Beach Vacation: Europe’s 10 Best and Worst Countries for Swimming

GlobalEAT - Beach Vacation: Europe's 10 Best and Worst Countries for Swimming
Lake Fleesensee, an ideal family vacation spot situated in Northeastern Germany's scenic Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, dubbed 'Land of a Thousand Lakes'. (Dirk Topel Kommunikation GmbH /Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V.)

Updated: July 04, 2018

Planning to hit the water on your European beach vacation?  Check out Europe’s 10 best and worst countries for bathing water quality.

A beach vacation without a dip in the water is no fun.  Clean salt water or fresh water refreshes your mental and physical well-being including improving your cardio and overall health.

Magnesium in seawater helps moisturize and improve skin appearance.  Vitamins, mineral salts and trace elements in natural waters can help boost the immune system.

In Europe, taking a dip in the city river is popular especially on a hot summer day. Not only does it invigorate the body and soul, but it also reduces the stress of commuting in congested traffic said Benjamin David who swims to work daily.

Related: Swim to Work on the Isar: Alternative Urban Commuting

The European River Swimming Day organized by Big Jump encourages people to swim in rivers on the same day and hour in all European rivers. The project aims to reconciliate people with their rivers. The next big pan-European Big Jump events will take place at 3:00 p.m. (French time) on July 08, 2018.

GlobalEAT - Beach Vacation: Europe's 10 Best and Worst Countries for Swimming
The call of the wild is irresistible when it comes to taking a plunge in the refreshing waters. (Thomas Rodriguez/Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V.)

Top 10 Cleanest Countries to Swim in Europe

When it comes to having the best bathing water quality for swimming, Luxembourg tops the European Union (EU) list of countries, according to the European Environment Agency 2017 bathing water quality report released in May 2018.

Below are the top 10 European countries with excellent bathing water (coastal and inland) quality among 28 EU countries and two non-EU nations: Albania and Switzerland.

Here’s a comparison of water quality from the 2016 and 2017 reports.

No. 2016 2017
1. Luxembourg Luxembourg
2. Cyprus Malta
3. Malta Cyprus
4. Greece Greece
5. Austria Austria
6. Croatia Croatia
7. Italy Germany
8. Germany Latvia
9. Denmark Italy
10. Portugal Portugal

Top 10 Countries in Europe with Filthy Bathing Water Quality

No. 2016 2017
1. Albania Bulgaria
2. Switzerland Romania
3. Slovakia Albania
4. Bulgaria Sweden
5. United Kingdom Slovakia
6. Poland Switzerland
7. Estonia United Kingdom
8. Romania Estonia
9. Hungary Poland
10. Sweden Hungary