The Blue Flag Org has recently released its 2012 beach classifications, detailing the world’s finest beaches and providing holidaymakers, tourists, backpackers and locals with a go to guide for beaches. The Blue Flag Org rewards beaches with a blue flag award on five criteria, water quality, environmental education, environmental, safety and other services. The Blue Flag is now seen as a standard bearer for beaches, guaranteeing a beach of natural beauty and modern amenities, perfect for those that travel regularly.
Here’s a selection of Europe’s finest blue flag beaches…
Blue Flag Beaches in Spain
In 2012, Spain had over 500 Blue Flag beaches and 92 Blue Flag marinas. Despite mass tourism, Spain’s diverse coastline consistently provides its visitors with some of the most visitor friendly beaches in Europe. Spain’s mainland has an incredible 400KM of coastline, with 450+ blue flag beaches for visitors to enjoy. City beaches such as Valencia and Barcelona provide fantastic facilities, with their rural feel are maintained and celebrated with the blue flag award.
However it is on Spain’s islands where the best of the blue flag beaches are to be found. The Canary Islands that sit just off the West coast of Africa have 10 blue flag beaches between them, with the black sand beaches of Tenerife and Lanzarote among the most exotic in the world.
The Balearic Island of Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca have 40 blue flag beaches along their coastline. Majorca has 33 of the beaches, with the northern coast of the Island a myriad of wilder beaches. Cala Sant Vincente is one of the most beautiful in the Pollensa area. The large sandy bay has great facilities including wheel chair access, cafes, toilets, sun loungers and water sports.
See here for more information on the Blue Flag Beaches in Majorca.
Blue Flag Beaches in Portugal
With the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea lapping against the coastline, the Algarve is a naturally created myriad of blue flag beaches. The 500km stretch of coastline is amongst the most photographed in the world, and is of significant natural beauty. With 78 blue flag beaches, the Algarve has one of the highest ratios of blue flag beaches per km2 in Europe.
Carvoeiro Beach is in the western region of the Algarve, and is one of the most visited regions along the souther tip of Portugal. Carvoeiro’s beach is an open bay that leisurely stretches into the sea, with a large space for families to relax and enjoy. The small town of Carvoeiro provides a fantastic drop back, giving visitors a Moorish town to explore after a day at the beach. By night it becomes even more charming as the sun sets over the cliffs.
See here for more information on the Algarve’s Blue Flag Beaches
Blue Flag Beaches in Greece
Greece sits in the East of the Mediterranean Ocean and visitors can choose from 379 magnificent Blue Flag beaches. With a varied coastline, and many smaller islands, Greece is one of Europe’s most diverse and celebrated coastlines. Towards the south of the country you will find some of the best diving locations in the med, with the warm waters great for snorkeling and scuba diving.
The Blue Flag award also details areas of great ecological nature, so underwater marine life is not damaged mass tourism or modern transport that regularly passes through this channel of water.
Kefalonia is to the west of Greece and is one of Greece’s most visited islands, valued by locals and loved by visitors. Myrtos in Kefalonia is widely recognized as the most beautiful beach on the island, with the image of its white sandy strip vibrant blue water leaving most visitors in awe. Its Blue Flag status guarantees this image is maintained. It is wheel chair accessible, the sea and sand are clean and there are lifeguards on watch. Its length and breadth means it doesn’t feel crowded even in high season.