cook are now reminding travellers of this rule and will enforce it more strictly. 

High fines 

Tourists who break the law risk a fine of between €1,000 and €6,000. Furthermore, hotels that decide to serve more drinks to their guests risk a fine of between €60,000 and €600,000. However, it is not clear how the law is enforced. 

Other strict rules 

In addition to restrictions on alcohol consumption, any form of advertising that encourages drinking, will be prohibited. For example, open bars and promotional deals, will also be prohibited. Furthermore, if you plan on purchasing alcohol from a liquor store, you should be aware that they will only be open from 8.00 am to 9.30 pm. 

If you had plans to enjoy a night out at Magaluf’s famous strip, you may need to reconsider. Organised pub crawls are now banned, but you can still participate in a booze cruise excursion. However, these will no longer be promoted in the affected areas and pick-ups and drop-offs in those resorts will no longer be allowed. 

The new law applies to all-inclusive resorts in Magaluf, El Arenal and Playa de Palma in Mallorca and Sant Antoni in Ibiza. The rule of a maximum of 6 drinks does not apply to the Spanish mainland and other Balearic and Canary Islands. 

Taking drinks elsewhere is allowed 

“It is still allowed to have alcoholic drinks outside lunch and dinner. This is allowed both in the hotel and at a bar outside the hotel. The costs of these extra drinks are at your own expense. Therefore they are not included in the all-inclusive package” says a TUI spokesperson. 

All-inclusive holidays 

Every year, many holidaymakers choose all-inclusive holidays in Spain. The concept is attractive to many holidaymakers. It offers them the opportunity to enjoy food, drink and entertainment at the hotel or resort where they are staying at no extra cost. This means they don’t have to worry about the budget for meals and drinks. Consequently they can fully focus on relaxation and fun. In fact, it is an all-in-one vacation experience. 

Please be aware that these rules are correct at the time of posting and may change. To keep up to date with any further changes, visit the FCDO website. 

Also read: What is the legal blood alcohol limit in Spain?


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