Locals rage as K-pop fans swarm Spanish town popularised by Korean music video

A small Spanish resort has become swarmed with tourists vying for selfies and is enjoying a post-pandemic tourism boom after a Korean pop star filmed two of her latest music videos in the town. Chinese and Korean visitors, keen to replicate the music video Melody, performed by K-pop star YooA, have been arriving in their masses to the town of Tossa de Mar, spending half an hour queuing up to take a picture behind the now-infamous “Devil’s Hole”.

The influx has split opinions among the locals; while the restaurants are benefitting from the visitors, shopkeepers are failing to capitalise on the flow of tourists as many of the customers prefer to fly back to Barcelona to do their shopping.

Dozens of tourists each day, mainly from Korea and China, have been making the 75-minute trip from Barcelona northwest to Tossa de Mar to take a few selfies behind “Devil’s Hole”.

According to locals, they tend to take a guided tour of the resort town, which culminates in a photo behind the famous hole in the wall, after which they return to their hotels in Barcelona for the evening.

The visitors have been queueing up for half an hour to take a prized photo for social media, often spending upwards of 15 minutes trying to take the perfect picture.

The uptick is believed to be as a result of YooA’s video Melody, in which she walks around the town before posing behind “Devil’s Hole”.


The music video, posted six months ago on YouTube, has received more than 6.1 million views.

Located underneath the Bay of Tossa, the Forat del Dimoni, also known as “Devil’s Hole”, now attracts crowds of largely Asian tourists every day.

The enthusiasm over the hole in the wall has forced local authorities to erect a fence by the attraction to ensure an orderly queue.

The resort town had already been popular among Asian tourists after the release of the Korean TV series The Legend of the Blue Sea from 2016 to 2017, which was filmed in various locations in Barcelona and the Costa Brava, including Tossa de Mar, as well as Galicia in north-west Spain.

The show depicted the convoluted story of a mermaid and a conman that enjoyed huge ratings in Korea.

But YooA, who has more than one million followers on Instagram, has now further spiked Asian interest in Tossa de Mar and its “Devil’s Hole”.

The boom in Asian tourism became apparent about a year and a half ago, according to Oscar Trabazos, market analyst at the Tossa Tourist Office.

It had been a long time coming but the pandemic paralysed the flow of tourism, leading to a delay in fans of the TV series visiting Tossa de Mar.

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“We expected it, yes, but not so suddenly,” Mr Trabazos said. “In the last four or five months, buses full of Chinese and Korean tourists have been arriving.”

One woman called Zhar, from China, who queued up for half an hour to take a picture behind the hole in the wall, suggested she had wanted to come because of YooA.

She said: “I think people are here to take photos more because of the song than the TV series, which is quite old. It’s all about social media.”

Gregori Martanez, also from the Tossa de Mar tourism department, said they were deciding whether to capitalise on the influx or “devise a policy” to protect the town.

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