Spanish locals have been spotted out before dawn to lay down their towels in a prime spot on a Costa Blanca beach – as holidaymakers are waking up earlier and earlier to claim sun loungers.
Early-risers in Torrevieja on Thursday proudly planted their flags in the sand even before the sun rose.
They started setting up at 5.30am just after council cleaners had finished their night shift as similar scenes also played out just over an hour’s drive away in the popular holiday spot of Benidorm.
One local dug his sun umbrella – in the red and yellow of the Spanish national flag – into the sand and plonked his deckchair beside it before disappearing.
Another even planted a mini-Spanish flag into the top of his parasol – and stood next to it with his arms crossed in front of him as if he were defending his territory against foreign marauders.
Spanish locals have been spotted out before dawn to lay down their towels in a prime spot on a Costa Blanca beach
Early-risers in Torrevieja on Thursday proudly planted their flags in the sand even before the sun rose
Having a lie-in during time off abroad now seems to have gone out of the window for holidaying Brits as instead an early battle begins each day to claim the best spots.
It comes as a study revealed Brits get a thrill out of managing to grab a sun lounger by the pool before anyone else.
In a survey of 2,000 Brits by M&S Bank, 13 per cent of Brits said managing to get a sun lounger was one of the most exciting things about going on a summer holiday.
Other thrill-factors for a trip away included the smell of suntan lotion (18 per cent), getting your suitcase out (17 per cent) and googling the weather before travelling (18 per cent).
Paul Stokes, who commissioned the study, said: ‘It’s easy to forget things. It sounds simple, but make a list.’
Traditionally, early-rising German tourists have been the first off the blocks to grab one of the outdoor beds, leaving many British holidaymakers disappointed.
Locals in Benidorm were also spotted setting up their sunbeds in the middle of the night to beat British tourists.
Pictures showed residents on the beach erecting parasols in the dark in front of the ocean.
Spanish early-risers started setting up for the day at around 5.30am, just after council cleaners had finished their night shift
The Spanish locals lined the shores of the beach in an attempt to beat tourist Brits to the prime spots
As the waves crash against the sand in the dead of night, a desperate man can be seen in one video unravelling a beach mat with a deadly serious look painted across his face.
After putting the first one down successfully he appears to check that the coast is clear before wiping the sand from his hands and starting to lay down a second one at a right angle, perhaps to confuse his opponents.
As the camera pans round, it shows that he is adding to a line of colourful parasols and deckchairs already in place as a woman gazes out over the empty beach.
In one photo a local tests out one of the chairs while his friend sets up the equipment at night.
Snaps taken in the daylight show the empty deckchairs and umbrellas before the morning scramble as Brits sleep soundly in their hotel rooms.
Despite the dangerously high temperatures, sunbathers have packed out Benidorm’s beaches, with many arriving very early to pick out the best spots for a day on the beach.
Meanwhile, a security guard has been showered with praise for removing towels from the sun loungers at a hotel in Tenerife.
The staff member can be seen wandering round the poolside taking notes in the video while wearing a luminous yellow jacket.
Under the view of a hotel guest absorbed in a book, he sets his sights on one of the deck chairs, places a tub of suncream aside and whips a green towel away from it.
He then folds it effortlessly with one hand before placing it in the correct spot.
As the waves crash against the beach in the dead of night, a desperate man can be seen in one video unravelling a beach mat with a deadly serious look painted across his face
As the camera pans round, it shows that he is adding to a line of colourful parasols and deckchairs already in place as a woman gazes out over the empty beach
The beach is lined with parasols and deckchairs as competitive locals set up for the next day
Locals can be seen setting up deck chairs in the dark in a new chapter of the sunbed wars
A man tests out one of the chairs while his friend sets up the equipment at night
Snaps taken in the morning show the empty deckchairs and umbrellas before the morning scramble as Brits sleep soundly in their hotel rooms
Sharing the clip to their channel, @renovatewithroberta wrote: ‘They should do this everywhere.’
The clip has been viewed more than 176,000 times since it was posted on TikTok last year.
Commenting on the post, one person wrote: ‘I agree, first come, first served.’
A second added: ‘They should do this at all resorts everywhere.’
A third wrote: ‘Spot on, you wouldn’t walk into a restaurant and leave your jackets on the chairs to reserve a seat’.
Another person posted: ‘Never got why people on holiday wanna get up first thing in the morning for a lounger, if they could only have breakfast at 6.30am, they’d freak out.’
The security guard involved in the operation can be seen wandering round the poolside taking notes while wearing a luminous yellow jacket. He then sets his sights on one of the deck chairs, places a tub of suncream aside and whips a green towel away from it
Meanwhile, keen Britons have been spotted at the crack of dawn descending on a hotel pool to bag the best sunbeds at a Majorcan resort.
