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Blue Flags

Blue flag beaches in Andalucia © Michelle Chaplow
Blue flag beaches in Andalucia

Blue Flag Beaches & Marinas in Andalucia

Take a look at what beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa del Sol. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

Take a look at what beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa Tropical. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

Take a look at what beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa de la Luz. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

Take a look at what beaches have been regularly awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa Almeria. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

background

The Blue Flag Campaign started in 1987 and is now is a voluntary eco-label awarded to over 4.000 beaches and marinas in 48 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Jordan, UAE and the Caribbean. Recently the Blue Flag Programme has expanded to offer awards for individual boaters and whale-watching boats.  The Blue Flag Programme promotes sustainable development through strict criteria in the categories of Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management, and Safety and Other Services. The Campaign is a private initiative under the Foundation for Environmental Education Europe (FEE) and is operated in each country by the national FEE-member organisation. In Spain this is the Asociación de Educación Ambiental y del Consumidor. 

blue flag criteria

The Campaign awards the Blue Flag (or more correctly approves an application) on the basis of criteria covering:

  • Environmental education and information
    (e.g. information on bathing water quality and the local environment, tours and activities that raise awareness)
  • Environmental management
    (e.g. waste, nature protection, sewage treatment)
  • Water quality
    (for beaches clean bathing water of a specified quality)
  • Safety and services
    (e.g. lifesaving equipment, toilet facilities, first aid)

The European Commission

The European Commission has since the start been involved in the Campaign. The Commission supports especially the multi-layer approach: protection and preservation but also education and awareness, clean and safe water but also integrated and sustainable coastal management. The European Environmental agency is a member of the International Blue Flag Jury. Other institutional partners are United Nations World Tourism Organization and United Nations Environment Programme.

Detailed Criteria

Detailed information on participating organizations and the criteria to be met for blue flag consideration can be found at www.blueflag.global and www.adeac.es

Detailed guide to the interpretation of Blue flag beaches in Spain is here PDF (97 pages Spanish). Blue flag criteria from BlueFlag.global is here PDF.

The Spanish Health Ministry oversea a system called NAYADE whic collects health data of the quality of bathing water. It was initiated in 2008 and based on the criteria of Real Decreto 1341/2007 of 11-10-2007 and EU directive 2006/7/CE. You can look up the water quality readings for Spanish beaches with 350 sampling beaches in Andalucia during the summer season. (Select Andalucia and optionally the province and coastal municipality and click 'Buscar' (search). Click on the beach name and then on the tab 'Muestres' to see the fortnightly summer water quality readings. The blue flag criteria is requires under 250 ufc/100ml for E-Coli (Escherichia coli)and under 100 ufc/100ml for Enterococo.   Occasionally reading do exceded this and the beaches were temporarily closed to bathers.

EU signage on bathing quality can be seen here. and the rating will be displayed on the Blue Flag beach. Almost all beaches in Andalucia are rated 'Excelent' as can be seen in the appendix of the annual report 'Informe Técnico Calidad de las Aguas de Baño en España 2019 can be downloaded here in PDF.

 

Blue Flag Beaches in Andalucia

There are 115 Blue Flag Beaches in Andalucia and  20  Blue Flag Marinas in Andalucia in Summer 2021. This number increases slightly each year. Town halls and tourist industry boast of the success the annual awards are published each May but keep very quiet about their losses. With the information in this section you can check when your local beach was awarded Blue Flag status.

These pages are updated each May shortly after the season's awards are published. In 2021 there were 137 candidate beaches (up 12 on previous year) of which 115 were awarded Blue Flags (up 15 on precious year). Details are not published of which candidate beaches were not awarded. The main reasons why a beach is not awarded is due to too high occupancy or for the presense of unauthorised instalations. Officially there are 402 beaches in Andalucia.   If a consumer has a commplaint about a Blue Flag beach (in the summer season) in Spain it can be made by email to [email protected] stating name of beach and town, time and date, detail of the complaint and attaching a photograph.

Blue Flag Season

The blue flag is only awarded for the summer season. This varies slightly from one beach to another.  In Europe the minimum season is 1 July to 15th September. Most of the blue flag beaches in Andalucia operate for the season from 1 June or 15th June to 15th September. For exact dates check the Blueflag.global website listings. In practice it the requirement for the provision of lifeguard services that determines the season. Other criteria such as environmental management and bathing water quality will be served for a wider period although the water testing is only carried out during the season.

It is likely that on municipal beaches and blue flag beaches there will be lifeguards for Easter week and then from June to September but NOT at other times.

The selection process by the town hall begins with request for a beach inspection during the summer of the previous year. The closing date for formal submission of Blue Flag candidate beaches to the Asociación de Educación Ambiental y del Consumidor (Adeac) is 1st December. The national jury meets the first week in February and the results are usually announced in early May.

CALIDAD DE TURISTICO Q

The Instituto para la Calidad Turística Española have a system of awarding establishment the 'Q' certificate. This includes beaches and there are 85 beaches in Andalucia with a Q certificate.

 

Blue Flag Beaches & Marinas in Andalucia

Take a look at what beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa del Sol. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

Take a look at what beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa Tropical. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

Take a look at what beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa de la Luz. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

Take a look at what beaches have been regularly awarded a Blue Flag status on the Costa Almeria. Destinations are listed along the coast from West to East.

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