60 Weird Laws Around the World

Every country is different, and every country’s laws are different. Sometimes these laws border on the seriously ridiculous, and other times they point to important cultural values that might be different than your own.

We’ve compiled a list of weird laws around the world you may not believe exist. But when you’re traveling, you certainly don’t want to wind up behind bars!

It’s Illegal to Chew Gum in Singapore

Sometimes we all suffer when fools break the rules. After vandals used chewing gum to mess with the Mass Rapid Transit system and the Housing and Development Board spent $150,000 a year to clean gum liter, Singapore banned all gum substances in 1992.

Anyone importing, selling or making gum in Singapore can get fined and/or jail time, with the exception of nicotine and dental gums offering therapeutic value.

Don’t get caught blowing bubbles in the streets!

Canadian Radio Stations Must Play Canadian Artists

The Canadians are a patriotic bunch. So much so that all Canadian radio stations are required, by law, to play Canadian artists on the airwaves at least 35 percent of the time, especially during the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

This means that in an hour of radio during the workweek, you’ll hear more than 20 minutes of artists like Nickelback, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Michael Bublé and Justin Bieber — all of whom are proud Canucks.

It’s Illegal to Run Out of Gas on the German Autobhan

Notorious for having dynamic speed limits that give drivers a chance to travel more than 100 miles per hour, car enthusiasts and speed demons love trips along the German Autobhan. But, if you run out of gas, you could face a big fine. And don’t even think of walking to a gas station; you’ll get another fine for that!

Why? Germans believe you have the power to keep your car properly gassed up, so if you run out of gas, it’s your own fault. Walking along the highway is unsafe, as is having your vehicle stalled on or on the side of the road. Keep your eyes on your gas gauge and fill ‘er up when you get low.

It’s Illegal to Hike Naked in Switzerland

After Swiss and German travelers decided to make naked hiking a thing in Switzerland a decade ago (really!), Swiss officials reminded folks that a public indecency law still exists and you can be fined if caught in the woods in the buff.

In 2011, a Swiss man was fined more than $100 for his bare-bottomed walk.

It’s Illegal to Feed Pigeons in Venice, Italy

With thousands of pigeons descending upon Saint Mark’s Square and Venice, lured by the the tourists readily handing out food in exchange for Instagram-worthy photos, Venice lawmakers officially made it illegal to feed the pesky fowl in 2008. 

It is said the cleanup from the birds cost each citizen €275 per year, so now, the tables are turned. If you’re caught feeding the pigeons, you could face fines of up to €700. Better to get the picture-perfect shot of Venice’s beautiful bridges instead.

It’s Illegal to Wear High Heels to the Acropolis

When packing for a trip to Greece, make sure you have the right shoes. The country banned high heels at the Acropolis in 2009, so no stilettos at the Parthenon.

Not sure why anyone would want to make a trek around the ruins and dirt in heels — surely it’s tough to walk and will damage the shoes — but the Greeks put this ban in place to protect its ruins from damage caused by the sharp shoes. The ruins are nearly 2,500 years old, so be respectful and wear some soft-soled shoes when you visit.

Don’t Wear Your Winnie the Pooh T-Shirt in Poland

The cuddly little bear all stuffed with fluff also — gasp! — does not wear pants. Because of this, Poland issued a ban on Winnie the Pooh around playgrounds and schools, finding the A.A. Milne character a bit too risqué for the likes of impressionable children.

Best to leave your bear attire at home if visiting this Eastern European country, just to be safe.

Men Must Wear Speedos on French Beaches

Did you think the French just really liked their Speedos? Actually, its French law that men do not wear loose-fitting swim trunks on beaches, swimming pools and other public places where a swimsuit is required attire.

The law wasn’t for safety, but rather that men wouldn’t dare walk around town in a Speedo, so if he wears a Speedo in the water, it surely would be cleaner than something he may have been wearing all day long.

This need to avoid clothing that could have been worn throughout the day also extends to T-shirts; you’ll need to lose those as fast as your surfer shorts.

It Is Illegal to Wear a Suit of Armor in British Parliament

We know, we know — you’ve been dying to don your suit of armor for a visit to Parliament during your next trip to London. Still, there is this ancient law dating back to 1313 that prohibits it. The Brits could revoke the law, but, as armor really isn’t as fashionable as it was in the Middle Ages, why should they bother?

