Spain has once again been revealed as the country with the most Blue Flag beaches. Boasting an incredible 627 Blue Flag beaches across the country, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re hoping to have a beach day in Spain. In fact, 15% of the world’s Blue Flag beaches are in Spain.
Here’s everything you need to know about how this figure was calculated, and where to find some of the best Blue Flag beaches in Spain:
What Is a Blue Flag Beach?
The Blue Flag badge is awarded to beaches that meet and maintain a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility standards. When you visit a Blue Flag beach you know you are visiting a beach where both the water and shore are clean and safe, where environmental standards are maintained, and where all beachgoers can access and enjoy the facilities.
The Blue Flag badge was launched in 1987 by the International Foundation for Environmental Education. Spain has been the global leader for the nation with the most Blue Flag beaches every year since 1994.
How Many Blue Flag Beaches Are There In Spain?
There are currently 729 Blue Flags in Spain, according to the latest data released by The Association for Environment and Consumer Education (ADEAC), which coordinates the award in Spain. These flags are distributed amongst beaches, ports and tourists boats.
627 beaches in Spain boast Blue Flags: that’s six more than in 2022. 97 ports in Spain boast Blue Flags: that’s six less than last year. And the figure for tourist boats with Blue Flags in Spain remains unchanged at five.
The quality of both the beaches and the ocean bathing water in Spain is exceptionally high. There are between 3500 and 4000 accessible sea beaches in Spain, and the ADEAC tested water samples from around half of these. Of those tested, an incredible 93 percent received an excellent rating and were therefore eligible for the Blue Flag. However, not all of those beaches were put forward by local councils and communities to receive the award.
Just 689 beaches were put forward as candidates for the Blue Flag award, and 627 (91 percent) received the qualification.
Which Spanish Region Has the Most Blue Flag Beaches?
The Spanish region with the most Blue Flag beaches continues to be Valencia, though with 153 beaches on the list in 2023, this is five less than they had last year.
The second most successful region was Andalucia, which added three new beaches to its Blue Flag rosta and now boasts 148 Blue Flag beaches. In third place is Galicia, which also increased its number of flags by two, and boasts 125 Blue Flag beaches. Finally, in fourth place is Catalona with 120 Blue Flag beaches: that’s three more than last year.
Where Are The New Blue Flag Beaches?
Ten beaches were awarded Blue Flag status for the first time in 2023. These are:
- El Espigón Juan Carlos I of Huelva
- El Chaparral, in Malaga
- Jóver, a natural swimming pool in San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Tenerife
- Brazomar de Castro-Urdiales, in Cantabria
- The Marina of Badalona, Barcelona
- Far de Sant Cristófol beach, in Vilanova i Geltrú, Barcelona
- Monte de Navarrés inland beach, Valencia
- The inland beach of El Cancho del Fresno de Cañamero, Cáceres
- Carranza de Ferrol, A Coruña
- O Adro, an inland beach in Vigo, Pontevedra
Why Does Spain Have So Many Blue Flag Beaches?
One of the first reasons why Spain has so many Blue Flag beaches is because it is one of the few countries in the world where the entire coastline is publicly accessible. But maintaining that coastline and ensuring its beaches reach such high standards requires significant effort.
It is important that all of Spain’s residents and tourists work together to maintain the quality of the beaches. José Palacios, the president of ADEAC, highlights this when he says that "our life and our health depend directly on the place where we live and for this reason, the most intelligent thing to do is to respect, care for, conserve and recover our natural environment".
Spain is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history, and this may impact the number of Blue Flags awarded next year. The ADEAC vice president, Virginia Yuste, has warned that the levels of dammed water are expected to drop this summer, and that if interior beaches run out of water as a result, they will be asked to lower their Blue Flags.
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