Footage shows hoards of holidaymakers armed with towels and inflatables rushing to reserve loungers on the Spanish island.
In a military-style operation some even rush over to get their hands on the spare loungers and cushions that have not even been put out yet. All the while a beautiful beach sits empty just 100ft away.
It comes as recent footage showed the increasingly tense sunbed war shrouding Brits’ summer holidays.
The Majorcan ‘sunbed police’ can be seen taking revenge on hotel guests who had reserved loungers.
Hoards of holidaymakers were spotted making the mad dash to secure a good spot by the pool
In a military-style operation some even rush over to get their hands on the spare loungers and cushions
Keen to get a prime spot, some quickly grab cushions to reserve the bed
As the sun rises on the hotel’s pool area, holidaymakers keen to sunbathe are pictured out in force
A staff member appears fed up as he swiftly removes towels and inflatables used to hog beds by the pool at the Viva resort on the Spanish island.
Dubbed the ‘towel police’ by TikToker John McGowan, the worker can be seen shoving holidaymakers’ belongings into plastic bags.
He even walks around the pool area with a stopwatch and clipboard to time how long each sunbed has been reserved for, Mr McGowan explained.
If the hogger has not returned within 30 minutes, their items are removed from the beds.
It is generally accepted in Spanish resorts that a towel left on a sunbed is claimed by its owner for the entire day. The origin of this rule is not known, though it is thought to be a German invention.
One commenter quipped: ‘Well done to this resort. Hope others take note. It might make people’s hols less stressful if the towel dash doesn’t happen anymore.’
The Mallorca hotel’s ‘sunbed police’ are captured getting revenge on guests who have reserved loungers
The ‘towel policeman’ can be seen shoving all the holidaymakers’ belongings into plastic bags
Sunbed wars have long been a common start to the mornings of British holidaymakers’ trips abroad.
Although not all hotels allow this rule, when in place it can create heated competition.
Hilarious footage of guests at the four-star Spring Hotel Bitacora, Playa de las Américas in Tenerife, shows crowds of desperate tourists waiting next to their resort’s swimming pools and descending en masse to grab the best spots at the earliest possible time.
Britons armed with swimming togs and sun cream raced past rival holidaymakers with a grim determination to secure their place in the sun for a day.
Some were reported to queue for 90 minutes first thing in the morning – waiting for some unknown signal before stampeding past opposing tourists towards the sun loungers.
Meanwhile at the Camp de Mar in Majorca a holidaymaker was shocked to see next-level towel reservation after sunbed hogs puts their towels down on the floor at the entrance to the pool area.
Photos show beach bags and towels placed in an orderly queue leading to the closed-off pool area so hotel guests can secure their sun bed the moment that it opens.
Holidaymaker Geoff said: ‘In an effort to control the sunbed madness, the door from the hotel to the pool area was kept locked until 8am.’
Holidaymakers made the dash to claim the best sunbeds ahead of their opponents
‘So people were lining their towels up on the floor in a queue order by the door before it opened. I must add this wasn’t youngsters, but mostly elderly and middle-aged people,’ he told the Mirror.
Discussing the behaviour of the other guests at a four-star hotel in Camp de Mar, he said: ‘The towel line actually went back much further [than the picture shows] and the owners were seated on the sofas just out of sight, ready to fly outside when the door was unlocked.
‘I don’t know what time they started, but we were up at 6.30am one morning to grab breakfast before an excursion, and there was already an established towel queue forming at the door. Crazy behaviour!’
Earlier this year, a holiday hero spoke out against some ‘entitled’ tourists who reserved sun loungers for nine hours while he and his wife were on holiday in Bali.
Newlyweds Thom Aspland and Lisa were honeymooning at Bali’s Grand Barong Resort where they were met by unfurled towels on sun loungers at 6.30am.
After returning at 1pm and seeing the chairs untouched, the couple waited for a further hour of no movement, before finally ditching the reserving towels and taking the spot themselves.
Hilarious footage captured the moment a holidaymaker (in black T-shirt) bagged five sun loungers by sprinting through the sun beds before throwing his towels on the best pool-side spots
They were met at 3.30pm by the shocked pair of ‘entitled’ tourists ‘iPads and books in hand’.
The couple were even sure to teach their competitors a lesson by ushering other tourists in their place as they left.
Speaking to Yahoo News, Thom said: ‘We definitely thought they were entitled, but were surprised they didn’t confront us.’
He assumed that the lack of confrontation was down to the fact that ‘they knew what they had done’.
Thom also noted the hilarious extent of the couple’s pettiness in getting on the beds in the first place.
‘We didn’t even want the beds,’ he said, but the compulsion to prove a point was too strong.
