The “laws” of the beach – What applies to deck chairs, canteens, music


The beaches of Greece “drown” every year on umbrellas and sunbeds. But there are laws. What is really true? What is it observed? What are the rights of bathers?

See in detail the basic rules for beach use:

1. How is land and beach used?

Aegean and beaches are, under the Constitution, public (off-the-shelf) and communal. Every year, the Treasury adopts a decision granting them the right of simple use to the municipalities, which in turn can give it to individuals or municipal enterprises. The concession of a farm in front of a tourist business (eg a hotel) can be made directly, while in other cases through an auction by the municipality.

2. Are there private beaches in our country?

No. Even if a business (eg a hotel) is right in front of a beach, it must keep the bathers free (if the only passage is via its facilities).

3. Under what conditions are umbrellas and deck chairs allowed?

The maximum concession area may not exceed 50% of a beach. And the maximum coverage of use can not exceed half of the allocated area: there must be horizontal and vertical corridors measuring one meter in length. In addition, sun loungers are not allowed … to be “one above the other”: a typical set (sunbed – umbrella – table) should at least have a space of 5 square meters.

4. Can the sunbeds reach the wave?


No. A distance of 5 meters from the last row of loungers to the sea is required.

5. On a long beach there can be many concessions to “umbrellas”?

Yes. But they have to occupy up to 500 sq.m. each to maintain a free zone of 100 meters (and total occupancy up to 50% of a beach). The free zone obligation does not apply to cases where the beach is used by businesses in contact with it.

6. Are “over the waves” restaurants illegal?

Yes. The law explicitly prohibits the placement of cash-beds by companies of sanitary interest.

7. What about canteens?

They can occupy up to 15 m². They must be licensed and meet specific specifications. They are not allowed to have loudspeakers and should be 100 meters away from the seaside businesses (eg leisure centers, hotels).

8. Are fences allowed on the sand?


Definitely not. The single use concession does not invalidate the sharing of the good. Also, any construction that is permanently connected to the ground, such as cement blocks, is also prohibited.

9. What about music?

It is forbidden to place sound systems in the public space. In the case of offshore operations, the noise level produced must not exceed 50 decibels.

10. What about lighting?

It must be low and limited to what is strictly necessary for safety and guidance purposes.

11. Do these apply to all beaches?

Yes, except for the beaches of the protected areas (Natura), where there are more specific restrictions, such as the prohibition of leveling of dunes and the mandatory daily cleaning.

Where can a citizen turn to report irregularities in the use of a beach?

Typically responsible are the municipality and the competent Public Property Office (the old Real Estate Services). Autopsies must be carried out both for compliance with what has been agreed, so the citizen can turn to either of them. In fact, of course, because beach rentals are typically made to local businessmen, it may be wiser to contact someone directly at the Public Property Office by making a written complaint. Also in some cases (eg noise pollution), police may also be involved. Especially for companies that rent out marine recreational equipment, the Coast Guard is the sole responsible, which also defines their special operating conditions.

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