The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF), the national operator of the international “Blue Flag” program, announced a further 21 Greek beaches and one marina have been awarded Blue Flags for 2014 on Wednesday. With 408 beaches and 10 marinas now flying Blue Flag, Greece nudges past Turkey to rank second among 51 countries worldwide, behind Spain.
This year, the Blue Flag International Jury awarded a total of 3,372 beaches and 650 marinas worldwide. Spain ranked 1st with 571 Blue Flag beaches, Turkey was listed 3rd with 387 beaches, France was in the 4th place with 379 Blue Flag labels and Portugal was 5th with 298 beaches. Cyprus has 57 Blue Flag beaches.
The Blue Flag label is an international symbol of quality and is one of the most well-known environmental symbols worldwide. It has been awarded since 1987 to beaches and marinas meeting the strict requirements of the program. In order to receive a Blue Flag label, a beach doesn’t only have to have an excellent quality of bathing water, it must also comply with a further 32 criteria concerning cleanliness, environmental management and organization, environmental education and information, visitor safety and services, as well as protection of nature, the coast and the coastal area.
The program is run by the Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which has 63 members worldwide. Major international travel agencies take the program into great consideration. In Greece it is represented by the EEPF, Greece’s oldest environmental organization.
Greek beaches awarded with a Blue Flag include: Ouranoupoli and Porto Carras in Chalkidiki, Tolo, Monemvasia and Vathi in Peloponnesus, Barbati, Canal d’ Amour and Chalikounas in Corfu, Porto Katsiki in Lefkada, Myrtos in Cephalonia, Chrissi Akti, Elounda and Agia Marina in Crete, Faliraki and Kallithea in Rhodes, Kalafatis in Mykonos, Petra and Molyvos in Lesvos and Plati in Lemnos.