Don’t eat on church steps - one of 14 laws holidaymakers need to know

Holidaymakers are being warned to check the laws of the country they’re heading to – or they could land themselves a hefty fine.

By Sue Wilkinson
Friday, 17 May, 2019, 10:51
Rules you should know

The travel experts at MyBaggage.com have identified some of the most unusual laws from across the globe.

Making the list is Barcelona, where swimming costumes and bikinis are for the beach only, and France, where drivers have to travel with a breathalyser in the car.

In the United Arab Emirates, any public displays of affection are banned and in San Francisco it’s illegal to feed the pigeons.

Break these laws and travellers could face a fine or imprisonment.

A spokesperson from My Baggage said: “Some of the laws around the world are bizarre to say the least but it’s worth checking them out before you head off on your holidays. Fail to do so and you could face a hefty fine, and at worst, a short stint behind bars.

“It’s always important to respect the traditions and customs of any country you’re visiting and some of the laws in place are for your own safety, like carrying a breathalyser in the car in France and not running out of petrol in Germany.

“Others are so odd they may raise a smile but it’s still important to respect and stick to them.”

Here are some of the most unusual international laws:

1. Italy – don’t eat on church steps

It’s an offence in Florence to eat or drink while sitting on church steps or within a church courtyard. The same law applies to eating near any public buildings.

2. San Francisco – don’t feed the pigeons

Feeding the pigeons on the streets of San Francisco is a big no. If you’re caught, you could face a hefty fine.

3. Maldives – leave your bible at home

It’s an offence to import bibles into the Maldives. Public observance of any religion apart from Islam is prohibited.

4. France – carry a breathalyser

Drivers are legally required to carry a breathalyser in France in the car. If you’re caught without the gadget then you’ll be fined.

5. UAE – no kissing or affection

Any public display of affection including kissing, holding hands and hugging must be avoided in the United Arab Emirates. If you break the law, you could end up behind bars.

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6. Barcelona – bikinis for the beach

It’s against the law to wear swimwear on the streets of Barcelona. Reserve your bikini and trunks for the beach only and cover up or change when you leave.

7. Greece – keep your pants on

Keep your pants on in Greece. Mooning to your mates could land you in jail or with a steep fine.

8. Thailand – respect your cash

Stepping on Baht – Thai money – is illegal because it has the likeness of the Thai royal family on it.

9. St. Kitts – keep it clean

Swearing is banned in St Kitts. Using a profanity in public could get you arrested.

10. Singapore – chewing gum ban

Chewing gum was banned in Singapore in 1992 so don’t be tempted to grab a stick after a spicy dinner. The only exception is if you can prove it has therapeutic value.

11. Portugal – don’t get caught short

In Portugal, it’s illegal to take wee in the ocean. How this law is governed is anyone’s guess.

12. Mexico – keep your feet on the pedal

Cyclists in Mexico must keep their feet firmly on the pedal, hands on the handlebars and eyes on the road. Fail to do so and you could face a fine.

13. Germany – keep your car full

Running out of fuel on the autobahn is illegal, as is walking on it. Keep your car topped up at all times.

14. Switzerland – don’t flush

In some apartment blocks in Switzerland residents aren’t allowed to flush the loo after 10pm. Apparently, it’s too noisy for some living there.