Europe is a fascinating continent full of opportunities for travel and adventure, but it is also home to some head-scratchingly bizarre laws that often give us an insight into the culture of the country that made them. Don’t get caught out next time you’re travelling; read our handy guide to the craziest ways you can get arrested in Europe.
Recycling on a Sunday
Sunday might seen like a good day to drop off your recycling at the local bins, but don’t even consider it if you live in Switzerland, or you could end up with a hefty fine or even jail time. In 2014, Zurich police caught German woman Judith Schulte depositing her recycling after a tip-off from a neighbour, and gave her an unenviable choice: pay a large fine or spend two nights in jail.
Drilling on Sundays
Don’t even think about getting a bit of weekend DIY done at the weekend in Germany: Sundays are for relaxing and any kind of drilling is absolutely not allowed. Germany takes the ‘Sunday is a day of rest’ thing very seriously. Shops are also closed, and you basically have no choice but to chill out.
Wearing Flip Flops While Driving
Make sure to take a change of shoes if you’re heading to the beach in Spain because driving while wearing flip flops is illegal. But Spain does not stop there with its driving footwear laws: driving in any backless or open-toed shoes, in high heels or barefoot is strictly forbidden. Drivers breaking the rules could face a fine of up to €200.
Being Drunk in Charge of a Cow
In Scotland, it is against the law to be in charge of a cow while under the influence of alcohol. So, under no circumstance should you decide it is a good idea to practise a bit of cow herding after one too many pints down the pub – you could face a fine of £200 or be jailed for up to 51 weeks. This law also includes horses, before you get any ideas…
Not Carrying a Portable Breathalyser
You’d be forgiven for assuming that if you were ever in the unfortunate situation of being stopped and breathalysed, the police might provide the breathalyser in question. Not so in France, where every driver is required by law to carry their own portable breathalyser in the car with them – tourists included.
Jumping the Queue
Brits are by no means perfect, but one habit we absolutely win at is queueing. Don’t even try to jump the queue if you are in line to buy tickets for the Tube in London, because you will in fact be breaking the law. Now get to the back of the queue immediately. Tut, tut.
Playing Chess During Sex
Admittedly, this hobby might not be for everyone, and would, we imagine, take quite a bit of manoeuvring and skill, but playing chess during sex is forbidden in the Estonian capital, Tallinn. Maybe Estonians are particularly into chess? Who knows.
Feeding the Pigeons
Forget your dreams of reenacting the ‘feed the birds’ scene from Mary Poppins – in Venice, at least, because it is illegal to feed the pigeons there. The Italian city banned feeding the nuisance birds in 2008, ruffling the feathers of the birdfeed sellers on St Mark’s Square. Anyone caught could face up to $700 in fines.
Wearing Your Swimwear in the City
Barcelona’s city beach is a hit with tourists and locals alike, but don’t even think about strolling into the city in your swimming trunks or bikini – wearing swimwear in the city is strictly forbidden and could land you with a serious fine. Just being bare-chested could fall foul of the law, so gents, make sure you keep your T-shirts on.
Sightseeing in High Heels
In Greece, stick to flats when exploring the country’s historical sights, because high heels are banned at several ancient monuments because of the serious damage they can do to preservation efforts.
Peeing in the Ocean
You might be desperate to go, but if you’re in Portugal, don’t even think about urinating in the ocean, because it is illegal. We’re not sure how Portugal polices this particular law, but we’re not too keen on trying it out and seeing if we get arrested. You have been warned.