As the temperatures rise and the summer months kick in, many people across Europe will look to outdoor bathing sites to cool off.
But which European country has the best quality water for bathing in?
The latest report on bathing water quality in the EU — plus Switzerland and Albania — put Cyprus and Malta at the top of the pile.
In four countries, 95% or more of bathing waters were found to be of excellent quality: Cyprus (99.1% of all sites), Malta (98.9 % of all sites), Austria (97.3 % of all sites) and Greece (97.0 % of all sites).
The three countries with the highest numbers of poor quality bathing water sites are Italy (89 bathing water sites or 1.6 %), France (54 sites or 1.6 %) and Spain (50 sites or 2.2 %).
In comparison with the 2017 season, the number of poor quality bathing water sites in France decreased (from 80 in 2017 to 54 in 2018), while there was an increase in poor quality bathing waters in Italy (from 79 to 89) and in Spain
France registered just under 80%, while just over 60% of the UK’s bathing waters are of excellent quality.
Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland have the fewest bathing waters that are deemed excellent.
Up to 85% of the EU’s bathing waters as a whole, including Albania and Switzerland, are deemed to be of excellent quality.
There has been a fall in the total of ‘poor quality’ bathing waters in the EU. In 2017, 294 bathing water sites in the EU were of poor quality, while a total of 182 bathing waters remained poor in 2018.
Just over 85% of bathing water sites across Europe monitored last year met the European Union's highest ‘excellent' and most stringent quality standards for water cleanliness, according to the latest annual European bathing water quality report.
“The results published today give a good indication of where the best quality bathing waters are likely to be found this summer,” said the European Environment Agency, who produced the report.
In 2018, 95.4% of EU bathing sites met the minimum "sufficient" quality requirement and 85.1 % of bathing water sites met the EU’s Bathing Water Directive's most stringent "excellent" quality standards.
The EU has released an interactive map plotting all bating sites recorded by the report.