Excellent water quality in European countries

Europe has a great diversity of beautiful beaches and bathing areas. Each year millions of Europeans spend their weekends at their local beach or their holidays cooling off by the water. As this year’s bathing season approaches, many citizens begin to take a keen interest in the quality of bathing waters. The European Union’s efforts to ensure clean and healthy bathing water began forty years ago with the first Bathing Water Directive.

European Environment Agency

The European Environment Agency, in collaboration with the European Commission’s Environment Directorate-General, produced an annual report on the quality of the bathing areas reported by the 28 EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland.

Each year, the report is published before the start of the bathing season.This is accomplished by collecting water throughout the duration of the swimming season at particular points. Furthermore those samples are then analysed for two types of bacteria, which indicate pollution from sewage or livestock.

Polluted water can have impacts on human health, causing stomach upsets and diarrhoea if swallowed. Depending on the levels of bacteria detected, the bathing water quality is classified as ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘sufficient’ or ‘poor’.

Greece has the cleanest waters in Europe for swimming.



Those which classify as ‘poor’ have to close during the following bathing season. They must also measure on how to reduce pollution and eliminate the risks to bathers’ health.  Bathing must be permanently prohibited or permanent advice against bathing. Furthermore must be put in place at bathing water sites that have been classified as poor for five consecutive years.

All reported bathing water sites in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Switzerland. Achieved at leastsufficient quality in 2017 (according to minimum quality standards set by the Bathing Water Directive).

In five countries, 95 % or more of bathing waters were assessed as being of excellent quality. Luxembourg(all 12 reported bathing waters), Malta(98.9 % of all sites), Cyprus(97.3% of all sites), Greece(95.9 % of all sites) and Austria(95.1 % of all sites).

results on cleanest waters in Europe

Greece second in the world with most blue flag beaches

Greece has the cleanest waters in Europe for swimming.
blue flag

For the coastal environment, water quality, safety and access for all: Blue flag represents a serious and profound commitment to people and environment.

Kathisma,Egremni,Porto Katsiki are some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean and every year those beaches win international acclaim as well as a Blue Flag Award.