Coast is clear: Spain’s pristine beaches bring home 729 Blue Flag awards

an aerial view of a Spanish beach with coast and sea

Spain boasts a total of 729 Blue Flag awards on its beaches. Photo credit: Bandera Azul (via Facebook)

Spain’s beaches have once again proven to be among the best in the world, with the country topping the list for Blue Flag awards in 2023.

The new international list of Blue Flags was announced on Thursday, May 4, and revealed that the Valencian Community, Andalucía, and Catalonia received the most accolades.

This year, Spain will have a stunning total of 729 Blue Flags, with 627 being awarded to beaches, 97 to marinas, and five to tourist boats.

The Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches, marinas, and tourist boats that meet strict environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria. Spain has six more Blue Flags than last year, and maintains its status at the top of the list.

The Community of Valencia has the most Blue Flags, with 153, followed by Andalusia with 148, Galicia with 125, and Catalonia with 120. The remaining communities are ranked in order from highest to lowest in terms of the number of Blue Flags awarded.

Within Andalucía, the Costa del Sol and Axarquia also stood out for their high Blue Flag tallies.

Spain is followed by Greece, Turkey, France, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Mexico in the international rankings.

According to Rosa Ana Morillo Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Tourism, the quality of Spain’s beaches is a fundamental part of the country’s reputation.

She highlighted the excellent work done by all those involved in maintaining the beaches, from municipal managers to street sweepers, lifeguards, gardeners, and members of the security forces.

In light of the significance of beaches to Spain’s tourism industry, the government will allocate €32.5 million to Spain’s sun and beach tourism strategy this year.

This investment will ensure that the country’s beaches remain among the best in the world, and that Spain remains a top destination for tourists seeking sun, sand, and sea.

The Blue Flag awards are managed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-profit organisation that operates in more than 60 countries around the world.

The initiative was launched in 1987 in France, and it has since become a global initiative with thousands of participating beaches and marinas. The Blue Flag is recognised by travelers worldwide as a sign of quality and is a source of pride for communities that receive the award.

In Spain, Blue Flags are managed by the Association for Environmental and Consumer Education (ADEAC) also known as Bandera Azul, and it is recognised as a valuable tool to promote sustainable tourism and environmental protection.

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