Recently, a friend asked me, “What’s the most bizarre European law?” I was slightly surprised by the question but began investigating it immediately.
My observation was that Europe has many bizarre laws. However, most of them are urban legends and are rarely enforced. Although a couple was indeed arrested in Italy for wearing loud shoes on Ischia’s island, it is hard to believe that you could be fined for ski-skating down a Swiss mountain.
Even though I think most of these insane laws are myths, I agree they tell a lot about the country.
These are 51 ridiculously absurd laws that you should remember next time your travel to Europe. It’s better to read it as a joke than a history lesson.
1. It is illegal in France to name your pig Napoleon.
2. You can be fined up to 2,000 rubles (roughly 62 USD) for driving a dirty vehicle in Chelyabinsk.
3. Milan has a law that requires you to smile at all times except during funerals and hospital visits.
4. English law forbids the death of anyone in the House of Parliament.
5. At certain archaeological sites in Greece, such as the Acropolis, heels are prohibited.
6. Madriders cannot ask each other what time it is between 3:29 and 6:47 pm.
7. It is possible to have a man arrested for wearing a skirt while in public in Italy.
8. If a person discovers a child they have lost, they can claim it as their own in Denmark if the parent fails to show up within two hours.
9. If you have the plague, flagging an English taxi driver is illegal.
10. Every man with onions in Paris must be allowed to use the streets.
11. No one is allowed to legally drink during Munich’s Oktoberfest regardless of how much alcohol they have drunk.
12. No one can play electronic games in Greece
13. A man must accept or pay 4 deer if he challenges him to a fist fight until the death in Norway.
14. It is illegal in Russia to use more than four words in English sentences.
15. Any child born in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales, must be able to spell the town name by the age of six and pronounce it by the age of thirty-four.
16. It is illegal in Turkey to be in love with the sons, daughters, wives, servants, or animals of a neighbor.
17. It is against the law to complain about Sweden’s winter darkness during long hours.
18. It is legal in Italy to pinch a girl’s bottom.
19. Scotsmen who are found wearing underwear underneath their kilts can face a two-can beer fine.
20. You must grant access to anyone who knocks at your door in Scotland asking for your toilet.
21. It is against the law to ski down a mountain while reading poetry in Switzerland.
22. The Vatican still considers divorce illegal. It was legalized in Malta in 2011.
23. It is forbidden to wear noisy sandals on the Isle of Capri in Italy.
24. It is legal in Denmark to get out of prison.
25. Driving in flip-flops and sandals is a crime in Spain. You can be fined 200 EUR.
26. A Barcelona fine can be imposed for spitting.
27. In Turin, Italy, Dog owners can face a fine of up to 600 EUR if their dogs are not taken on walks at least three times per day.
28. Belgian girls must get permission from their fathers before wearing a mini skirt more than 4 inches above the knee.
29. Danes are against the law for women to wear wigs.
30. In any German football stadium, it is illegal to mention 1966. This is the date England won the World Cup in Wembley against West Germany (4-2).
31. A Norwegian law that was once in force states that males must travel to other countries on an expedition of rape or plunder at least once every five years.
32. Monaco residents cannot play in the Monte Carlo Casino.
33. It’s illegal in Britain to drink in a pub, however bizarre it might sound.
34. Building sandcastles at the beach in Eraclea (a small town near Venice) is illegal.
35. If caught drinking and eating near Florence’s churches or public buildings, you could face a fine.
36. You are prohibited from eating or drinking while driving in Cyprus.
37. It is legal in France to marry a deceased person.
38. You can murder anyone within York’s ancient city walls, England, provided he has a bow or arrow.
39. Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city, prohibits chess during sex.
40. Chateauneuf du-Pape in southern France is a place where it is against the law to fly over or land flying saucers. The town has become famous for its anti-UFO legislation.