Peeing in the sea, hiking naked: things you could be arrested for on holiday

Don't be caught out by your own ignorance. Here are things not to do on your world travels - or you'll end up facing the long arm of the law

13 August 2017 - 00:00 By Elizabeth Sleith
It's illegal to relieve yourself in the ocean in Portugal.
It's illegal to relieve yourself in the ocean in Portugal.
Image: iStock

Two Chinese tourists have been arrested in Berlin for making the Hitler salute outside parliament.

The men, aged 36 and 49, were spotted taking pictures of each other with their cellphones while making the offensive gesture outside the Reichstag building.

Germany has strict laws about Nazi symbols and making that gesture is punishable by up to three years in prison.

A spokesperson for the German police said, "Anyone coming here ought to know and respect the country's customs."

So, in the spirit of not being caught out by your own ignorance, here are some other things not to do on your travels - or face the long arm of the law.

1. HIKE NAKED

Picture it: you're a nice, Swiss family enjoying a lovely picnic in the Alps when suddenly a starkers German comes ambling out of the brush, scaring the kiddies and curdling the milk ... Well, it's not likely to happen (again) in the tiny Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, which banned nude hiking after this horrifying incident actually occurred in 2009.

2. INSULT THE PRESIDENT

In France, it is illegal to offend the head of state, though the term "offence" is poorly defined. Essentially, it means doing anything to damage the president's honour. Thus, naming your pig "Macron" would likely fall foul of the law.

3. TOUCH YOUR CROTCH

Michael Jackson would have had a hard time in Italy, where crotch-grabbing is deemed so "bad" it's illegal. Apparently the superstition, whereby men believe that a spot of "rearranging" could ward off bad luck, was so rife there was nothing for it but legislation to curb the behaviour.

4. BE WEIRD WITH SALMON

The UK's famous Salmon Act of 1986 prohibits "handling salmon in suspicious circumstances". It's a law aimed at reducing poaching - which is no joke - but the wording is still worth a chuckle.

5. PEE IN THE OCEAN

It's against the law in Portugal, though we pity the task team whose job it is to bring in offenders.

6. WALK PAST THE PRESIDENT'S HOUSE

You can't take photos of public buildings in Maputo and if you find yourself on the pavement outside the president's house, best cross the street. It's illegal to be on foot on that side of the road.

7. FOOTLOOSE BIKING

If you ride a bike in Mexico, keep your feet flat on the pedals at all times. Lifting them is deemed reckless.

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