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Naturism

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Naturism – also known as Nudism or a Clothes-Free lifestyle – has a small but enthusiastic following in a number of countries around the world. It's not about sex, but a preference to abandon the artificial – and often functionally unnecessary – use of clothing to cover parts of the body. However, as nudity is often considered socially unacceptable, naturists often have difficulties finding travel destinations where they can practice their lifestyle and have their state of undress accepted.

Understand[edit]

Many countries have laws that make nudity in a public place either a crime or at least a misdemeanor offense. Also, many societies associate nudity with erotic entertainments, which are often strictly controlled or forbidden. As a result, naturist destinations are often in remote, out of the way places, and discretely advertised to avoid attracting the undesirable attention of those would would interfere with this lifestyle, either by trying to put a stop to it or by using it as a source of personal amusement.

Some naturist resorts (often called "nudist camps" by the public) are "clothing optional", leaving it up to the individual whether to wear clothing and/or how much. Others require nudity, to discourage visits by voyeurs who just want to look at naked people, and to maintain an egalitarian "we're all nude here" atmosphere. Many locations maintain fairly strict codes of public conduct, intended to keep them suitable for families with minor children and/or to avoid running afoul of laws against "lewd conduct" in public. Learn the expectations of any specific naturist destination before traveling there.

The most common naturist destinations are beaches where nude bathing and sunbathing are either tolerated in practice or formally permitted. Whether naturism is tolerated at a particular beach is usually judged from local information, the relative remoteness of the location and whether the naturist feels reasonably inconspicuous.

On a 'mixed beach' without signs to demarcate an area allocated for naturism, a tension can arise between naturists and others over territory: adherents of each group feel presence of the other group spoils their enjoyment of the beach. This gives rise to dynamic situations where the suitability of a beach for naturism changes from time to time, shifting according to which group arrived first, and invisible demarcation lines seem to arise that tend to concentrate a naturist minority into "ghetto" areas.

Destinations[edit]

Europe[edit]

Belgium[edit]

In Belgium naturism is only allowed in dedicated in-land spots and saunas and in the beach of Bredene close of Oostende. Out of Bredene naturism is not allowed in Belgian beaches. Before the opening of the naturist beach of Bredene to the practice of naturism in 2002, Belgians had to go the beaches of the Netherlands, usually Groede in West-Zeeuws Vlaanderen (Seeland), as there are no naturist beaches in the Nord Department of France. An exception has always been the natural reserve of Het Zwin, an empty beach between Knokke-Heist and the Dutch border, where naturism is not legal, but it has been traditionally tolerated. To avoid the increasing violations of privacy in the internet, the City Council of Bredene has strictly prohibited all types photography in the beach.

Croatia[edit]

Croatia was the first country in Europe to start with the concept of commercial naturist resorts. According to some estimates about 15% of all tourists that visit the country are naturists or nudists (more than one million each year). There are more than 20 official naturist resorts as well as a number of the so-called free beaches which are unofficial naturist beaches, sometimes controlled and maintained by local tourist authorities. Naturist beaches in Croatia are marked as "FKK".

Estonia[edit]

Near Narva-Jõesuu, 2 km SW from the town border there are Narva-Jõesuu Nude Beach - the only official nude beach in Estonia.

France[edit]

  • The largest naturist resort in Europe is Héliopolis/Port Nature at Cap d'Agde on the south coast.
  • Part of the Île du Levant in the Mediterranean is established as Héliopolis a naturist village.
  • Corsicana is one of several naturist beach resorts on the east coast of the island Corsica.
  • Euronat in the Aquitaine region of France.
  • Domaine De Belezy is a four star naturist resort some 30 miles north-east of Avignon at the foot of Mt Ventoux.

Germany[edit]

On the sea: Naturism is quite common on the German coast of the Baltic sea even without designated areas (marked by "FKK"), but less common on the coast of the North sea. On lakes and rivers (not supervised): On lakes and rivers there is no general rule. On some places naturism is practised, explicitly stated, or at least tolerated, on other places it is not. If in doubt, do as the locals do. Topless sunbathing is tolerated virtually everywhere. In swimming baths: In swimming baths and indoor pools naturism is generally not tolerated, even toplessness might cause troubles with the pool attendant and eviction from premises. In some places naturism is mandatory during special hours or evenings, those would be marked by "FKK" as well. Places To Go: If visiting Berlin, the Thermen Am Europa Center opposite the Crowne Plaza hotel on Nurnberger Strasse (close to KaDeWe and Zoo Station) is fully FKK and has indoor and outdoor pools, a full range of saunas, steam baths and hot tubs, etc., plus a reasonably priced restaurant.

