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Blue Flag Beaches

The Blue Flag is a symbol of quality, for over 50 countries, awarded to beaches, marinas and boats managed by coastal municipalities, hotel owners and other authorities. The goal of the program is to keep beaches that gather a large number of visitors clean and safe. Municipalities, hotel owners and the local community work together to apply for the blue flag award and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), based in Denmark, examines the applications and decides on the awards. The award is valid for one year and the following year the interested parties must apply to the committee again.

The criteria of the program are very strict and refer to the cleanliness and organization of the sea and the coast, the safety of visitors and the protection of nature. The water quality must be excellent and this is proven by sample checks. Coastal cleaning must be regular and adequate and sewage must not be dumped. There must be action plans in case of marine pollution. Vehicles on the coasts and free camping should be prohibited. There should be adequate sanitary facilities. There should be lifeguards and accessibility for people with disabilities. Environmental education actions should be implemented and printed information should be provided to the public on how to behave on the coasts as well as in all coastal areas with sensitive flora and fauna.

In 2017, the awarding of the blue flag to the tourist vessels started in Greece. Boat companies are awarded for their sustainable management and they have to comply with 51 strict criteria.

The big foreign travel agencies choose destinations with blue flags because they are a guarantee of high-quality services provided.

In 2023, Greece took second place worldwide with 617 awarded beaches. In Crete, 139 beaches were awarded. 38 in the prefecture of Chania, 20 in the prefecture of Rethymno, 33 in the prefecture of Heraklion and 48 in the prefecture of Lasithi.

The most famous beaches in Chania with a blue flag are Sougia, Falassarna, Gerani, Platanias, Kalathas, Marathi, Stavros, Almyrida and Georgioupoli.

In Rethymno, there are Adelianos Kampos, Scaleta, Rethymno beach, Panormos and Agia Galini, Agios Pavlos, Plakias, Rodakino and Souda in the south.

In Heraklion, there are Made, Ammoudara, Fodele, Agia Pelagia, Hersonissos, Anissaras, Kokkini Hani, Potamos Sta Mallia, Matala and Kali Limenes.

In Lasithi, there are Ammoudi, Ammos, Elounda, Karavostasi, Plaka, Vai, Kato Zakros, Makry Gyalos, Hiona, Agia Fotia, Gra Lygia, Ierapetra, Koutsounari and Myrtos.

(More articles about Crete at www.gomega.gr)