The giant benches of Spain's Andalusia


Giant benches like this one are being built in picturesque spots all around the Andalusian region. — AFP

Contrary to the various measures taken all over the world to minimise tourist numbers for preserving ecosystems as well as liveability for local populations, several spots in Spain are installing giant benches in a bid to encourage visitors seeking out the best shots.

Marseille in France has restricted access to some of its famous calanques, Bali (Indonesia) introduced an entry fee in February, Amsterdam (the Netherlands) recently decided to no longer authorise the opening of new hotels, the Galapagos Islands introduced a tourist quota, Venice is now taxing day-trip tourists ... In recent years, many destinations around the world have introduced new measures to keep tourist populations in check and reduce the harmful effects of overtourism, both on the environment and on daily life of local residents.

In contrast to the measures taken by the city of Amsterdam, which even limits the number of arrivals at Schiphol airport, some municipalities in Spain’s Andalusia are hoping to attract more visitors and are even taking steps to facilitate their photo opportunities. In this case, the initiative takes the format of giant benches that offer higher, raised levels that offer a privileged view of a panorama, giving them the opportunity to optimise their shots.

Travellers may feel like they’ve stumbled into a surreal, fairytale-like setting when they find themselves climbing up a meter high on the bench set up in Manilva, a seaside resort located between Marbella and Gibraltar. As reported by, a portal dedicated to covering issues concerning European cities and citizens, the Andalusian municipality knows that visibility on social media is crucial to attracting visitors, which is the rationale behind the idea for this unusual public bench.

And this is not an isolated project in Andalusia. Numerous similar installations have sprung up between Gibraltar and Marbella. Visitors can climb giant benches in Benahavis, Arriate, Istan and Archez. At Jubrique, every effort is made to ensure that visitors understand the site, where a 3m-high, 2m-long bench is located.

QR codes displayed around the area link to videos explaining the sights around the Mirador del Peñón Encantado, where the bench is located. – AFP Relaxnews

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