Greece this year remained in second place, worldwide, in the number of coveted “Blue Flags” awarded to its beaches, marinas and tourism vessels, taking 625, 18 and nine, respectively, according to results announced on Friday by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF).

The latter is the national operator of the renowned Copenhagen-based Blue Flag International Program. Some of the primary criteria evaluated in the program are water quality and beach cleanliness, along with services envisioned for bathers, such as handicap access, for instance.

The well-known northern Greece holiday “magnet” of Halkidiki has the most “Blue Flags” in Greece among prefectures, with 104. Crete, as a whole however, has 146 Blue Flags. Additionally, the east Mediterranean country has some 15% of the Blue Flags awarded worldwide
Fifty-two countries around the world were surveyed for the 2024 rankings.

With more than 600 pristine spots, Spain achieved a Guinness World Record in 2022 for the most Blue Flag beaches and has held the record for two consecutive years.

According to Conde Nast Traveller, a specific municipality in each country must apply for Blue Flag via the national operator. Approved applications and dispensation cases are forwarded from a national jury to an international jury. Members of the latter carry out an evaluation and determines which beaches and marinas are awarded a Blue Flag for the season. International jury members hail from the FEE Board, UNESCO, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).


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