If environmental sustainability is important to you, even on vacation, then consider visiting Blue Flag beaches (AKA, amazing eco-friendly beaches) on your next boat holiday.
What are blue flag beaches?
The Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches, boats, and marinas that adhere to strict criteria and excel in the following areas:
- Environmental standards
- Educational elements
All Blue Flag beaches are important contributors to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals; they’re also top-notch spots to spend some time while experiencing slow travel on a sailing trip.
Europe boasts hundreds of eco-friendly beaches across the continent. The following list shows a sample of the number of awarded beaches per country, as of July 2020:
- Spain: 590 Blue Flag beaches
- Greece: 497 Blue Flag beaches
- Italy: 407 Blue Flag beaches
- France: 401 Blue Flag beaches
- Croatia: 93 Blue Flag Beaches
Discover 10 of the best Blue Flag beaches in Europe:
Top Blue Flag beaches to sail to in Italy
The beach: Cala Paura
- Where to find it: Located in Polignano a Mare, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea
- Why visit: Cala Paura is a small, pebbled beach in the town’s center, framed by sun-faded houses perched on rocky cliffs. Sail in and relax in the sun, or explore one of the nearby grottos and caves.
Charter a boat in Italy near Cala Paura.
The beach: Spiaggia Lampare
- Where to find it: Located in Tusa on the northern coast of Sicily
- Why visit: A striking coastline and crystal-clear waters make Spiaggia Lampare a favorite stop for sailing trips, as does the charming village of Castel di Tusa. Fans of antiquity will also appreciate the nearby ruins of the ancient city of Halesa.
Top Blue Flag beaches to sail to in Greece
The beach: Monastiraki
- Where to find it: Located in Doridos in Central Greece
- Why visit: Known as one of the best beaches on the Gulf of Corinth, Monastiraki is also home to many wonderful seafood restaurants that are well worth a culinary stop on your boat holiday.
Book a boat in Greece near Monastiraki.
The beach: Canal d’Amore
- Where to find it: Located in the town of Sidari on the northern coast of Corfu, Greece
- Why visit: A small, romantic cove tucked between rock formations reminiscent of a lunar landscape, Canal d’Amore gets its name from an ancient legend that claims if two people swim there together, they’ll fall in love.
Easily rent a boat in Corfu for your next dream holiday.
Top Blue Flag Beaches to sail to in Croatia
The beach: Beach Zlatni rat, Bol
- Where to find it: Located near the harbor town Bol in the Dalmatia region of Croatia
- Why visit: Also referred to as the Golden Cape or Golden Horn for its unique shape, Zlatni rat is justly featured on many a “top beaches in Europe” list. A pine tree grove lends shade to beachgoers, and those visiting by boat can easily get to town and to the many other beaches along the scenic coast.
The beach: Plaza Kolovare
- Where to find it: Located just outside the city of Zadar, Croatia
- Why visit: In addition to being a lovely beach, Kolovare’s many well-appointed shops, bars, and restaurants make it a convenient stop on a sailing trip. For a unique experience, swim a lap in the beach’s famous outdoor swimming pool — complete with an impressive diving board.
Top Blue Flag beaches to sail to in Spain
The beach: Maspalomas
- Where to find it: Located in San Bartolomé de Tirajana on Gran Canaria, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands
- Why visit: Wind-sculpted dunes of fine white sand create a dramatic backdrop to this popular beach. Divided into sections, Maspalomas offers the perfect sailing stopover no matter if you’re looking for something family friendly or prefer a more clothing-optional area.
The beach: Bogatell
- Where to find it: Located in Barcelona, Spain, on the scenic Costa del Maresme
- Why visit: The beach enjoyed an urban-planning upgrade in the 1990s, designed to integrate the waterfront into the city and make it safe and accessible. Its many beach sport facilities and vibrant nightlife make Bogatell a favorite among the young and active.
Top Blue Flag beaches to sail to in France
The beach: Plage de Gatseau
- Where to find it: Located on the Île d’Oléron, an island off the western coast of France
- Why visit: Perfect for those who prefer to venture off the beaten track, Gatseau is a somewhat wilder beach bordered by a thick pine forest. Explore the area or sail around the island for magnificent bay views.
Find boats in France and charter a yacht with Zizoo.
The beaches: Île Sainte-Marguerite Est and Ouest
- Where to find them: Located on the island of Île Sainte-Marguerite off the coast of Cannes on Fance’s Côte d’Azur
- Why visit: Accessible only by boat, both beaches — as well as the whole, uninhabited island — are a nature-lover’s dream, offering peaceful strolls among heavy pines and fragrant eucalyptus. History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to the Fort Royal, where The Man in the Iron Mask was held prisoner for years.
Bonus beaches: Nearly a hundred Blue Flag beaches dot the exquisite Côte d’Azur. How many do you think you could visit on a single sailing holiday?
Curious about other kinds of special beaches to explore on a sailing holiday? We highly recommend visiting Europe’s black sand beaches for their unusual beauty.
Which one is your favourite? Explore more this summer – book a boat holiday with Zizoo.