Here's Which European Countries Have the Cleanest Swimming Waters
Nearly 22,000 swimming spots across the EU were tested.
Now that summer travel is in full swing, my daydreams about jumping into a crystal clear European lake (maybe in the south of France) are in full swing, too. If you've had a beautiful, recurring daydream along the same lines, then there is one very helpful report the European Environment Agency (EEA) just dropped that's all about swimming spots in Europe with the cleanest waters.
The report, titled European Bathing Water Quality in 2021, is an "assessment of European bathing sites that show how well environmental protection measures are implemented," according to the study. The report helps swimming hole and lake enthusiasts take a closer look at nearly 22,000 inland and coastal swimming spots across the EU to determine if they are really clean enough to swim in.
Luckily for EU swimmers, the report reveals that almost 85 percent of Europe's bathing sites now rank as "excellent." But who sits at the top of that list with lake water so pristine you can fearlessly gulp after jumping off a rustic wooden dock? Austria. The landlocked country has a ranking of 97.7 percent of its waters declared excellent. Just behind Austria's fantastic swimming waters are the popular Mediterranean destinations of Malta, Greece, and Croatia. Some other locations on the list that didn't make the top ten are Italy and Spain with 87.9 percent and 87.4 percent ratings.
See the top ten best European bathing waters:
1. Austria (97.7%)
2. Malta (96.6%)
3. Greece (95.8%)
4. Croatia (95.7%)
5. Cyprus (93.3%)
6. Denmark (91.9%)
7. Germany (90.4%)
8. Bulgaria (89.8%)
9. Lithuania (89.2%)
10. Portugal (88.5%)
To get these numbers, the EEA worked with local and national authorities to take water samples, analyzing them for the types of bacteria that indicate pollution, sewage, and livestock breeding. From there, the waters are judged by "excellent," "good," "sufficient," or "poor." Swimming in water ranked as poor can result in illness if the water is swallowed, such as stomach aches or diarrhea.
Unfortunately, my France fantasy doesn't exactly line up with the list. According to the study, France falls a bit lower in ratings with a 75.7 percent ranking and 99 swimming spots ranked as "poor." Although they might not be close to the lowest ranked destination of Poland with a 44.5 percent ranking, we've got a few other locations with pristine diving water for our European lake adventures this summer.