Tarifa is a beautiful example of the type of beaches Spain boasts.

Spain’s stunning collection of beaches have been recognised as the world’s cleanest, with a recent ranking awarding 577 coveted blue flags – more than any other country in the world.

The study by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) last week published its rankings, revealing that Spain had added four new blue flags to its record-breaking haul of 2014, which suggests that the country is set to extend its lead as the destination of choice for beach lovers everywhere…

However, while this may appear to be headline-making news, FEE’s rankings have placed Spain top every year since records began in 1987, which is an astonishing run of unbridled success.

According to FEE, one out of every six beaches across the world that has been awarded a blue flag is located in Spain, with the northern beaches of Galicia the cleanest, yielding an impressive 131 beaches. Andalucía boasts 78 blue flags.

Spain’s tourism rivals Turkey, Greece and France make up the rest of the top four, but Turkey’s 436 blue flags pale into comparison against Spain’s performance.

An internationally recognised symbol of environmental quality, the blue flag is a sign that the beach is safe for all types of bathers and water sports enthusiasts, denoting environmental education, good water quality, sound environmental management and excellent safety and services.

Spain invests heavily in ensuring its beaches are top notch, such are their importance to the country’s economy. Worldwide, FEE awarded 4,159 blue flags this year, with the UK’s beaches actually performing worse in 2015 than they did in 2014.

Spain’s ports also earned 101 blue flags, which takes Spain’s total to 678 blue flags awarded. In total, one-fifth of all beaches in Spain now boast a blue flag, which is an impressive ratio for a country that deals with more beach tourists than any other nation in the world.