Greece is home to some of the cleanest, highest quality swimming waters in all of Europe, according to data released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Tuesday.
This news will not come as a surprise to those who have swum in the country’s pristine, crystalline seas, but the quality of the water in Greece is well above the European average.
The EEA’s findings show that, on average, 83.7% of the swimming waters in the EU are “excellent,” or of the highest quality, while a stunning 97.1% of Greece’s seas are of the same rank.
According to the EEA’s standards, swimming waters in Europe that are ranked “excellent” are of the highest quality, followed by “good,” “sufficient,” and “poor.”
The vast majority, 97.1%, of Greece’s waters are considered excellent, and the rest are “good.” None of the swimming waters in Greece are ranked “sufficient” or “poor.”
Greece and five other countries home to cleanest swimming waters
Over 1,500 beaches along Greece’s famously extensive shoreline were subjected to rigorous analysis during the EEA’s research.
In total, 22,276 beaches and swimming areas were examined throughout the EU, as well as Albania, the UK, and Switzerland, which are not members of the bloc.
Only a few other European countries are home to swimming waters of nearly the same quality as those found in Greece.
Cyprus, Malta, Croatia, and Austria are the only five other European countries where the percentage of high quality swimming waters comes to over 95%.
The UK and Poland have the lowest-quality swimming waters in Europe.
Greece has over 500 Blue Flag beaches
Just last month, Greece ranked second in the world for the highest number of Blue Flag beaches, or beaches that are officially recognized for the quality and cleanliness of their waters.
The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.
In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
A total of 545 beaches in Greece were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for 2021, putting the country in second place among 49 countries, according to data released by the Greek section of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
The Halkidiki peninsula in northern Greece, renowned for its golden sands and turquoise waters, swept most of the 545 awards all by itself, earning 155 flags.
Greece’s largest island of Crete, with more than 120 green flags, follows, and Rhodes is in third place with 63.
In Attica, home to Greece’s bustling capital city of Athens, the popular beaches of Varkiza, Voula and Vouliagmeni all passed muster as well.
A map with all the locations in Greece and elsewhere that have been awarded Blue Flags this year is available at by clicking on this link.