Lonely Planet Writer

A town in Sardinia may ban towels to protect its popular sandy beach

It seems incredible given that towels are staples of holiday beach life, but an area of the Italian island of Sardinia is considering banning them from one of its most popular beaches. The town of Stintino may implement the ban on towels as part of a range of measures to help protect the sands of La Pelosa beach.

Sardinia is considering a towel ban to protect La Pelosa beach. Image: Valentina Bassi / EyeEm

The town’s mayor, Antonio Diana, has come up with the measures, because the beach can attract several thousand visitors each day during the summer. He has targeted towels because they retain sand when damp, and also large bags, because sand may be taken home in them, accidentally or even on purpose. He has already agreed measures to limit access to the beach by car, and this work is due to begin after summer 2019. It includes replacing the road that currently leads to the sea with pedestrian paths and cycle lanes, and implementing a raised walkway on the beach to help protect the fragile sand dunes.

A towel ban may be implemented to protect La Pelosa beach in Sardinia. Image by Getty Images

The mayor’s plans include the provision of folding chairs, mats and reusable see-through bags that visitors can rent. He is also considering hiring security guards to enforce regulations like picking up rubbish and not parking on the dunes. He says he wants to keep the beach accessible to everyone who’s willing to look after it, and while restricting the number of people allowed on the beach is not being considered at present, nothing that will ultimately help preserve La Pelosa is being ruled out.

Sardinia is considering a towel ban to protect La Pelosa beach. Image: Valerio Vitiello / EyeEm

Diana has strong views on the subject of protecting the beach, and remains unperturbed that locals in Stentino are unimpressed with his proposed measures. “People can say what they like,” he told La Repubblica. “The important thing is to save La Pelosa”.