‘Many places here have an hour rule, so we just made sure we gave them an hour once we got in the pool,’ he added.
He revealed that he and Lisa had been looking on from the bar for two hours before making their move.
He also gave comical detail about the approach of the pair who thought they would get away with the nine-hour reservation, saying that ‘they quickly walked towards the chairs, then stopped and looked at each other to pause’.
‘They then frantically looked for their two personal towels’ before departing to their hotel room never to be seen again,’ he said.
The happy couple made absolutely certain that they proved their point when they left by passing the beds on to a mother and daughter after telling them the whole story.
Thom shared the ‘petty’ revenge story online with droves of followers agreeing that leaving towels on seats all day was ‘sun hogging’ and disrespectful.
‘Am I the only one hoping there’s a day two to this situation,’ one person said.
Another wrote: ‘Proof that not all heroes wear a cape.
‘Would shout you both a Bintang if I were there.’
‘I would’ve done the same except I wouldn’t have waited – if they weren’t there using them its free for all,’ a third added.
Some also commended the couple for waiting the hour that they did.
Thom then posted an update of the empty poolside chairs on the following morning as a sign of victory.
‘Free all morning,’ he declared.
In August, the hilarious moment a holidaymaker bagged five sun loungers by sprinting towards them before throwing his towels on the best pool-side spots was posted on TikTok by a guest who filmed the chaotic scene from her balcony at the Paradise Park Hotel in Los Cristianos, Tenerife.
The video shows a large pool surrounded by a decked terrace, moments before several people emerge and start running towards the sunbeds.
One man dressed in yellow can be seen sprinting towards the loungers with several towels on his arm. He skipped past rows of other chairs until he reached the ones in the prime pool-side spot.
While the other guests made their way towards the loungers, he took a shortcut to arrive there first and threw his towels down to claim the seats at an impressive speed.
This wasn’t the first time the man was on the hunt, as another video showed him in a black T-shirt securing the best spot.
Jess Clarke, who filmed the crowd, captioned her video: ‘Day Three Sunbed Wars’.
It quickly gained more than 11,000 likes and hundreds of comments were left by viewers saying, ‘Love it, so funny’ or remarking, ‘I’ve never seen sunbed wars that bad’.
Another commented: ‘Guy in yellow put in a proper shift.’
A fourth said: ‘9am sunbed wars paradise park Tenerife what a sight.’
One user recognised the man from Ms Clarke’s previous video titled ‘Day 1’.
The hotel is known for sunbed reservation races and similar scenes were captured on camera last year.
Thom Aspland’s ‘victory’ post on Facebook saw him pictured with his wife Lisa. ‘Free all morning,’ he declared, with reference to the empty poolside chairs
A viral TikTok video from July shows tourists at the Tenerife hotel making a shameless dash for the best poolside spot.
Footage shows a crowd of holidaymakers show up at a pool at Paradise Park just as it opens.
They then drop their towels on the hotspot’s best loungers – with some even glancing around guiltily as they do it.
TikTok user Sarah, whose clip has already garnered more than five million views in just one day, simply captioned it: ‘The Sunbed Race’.
Paradise Park spokesman Rafael Ruiz-Benitez de Lugo told MailOnline last year: ‘We were amused to see it – considering that our hotel has five swimming pools and areas with space and sunbeds for everyone.
‘Although we see quite a bit of talent among our guests for obstacle races.’
Tourists in Palma de Mallorca raced to reserve a sun lounger at 9am as they sprinted alongside the pool
Some appeared to be sprinting at full speed as they overtook others in the mad rush for the limited seats
As soon as 9am struck, the competing holidaymakers started to run beside the pool adjacent to the hotel
Footage shared on TikTok shows the horde decked out in their hats and towels ready for a day of basking in the Majorcan heat
Weeks before, in June last year, sunbed blockers had their towels taken away by hotel staff at another resort in Tenerife.
Holidaymaker Amanda Proctor filmed the moment the workers picked up dozens of towels that guests had laid out on empty sun loungers in a bid to reserve the best seats next to the pool at the five star Gran Costa Adeje Hotel in southern Tenerife.
Amanda said that the staff at the hotel, which features four pools, took the guests’ bags and towels and left a note on the chairs telling them where to collect their belongings.
The holidaymaker said there was a sign at the hotel saying guests were not allowed to reserve sunbeds before 10am.
A spokesman at the hotel told MailOnline: ‘At GF Gran Costa Adeje, we defend the right of all our guests to enjoy our pools and we ask everyone to respect our policy.
‘All guests will have their space in our solarium. In this situation, our colleague, like the entire GF Gran Costa Adeje team, is a hero without a cape. We are very happy with the reaction to the video and from our customers.’