This Country Officially Has the Best Beaches in the World

Beach | © IgnaceAleya / Pixabay
Jessica Jones

Spain is the country with the most Blue Flag beaches in the world, with 11 more just having been added to its 2018 tally.

Spain is officially the world leader when it comes to the quality of its beaches, after being awarded 696 Blue Flags for 2018.
The country has dominated the top of the list since the Blue Flag initiative was founded in 1987 and in 2018 comes ahead of Greece, France, Turkey and Portugal.


The results were released on Tuesday by the Association of Environmental Education and the Consumer (Adeac), the Spanish section of the European Federation of Environmental Education (FEE).
Blue Flag criteria include high standards for safety, water quality, environmental information and management. As well as beaches, flags have been granted to marinas and sustainable tourist boats.


The region of Valencia was awarded the most blue flags at 132, followed by Galicia with 109 and Catalonia with 101.
Spain has 11 more flags in 2018 than 2017, but there are some notable omissions.

Barcelona’s main city beach La Barceloneta lost its blue flag, as did the nearby Nova Icària. The City Council played down the disappointment, saying that the beaches had attained ‘good’ water bathing quality, rather than the ‘excellent’ that is demanded by the FEE for the Blue Flag rating.


Landlocked Madrid gets its first beach

Madrid, which is over 300 kilometres (186 miles) from the nearest coast, has been given its first Blue Flag. The Virgen de la Nueva beach is located on the banks of the San Juan reservoir near the town of San Martín de Valdeiglesia, around an hour west of Madrid.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article