Beach season is upon us, and travelers everywhere are planning their next escape to the shores -- whether it be local or abroad. And while beaches aren't exactly a rare find, it can be challenge finding a strip of coastline that is equal parts beautiful, clean, safe, and accessible.

Well, Blue Flag International is here to help; the Denmark-based foundation analyzes and awards a Blue Flag designation to exceptional beaches all around the world, and they've just released their statistics on the best countries for getting some sand and sea. The results might surprise you, too.

Spain once again took home first place for providing the highest number of quality beaches in the whole world -- 579 pristine spots, to be exact. Based on factors such as sanitary conditions, safety, accessibility, and lifeguard availability, it looks like this European country is actually more idyllic than Hawaii or the Maldives. 

 
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Spain's got a lot great things going on besides just beaches; check out Barcelona's Sagrada Familia: