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Spain in top ten for EU 'excellent' beaches

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Spain in top ten for EU 'excellent' beaches
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands. Photo: Ismail Mia / Flickr Creative Commons.
11:40 CEST+02:00
Nearly 86 percent of Spain's beaches were rated 'excellent' for bathing water quality according to a report released on Wednesday, but the country also had one of the highest numbers of beaches rated 'poor' across Europe.

An overwhelming majority of Spain's beaches met minimum water quality standards at 97 percent and 85.6 percent were rated 'excellent', according to the annual European Environment Agency report on bathing water quality.

In the top countries of Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia, all of the beaches were rated 'excellent'.

"Good bathing water quality is critically important for Europeans. It plays a large role in helping people to plan holidays and leisure activities," the report said.

"It is therefore also of great importance to Europe's tourism industry, as clean and safe water is a major factor in continuing to attract visitors from all over the world."

Top ten: Spain's best beaches for 2015

Still, the report also showed that Spain had the third-highest number of 'poor'-quality coastal beaches at 37 sites. But this amounted to less than 2 percent of its 1,942 beaches. 

Italy and France each had a higher number of poor-quality beaches, with 105 (2.2 percent) and 40 in France (2.0 percent).

The country with the highest proportion of poor-quality beaches was Estonia where 7.4 percent of its beaches were rated poor, followed by Finland at 6.2 percent and Sweden at 5.7 percent - three times the rate in Spain.

Including inland swim sites, Spain also had the third-highest number of poor-quality places at 67 bathing sites, though this was only 3.1 percent of 2,178 places.

Spain also topped the charts internationally for clean beaches in a ranking released last week, with a record-breaking 577 beaches receiving the coveted blue flag for general environmental quality.

The EEA said that throughout the EU, water quality was very high, with 95 percent of monitored bathing sites meeting minimum standards and 83 percent rated 'excellent' for water quality.

Less than 2 percent overall were rated as not meeting minimum water quality standards.

Beach-goers will be happy to know that of the coastal waters surveyed, an even higher proportion were rated superb. Almost 97 percent of EU sites met minimum standards and more than 85 percent were rated as ‘excellent’.

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