Spain will be able to fly blue-flags at a total of 589 of its beaches this summer, once again leading the world in the number of quality bathing spots along its vast coastline as it has for 33 years.
Blue-flags are awarded to those beaches that meet demands on issues such as hygiene, sanitary conditions, safety, accessibility and the prevision of lifeguards and this year includes the added criteria of “coronavirus-safe” measures.
Spain is once again the top country worldwide for blue-flags awarded by the Association for Environmental Education and the Consumer (ADEAC), a place it has held for three decades since the awards began in 1987.
Although a total of 80 beaches, yacht marinas and cruise ports were stripped of last year's blue flags, another 23 gained new ones, leaving a net increase of 19 on last year's 669, giving a total of 688, of which 589 were for beaches.
Click through for the interactive map below:
The Valencia region holds the most blue flags with 148 – almost half awarded to Costa Blanca beaches in the Alicante province – followed by Andalusia which has 120 with the Costa del Sol winning six more blue flags than it had last year.
Galicia in Spain’s northwestern corner won 119 blue flags along its Atlantic coast and Catalonia in the northeast was awarded 118 for its Mediterranean beaches and ports.
Murcia has 32 awarded flags and Asturias now has 14 while neighbouring Cantabria has 11. The Basque Country maintained its five.
Spain’s Canary Islands, famed for their Atlantic beaches that attract tourists all year round, have 56 blue flags between them after gaining seven from last year. Gran Canaria boasts 17, Tenerife 14 and Lanzarote has 9. Fuertaventura has seven, while La Palma has five, La Gomera, three, and just one for El Hierro.
The Balearic Islands lost the most flags, with Menorca being stripped of four and Ibiza of two for beaches while three marinas across the archipelago lost theirs but the islands still boast 54 blue flags in total; 39 on the largest island of Mallorca, 10 in Ibiza and five in Menorca.
Formentera, the smallest of the Balearic Islands which is recognised for its pristine beaches does not count any blue flags on them because it is so small and didn’t apply to be considered.
But even the landlocked regions of Extremadura and Madrid boast blue flags.
For the third year running, the Virgen de la Nieve beach on the San Martín de Valdeiglesias reservoir to the west of the capital has been awarded a blue flag.
While in Extremadura, there are two blue-flagged beaches on freshwater lakes. Choose between Le Dehesa in Cheles (Badajoz) which won its first blue flag last year or Playa Dulce de Orellana in the same province which was the first of Spain’s inland beaches awarded with the blue flag accolade.
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