Inside booze-fuelled chaos of Magaluf that could be about to end as Spain wages war on rowdy Brit tourists

BUG-EYED with cocaine, a posse of teenage Brits sway past a store selling “I Love Sluts” T-shirts as they head towards Magaluf’s infamous Strip.

Asked why they’ve come to the hard-partying Mallorcan resort, one yells: “Booze, booze, booze.”


Magaluf is attempting to rebrand and discourage boozy Brits from visitingCredit: Paul Edwards
Locals in Magaluf have become tired of cleaning up after boozed up Brits


Locals in Magaluf have become tired of cleaning up after boozed up BritsCredit: Paul Edwards

It is almost 2am and the gaudy bars are heaving, while a tout gestures at a neon-lit lap dancing club and promises “sexy time”.

As the night draws on — with accents from the Thames, Mersey and Tyne floating in the air — some slump into the gutter. Others crash out beneath pedalos on the beach.

For the 24-hour party people of Magaluf, it seems very much business as usual.

Yet the wild scenes may be heading for a last hurrah — because the local council is rebranding the resort as an upmarket family destination.

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A series of new laws, including banning pub crawls, happy hours and unlimited drinks at all-inclusive hotels, are being enforced.

And the council says the boozed-up, raucous young Brits who have poured millions into the resort over decades are now no longer welcome.

Local restaurateur Richard Bergenholtz told me: “Local people have had enough of pressure- washing away the puke and broken glass every morning.”

News of the attempted rebrand — accompanied by a £9million beachside revamp — was scoffed at by partying Brits.

Sipping a Malibu and Coke, Portsmouth University sociology and criminology student Ella Bleu, 20, said: “Trying to take this place upmarket is stupid.

“The whole thing about Magaluf is that it’s tacky and cheap. You come here to get p***ed and make memories. That’s how this place makes its money.”

Property manager Joey Smith, 20, from Milton Keynes, on holiday with cousin Alex, 19, branded the new booze rules “absolutely ridiculous”.

She goes clubbing every night until 6am, and said: “The British made the place what is and have pumped millions into the economy.

“Magaluf is never going to be posh. For one thing, the food is shocking.”

Joey Smith and cousin Alex says Magaluf is never going to be posh


Joey Smith and cousin Alex says Magaluf is never going to be poshCredit: Paul Edwards
Generations of Brits have headed to Magaluf to party for decades


Generations of Brits have headed to Magaluf to party for decadesCredit: Paul Edwards

Nearby, a bar manager, who declined to be named, also believes rebranding Magaluf is a forlorn task.

Gesturing down its famous party Strip of blaring music, tattoo parlours and lap dance clubs, he said: “You can’t make s**t sparkle.”

Last month tragedy struck here when British dad Tobias White-Sansom died after allegedly being beaten up and knelt on by bouncers and police.

The 35-year-old from Nottingham suffered three cardiac arrests after the fracas at the Boomerang Club on the Strip.

Guardia Civil, or police, deny mistreating Tobias, insisting he was restrained using “appropriate force” after allegedly butting a bouncer. They say he had a number of drugs in his system.

Magaluf has become a rite of passage for hundreds of thousands of Brits since mass tourism exploded here in the 1960s.

Trainee social worker Maddie Templeman, 21, from Strood in Kent, said: “My grandad, my dad and my uncle came here before I was born.

“I FaceTimed them and they knew every bar. Nothing has changed and I don’t think it will ever change. Magaluf will never lose its reputation.”

Partied out revellers in Magaluf often wake up on the beach


Partied out revellers in Magaluf often wake up on the beachCredit: Paul Edwards

That tawdry standing — it is nicknamed Shagaluf — was further tarnished in 2014 when a British tourist was filmed performing sex acts on 24 men in a bar while on a pub crawl.

Now it seems the permanent party here is facing its morning after, with the authorities feeling compelled to act.

New regulations, including banning the sale of alcohol in shops after 9.30pm, were brought in and licences for bars and clubs reviewed.

At the council offices in the hills above Magaluf, the deputy mayor, Natividad Francés, says “permamently drunk” British tourists are now “not welcome”.

The left-of-centre politician told me: “They spoil it for other Britons who have a lot of money and just want a nice holiday in peace.”

When I tell her many partying UK youngsters on the Strip say they have helped to prop up the local economy for decades, she added: “It’s not a matter of having money and spending it, it’s a matter of breaking the rules and going over the top.

