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Cleaner beaches in Europe

According to a new report from the EU, the water quality of bathing water in European beaches has improved in most of the 21,000 beaches that have been checked.


Playa Caleta,Cádiz. Photo: Wikimedia.

Each year the EU publishes a report on the bathing water quality in Europe, which is based on reports from the member countries. The report is also includes Switzerland and Albania. Two out of three bathing areas are located along the coast, while the rest are in the rivers and lakes. Most European beaches are located in Italy, Greece, France and Spain, while Germany and France may tempt you with the largest number of bathing areas in lakes and rivers.

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA) the water quality is acceptable for 96.1% of the 21,000 bathing spots covered by the survey. This is an increase of 0.9 percentage points from 2014. More than 84 percent of the bathing sites across the EU, Switzerland and Albania were considered excellent.

“Our assessment shows that the quality of the bathing water has improved greatly over the years,” writes EEA director Hans Bruyninckx in a press release (The first bathing water directive came already 40 years ago). In 1991 there were 9,600 bathing areas that were controlled and 56% of those received the highest rating. If one looks at the same bathing spots in 2015, 87% of these got the highest rating.

The EEA has published an interactive map where you can see the quality of each surveyed swimming area: Interactive map of European bathing areas. Further information is available on the European Commission’s website for bathing.

The entire report i PDF format:

European bathing water quality in 2015

Report for Spain in PDF format:

Country report Bathingwater 2015 ES


Playa EL Sardinero, Santander. Foto: Pedro Lopez.

However the water quality does not indicate how nice a swimming area is. As there are several factors that comes into play it may be interesting in this context to take a look at these articles: