The Spanish are not known as a nation that are passionate about barbeques: when the sun is shining, the Spanish are much more likely to head out to one of the many bars, restaurants and terraces that you will find in every town and village to socialise with their friends than they are to light a fire and start grilling meat. But many ex-pats living in Spain are passionate about enjoying a barbeque during the warm summer months, leading us to ask the question: It is legal to barbeque in Spain? Here’s everything you need to know:
Can You Legally Barbeque in Your Spanish Home?
There is no nationwide law that prohibits barbecues in private properties, so as a generally rule it is perfect legal to barbeque in your own home in Spain. However, there are some practical exceptions. One example of this is in the town of Arona, in Tenerife, where barbeques on balconies and terraces in shared buildings (such as apartment buildings) are banned, as is hanging laundry outside. But provided you are lighting your barbeque in a private area rather than shared area of your property, such as your own balcony, garden or terrace rather than a communal one, then there is no legal reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a family barbeque in your Spanish home.
If you only have communal outside space then you should seek approval from your resident's association who may have rules in place about whether barbeques are or aren’t allowed: they will also have to law on their side if you light up without permission, so it’s always wise to check first. For this same reason, we would also advise conducting a quick online search to make sure that there are no other rules prohibiting barbeques in your local area.
What About If I Live in An Apartment?
Whether or not you can or should light a barbeque in your apartment will need to be assessed on a case by case basis, using a little common sense. Effectively, you should consider whether your lighting a barbeque might reasonably be considered to pose a risk or a hindrance to your neighbours; this will depend how small your balconies are, how far they are spaced about, and where in the building you live.
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. So if you live in an apartment block where the balconies are situated very close together then your neighbours could reasonably complain if the smell and the smoke from your barbeque entered their living space via an open window.
In this case, it simply wouldn’t be worth taking the risk; for the sake of good neighbourly relationships, and to avoid any costly fines, you should leave the barbeque for a different occasion. In 2017, an Italian couple living in Madrid was ordered to pay a €2,000 fine by a judge following complaints about their barbeque, so there is a clear precedent set that the law is not on your side if you choose to barbeque in an apartment where others may be affected by your decision.
Can You Barbeque on Public Property in Spain?
We’ve established that, provided you have an adequate amount of private outdoor space, you can legally barbeque in Spain, but what if you don’t? Or what if you’d rather take your barbeque with you when you go to a park, the beach, or walking or camping in your local woodland area?
In short, outdoor barbeques and lighting fires is prohibited in much of Spain’s public spaces. This is because strict regulations and municipal decrees have put a stop to them, in a bid to prevent fires breaking out during the hot summer months across the country. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though: in Malaga you can barbeque outside provided you have obtained written permission from the town hall, for example. And across Spain you will find recreation areas where barbeques are permitted; these are pre determined picnic spots, often in national parks. An online search engine would be the easiest way to find the closest of these spots to you. Try using the search terms “areas recreativas” or “merenderos” that “permiten barbacoas” (allow barbecues).
Are you thinking of moving to Spain? Looking to buy your own Spanish apartment, a foreign bolt hole, or a luxury villa where you can barbeque on the terrace? Then why not get in touch with our local property experts, who are perfectly placed to assist you with your property search.