The European Environment Agency’s annual report on bathing water at European beaches, lakes, and rivers tells us that 95.9 percent of Greek beaches and inland waters are considered excellent for swimming.
According to the report from 2017, Greece came in fourth after Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus. Greece’s positioning is unique for several reasons including the fact the Aegean country has many times more beaches than these other selections. The report is based on tests of the 28 EU Member States, Switzerland and Albania conducted last year from samples EEA took from over 21,000 swimming locations in Europe. The report also showed that 85 percent of the total number of swimming locations rated of excellent quality. Only 1.4 percent of the locations tested rate of poor quality.
Overall, EEA tested almost 1,600 points in Greece over a five-month period. Of those 97 percent of the waters were found to be of good or excellent quality. The report also mentions the pollution in the Saronic Gulf, which resulted in 11 swimming spots being closed to the public for two months. EEA testing also showed Bulgaria at the bottom of the list for clean swimming waters, with only 44.2 percent of locations being of excellent quality. Romania with 50 percent and Albania with 54.9 percent, complete the bottom three. On an Albania note, the EEA country report showed a vast improvement in coastal swimming water quality on account of the construction of several new wastewater treatment facilities on the Adriatic. For Romania, the percentage of excellent quality sites was down from 2016’s figures with 50% as opposed to 70% of the total number registering high numbers.