When you’re looking to go on a beach holiday the sight of a Blue Flag beach is a sign that you have arrived at one of the best beach spots in the world. Greece is one of the top ranked countries in Europe when it comes to beach cleanliness and safety, with 430 beaches and 9 marinas deemed worthy to fly the coveted Blue Flag.
Since its inception in 1987, the Blue Flag award has become an internationally recognised benchmark standard, and an award that is much coveted, becoming a symbol of quality that is recognised by tourists and tour operators alike.
Blue Flag winning beaches have complied with the most stringent of criteria:
- Water Quality
- The water has been tested and passed as being ‘excellent’ for bathing and free from sewage or industrial pollution.
- Environmental Management
- The beach has fulfilled cleanliness standards and is constantly controlled by an environmental management system.
- Safety and Services
- Blue Flag beaches are recognised as having comprehensive safety provisions such as lifeguards overseeing bathers or lifesaving equipment available for use.
- Environmental Education and Information
- Information regarding coastal eco-systems, beach conduct codes and water quality is prominently displayed for the benefit of beach users.
Blue Flag destinations – Mainland and Island
Blue Flag beaches can be found up and down the mainland coastline and on the islands. Beaches vary in size, diversity of beachscape and tourist facilities available (such as provision for water sport activities).
In the north of the country the coastline of Chalkidiki leads the way with 52 Blue Flag beaches and 2 marinas, that include Porto Carras (home to the largest private marina in Northern Greece), and Marina Sani.
The Peloponnese provinces of Ileia, Messinia, Argolida, Korinthia, Achaia and Lakonia have 42 Blue Flag beach spots between them ranging from locations amongst beautiful scenery in the port area of Gythio to the 2km long beach of Loutra Kyllinis which bustles with resort activities.
Of course the islands have more than their fair share of Blue Flag spots.
The Ionian island of Kefallonia off the west coast of Greece has a high proportion of Blue Flag beaches relative to its size. Myrtos Beach has the distinction of being awarded the “Best beach in Greece” and third best beach in the entire Mediterranean region. Meanwhile, neighbouring Zakynthos (famous for the loggerhead turtles that breed around its coast) has 15 award winning beaches.
The Dodecanese island chain boasts 36 Blue Flag beaches which include the Gourniatis beach in Kos, Faliraki beaches in Rhodes and 2 marinas, the Marina Ko and the Marina Lerou. In the Cyclades there are 30, includings the sandy beaches of Ormos in Ios and Kalafatis in Mykonos. In the Northern Aegean islands, Lesvos has 10 Blue Flag spots including the 2km long beach at Petra that offers organised sports and educational activities.
Greece’s biggest island, and one that’s renowned for its natural beauty, is Crete and here you can find 102 Blue Flag destinations, ranging from the beautiful sandy beaches of Agios Georgios to Anissaras Beach which provides many water sports facilities and also organises a number of environmental based activities.
A full list of Greece’s Blue Flag award winning destinations, along with a brief description of individual beaches and marinas, can be found on the official Blue Flag website:
More useful information on the award scheme and the quality of beaches in Greece can be found on: