Sunbed wars spark night-time chaos and 'illegal' towel queues as tourists battle

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The sunbed wars have been raging for months (Image: SOLARPIX.COM)
The sunbed wars have been raging for months (Image: SOLARPIX.COM)

Sunbed wars have been raging across holiday hotspots beloved by Brits as the ferocious south European heatwave fails to deter solar-starved tourists from scrapping for a top spot by the pool.

From Spain to Portugal, Greece to Turkey, the beaches and poolside of the Mediterranean have been turned into battlegrounds over the past three months. Normally civil people with 9 to 5 jobs and impeccable manners have been forced to increasingly extreme actions.

Some have taken to waking up at the crack of dawn to make it to the front of the queue for when hotel staff swing open the pool-area doors, helping them gain a few yards on their more slovenly competitors.

Others realising the situation was far too serious to be hampered by flip-flops donned running gear to beat the rush, while one man watched his fellow British compatriots line up towels as a kind of overnight placeholder queue.

The ante has been upped to such an extent that one woman declared her trip to Turkey the “worst holiday we have been on”, so intense was the pressure to beat the crowds and bag a much sought after place around the pool.

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Have you been caught up in the sunbed wars? Email [email protected]

Sunbed wars spark night-time chaos and 'illegal' towel queues as tourists battleTourists in Benidorm have been spotted getting the best beach spots at night (SOLARPIX.COM)

The intensity of the past few months has led some to question if the sunbed wars are ever going to stop and what, if anything, can be done to end the bloodshed.

Conflict first broke out in May in Tenerife, revealed in a TikTok video to the theme tune from Mario Kart, signalling the start of the year's race.

A crowd of tourists can be seen racing to the pool area, some running to the sunbeds and plonking down their belongings, others flinging their towels onto the seats in front of them.

Thomas Clifford, who captured the video, said: "I couldn’t believe it! People were sniping by throwing their towels off the top of the stairs. I felt sorry for the poor man trying to clean the pool as everyone stampeded him!"

Sunbed wars spark night-time chaos and 'illegal' towel queues as tourists battleMatthew Vine watched the race for sunbeds unfold (Matthew Vine / SWNS)
Sunbed wars spark night-time chaos and 'illegal' towel queues as tourists battleHolidaymakers were seen rushing to the sun loungers in Tenerife (SWNS)

In the same resort dad-of-two Matthew Vine was enjoying a quiet, early morning coffee on his balcony while he watched in disbelief as over-eager sunbathers snuck out early in the morning, and began preparing sunbeds. This was despite the fact the pool didn't open until 10am.

A month later the battle front moved to a hotel in Majorca, Spain where people were caught reserving an entire row of seats at 7pm at night, for a whole week.

The scandalous move was captured by TikToker Gillian who said: "It's 7 o'clock at night, and these people reserve their sunbeds for the whole week. They don't move them." To prove her point, she filmed the scene unfolding from the position of her balcony, showing a full row of beach chairs by the pool, each of them laden with towels.

Majorca, as one of the biggest Spanish resort towns that is very popular with Brits, is clearly a focal point of the war. In July, some people - presumably Brits given the expert queuing technique on show - started lining their towels up outside the swimming zone overnight.

"In an effort to control the sunbed madness, the door from the hotel to the pool area was kept locked until 8am. So people were lining their towels up on the floor in a queue order by the door before it opened. I must add this wasn't youngsters, but mostly elderly and middle-aged people," holidaymaker Geoff told The Mirror.

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Geoff was visiting a four star hotel in the Camp de Mar region of Majorca, Spain when he witnessed the technique being deployed.

A few weeks later the Spanish resort was once again hit by towel-wielding eager-beavers who were caught laying out their towels as early as 5am. Mum Rebekah posted a humorous video on Instagram showing the swathes of towels left on the ground by guests in an effort to reserve a space hours before a sunbed can be booked at 9am.

In the video she jokes: "Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you the British efforts from this year’s annual ‘Sun-bed Showdown’. More tactical, skilled and hated than ANY sports team in the world… Cue the mass gathering of towels from as early as 5am to gain a prime spot round the pool and if you’re really lucky grab a parasol.

"The more dedicated of the team even stake out on these towels until unlock time. No towel down by 7am no poolside space for your family."

Sunbed wars spark night-time chaos and 'illegal' towel queues as tourists battleHolidaymakers have started deploying a new technique to secure a sunbed (Supplied)

One tactic to escape the sunbed-centred horror has been adopted by Laura Jayne Lowe who is heading to a hotel in the resort town of Torremolinos, Málaga. Having heard that fraught tourists have been queuing from 5.30am to claim spot, the 31-year-old has decided to bring her own lounger.

The Bristol mum has bought an inflatable lounger which she can fit in her bag.

In a video posted on TikTok, she said: “I booked a holiday without reading the in-depth reviews. It turns out it is the worst sunbed wars you have seen in your life where I am going.”

Another tactic was deployed by a holidaymaker in Spain who decided to beat the sunbed-bagsiers at their own game. Not content to be stuck with the have-nots, miserable and without a sunbed, the man decided to put on full work-out kit and trainers.

He was filmed standing patiently in the queue by tourist Olivia Stanton who captured him bursting away from the pack as soon as the pool area is opened. With towels tucked under his arm he makes a hasty shortcut, reducing the distance of his sprint and powering away from the other, slightly bemused looking sun worshipers.

The issues has even spilled onto the beaches. In Benidorm local official implored holidaymakers not to head down onto the shore at night to take the best spots by the water, warning them that towels would be removed.

Milo Boyd

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