Greece travel warning as UK tourists face £850 fine for breaking beach rule

British tourists have been warned that they face a hefty fine if they break a strict beach law while holidaying in Greece. The country is a popular spot for tourists with it's beautiful scenery and sunny weather

But if they aren't careful, tourists could be slapped with a £850 fine for a simple mistake. Those holidaying in Skiathos, in the northwest Aegean Sea, are the ones at risk.

If visitors are found removing pebbles from the island’s iconic Lalaria Beach, they will be slapped with the fine. Introduced in 2018, the draconian rules aimed to curb rock theft at the island’s most famous beach which was named after ancient Greek word for pebble.

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A sign informs visitors that taking the white stones is not allowed. It states: "It is strictly prohibited to remove pebbles or stones from anywhere on the beach."

In an effort to encourage compliance further, the Skiathos authorities have also placed so-called “Lalaria Beach pebble return boxes” at airports, where visitors are also subject to suitcase searches, The Express reports.

Without these rules in place, the island was at risk of losing whole chunks of its famous beach, made its film debut in the first Mamma Mia movie. And local authorities and activists have popularised the slogan “Take a picture, not a pebble," which now features on posters around the island.

The island’s harbour master chief discussed the fines when they were first introduced in 2018. He told The Guardian: "Lalaria is not a protected site so the fines were announced in extremis.

“Now that all these measures have been taken we hope they will have a deterrent effect.” According to the town’s spokesperson, Athina Papageorgiou, the rules were necessary given the Skiathos’ rising popularity.

She said in 2018: “On the back of the tourism surge there’s been a noticeable decline in the stones. It may be a small thing to take one here and there, but when that is repeated multiple times, the result is there is nothing left.”