Europe’s cleanest beaches are Greek

97% of Greece’s bathing areas are characterized as excellent, according to the latest annual report by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) on bathing water quality based on research data from 2018.

The survey was conducted across Europe and, in the case of Greece, a total of 1,598 captive areas, including coasts, rivers and lakes, were surveyed. The evaluation criteria were two microbiological parameters defined by the Bathing Directive.

According to the European report, more than 85% of bathing areas across Europe met the highest and strictest quality standards for water clarity in 2018. 

The vast majority (95.4%) of the 21.831 monitored bathing areas in the 28 EU Member States met the minimum quality requirements under EU rules. In addition, 300 bathing areas monitored in Albania and Switzerland.

The proportion of bathing areas meeting the highest standards of “excellent quality” rose slightly from 85% in 2017 to 85.1% in the previous year. The number of those meeting the minimum requirements for “good quality” declined from 96% to 95.4% from 2017 to 2018. This slight decrease is mainly due to the opening of new bathing areas for which the a set of data for the four bathing seasons required to be designated under the Directive. In 2018, 301 (or 1.3%) of all bathing areas in the EU, Albania and Switzerland were described as “poor quality”. This figure is slightly below 1.4% in 2017.

In four countries, 95% or more of the bathing areas were found to have excellent quality water: in Cyprus (99.1% of all bathing areas), in Malta (98.9% of all bathing areas), in Austria , 3% of all bathing areas) and in Greece (97% of all bathing areas).

All declared bathing areas in Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania and Slovenia had at least a sufficient quality in 2018.

The three countries with the highest numbers of bathing areas with poor water quality are Italy (89 bathing areas or 1.6%), France (54 bathing areas or 1.6%) and Spain (50 bathing areas or 2.2 %). Compared to 2017, the number of bathing areas in France with poor water quality has decreased (from 80 in 2017 to 54 in 2018), while areas with inadequate bathing water quality in Italy (from 79 to 89) and Spain (from 38 to 50).


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