Spain safely holds onto its title as the country with the most blue-flag beaches in the world.
Spain will be able to fly blue-flags at a total of 579 of its beaches this summer, once again leading the world in the number of quality bathing spots along its vast coastline.
Blue-flags are awarded to those beaches that meet demands on issues such as hygiene, sanitary conditions, safety, accessibility and the prevision of lifeguards.
Although Spain is once again the top country worldwide for blue-flags awarded by the Association for Environmental Education and the Consumer (ADEAC), a place it has held for three decades since the awards began in 1987, it was actually awarded seven blue-flags fewer than last year.
The region of Valencia on the east coast of Spain boasts the most number of quality beaches in Spain with 129 winning the rating, while Galicia (northwestern Spain) has 113, the Catalonia (northeastern Spain), 95 and Andalusia in the south, 90.
Murcia was the region that forfeited the most blue-flags, losing 16 classifications.
Spain also won 100 flags for its marinas and five for its cruise ship ports meaning the country will be able to fly a total of 684 blue-flags along its coast line.
Greece is second this year, followed by France, Turkey, Italy and Portugal in that order, out of the world total of 49 countries – all in the northern hemisphere.