Spain has around 7,500 kilometres of coastline and more than 3,000 beaches. Many of them are not only beautiful, but very well taken care of.
Recently we listed all of Spain’s 621 Blue Flag beaches for 2022, which were awarded the accolade for their hygiene, safety and accessibility standards, their provision of lifeguards and other positive features.
READ ALSO: Where are Spain’s Blue Flag beaches?
Unfortunately, not all beaches in Spain are quite so well preserved.
Spanish environmental group Ecologists in Action ‘awards’ these beaches ‘Black Flags’, with the aim of drawing attention to stretches of the coastline that don’t make the grade.
Big no-nos include poor waste management, pollution, overcrowding from tourism, nearby building projects, port expansions, the accumulation of rubbish, coastal erosion, and their detrimental effects on biodiversity.
This means that all the beaches listed below are not necessarily polluted but may suffer from overcrowding or the authorities are not using environmentally friendly ways of keeping them clean.
After having analysed 8,000 kilometres of coastline around Spain, Ecologists in Action have denounced 48 coastal stretches in 2022, giving them Black Flag status.
Besides beaches, Black Flags are also awarded to port areas and river estuaries.
Here are all the Black Flag beaches across the country that you should be aware of this summer. Ports, rivers and estuaries given the Black Flag status have also been listed for each province.
- Playa de La Antilla, Huelva for waste poor management
- Ría de Huelva for contamination
- El Palmar, Cádiz for contamination
- Playa Mangueta, Cádiz for the illegal extraction of water
- Barbate, Cádiz for contamination
- The beaches of Málaga for poor waste management
- Paraje Natural Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo for contamination
- Playa de La Charca-Salomar, Granada for poor waste management.
- Playa de La Rábita, Granada for contamination.
- Costa de Levante, Almería for poor waste management
- Cuevas de Almanzora, Almería for contamination
- Regasificadora de Xixón for poor waste management
- Ria de Avilés for contamination
- Alcúdia Port for poor waste management
- Porto Colom for contamination
- The River Nervión around the Guggenheim for poor waste management
- The River Barbadun for contamination
- Puerto de Mutriku for poor waste management
- Monte Antondegi for contamination
- Playa del Charco de la Araña in Tenerife for poor waste management and contamination
- Playa del Waikiki (La Goleta) in Fuertevenura for poor waste management
- Municipal beaches of Yaiza in Lanzarote for contamination
- The Cantabrian coast near caravan parks for poor waste management
- Bajo Asón for contamination
- Platja del Trabucador, Tarragona for poor waste management
- Municipal beaches of Tarragona for contamination.
- Beaches next to Barcelona airport for poor waste management
- Barcelona port for contamination
- Pineda d’en Gori, Girona for poor waste management
- The small inlets in the Costa Brava for contamination only when there are boat parties known as abarlofarra
- Municipal beaches of Vigo for poor waste management
- Estuario de la Foz for contamination
- Ría de O Burgo for the dredging of sediments
- Minas de San Finx for contamination
- Illa Pancha for poor waste management
- Playa de Arealonga for contamination
- Mar Menor for poor waste management and contamination
- Bahía de Portmán and Sierra Minera for contamination
- Beaches in the municipality of Calp for poor waste management
- Cala Lanuza and Cala Baeza for contamination
- Dunes at Playa de Tavernes de la Valldigna for overuse by tourists and festivals
- Playa del Triador for poor waste management
- Playa de Les Fonts for contamination