Algarve beaches get the most gold

Albufeira council tops the national list of ‘gold beaches’ for “excellent” water quality.

The distinctions, awarded annually by environmental association Quercus, went to 74 beaches in the Algarve, the region of Portugal with the most beaches excelling for their water quality.

Topping the list with 18 gold beaches is Albufeira, followed by Almada and Vila Nova de Gaia with 15 each, Vila do Bispo with 12 beaches, Torres Vedras with 11 and Grândola with 10.

Other gold beaches in the Algarve are located at the following councils: Aljezur (9), Castro Marim (2), Faro (3), Lagoa (4), Lagos (4), Loulé (5), Olhão (3), Portimão (3), Silves (3), Tavira (4) and Vila Real de Santo António (4).

From a total of 526 beaches, quality distinctions went to 290 beaches, four more than last year.

However, the number of beaches registering “poor” water quality increased – six against one in 2011.

Quercus pointed out that in relation to the previous bathing season, a significant decrease in the number of ‘gold beaches’ was noted, from 95% to 85% of coastal beaches and from 75% to 54% of river beaches. The association believes the latter has to do with failures in basic sanitation infrastructures.