It’s Illegal to Ride a Cow While Drunk in Scotland

Before you get any crazy ideas — and have too much Scottish whisky — you should know you could get a ticket for drunk cow riding. Technically, the full 1872 law mandates people not be drunk when in charge of a cow, horse, carriage or steam engine.

In case you are wondering, the same law states you cannot have a loaded firearm on you while drunk. (We have to admit, that’s a pretty good rule.)

It’s Illegal to Wear Camouflage in (Much of) the Caribbean

Leave the Camo attire at home when you head to the Caribbean — to wear it is a big no-no in many island nations, including Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbuda and Jamaica.

Camouflage is only allowed to be worn by the country’s military personnel. 

No Selfies With Buddha in Sri Lanka

When you take a selfie with Buddha, you are turning your back on him. Tsk, tsk. This sign of disrespect is punishable by imprisonment in Sri Lanka. It is also considered disrespectful to point your finger at Buddha, and sometimes there are bans on taking photos with the statues.

Although not illegal to have tattoos of Buddha, a British woman was jailed for three days in 2014 for inappropriate tattoos of the man 70 percent of Sri Lankans feel is a prophet and avatar of the god Vishnu.

Be polite and cover tattoos, respect “no photograph” signs, and don’t turn your back on him.

It’s Illegal to Wear a Mask in Public in Denmark

Not only masks, the Danish government wants to stop anyone from covering their faces in any way in public spaces. This includes masks, helmets, scarves, hats, fake beards and even burkas.

The controversial ban went into effect in August 2018. Officials claim the ban helps to properly identify people during crowded events, should anything negative happen and someone need to be identified. 

Registering as Married at a Hotel Makes It So in North Carolina

Let’s say a man and a woman walk into a hotel in North Carolina, request to share a room, and claim they are married. By common law marriage rules in the state, that man and woman would legally be married. 

As the couple “outwardly present themselves as husband and wife to the public,” they are deemed a common law marriage, that is honored and valid in North Carolina.  

Should you find yourself in need of a hotel room for the night, you may want to fess up if you aren’t a married couple.

It’s Illegal to Fly a Kite in Victoria, Australia

In Australia’s southeastern tip of Victoria, home to Melbourne, it is illegal to fly a kite in a public space if it bothers another person. In fact, you cannot even play a game in a public place if it annoys someone else.

Listed as part of Summary Offences Act of 1966, the Aussies probably won’t mind if you do decide to fly a kite while you visit. 

Flying a Kite Is Also Illegal in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Australians aren’t the only ones who are apparently opposed to flying a kite. Lawmakers in 1907 Buenos Aires took it a step further by completely stripping the Argentinean capital of the simple joy of flying kites. 

In 1989, the law was partially revoked to make it legal to fly kites in squares and parks. But don’t even think about trying to enjoy this childhood pastime anywhere else.

No Water Pistols on New Year’s in Cambodia

New Year celebrations in Cambodia get so crazy that the capital city of Siam Reap won’t allow for the sale of water pistols leading up to and during its big celebrations. The ban went into place to prevent “traffic accidents” and “public disorder.”

Apparently, any other time of year is okay for a water gun fight, but if you go for New Year’s, shop owners won’t sell you the plastic toy. 

It’s Illegal to Be Shirtless in Barcelona

In an effort to keep the streets of Barcelona free of beachgoers in bikinis and men going shirtless, lawmakers in the Spanish town on the Mediterranean banned anyone from being topless or in a swimsuit in public anywhere but the beach or a pool.

Passed in 2011, fines for walking around half-naked could cost you up to €260.

No shirt, no shoes, no service!

It’s Illegal to Swear in the U.A.E.

In the Muslim United Arab Emirates, swearing could get you fined, jailed or deported. Under Article 373 of the UAE Penal Code, “swearing disgraces the honour or the modesty of a person.”

This isn’t just for saying the inappropriate words aloud. It includes indecent physical gestures and extends to your text messages and social media, as well. Not even indecent emojis are allowed.

Earlier this year, the British Express reported a man sent an angry message to a car dealer who seemingly did him wrong. He was threatened with three weeks in jail for his choice of words.

If you have a potty mouth, be sure it’s in check before you visit!

It’s Illegal to Wear Lacy Undies in Russia

Sorry ladies (and gents), but Russia doesn’t want you wearing anything lacy underneath your clothing. A 2014 law in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan states undergarments must be made with a minimum of 6 percent of cotton. Why? They claim it is for health and safety.

While women across the nations protested, the law is in effect and you can no longer buy lace garments. How they’ll know what you have on underneath is another subject.

It’s Illegal to Dance in the Dark After Midnight in Japan

Japan was like the country version of the movie “Footloose.” Dancing after midnight was banned for generations, as it is just too sinful. Well, it was really just too American. Enacted in 1948 while U.S. soldiers occupied Japan, the ban was placed to stop liberal Americans from corrupting the good citizens of Japan.

Japan finally lifted the ban in 2105. You can dance after midnight — as long as it’s not in the dark. Revelers wanting to get their groove on after the clock strikes 12 need to do it in well-lit nightclubs.

You Must Hang Artwork in Wyoming Buildings

In the great state of Wyoming, any public building erected must have art displayed valued at 1 percent of the building’s costs (although not to exceed $100,000).

The artwork has to be approved as art, so hanging a picture sketched on a Post-It won’t do.

You Cannot Die Without a Pre-Purchased Burial Plot in Part of France

In the town of Sarpourenx, you cannot die within the city limits unless you already have your burial plot purchased in the local cemetery.

This has to do with the fact that the cemetery is full, so the mayor issued an ordinance in 2008. He added, “Offenders will be severely punished.”

You Must Walk Your Dog Daily in Rome

Rome’s strict laws against animal cruelty include the walking of pet dogs. If an owner does not walk their dog once a day (at minimum), they could be fined $625.

The law extends to goldfish as well. While they cannot be walked, they must have room to swim. Goldfish are not allowed to be kept in bowls and must, instead, have a full-sized aquarium.

You Must Honk When Passing a Car in New Jersey

When driving along the highway in the Garden State, you are legally required to provide an audible warning that you are about to pass a car on the left.

This means that, whether you’re driving on the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike, you technically should honk your horn before you pass, according to state law.

As if the people in Jersey aren’t honking enough already.

It’s Illegal to Build a Sandcastle in Spain

Spain despises your attempt at making sand castles so much you could be fined if caught building one in Spain.

And the fines vary by location at their discretion. On the island of Majorca, for example, you could pay €100, but you could pay up to €1,500 in Galicia.

Before you ask, yes, kids are included in this restriction — and parents foot the bill.

It’s Illegal to Reincarnate Without Permission in China

Tibetan Buddist monks are not allowed to reincarnate after they die unless they have been granted permission from the government.

We’re not sure how they enforce this, but China is known for having some strict laws.

Capri May Bust Your Dog With DNA

It’s illegal to leave dog waste on the isle of Capri in Italy, as in many places. But for the many dog owners who ignore this law, science is now against you.

If you don’t pick up your dog poop, it may be possible to use DNA testing to determine the identity of your dog. And then, you’ll be fined.

It’s Illegal to Kill Bigfoot in British Columbia, Canada

When people first began sighting Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, in the 1800s, British Columbia made it illegal to kill him/her/it. 

No one has ever captured proof of this hairy, giant creature, but if you should find it and kill it, you could be fined up to $250,000 if you do not have a proper hunting license.

Washington State, just below the border, has a similar la

It’s Illegal to Pee in the Ocean in Portugal

To keep beaches clean and beachgoers healthy, Portugal has banned peeing in the ocean.

We’re again not quite sure how they would prove this one, but it’s better safe to just use the restrooms like a civilized person. 

It’s Illegal to Wear a Fake Mustache in an Alabama Church

If your fake mustache makes people laugh, save it for anywhere but church, as it is illegal in Alabama. The point of this silly law is that you are not to interrupt the service.

So, you can wear a fake mustache to church as long as it doesn’t elicit laughter. Just know your audience.

Married Women Can Only Have One Glass of Wine in Bolivia

If you’re a single woman in La Paz, Bolivia, drink up! But if you are married, it’s just one glass of wine for you.

