The countries with the highest number of Blue Flag beaches have been announced. The Mediterranean destinations dominate the global ranking in 2023.
The “Blue Flag” is an international environmental award given annually since 1987 to beaches, marinas, and tourist vessels that meet high standards of quality and safety across 32 criteria. The certification is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). This year, 4,212 beaches, 710 marinas, and 120 tourist vessels across 52 countries worldwide received the Blue Flag certification.
Spain has remained the leading country with the highest number of awarded beaches since 1994. In 2023, Spain received 729 “Blue Flags,” including 627 beaches. Valencia takes the lead with the highest number of Blue Flags (153), followed by Andalusia (148), Galicia (125), and Catalonia (120).
Greece takes the second spot globally, with 617 awarded beaches. For the first time in history, Greece exceeded 600 “beach” Blue Flags (compared to 581 the previous year). The peninsula of Halkidiki has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches (94), followed by Rhodes (57) and Crete (48).
Turkey ranks third in the global rating, with 551 beaches honored with the Blue Flag. Antalya, traditionally the top destination in Turkey, received the Blue Flag certification for 231 beaches. It is followed by the provinces of Mugla (110) and Izmir (63). Last year, Turkey had 531 Blue Flag beaches.
Italy secured the fourth position globally, with 458 of its beaches earning the Blue Flag status. Liguria has the highest number of awarded beaches (34), followed by Apulia (22), Tuscany, Campania, and Calabria (19 each). France completes the top five in the world with the highest number of Blue Flags (406 beaches). The region of Occitanie has the highest number of Blue Flag certifications (108).
In North America, Mexico takes the lead with 103 awarded beaches, followed by Canada with 32. In other regions of the world, South Africa (61), Israel (56), and Brazil (28) have the highest number of Blue Flags.