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Overtourism protests in Spain....concerns?

Overtourism protests in Spain....concerns?

Old Apr 16th, 2024, 12:41 PM
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Overtourism protests in Spain....concerns?

I've been reading about protests happening in different parts of Spain regarding overtourism. We have a trip planned next month and I would like to get some feedback from locals or recent visitors on what's happening and if there is anything we should or shouldn't do while there that will not ruffle any feathers.


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Old Apr 16th, 2024, 11:14 PM
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Well it certainly is busy. Be prepared for that. We wished we had brushed up our traveler Spanish a bit. I would definitely do that. Make reservations for any specific restaurants as many times we saw people turned away. Did not see any protests.
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Old Apr 16th, 2024, 11:52 PM
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Nothing to worry about. You have very good advice about this on the other travel forum.
And as Natylou says, make your restaurant reservations and any other reservations in advance. Spain is very, very busy and the tourist season has begun in force.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 02:59 AM
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Nothing to worry about.
You are unlikely to encounter any Spaniards in the usual Madrid, Barcelona Seville, day trip to Cordoba affair.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 06:01 AM
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Well...as a Basque local, no protests against tourists, you have nothing to worry about. There´s a certain atmosphere of tiredness in the most visited areas due to the appalling "gentrification" of the central areas (and also suburban), resulting in a scarcity of apartments for rent for local families, very high prices and a massive presence of groups in the most visited areas, that are "expelling" the locals from their favorite places. I live in Bilbao, where this phenomenon has just started and it cannot be compared to other cities...yet, but it´ll be interesting to see how local authorities try to find the balance between being a welcoming city (any, not Bilbao specifically) and their support to local residents and their ways of life. In my specific case, there are restaurants and bars that I just have quit visiting, as they have adapted to the foreign tastes and preferences (earlier dining or lunch times, more expensive drinks, worse quality and attention...), but again, it´s not an extended thing yet.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 06:29 AM
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mikelg,
Perfectly stated!!
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 07:40 AM
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I've seen an increase in graffiti recently, eg tourists go home! but not actually seen any protests per se. It's still very safe and the Spanish are very welcoming.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 07:45 AM
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I'm glad to hear this as I'll be there in late June. I know it will be crowded and we will buy tickets in advance. Thanks.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 09:37 AM
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I've never seen a single thing, or heard a single comment that was negative to tourists. I don't understand..where are these protests supposedly happening? I'd guess Barcelona or Malaga, but would like to learn...

I did have conversations with several people in Madrid who were very unhappy about apartments being turned into short-term rentals, and also bout the influx of wealthy (mostly Latin Americans) foreigners buying up property and driving prices sky high.....but I broached the subject, and this was not something an average tourist would get into a discussion about unless he or she asked specifically.

But I was never received with anything less than courtesy and welcome.

And I never saw graffiti about foreigners. In fact I don't remember much graffiti at all, certainly not more than I see at home...

So again, where did you ever read about this??


CDNYUL: I don't understand: How could a tourist NOT encounter any Spaniards on a visit to Spain? Even if they ate in Burger Kings, the clientele would be Spanish mostly, no?? I probably misunderstood your comment, or maybe you made a joke!!


Mikelg: Are these the famous "Michelin-type" places? Or cafes on central plazas?


Just look at how the Venetians are trying to cope!!

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Apr 17th, 2024 at 09:43 AM.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 09:48 AM
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The protests (that the person on RS Spain forum said could turn "violent") are politically related in large part. In Madrid, these evening protests have nothing to do with tourism. They have happened at the headquarters on Calle Ferraz of the PSOE party due to Sanchez's amnesty agreement with Catalunya, which the other political parties, including Vox and the Partido Popular are protesting. You, as a tourist, will never purposely find yourself in front of the PSOE headquarters at Ferraz 70, a whole 10-minute walk north of the Templo de Debod.

(I'm a Comunidad de Madrid local, as is Revulgo, who lives in the city and knows it like no other---he's my eyes and ears.).