This sexist law is due to the belief that alcohol may make a woman more immoral. A husband could actually divorce her if she is drinking in public!

It’s Illegal to Disrupt a Wedding in Australia

Even if the preacher asks if anyone has any objection to the wedding, if you are in South Australia, keep it to yourself.

If not, you could be fined up to $10,000 and even spend up to two years in jail if you interrupt a wedding.

Men Cannot Wear Strapless Gowns in Florida

Despite what may take place in South Beach’s world-renowned drag clubs, it is actually illegal for a man to wear a strapless gown in Florida.

However, the law doesn’t say they cannot wear dresses with spaghetti straps, capped sleeves or long sleeves.

It’s Illegal to Climb a Tree in Toronto

Think you can just climb a tree in Canada? (Why not, there are a lot of them, right?) Expect to pay a hefty fine if you get caught doing so anywhere in the province of Ontario.

This goes for Ottawa, Toronto and even in the middle of the forest — unless you have a permit. In 2013, one young tree-climbing enthusiast earned himself a $365 ticket for climbing one in Bellevue Square Park.

You Must Provide for Your Elderly Parents in China

The Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People (over the age of 60) includes a number of requirements for children when it comes to their elderly parents. 

You may not forsake or insult your parents, you must take care of their farm for them, and you must provide for them, among other laws.

If not, parents can request alimony!

It’s Illegal for Your Chicken to Cross the Road in Georgia

Yep, that’s right! In an effort to encourage people to keep their chickens under control, there is a statute in Quitman, Georgia, that says you can be fined if your chicken should get loose.

This means it cannot cross the road to get to the other side.

You Must Walk Your Dog 3 Times Daily in Turin, Italy

If you do not walk your dog at least three times per day in Turin, Italy, be prepared to face a fine up to 500 euros.

It’s also a crime to dye a dog’s hair for aesthetics, so no pink poodles here.

It’s Illegal to Pay With Too Many Coins in Canada

When making a payment that is more than $10, it is illegal to pay with more than a single coin under the Currency Act in Canada.

Close the Gate or You’ll Be Fined in Nevada

Gates in Nevada are used to keep in livestock, and anyone not closing and fastening a gate when outside city limits can receive a fine.

It’s Illegal to Eat a Person in Idaho

Just in case you get hungry, Idaho will imprison you up to 14 years if you eat the flesh or blood of a person.

Cannibalism is allowed under life-threatening conditions, however.

You Must Beat a Drum to Warn of Locusts in India

In the event of a locust invasion in India, a male 14 and older must do everything possible to prevent and stop the destruction of the locusts. 

Those who live 5 miles or more from the place where the invasion is occurring must announce it by beating on a drum or another method that alerts the town.

It’s Illegal to Toss Plastic Confetti in Mobile, Alabama

Not only can you not toss confetti in Mobile, Alabama, but it is illegal to possess, keep, store, use, manufacture or sell it within city limits.

We understand — that stuff gets everywhere!

Don’t Pass Wind in Malawi

The “Air Fouling Legislation” of 2011 made it illegal for people in Malawi to “foul the air.”

This stirred up a big debate on whether or not this means flatulence is now a criminal offense.

It’s Illegal to Call a Woman an Unchaste Name in Oklahoma

If any person calls a woman a name that suggests she isn’t chaste, whether she is married or single, that person can be found guilty of slander.

A fine of $25 to $500 can be issued if you call a woman a name orally or by other means, so that means not even cyber bullying should take place in Oklahoma. We can get behind that!

You Cannot Be Overweight in Japan

Save for Sumo wrestlers, in an effort to prevent obesity in its citizens, Japan created the Metabo Law. This requires people between the ages of 40 to 74 to have an annual waist measurement performed at the doctor.

Fines will be incurred if men have waists over 33.5 inches or 35.4 inches for women.

It’s Illegal to Handle Salmon Suspiciously in the U.K.

Under the Salmon Act of 1986, Parliament deemed it illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances across the U.K.

It also applies to trout, smelt, freshwater fish, lampreys and eels, but it doesn’t specify what is considered suspicious.

Billboards Are Not Wanted in Hawaii

Billboard advertising is not allowed in the state of Hawaii. Only directional, real estate and landmark signs are allowed.

