Searching for the perfect beach can be a difficult task, especially in an area you are not familiar with. However, in Europe, you’ll know you’ve found the ideal surf and sand thanks to an iconic marker – a blue flag. Europe’s Blue Flag Beaches meet strict standards for water quality, safety and eco-friendliness, making them the ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and playing. Luckily for travelers, there are over 4,000 beaches that have achieved Blue Flag status in the world – and Europe has a large majority of them.
Where can you find these Blue Flag Beaches? Almost all of Europe’s countries have a few pristine beaches to enjoy—from Malta to Cyprus. Soak up the sun underneath an umbrella as waves crash on the shore, or grab a surfboard or a paddleboard and hit the water.
The Adriatic Sea also has warm temperatures and superior beaches, many with Blue Flag status. Dive into the clear waters of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, splash in the salty waters of the Slovenian Sea, and sail along the blue waters of Croatia. The list of breathtaking beaches in the Adriatic Sea is practically endless.
Enjoy 378 km of coastline at Cape Emine, right where the Balkan Mountains meet the sea in Bulgaria. Here, you’ll find 209 diverse beaches just waiting to be discovered. The Black Sea coast is the ideal location for surfing, water skiing, scuba diving and fishing due to its low saline content and comfortable temperatures. Explore Bulgaria’s most popular beaches including Sunny Beach, Albena, Bunite, Pomorie, and Harmanite, all recognized for their excellence.
Continue west through Italy and into the Mediterranean Sea. There, you’ll find Monaco’s Larvotto Beach, the home of the famous Monte-Carlo Casino. Spend the day on the beach and the night at the casino, sporting club or in luxurious restaurants within the small country.
Going north in Europe doesn’t mean that the beaches get worse. In fact, the coastline gets even better. Travel to Iceland to see Langisandur’s vast, flat shoreline. Be sure to book your trip to Denmark’s northernmost point, also home to one of the best beaches. Skagen features two great Blue Flag beaches: Gammel Skagen Strand and Aalbaek Strand. Explore miles of shore with sand dunes at the top of the Jutlandic peninsula.
If you see a blue flag waving in the wind, it’s a good sign that you’ve found that perfect coastal spot. So lay out your towel, dip your toes in the water, and enjoy one of Europe’s many Blue Flag Beaches.