“If they just want to come and be excessive and be drunk, then they’re not welcome.”

Authorities in Magaluf have issued warnings with a new campaign targeted at Brits


Authorities in Magaluf have issued warnings with a new campaign targeted at BritsCredit: Paul Edwards

The message that certain behaviour will not be tolerated is hammered home with a series of warning placards attached to lamp posts.

The signs, with the hashtag #havefunwithrespect, warn of €400 (£340) fines for those who “shout, fight or bother people” or for going shirtless or drinking on the street.

Police are enforcing the new regulations, including turning down the music in certain bars.

We watched in the early hours as four officers stopped and searched a suspect for drugs.


Head of the local police Paco Darder, 46, said: “We arrest quite a few people for drug dealing because we see it directly.

“Drugs are difficult to combat, not only here but all over the world.”

Asked about people vomiting in the streets, he added: “That’s the result of too much drink and too many other substances. That’s why we are trying to change things.

“We want people to have a good time, but just under control and with balance.”

The new penalties for misbehaviour are hammered home to arriving tourists. Beamed six feet high on to the wall of the four-star HM Martinique Hotel — crammed with young Brits — is a warning from the local government of the Balearic Islands.

Mixed crowd The official declaration warns against “uncivil tourism” with fines for breaking the rules a maximum €600 (£510).

Among the clean-up regulations are the banning of “so-called pub crawling” and two- and three-for-one drink offers.

It says all-inclusive hotels can now only serve six drinks a day to holidaymakers, split between lunch and dinner.

Richard Bergenholtz, who runs the Gjokeredet bar, as well as a restaurant, La Bodega, says the typical Magaluf tourist is slowly changing.

A restaurateur in the resort for 18 years, he said: “In my bar we used to have music until 3am. Now I’ve been given a new licence meaning it must stop at 12.

“That’s a problem for the bar’s business. But I make more from my restaurant because Magaluf now attracts a different sort of tourist.

“More families and more couples are coming, and where it used to be 80 per cent Brits, now it’s a more mixed crowd, including Americans, Swiss and Dutch.”

Police chief Paco Darder says they have arrested drug dealers


Police chief Paco Darder says they have arrested drug dealersCredit: Paul Edwards
Another Magaluf sign warns revellers against streaking naked


Another Magaluf sign warns revellers against streaking nakedCredit: Paul Edwards

Richard, 37, added that the “Shagaluf” tag is embarrassing for many locals, adding: “They’re happy that things are changing.

“If you get more high-end tourists here, then the value of their apartments goes up.”

Yet not all bar managers are as happy. One, who declined to be identified, sat in his pub with barely audible house music playing.

He said police seem more worried about how loud the music is than pursuing the notorious “looky-looky men” who he says deal drugs and steal possessions.

He told me: “Police know about the looky-looky men but do f*** all about it.

“But they want me to turn my music down and you can hardly hear it. It’s bulls***. It will kill this town.”

Dan Milburn, a 20-year-old electronics student at Teesside University, is here with 15 other lads from Middlesbrough.

He said: “One of our mates got his phone stolen by looky-looky men who surrounded him. We’re going to the police station to get a crime number.”

Later, a looky-looky man himself — purportedly selling sunglasses and sailors’ hats — offers me two grammes of cocaine for €100 (around £85).

The old and new Magalufs collide on the beachfront. Trendy restaurant Zhero Boathouse serves seafood pasta for almost £24 a bowl, and £90 bottles of Laurent-Perrier champagne to a high-end crowd.

In sharp contrast nearby, the Happy Place Beach Club is knocking out £1.70 pints and sandwiches from around £2.10.

And in the end it may be price that drives out the partying Brits.

Dominating one end of the glorious bay is the luxury Melia Calvia Beach Hotel.

Rooms there were going for more than £230 a night this week.

From a terrace overlooking the sun-drenched bay, Belen Sanmartin, director of Melia Hotels in Magaluf, said she would like to see more “quality” tourism in the resort.

She added: “We want more families to come here. Young people are sensitive to price, so if we keep our room rates up, they will go to other destinations.”

For now, at least, the Magaluf party is still raging hard.

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Supping a Purple Rain cocktail, charity worker Lottie Fielder, 20, from Portsmouth, said: “Young Brits like to booze and party. They spend millions here with local businesses.

“But if they’re enforcing the new rules then we’ll go to Greece and spend our money there instead.”

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