One provision: You can have a billboard if it’s on your own property.

It’s Illegal to Wrestle a Bear in South Africa

Not that South Africa has bears, but if it did, it would be illegal to wrestle with them.

Don’t Hang Your Dirty Laundry in Public in Trinidad and Tobago

Keep your dirty laundry to yourself in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where it is illegal to dry your clothes anywhere that projects over a street, wall, fence or window facing a street.

The islands want to look clean while you’re cleaning.

It’s Illegal to Tell Fortunes in Maryland

Whether it is through tarot cards, palm reading or any other method, fortune telling is banned across the state of Maryland.

If caught, you could receive a fine up to $500 and even up to a year in jail.

Nordic Bars Need a License to Allow Dancing on Their Premises

If you’re in a Nordic country and feel inspired to spontaneously break into dance, we have bad news for you. Unless the bar or lounge that you’re in has a dancing license, it is illegal to move your body to the songs they are playing. 

Why this law exists is anyone’s guess. The worst part is that the law is actually strictly enforced.

You Can’t Turn Off Your Phone’s Camera Sound in South Korea

As a response to a hidden camera crisis in subways, the South Korean government banned the silencing of phone cameras when taking pictures. This means that if you buy a phone in the country, you will be unable to turn off the shutter sound. 

This law also exists in Japan.

Finnish Taxi Drivers Must Pay Royalty Fees for Songs They Play in Their Cars

Whenever you get into a cab, it’s normal for the taxi driver to be listening to the radio, as a way to make the ride more pleasant for everyone. In Finland, however, taxi drivers are required by law to pay royalty fees for songs they play while driving passengers.

The logic of the law is that they’re using the song for business while making a profit, so they must pay for the rights. 

We’re all for intellectual property protection, but this seems a bit extreme.

You Can’t Flush the Toilet After Hours in Sweden

If you’re in certain parts of Sweden and need to go to the bathroom after 10 p.m., you’re out of luck. It’s not that you can’t go to the bathroom, but you won’t be able to make noise while you do it.

This means that you will be forced to let it mellow until the morning. If you’re a guy, you’ll also need to go sitting down so that you don’t make noise. 

The rule isn’t followed in every part of the country, but if you have an annoying neighbor who wants to complain, they would technically have the law on their side.

It’s Illegal to Play Dominoes in Sevilla, Spain

Another country trying to combat noise pollution in weird ways is Spain. Or, more precisely, the city of Sevilla. The beautiful city prevents people from playing dominoes in public, allegedly because the pieces make too much noise when they clink as players put them down. 

We don’t understand this reasoning, given how Sevilla is a lively town where live music is played in the streets and flamenco dancers put on shows in public spaces. 

Throwing Octopuses Is Illegal in Michigan

Fans of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team have a tradition of throwing octopuses onto the ice for good luck. In the 1950s, the situation got so bad that a law had to be passed against this.

While the law has been around for a while, fans continue to partake in this tradition. Rather than be a weird law that is no longer used, it’s a weird law that isn’t enforced but that continues to be relevant.

It’s Illegal to Die Inside the Houses of Parliament

Don’t even think about dying inside the Houses of Parliament, or you’ll … actually, we don’t really know what the consequences for this crime would be.

Since the building is considered a royal family palace, if anyone dies inside it, they must be buried with full honors. We’re not sure how many people were planning to die here, but we guess Britain wanted to be safe.

You Can’t Kiss on the Street in Guanajuato, Mexico

One of Mexico’s most beautiful pueblos also has one of the country’s weirdest laws: no kissing in the street. This is ironic, given that the town is known for its “Kissing Alley,” where the legend of two star-crossed lovers is said to have taken place. 

You’d think this law was passed a hundred years ago and is now obsolete, but in reality, it was passed in 2009 and is occasionally enforced.

It’s Illegal to Drive a Dirty Car in Russia

Russians care about looks. So much so, that the country has made driving a dirty car illegal here. 

We’re not sure exactly what level of dirt is permitted or how often the rule is actually enforced. But the fact that the law exists — and that it had to have been made within the past 100 years — is fascinating.

(Source: Far and Wide by Lissa Poirot and Brittany Alexandra Sulc, updated on May 3, 2022)

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