Is your favourite beach in Spain flying the blue flag this year?

by Lorraine Williamson
Blue flag beach
ASSSA

According to Adeac data published this Thursday, Spain has six more blue flags than in 2022. Ten new beaches have been awarded blue flags for the first time, including two inland beaches. 

Is your favourite beach on the list? 

The total number of Blue Flag beaches in Spain comes to 627 this year, six more than last year. The flag is the sign of excellence in water quality and services. And despite the severe drought and coastal degradation, Spain remains the world leader with 729 awards. Of these, 627 are for beaches, 97 for ports (six fewer than in 2022) and five for tourist boats (the same as last year). The lists were presented on Thursday by the Association for Environmental and Consumer Education (Adeac), which is the coordinator in Spain of this award established in 1987 by the International Foundation for Environmental Education. Click here to see if your favourite beach is flying the blue flag this year. 

93% of marine beaches are excellent 

There are between 3,500 and 4,000 marine beaches in Spain (figures vary according to the census consulted) and half of them are sampled during the bathing season to measure water quality. Of these, 93% are rated as excellent and qualify for the blue flag. In 2023, 689 beaches applied for the recognition, and 627 (91%) achieved the qualification. This indicates ‘the high level of applications submitted’, the organisers stressed.  

Impact of drought 

‘We can be particularly proud, because Spain is one of the few countries in the world where the entire coastline is publicly accessible. And that requires a great effort,’ Adeac said at the press conference in Madrid where the report was presented. Adeac president José Palacios stressed the importance of the drought and asked the public to get involved: ‘The water is running out, so we ask people not to use the showers on the beaches. The water quality of Blue Flag beaches is excellent, the skin will not suffer. If they want to take a shower, they should do it once at home and not 10 times at the beaches’. Adeac reminds that showering is not a requirement for obtaining the blue flag. 

Region with most blue flags 

In terms of autonomous communities, the Valencian Community is again the region with the most blue flags (153, five less than last year), followed by Andalucia (which has three more, 148 in total) and Galicia (with 125, two more than in 2022). In fourth place comes Catalonia, with 120 (three more than in 2022). Remarkably, the province of Cáceres will fly a blue flag for the first time. 

Newcomers 

This year, 10 beaches received the quality label for the first time. They are as follows;

Cogesa Expats
  • El Espigón Juan Carlos I in Huelva
  • El Chaparral, in Málaga
  • Jóver natural pool, in San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Tenerife)
  • Brazomar beach in Castro-Urdiales (Cantabria)
  • La Marina in Badalona (Barcelona)
  • Far de Sant Cristófol beach in Vilanova i Geltrú (Barcelona)
  • Monte de Navarrés indoor beach (Valencia)
  • El Cancho del Fresno indoor beach in Cañamero (Cáceres)
  • Carranza beach in Ferrol (A Coruña)
  • O Adro city beach in Vigo (Pontevedra). 

26 beaches lost distinction 

The report shows that several autonomous communities were “badly affected” and also lost flags.  The Valencian Community was the region with the most awards, receiving 139 flags, but despite this positive figure, this region is also the one that lost the most flags – seven.  

In Alicante province, six beaches did not have a blue flag this year: the Llevant and Mal Pas beaches in Benidorm, Les Deveses in Denia, La Ermita and Tamarit in Santa Pola and El Arenal beach in Jávea. Valencia province also lost this award in L’Arbre del Gos. 

After the Valencian Community, Andalucia was the second autonomous community to lose the most Blue Flags with five beaches. The province of Almería was the hardest hit. Four beaches were removed from the list: El Corral beach in Carboneras, Villaricos in Cuevas de Almanzora and El Descargador and Piedra Villazar in the town of Mojácar.  Málaga beach also disappeared from the list.  

The Balearic Islands also had to drop out. In Mallorca, three beaches are no longer of optimal quality: El Arenal and Cala Estancia in Palma de Mallorca and Cala Gran in Santanyí.  

In the other archipelago, the Canary Islands, three beaches lost the right to fly the blue flag: Castillo beach, in Fuerteventura; Las Canteras and La Garita in Gran Canaria. 

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