ESTEPONA’S Puerto Deportivo has been awarded the prestigious blue flag today.

Town Hall staff were joined by mayor Jose Maria Garcia Urbano to raise the flag this afternoon.

The stamp of honour is reserved for beaches or ports with exceptional water quality, safety, hygiene, accessibility, services, information and lifeguards.

Spain has the most Blue Flags in the world, despite the Foundation for Environmental Education awarding the country with seven fewer  this year.

Valencia boasts the highest number of awards, with 129 altogether, and following closely behind it are Galicia, 113, Catalonia, 95 and Andalucia, 90.

Criteria for an award include displaying of water quality, managing cleanliness, educating visitors of environmental concerns and providing sanitary facilities.