For decades, chiringuitos have provided both tourists and locals with paella, sangria and shade, but now the traditional beach bar restaurants are facing eviction from the sand. Campaigners have denounced moves by the Ministry of the Environment to close down the thousands of chiringuitos that thrive on beaches at the beginning of every summer.
The measure is part of the ministry’s response to criticism that Spain’s beaches are over-developed and under-protected. The “law of coasts”, which would ban building on the sand, would force chiringuitos to move inland to concreted areas, such as seafront walks.
“We have been here on the beaches ever since tourism reached this country in the 1950s, providing good value and fresh food in a great environment,” says the owner of a chiringuito on the Costa del Sol. “If they take us inland we will stop being a chiringuito and become just another restaurant. The German and English tourists come to us as they are attracted by tradition. Moving us inland would destroy that.”
Beach bars are now asking customers to sign a petition urging the ministry to rethink their decision. “Chiringuitos have existed for centuries, far longer than we have had ministries,” said the head of Andalucia’s association of beach businesses.
Ferran from Barcelona, Spain