Greece Shines Again in Blue Flag Beach Rankings

Greece maintains second place globally at this year’s Blue Flag Awards, celebrating over 650 pristine beaches, marinas, and tourist boat operators.

Greece has once again secured its position as a top destination for pristine beaches, maintaining its second-place ranking globally in the coveted Blue Flag awards for 2024. This accolade, announced last Friday by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (EEPF), underscores the country’s commitment to environmental excellence and high standards in beach tourism.

The Blue Flag program, headquartered in Copenhagen, is a prestigious international award system that assesses beaches, marinas, and tourism vessels on stringent criteria, including water quality, beach cleanliness, and facilities for visitors, such as accessibility for individuals with disabilities.


The EEPF, Greece’s national operator for the Blue Flag program, revealed that the country received 625 Blue Flags for its beaches in 2024 – up from 617 last year – in addition to 18 for its marinas, and nine for its tourist boat operators.

Among Greece’s mainland regions, Halkidiki, a renowned holiday hotspot in northern Greece, boasts the highest number of Blue Flag beaches, with an impressive tally of 104. Crete, a favorite among tourists for its picturesque landscapes and crystal-clear waters, tops the bill for the Greek islands, with an impressive total of 146 Blue Flags.

Globally, Greece accounts for approximately 15% of all Blue Flags awarded, a testament to the country’s dedication to maintaining its natural beauty and providing top-tier amenities for beachgoers. This year’s rankings included evaluations from 52 countries, with Spain taking the top spot and setting a Guinness World Record in 2022 for the highest number of Blue Flag beaches. Spain has held this record for two consecutive years, further intensifying the competition among leading beach destinations.

The process of awarding Blue Flags is rigorous. Each country’s municipalities must apply through their national operators, such as the EEPF in Greece. Applications that meet national standards are then forwarded to an international jury for final evaluation. This jury comprises members from esteemed organizations including the FEE Board, UNESCO, the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC), and the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

These organizations collaborate to ensure that the awarded beaches not only meet high environmental and quality standards but also promote sustainable tourism practices. The involvement of international bodies like UNESCO and UNEP adds a layer of credibility and global significance to the Blue Flag awards, encouraging destinations to continually improve and innovate in their environmental practices.

The impact of these awards on Greece’s tourism industry is significant. Blue Flag status is a powerful draw for tourists seeking clean, safe, and well-managed beaches, contributing to Greece’s appeal as a premier summer destination. This recognition also incentivizes local municipalities and businesses to invest in environmental management and sustainable tourism practices, fostering a culture of conservation and responsible tourism.

As the summer season approaches, Greece’s Blue Flag beaches are poised to welcome visitors from around the world, offering unparalleled experiences in some of the planet’s most beautiful coastal settings. Whether it’s the vibrant shores of Halkidiki, the diverse landscapes of Crete, or any of the other Blue Flag-awarded sites, Greece’s commitment to excellence ensures that its beaches remain at the forefront of global tourism standards.

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