Costa del Sol gears up for San Juan's seaside revelry and the massive annual litter clear-up

Bonfires are a traditional part of San Juan.
Bonfires are a traditional part of San Juan. / SUR
  • Tonight people will flock to the beach to swim at midnight, light campfires and let their hair down, but face increased warnings about harm to the environment

Beaches in resorts along the Costa del Sol will be packed tonight and into the small hours of Saturday morning as partying night owls celebrate San Juan’s Eve.

The annual festivities the night before the holy day of St John the Baptist on 24 June are a traditional way to welcome the passing of the summer solstice, which was originally a pagan celebration.

Participants bathe in the sea at midnight, light bonfires and barbecues and let off fireworks.

People in all coastal resorts will be taking part, including attending organised beach events such as in Nerja, Torre del Mar, Malaga’s La Misericordia beach, La Cala de Mijas, Fuengirola and Marbella’s El Cable beach, all in the lead-up to midnight.

A sand garden growing litter to highlight damage to beaches.

A sand garden growing litter to highlight damage to beaches. / A. R.

After the festivities, residents and tourists heading to the beach on Saturday will be faced with ‘the morning after the night before’ and council cleansing staff carrying out a massive clean-up operation.

However, more is being done to educate partygoers of the risks to the environment and public safety, plus the extra cost incurred when they don’t take their waste away.

Malaga city council is using San Juan’s night to launch a campaign on its beaches to stop litter-dropping habits. The initiative includes imaginary gardens on the beach planted with people’s rubbish.

On Saturday morning, in Malaga city, 177 street cleaners, 67 refuse vehicles and 100 local police officers will start work at 5am to clean up after the parties.

Last year, on the city’s beaches alone, 15 tonnes of waste was collected the following morning.