Greece ranked third among countries EU bathing water quality, according to the annual report of the European Environment Agency (EEA).
As shown in the report, the quality of bathing water in Europe has improved significantly over the past decades, with almost 85% of places now classified as “excellent” (especially affected by 2 years of quarantine. Note by the editor).
The annual report covered almost 22,000 inland and coastal sailing points in EU member states, Albania and Switzerland in 2021. The UK, which left the EU, was absent from the report for the first time.
Known for its many beautiful lakes, including the alpine waters of the Achensee in Tyrol and the emerald Weissensee in Carinthia, Austria tops the list with 97.7% excellent waters.
Just behind the leader of the top 10 countries are the four main Mediterranean holiday destinations: Malta, Greece, Croatia and Cyprus. Denmark and Germany are 2 other countries on the list of the 10 highest scoring countries. Portugal ranks 10th with 88.5%, while Italy (87.9%) and Spain (87.4%) rank 12th and 13th respectively.
The hottest spot for tourism – France – is lower in the rankings with 75.7%, while Poland is in the lowest position with 44.5%, slightly behind Slovakia with 50% and Hungary with 60.2%.
The assessment was prepared by the EEA in cooperation with the European Commission.
Local and national authorities have taken water samples during the bathing season and analyzed them for types of bacteria that indicate pollution from sewage and livestock. The water was then rated as “excellent”, “good”, “sufficient” or “poor” according to European Union standards.
Swimming in water that is classified as “bad” can lead to illness: if swallowed, swimmers may experience abdominal pain or diarrhea.
A total of 99 swimming spots in France were rated as “poor”, meaning they had to close the entire next swimming season with measures to reduce pollution and eliminate health risks.
Places that have been labeled “bad” for five years in a row should be permanently closed. This happened to 31 beaches in Italy, eight in France and two in the Netherlands. This rule is part of the Bathing Water Directive, which was passed in 2006 and has since led to an increase in the percentage of exceptional places. Water quality in the EU is generally good, with minimum standards being met in 95.2% of all assessed sites.
The cleanest bathing water in Europe:
- Austria (97.7%)
- Malta (96.6%)
- Greece (95.8%)
- Croatia (95.7%)
- Cyprus (93.3%)
- Denmark (91.9%)
- Germany (90.4%
- Bulgaria (89.8%)
- Lithuania (89.2%)
- Portugal (88.5%)