If buying a holiday home close to pristine beaches, lapped by crystal clear waters is your dream then look no further than Spain. The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) recently announced that Spain has topped the list of countries with the most Blue Flag beaches for the 31st year in a row, beating Greece into second place. An impressive record that dates all the way back to 1987: the year the great storm battered UK shores and left us yearning for warmer climes.

What is the Blue Flag award?

Since its introduction the FEE, a Copenhagen-based non-profit organisation, has implemented the international Blue Flag programme in 47 countries around the world. Organisations are selected in each member country to enforce the standards that make the blue flag award so trustworthy and respected. The Blue Flag jury awards this highly sought-after accolade to beaches based on four factors: water quality, safety and services, environmental management, and environmental education and information.

Spain’s Blue Flags

This year’s results show that Spain is home to a staggering 590 Blue Flag beaches – 11 more than last year and 71 more than Greece. Spain’s high coastal standards don’t end there; it was also awarded Blue Flags for 101 of its marinas and five of its cruise ship ports.

Spain’s 5,000 kilometres of coastline is in such good nick that it accounts for around 17% of the total number of Blue Flags awarded across the globe this year. That means one in six Spanish beaches will be proudly flying this prestigious marker of excellence this summer. Attaining Blue Flag status is seen as the pinnacle for any beach, and is recognised across the world as proof that it has exceptional environmental standards.

Where are they?

Property buyers in the Valencia region – home to the ever popular Costa Blanca – will have access to the most Blue Flag beaches (132) followed by Galicia (109), Catalonia (101) and Andalucía (97) – which added an impressive seven beaches to its collection.


At this year’s ceremony in Madrid, the ADEAC – the FEE’s representative body in Spain – bestowed 25 of the Valencia’s Blue Flag awards to the picturesque Vega Baja region on the southern Costa Blanca. This includes the Orihuela Costa at Cala Cerrada and Mil Palmeras, Cabo Cervera (Torrevieja) and Playa Puerto (Pilar de la Horadada).

View of the sea from a height of Pope Luna's Castle. Valencia, Spain. Peniscola. Castell. The medieval castle of the Knights Templar on the beach. Beautiful view of the sea and the bay.

Valencia’s city beach

House-hunters heading to Valencia are certainly spoilt for choice with sweeping city beaches such as Malvarrosa, windswept sand dunes at El Saler, the rugged coastline around Javea and the unique white pebble beach at Montcofa, which gives the sea a distinctive milky turquoise hue.

Costa del Sol

On the Costa del Sol five new beaches made the list –Playa Casablanca in Marbella, Arroyo Vaquero in Estepona, Los Alamos in Torremolinos, La Caleta Paseo in Velez-Malaga and, Playa Ancha in Casares – meaning one in every four beaches awarded Blue Flag status in Andalucía is found within this popular 160 kilometre stretch of coastline.

Even Spain’s tiny outlying archipelagos, the Balearic Islands (44) and Canary Islands (50), aren’t short of a top-notch stretch of sand or two.


It’s not just the Spanish coastline that’s been recognised by the FEE for its high standards. Despite being located more than 400 kilometres from the coast, even the capital Madrid has contributed to the country’s list of pristine beaches. Located on the banks of the San Juan reservoir, Virgen de la Nueva beach is further proof that Spain is the promised land when it comes to sand and inviting waters.

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