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A growing number of Blue Flag beaches in Slovenia

July is peak swimming season in Slovenia! Water enthusiasts can choose between a refreshment in salty or fresh waters of the Slovenian sea, rivers, lakes, streams and waterfalls. Slovenia is famous for its unique green colour just because of the water flowing through the country. Not only that, but the water in Slovenia is for the most part so clean that you can even drink it. Slovenia achieved excellent results in a European bathing water quality assessment. Besides the Slovenian sea, with the growing number of Blue Flag beaches, also the inland bathing waters of Lake Bohinj west of Bled, Lake Bled, the Nadiža River in the Soča valley region, which is one of the warmest alpine rivers, the Šobec Lake in Lesce near Bled, and the Kolpa River on the border with Croatia to the south of Slovenia were classified as excellent.

According to the report on the bathing water quality which was published by the European Commission, Slovenia is ranked among the top countries besides Cyprus and Luxembourg! EEA report covers the monitoring of water quality at 22,000 bathing sites throughout the European Union. The list of bathing waters in Slovenia comprises 48 bathing areas, including 18 natural spas and 30 natural swimming spots. The National Environmental Agency annually collects about 400 samples which are classified into four categories according to their microbiological quality. All Slovenian sea bathing waters achieve excellent quality, and as many as 50 percent of Slovenian inland waters are ranked in the highest quality class. Although the insufficient quality of bathing waters is a problem in many EU Member States, last year all the samples taken in Slovenia satisfied the minimum criteria, which, in addition to Slovenia, was achieved only in Cyprus. Slovenia is one of the nine Member States where all bathing areas received a positive assessment.

The quality of the Slovenian sea is evidenced by the record number of Blue Flags awarded by the Doves Association. The Blue Flag Programme, which is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in Slovenia, is an internationally recognized eco-label for sustainable management of beaches and marinas, designed to enhance environmental awareness and (co-)creation of environmental ethics. A Blue Flag can be acquired by marinas and natural spas that meet the demanding criteria which must be implemented in practice. This year, as many as 15 Blue Flags were awarded to 12 bathing sites and three marinas. Blue Flag award for the 2014 bathing and tourist season was awarded to Marina Portorož that won the 20th Blue Flag. A representative of the Association Boris Šušmak feels that Blue Flags mean "much more than just clean bathing waters". The number of Blue Flags represents the level of green tourism development at a certain tourist destination.



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