Following on from my recent blog about the cleanliness of UK beaches, it would appear from a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) that our European neighbours beaches have also come up to scratch.This will be encouraging news for our travel insurance customers planning a European seaside break this summer.
The latest annual Bathing Water Report from EEA and the European Commission, which looks at water quality in more than 22,000 bathing sites at beaches, rivers and lakes across Europe last year, has found 77.1% of sites had excellent quality, which means it complied with the most stringent guide values.
Encouragingly only 2% of bathing waters tested were non- compliant.
The countries where you will have the best bet of finding good water quality are Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and Greece, 90% of their sites meeting the most stringent guide values i.e. excellent quality.
Destinations most popular with our travel insurance for France, Italy and Spain, had more than 80% of sites with excellent water quality, so still a safe bet.
Should you want to escape your everyday routine, or even if you just fancy a break, why not head to one of the lovely European beaches? Below is our list of the top 5 beaches in Europe:
1 Porthcurno, UK
Set in a bay and nestled between two cliffs, Porthcurno is a favourite with families because of the shallow pools for children and the accessible deeper swimming areas. The famous open-air Minnock theatre also overlooks the bay, making it a picturesque beach getaway- and right on your doorstep.
2. Torre Guaceto, Italy
Whilst most Mediterranean beaches are famous for their sardine-like-packed beaches of red-faced tourists, brimming bars and mediocre pizza restaurants lining every shore, Torre Guaceto offers something a bit different. Secluded and quiet because its protected nature reserve tends to drive away the sun and sand-seeking tourists, the water is clean and the sand is rubbish and debris-free, making it one of the most pleasant beaches in Europe.
3. Ramla Bay, Gozo, Malta
Malta isn’t always the obvious choice for a beach getaway, but if you prefer scuba-diving to sunbathing on a beach, this is your ideal choice. The biggest beach on the island, it’s golden-red sand is what makes it famous. The area surrounding the beach is full of ancient ruins – perfect for any history buffs.
4. Vik, Iceland
Whilst you might not get the opportunity to catch a tan or build sandcastles in a climate of 11°c (in summer!), Vik beach in Iceland is a magnificent sight to behold. The black sandy beach sets a dramatic foreground against the striking dark cliffs. On a sunny day, the waves crashing against the beach is an incredible view, but in even in the rain the scenery is beautiful too.
5. Ploumanac’H, France
Known as the ‘pink granite coast’, the strangely-shaped and weathered rocks which line this Brittany beach have become oddly popular with tourists. The otherwise sandy beach hosts kids clubs and watersports activities for the beach enthusiast. The port and the tidal mill provide a cultural break just a small walk from the shore.