Again, mikelg has explained it best and so eloquently. There is zero to be concerned about from a tourist's perspective. You will be received with courtesy and welcome, as eskcrunchy has said.

Last edited by Maribel; Apr 17th, 2024 at 10:39 AM.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 10:49 AM
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Ekscrunky: So again, where did you ever read about this??

There are several news outlets posting articles about this. All reliable sources (I'm a librarian and know how to find real sources).
It's good to read so many comments that say most places are fine. My husband and I are respectful travelers but I thought it best to get local takes on the situation.
Sadly you see this type of housing issues in so many places, not just Spain. There are cities here in the US that are taking a look at the AirBNB type of rentals because of things like lack of affordable housing, noise, etc.

We are visiting next month for 18 days and visiting Madrid, Granada, Cordoba, Seville, San Sebastian and Bilbao. Yes, I know that's a lot in a short time but this was our trimmed down version. LOL
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 10:52 AM
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You will have no problem whatsoever in the cities you will be visiting.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 11:40 AM
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Eks, locals are sadly not going much any more to Michelin starred restaurants. They´ve focused their prices on affluent customers, forcing us to find cheaper places. I luckily live in the Basque Country, where you can find top non-Michelin restaurants (as in most of Spain, too). BarbJim, just relax and enjoy this beautiful country, you will not find any issues with your presence here, touirists are not being targeted anywhere and there aren´t any protests aimed at tourism, other than debating in social media and a very rare and occassional graffiti.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 11:45 AM
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See what I said? Listen to mikelg!!!

And there are wonderful local restaurants that are not Michelin-starred but instead have Repsol suns, or simply Repsol recommendations or even Repsol "soletes", which we enjoy without the huge price tag.

Last edited by Maribel; Apr 17th, 2024 at 11:48 AM.
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Old Apr 17th, 2024, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Maribel
See what I said? Listen to mikelg!!!

And there are wonderful local restaurants that are not Michelin-starred but instead have Repsol suns, or simply Repsol recommendations or even Repsol "soletes", which we enjoy without the huge price tag.

But I still do not know where someone is reading these things about tourists....a librarian has great access to publications, but do we non-librarians not have the same access? I mean to ask, what sites are closed off to us regular people who travel?

I live in New York City and many, many people suffer from lack of housing due to the Air B&B thing. its supposedly mostly illegal but I think its still going on....

The Partido Popular---when I first drove in a taxi to The Orfila, the driver was getting quite enthusiastic about that party, since (I think) the HQ are around the corner from the hotel. But I tuned out about the politics.... Demostrations go on everywhere, but I'd like to learn about demonstrations in Spain in the last year or so that were anti-tourist. I'm not doubting the OP, just curious..
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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 05:28 AM
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Google “Barcelona protesting tourists” or “Malaga protesting tourists” you will see the current articles from reputable news media. I had planned Malaga in October after my Zahara visit but am having second thoughts. We always rent apartments and this is the locals main issue. I fully understand their concerns and respect their concerns. I just don’t want to stay in area that I am not welcomed.
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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 06:17 AM
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Hi mike1728,
If you're having second thoughts about Málaga after Zahara, I'll just offer you my recent experience there during the last 4 nights of Holy Week and the following Monday.

Candidly, I did see a part of Málaga that I hadn't really noticed before, as we decided to rent a tourist apartment because of extremely high hotel rates during Holy Week.

Our building was surrounded by other tourist apartment buildings, plus now literally door-to-door pubs, late night bars, fast food joints, catering to Northern Europeans coming in on cheap flights for the week. And hen and bachelor parties. Málaga airport is now Spain's 3rd busiest after MAD and BCN, receiving 22 million passengers in 2023.

We just hadn't noticed that changing scenario before when we lodged (in hotels) close to the water. And while trying the view the Holy Week processions, we were bombarded with selfie sticks. (A very different scene from Holy Week in Sevilla).

