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Portuguese beaches are clean, safe and most have nice white sand. There is a national safety system in place that uses flags to communicate conditions:
Red flags = NO Swimming
Yellow flags = Use Caution
Green flags = All Clear for Swimming
Portugal: list of Blue Flag beaches and marinas - www.Bandeira Azul - This voluntary organization works towards sustainable development at beaches and marinas worldwide by awarding Blue Flags when strict criteria for safety, water quality, and environmental education and management are met.