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Europe's Cleanest Beaches 2014 - Where Are They?

It won't be long now until we pack our suitcases, make a dash for the airport and jet off for our summer sunshine holiday on a perfect golden sandy beach, looking forward to an occasional cooling dip in the azure seas that gently lap it.

Sounds idyllic but before you dip your toes into the water wait a moment...

The water may look crystal clear and inviting but dangers lurk there from tiny particles of untreated sewage, industrial chemicals and more but without getting out a sampling kit the size of a small car there's little you can do, or is there?
Nissi Beach Cyprus
Nissi Beach, Cyprus - achieved 'Excellent' rating

For nearly two decades now the Blue Flag organisation in conjunction with the European Environment Agency has been monitoring the quality of bathing water across Europe, helping you to decide where the best places for a beach holiday are whilst ensuring you and your family are kept safe.

The awards for water quality in 2013 have just been announced and they're likely to have a big impact on family holiday decisions as few will want to go on a beach holiday where it's dangerous to swim in the sea.

Top of the list with 100% clean, safe water is the island of Cyprus which is also blessed with beautiful beaches and wall to wall sunshine. Add in the improving facilities on many of the island's beaches which in some places has meant removing facilities that spoiled the environment and you've got the perfect destination for a summer holiday.

Bizarrely Luxembourg came in second – strange for a land-locked country but it has eleven officially designated bathing sites and all of them passed water safety standards. Perhaps we should be considering beach holidays there in future?

Back to more recognisable beach holiday destinations next and Malta came in third with 99% of beaches reaching the standard of excellent and just one which complied only with mandatory measures. Often overlooked in favour of bigger destinations, Malta has great cultural attractions too when you're not putting the water quality to the test.

Stunning Croatian beaches came in next with 95% of beaches meeting the standard of excellent. 3% of beaches were considered to have met mandatory standards although three beaches failed the test because of the levels of sewage in the water.

Greece completed the top five with 93% of its beaches considered as excellent although five failed the tests. With Greece having over 2,000 beaches tested, failing five is not a bad achievement!

Of other popular beach destinations, only Italy and Portugal made the top ten. Spain was 12th with 84% and the UK 14th with 79%.

The worst destination which could be considered for a beach holiday was Romania where only 35% of its Black Sea beaches were considered excellent. There was no data for the other major Med summer holiday destination – Turkey, as it's not part of the EU.

So, if you haven't booked that beach holiday yet, you'll know where to go to avoid a gippy tummy after rising out of the waves like Aphrodite!
Chloe Demaret
Posted: May 28, 2014 by Chloe Demaret 2 comments
About the Author -

Travel writer, social media guru, Chloe keeps our readers and customers up to speed with all the car rental and travel trends on our blog. Favourite destination: Dubai.

Last updated: Friday, July 3, 2020
I've been to Cyprus several times, and I can say that the beaches are amazing! It's one of my favourite holiday destinations.
It is weird that Luxembourg is second!
8/11/2014 11:25:35 AM
Trip Avto
Luxembourg second that is strange. But who goes to Luxembourg to go to the beach? :D

Malta has awesome sandy beaches, but got very few of them and in the summer it gets mega crowded. I guess my next vacation will be in Cyprus :)
6/2/2014 1:07:32 PM