The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced on Tuesday the awards for the highest quality beaches for 2019, with Greece coming in second in the entire world, behind only the nation of Spain.
Greece can now boast of having 515 total “Blue Flag” beaches, and the nation also received accolades for the quality of fifteen different marinas and four sustainable tourism boats.
An interactive map of all the awarded beaches can be viewed here.
The prestigious Blue Flag is recognized worldwide as a sign of excellence in life-saving facilities, first-rate water quality, accessibility, and information regarding the surrounding nature of the award-winning beaches.
The world-renowned voluntary eco-label awards beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators and is trusted by millions of travelers around the globe. The program is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which has its headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Most of Greece’s Blue Flag awards, from a total of ninety-two it won this year, went to beaches in Halkidiki, in northern Greece.
On a worldwide scale, the foundation awarded the international Blue Flags to a total of 3,797 beaches, 695 marinas and 67 sustainable tourism boats for 2019.
In order to qualify for the prestigious Blue Flag award, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained. “Excellent” water quality for beaches is a main requirement.
The Blue Flag award has a duration of one year. However, EEPF and FEE inspectors often make surprise visits to the country’s award-winning beaches between July and August, and marinas all year round, in order to see if the Blue Flag program criteria are being maintained.
The country of Spain received a total of 669 Blue Flag awards, including 566 Spanish beaches, 98 marina resorts and five sustainable tourist boat operators.