This landlocked country has been named Europe’s best for bathing

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(CNN) – Europe’s bathing quality has improved dramatically in recent decades, and a new report released this week by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that about 85% of its bathing sites are now ranked as “excellent.”

Annual Bath water report Inspected approximately 22,000 inland and coastal swimming pools in EU member countries, Albania and Switzerland in 2021. The UK, excluding the EU, was absent from the report for the first time.

The landlocked country of Austria, known for its many beautiful lakes, including the alpine waters of Achaemenids in Tyrol and the Emerald-Hood Vessensi in Carinthia, tops the rankings, with 97.7% of its water declared excellent.

Just behind the leaderboard are four Mediterranean vacation favorites: Malta, Greece, Croatia and Cyprus. Denmark and Germany are the other countries where more than nine out of 10 sites got top grade.

Portugal is at No. 10 with 88.5%, followed by Italy (87.9%) and Spain (87.4%) at 12th and 13th respectively.

Tourism hotspot France is further down in the rankings with 75.7%, while Poland is at the bottom with only 44.5% – slightly behind Slovakia with 50% and Hungary with 60.2%.

Rising standards

Malta no.  In the list of the best bathing places in Europe 2.

Malta no. In the list of the best bathing places in Europe 2.

Afesenko / Adobe stock

The assessment was put together by the EEA in collaboration with the European Commission. Local and national authorities took water samples during the bathing season and analyzed them for the types of bacteria exhibiting pollution from sewage and livestock breeding.

Water was then considered “excellent,” “good,” “adequate” or “weak” by European Union standards.

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Swimming in poorly ranked water can cause illness – if the water is swallowed, swimmers may experience abdominal pain or diarrhea.

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There were a total of 99 bathing spots in France that were rated “poor”, meaning that with measures to reduce pollution and eliminate health risks, they had to be closed during the entire subsequent bathing season.

For five years in a row, poorly ranked sites have had to be shut down permanently – with 31 bathing places in Italy, eight in France and two in the Netherlands.

That rule is part of the Bathing Water Directive, which was adopted in 2006 and has resulted in a steady increase in the number of excellent sites. EU water quality is generally high and minimum water quality standards are met at 95.2% of the evaluated sites.

The cleanest bathing water in Europe

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%)

Top image: Lake Achensi in Austria. Credit: Ralph Hopp / Photo / Adobe Stock

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