Where to head for the best beach in Sweden? Try Skåne. Skåne has the best beaches, followed by Halland and Öland.
Why? Because many of these beaches are environmentally marked with Blå Flagg (Blue Flag), an international environmental honor, which beaches and harbors can apply for if they fulfill criteria such as water quality, information, safety, and service. In addition to that, there must be clear and concise signs on those beaches (and in the harbors), clean restrooms and safety equipment. The beach must be free of garbage and cleaned on a regular basis. Recently a new Swedish beach received the honor – the beach at Villa in Lidköping. Says Jessica Ångström, manager of operations for Skräpfria hav (Clean seas) at Håll Sverige Rent (The Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation):

“The quality of the water must be deemed ‘excellent’ according to new directives from the EU. Poor water quality is the most common reason Swedish beaches get rejected.” Free access to coast and beaches makes Sweden unique in Europe, but many places aren’t clean enough, and if you dig a bit in the sand chances are you’ll find cigarette butts.

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“On a Blå Flagg beach there are several garbage- and recycling bins, something many other beaches don’t have. So you have to think a bit before you head to the beach,” says Ångström. So what beaches in Sweden have Blå Flagg? Here are some on the list: Almenäsbadet (Borås), Tylösand (Halmstad), Råå Vallar (Helsingborg), Rigeleje (Kristanstad), Lilla Apelviken (Varberg), Sandbyvikens badplats, (Löttorp), and Örnäsbadet in Åmål.
For more information and to find a Blue Flag beach near you, see: www.blueflag.org