We saw no "tourists go home" graffiti or anti-tourist stickers on doors, as the Olive Press, Daily Mail, the Local and Euronews articles had warned of (maybe we just missed them). But we didn't frequent any bars like "Drunk-o-rama", that the Euronews article mentions. Nor did we witness any anti-tourist demonstration, and we were warmly welcomed everywhere (maybe because of our age and because we're Spanish speaking??). But our taxi driver did share with us his long "rant" about how over-touristed the city had become in the last couple of years.

Málaga just had a different feel this year from when I was there last March. But we were never made to feel unwelcome or unwanted.
So, that was our recent experience, if that helps at all.

edited to add that there is an ongoing discussion of this same topic currently here:
https://community.ricksteves.com/tra...s-and-concerns

Posters Mikel, Carlos and Enric, all Spaniards (1 Basque, 2 Catalans), have some very sane, objective, well articulated thoughts about this issue, imo.

Last edited by Maribel; Apr 18th, 2024 at 06:24 AM.
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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 06:32 AM
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Maribel would you advise skipping Malaga for anyone planning to stay in a hotel early next spring (Just a thought that occurred to me)??
I've only been there once, for about 4 nights when it rained all the time. I did not fall in love with the city but was wondering if AI ought to give it a second look, then go to Ronda, etc on the way to Vejer.......
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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 06:48 AM
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Although we did rent a tourist apartment for 4 nights (when 4-star hotel rates were running 600/night), we did move to a 4-star hotel on Calle Molina Lario for Easter Sunday and Monday, and there we did enjoy very much our stay as we had a balcony overlooking the official procession route and a very well-equipped room with all the bells & whistles and a nice Sunday lunch downstairs at the Matiz.

Because this trip was in part business as well as pleasure, we did also visit 3 others, the Palacio Solecio next to the Picasso Museum, which we loved--a beautifully renovated 18th palace, managed by the sharp Marugal team, the Gran Hotel Miramar at Malagueta beach, with its ornate,, starkly white Moorish décor and the new, hip Only You sitting on the Alameda Principal with a lovely rooftop terrace overlooking the water, next door to the Soho Boutique Equitativa (same building).

We had stayed before at the Larios (no longer a Roommate), had also seen the Room Mate Valeria on another trip and had stayed several times at the Marriott branded AC Málaga Palacio, the very first Spain hotel I visited when just a kid. So we know the Málaga hotel scene well.

Our favorites: Palacio Solecio (where studenttobe stayed and member of SLH) and the 5-star Gran Hotel Miramar (LHW), with outdoor pool, although further from the center.

We still do love staying in a hotel close to the water and love strolling the pedestrianized streets, the Palmeral that leads to the Muelle Uno and visiting the wonderful museums, like the Picasso, the Carmen Thyssen, the outstanding Museo de Málaga with its superb archaeological collection plus visiting the Roman Theater and Alcazaba and the "one armed" cathedral ("La Manquita", called so because the second tower was never completed). At night, Málaga is a beauty.

And we dined well---at Matiz, Beluga, Refectorium Catedral, Balausta (in the Solecio), La Cosmo and Anyway Wine Bar (new location). Sadly because of the torrential rain on Saturday, we didn't get to the seafood temple of Los Marinos José in Fuengirola, but I would put that one on your list.

Last edited by Maribel; Apr 18th, 2024 at 07:35 AM.
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Old Apr 18th, 2024, 08:33 AM
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If you're respectful...you'll be fine.

My partner in Spanish (I'm English) and she and her family complain all the time about tourists. We live in a tourist town on the beach. The irony obviously is...I'm a foreigner lol. But having lived here for 5 years I have to agree that tourists can be really annoying: they don't move out the way on a footpath when I'm pushing my baby in a pram...they bring campervans where I walk my dog and leave their trash...they shout in the street late at night drunk and wake my kids up...they fight over the best parking spots under my house instead of using the large public car parks just a few blocks away...

There was a national story last summer about a 'tourist' who drove into a restaurant's tables and chairs out in the street so they could park!

I say 'they' as a generalisation. This is a tiny % of tourists. But the point is, so long as you're not someone who is arrogant and disrespectful I don't see why you should encounter any problems. And if you're concerned about this – you're not one of these people
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