A NEW report has revealed where you can find the cleanest places to swim in Europe this summer – although it isn't good news for a British staycation.

Published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), the UK came second from last when it came to the cleanliness of the water, only beating Poland.

The study, which looked at 22,276 bathing sites across Europe, found 82.8 per cent had "excellent" water quality, while 92.6 per cent met the "sufficient" minimum standard.

The countries which came out on top were Cyprus, Greece and Austria, where more than four in five areas being deemed excellent, making a beach holiday a much safer experience.

Cyprus was the only country to register a perfect score in the 2020 standings, with 100 per cent of its bathing sites boasting "excellent" water quality, ahead of Austria (97.7 per cent), Greece (97.1 per cent), Malta (96.6 per cent) and Croatia (95.1 per cent).

They were followed by Germany (89.9 per cent), Italy (88.6 per cent), Spain (88.5 per cent), Belgium (79.7 per cent) and France (77.5 per cent).

Under EU rules, bathing water sites that have been classified as "poor" for five consecutive years are slapped with a permanent ban.


The number of bathing sites in the European Union has nearly quadrupled in the past 30 years due to the expansion of the EU and the growth of the tourism and leisure industry.

The lack of data mainly affected Poland and Britain, which is still included in the report for 2020 despite Brexit, due to Covid restrictions stopping analysis of many of the areas.

This meant that out of 640 sites, 457 had no verdict in the rankings in Britain. Of those ranked, 110 sites had excellent bathing water, 32 were found to be good, while 29 were sufficient and 12 were poor.

The UK has often ranked badly when it comes to clean water swimming.

Last summer, there were more than 100 beaches across the UK with warnings against swimming due to sewage leaking into the water.

Despite this, water quality continues to improve in Europe, with only 1.3 per cent of sites reporting "poor" water quality, compared to 1.4 per cent in 2019 and almost two per cent in 2013.

The European destinations with the cleanest swimming water

The amount of ‘perfect’ bathing areas the top destinations in Europe have:

  1. Cyprus- 100 per cent
  2. Austria – 97.7 per cent
  3. Greece – 97.1 per cent
  4. Malta – 96.6 per cent
  5. Croatia – 95.1 per cent
  6. Germany – 89.9 per cent
  7. Italy – 88.6 per cent
  8. Spain – 88.5 per cent
  9. Belgium – 79.7 per cent
  10. France – 77.5 per cent

Brits have already been heading to the beach this week as temperatures across the UK hit 28 degrees.

We've rounded up some of the best secret beaches in England if you want to avoid the crowds.

Or, to beat the hot weather, here are the best UK water parks which are now open.

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