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Where The Best Beaches in Europe for Water Quality Are | Frommer's xbrchx / Shutterstock

Where The Best Beaches in Europe for Water Quality Are

Weather forecasters say it's gonna be another summer of brutal heat waves in Europe—maybe the hottest season ever, according to some predictions

But at least there's some reassuring news for the many travelers who will seek to escape the blistering temps by submerging themselves in the continent's coastal waters. 

A new report from the European Commission and the European Environment Agency found that 85% of the "bathing waters" across Europe are of "excellent quality." 

And the situation is even better when you exclude inland waters such as lakes and rivers, with 89% of European coastal bathing sites classified as "excellent" in the cleanliness department.

Researchers tested sites across 27 European Union countries, plus Albania and Switzerland. 

In accordance with Europe's Bathing Water Directive, the continent's coastlines, lakes, and other waterways are regularly tested for pollutants and bacteria that can make people sick, with monitors rating water quality as excellent, good, sufficient, or poor. The latest report is based on 2023 data. 

Four European countries earned an excellent rating for 95% or more of waters tested there: Cyprus (97.6%), Austria (96.9%), Croatia (96.7%), and Greece (95.8%). Bulgaria (94.8%) just missed the 95% mark. 

But if you focus only on places bordering oceans and seas, Croatia jumps into the top spot, with a remarkable 99.1% of the country's beaches (886 out of 894 sites tested) determined to have excellent water quality. 

Evidently the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea along the Balkan nation's sparkling coastline is just as pristine as it looks. (Punta Rata beach in Brela is pictured above.)

European waters with the worst hygiene, meanwhile, are located in Albania (41.2% excellent), Poland (54.9%), Hungary (62.5%), Estonia (66.2%), and freighter-clogged Belgium (67.7%), according to the report. 

Still, only 1.5% of sites across the entire continent were determined to have poor water quality. 

And fortunately for the health of swimmers, any test sites that get a "poor" rating are automatically closed by law, Euronews reports, and can only reopen after local officials take measures to improve the situation. 

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