Greece[edit]

Greece has only a few explicitly naturist resorts on the island Crete, and tourist information offices have said that naturism is not permitted elsewhere. There are however many beaches on the islands where naturism is tolerated.

Italy[edit]

The principal Italian naturist resort is Club Le Betulle, in the village of La Cassa about 20 miles north-west of Turin.

Poland[edit]

Although there no officially designated naturist resorts, there are several beaches frequented by naturists: Coast, eastwards:

  • Międzyzdroje-Lubiewo
  • Unieście
  • Grzybowo
  • Rowy
  • Dębki
  • Chałupy
  • Gdańsk-Stogi
  • Piaski

Vicinity of big cities:

  • Warsaw - Wał Miedzeszyński
  • Krakow - Kryspinów
  • Poznań - Biskupice Wlkp.
  • Łódź - Piętnastki or Bronisławów

The naturists' guide to Poland is available at [1]

Spain[edit]

Since the arrival of democracy in Spain after the death of General Franco, nudity is legal over the whole of the Spanish territory and nobody can be fined for the simple fact of being naked. Nevertheless, some city councils prefer to allocate specially dedicated locations to naturists. Moreover, there are many locations in Spain that although they are not specially dedicated by the councils to naturism, they have a long established history of naturist practice.


Most travel destinations in Spain have a naturist beach somewhere within the main tourist area. They range from commercial naturist resorts like Costa Natura in Malaga to alternative and hippy-oriented communities like in Caños de Meca (Cadiz), passing by familiy-oriented like Arealonga in Galicia and Waikiki in Tarragona or the mostly gay-oriented of Sitges close to Barcelona. Top-less sunbathing was introduced in Spain by northern and central-European tourist women in the early 70s in the last years of the Franco regime. Nowadays it has become extremely popular among Spanish women and although it is the norm on all Spanish beaches, not all women do it.

United Kingdom[edit]

There are about a dozen official naturist beaches. The popularity of the beaches ranges from Studland with about 2,500 users on a good day to Cleat's Shore where you are unlikely to see anyone else at all. Even the remote Holkham Bay on the North Norfolk Coast had about 500 users one Sunday in September 2005.

Whilst public nudity in Britain isn't explicitly illegal anywhere, it becomes a crime if you are 'causing offense' - therefore it would be very unwise to practice naturism even on the beach unless it is specifically designated as such.

Topless bathing is not generally accepted as much in the United Kindom as it is in mainland Europe, but it is still practiced on some beaches - try and make a personal judgment based on the people nearby.

There are well over a hundred clubs ranging from little more than a patch of grass to residential resorts.

Well over a hundred swimming pools and leisure centres offer naturist sessions.

Ukraine[edit]

Most travel destinations in Crimea have a naturist beach somewhere out the main touristic area. Most known one is in Koktebel. Topless sunbathing is generally accepted on all beaches.

North America[edit]

Laws about nudity differ throughout the United States. Places like Fire Island are operated by the U.S. Park Service, which doesn't always cite offenders. They only seemed bothered if you are in a family area like Ocean Beach. They might ask you to move further up the beach if someone complains. On beaches controlled by New York state, however, nudity is illegal. Toplessness is legal anywhere in NY except for "lewd" displays, as in strip clubs, though of course that doesn't mean it will always be accepted.

  • Sandy Hook in New Jersey
  • Fire Island in New York
  • Moshup Beach in Aquinnah, Massachusetts: a public beach on Martha's Vineyard where nudity is common and tolerated, although not explicitly permitted
  • Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark, Massachusetts: a beach that is open only to those living or staying in Chilmark; nudity is explicitly permitted in certain areas
  • Haulover Beach in North Miami Beach, Florida: Naturist Beach. North end of beach is nude. Long established nude beach with volunteer “Beach Ambassadors” to self police the beach goers.
  • Playalinda Beach in Titusville, Florida: Naturist Beach. (Playa Linda - Spanish for "beautiful beach") is a beach located on Florida's east coast in Canaveral National Seashore. Last parking lot to the North. Then walk on the beach North for a few hundred feet for buffer from textile section to the South. Go early to get good parking.


Naturist resorts in the U.S. are rapidly growing in popularity. There are more than 280 naturist resorts, clubs, and campgrounds in America. Year round upscale resorts are found in Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs is very popular with naturists as it is the sunniest city in the U.S. Being a desert, it averages only 5 inches (130 mm) of rain a year and has no mosquitoes. Naturist resorts in Florida are also very popular. Virtually all resorts are a member of the AANR non-profit association (directory: [3]). The notable exception is New Hampshire [4].


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