This Country Has the Cleanest Swimming Water in Europe — and 1,700 Miles of Coastline

Croatia ranked ahead of all of the European Union’s 27 member states, as well as Switzerland and Albania.

<p>David Clapp/Getty Images</p>

David Clapp/Getty Images

If you daydream about swimming through salty turquoise water on a European summer vacation, you’re not alone. Yes, you can swim in the Aegean, bask in the sun on a French beach, or live la dolce vita on the rocky shores of Sicily, but in between daydreaming, have you stopped to think about just how clean the water is?

A new report by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency found Croatia — the small Balkan nation on the Adriatic Sea — claims some of the cleanest coastal waters in all of Europe.

<p>mbbirdy/Getty Images</p>

mbbirdy/Getty Images

The study, which used data from 2023, gave Croatia high marks after looking at all of the European Union’s 27 member states, as well as Switzerland and Albania. Of the 894 water sites tested in Croatia, almost all (a staggering 99.1 percent) were found to have excellent quality swimming water.

The country’s commitment to take care of its natural beauty and prioritize its environmental health is nothing new. Last year, in a similar report, Croatia garnered a score of a similarly impressive 96 percent.

Croatia, which is bordered by Slovenia in the north and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the south, claims over 1,700 miles of mainland coastline with an additional 2,500 miles of coast thanks to the over 1,000 islands and islets in the Adriatic Sea. Around 120 miles wide, the Adriatic Sea separates Italy from the Balkans and is renowned for its relatively calm and clear water.

If swimming, or sailing, in Croatia’s remarkably clean water sounds like your kind of summer dream, you might want to head there sooner rather than later. Although Croatia may still be a less popular European summer destination than countries like Greece and Italy, Croatia is one of the top countries in Europe for beach lovers with nearly 50 million people flocking to its shores each year. Let’s just hope all those people help to keep it clean.

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