Praia dos Três Castelos, Portimão Photo: INÊS LOPES/OPEN MEDIA

Algarve to fly 91 Blue Flags in 2023

Praia do Beliche has lost its Blue Flag

The Algarve will fly 91 Blue Flags this year, with 85 beaches, four marinas and two tour boats receiving the coveted award.

The list of awarded beaches is practically the same as last year’s apart from Praia do Beliche in Vila do Bispo, which has lost its Blue Flag.

Albufeira continues to lead the way as the borough with the most Blue Flags in the Algarve and in Portugal, having been awarded 26 flags (25 beaches and Albufeira Marina).

Next up is Loulé with 11 flags (10 beaches and Vilamoura Marina), Vila do Bispo (10), Portimão (six beaches and Portimão marina) and Lagoa (six).

Aljezur, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António follow with four beaches each, while Lagos and Castro Marim (three each) and Silves (two) round off the Algarve award list.

“These awards are the acknowledgement of the work that has been carried out throughout the years in the 13 boroughs with coastal beaches in the Algarve, be it through the investment in the gradual improvement of beach conditions and the growing concern with the preservation of the quality of bathing waters,” said João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA).

Here is the list of Blue Flag beaches in the Algarve, from west to east:

  • Aljezur: Odeceixe-Mar, Amoreira-Mar, Monte Clérigo and Arrifana
  • Vila do Bispo: Cordoama, Castelejo, Tonel, Mareta, Martinhal, Ingrina, Zavial, Salema, Almádena – Cabanas Velha and Burgau
  • Lagos: Luz, Porto de Mós, Meia Praia
  • Portimão: Alvor Poente, Alvor Nascente, Vau, Três Castelos, Rocha and Marina
  • Lagoa: Ferragudo, Caneiros, Carvoeiro, Vale Centeanes, Senhora da Rocha and Vale do Olival
  • Silves: Armação de Pêra and Praia Grande Poente
  • Albufeira: Salgados, Galé-Oeste, Galé-Este, Manuel Lourenço, Evaristo, Castelo, Coelha, São Rafael, Arrifes, Peneco, Pescadores, Alemães, Inatel, Aveiros, Oura, Oura-Leste, Santa Eulália, Maria Luísa, Olhos D’Água, Belharucas, Falésia Açoteias, Falésia Alfamar, Rocha Baixinha Poente, Rocha Baixinha and Rocha Baixinha Nascente.
  • Loulé: Vilamoura, Quarteira, Forte Novo, Almargem, Loulé Velho, Vale do Lobo, Garrão-Poente, Garrão-Nascente, Ancão and Quinta do Lago
  • Faro: Faro-Mar, Barreta, Ilha do Farol-Mar and Culatra-Mar
  • Olhão: Armona-Mar, Armona-Ria, Fuseta-Mar and Fuseta-Ria
  • Tavira: Barril, Terra Estreita, Ilha de Tavira-Mar and Cabanas-Mar
  • Castro Marim: Praia Verde, Cabeço and Alagoa-Altura
  • Vila Real de Santo António: Manta Rota, Lota, Monte Gordo and Santo António

On a national level, Portugal was awarded 432 Blue Flags – 394 beaches, 17 marinas and 21 boats.

Out of the awarded beaches, 347 are coastal (four more than last year) and 47 are river beaches (three less than last year).

Portugal is placed sixth worldwide on the Blue Flag ranking and second when taking only river beaches into account, behind only France.

The North has surpassed the Algarve as the region with the most beaches awarded with Blue Flags (87, five more than in 2022). Lisbon and Vale do Tejo follows in third place with 76 Blue Flag beaches, ahead of the Centre (48), Azores (44), Alentejo (39) and Madeira (19).

The full list of results is available online.

According to the official Blue Flag website, the accolade “is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable tourism boats.

“In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained,” it adds.

By Michael Bruxo

[email protected]