A total of 163 Galician sandbanks, harbours, trails and nature centres will be wearing the blue flag badge this summer, two fewer than last year, but enough to continue to occupy second place in the total number of these distinctions, awarded by the Environmental and Consumer Education Association. It is followed by Catalonia, with 97 flags and Andalusia, with 79.
The municipalities that hold the largest number of blue flags for their sands are in the province of A Coruña: Boiro, Arteixo, Oleiros and A Coruña, in the Lugo, Foz, and in the province of Pontevedra, Sanxenxo, which is the municipality of Spain that accumulates the largest number of badges for its sands, followed by Vigo, Cangas, Marín and Baiona.
The sandbanks of Abrela (O Vicedo), Samil (Vigo), Loira (Marín) and Panadeira (Sanxenxo) once again obtain this distinction that they had not received in the last edition. The Galician region accounts for almost 20% of the 566 blue flags awarded to Spanish beaches by the Association for Environmental Education and Consumer Affairs.
It should be noted that Galicia ranks first in terms of blue trail distinctives as it adds 29 itineraries linking beaches or ports with blue flag and contribute to the sustainable use of the coastline. For the first time, the path Playa de Abrela- Punta Socastro (Fuciño do Porco) and the Monte y Playas Route section of Marín’s network of blue trails will have this distinction. In relation to marinas, Galicia gets 12 awards, three less than last year, being the province of Pontevedra the first to head the list with six ports, followed by A Coruña with five and one in the province of Lugo. Finally the list is completed with 15 blue centres. The requirement to become a blue centre for a town council with a blue flag for its beaches or ports is the existence of a visitors’ centre, a sea or nature classroom that offers environmental education on coastal ecosystems and sustainable development, as well as specific information and/or activities related to the Blue Flag programme.
The criteria required to obtain blue flags are related to water quality, which has to be excellent; safety, full provision of services, accessibility, accurate environmental management and sustainability of the sandbanks and docks. These distinctions are voluntary and must be requested from the entity that promotes them.