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Nude Beaches: All the Skinny

from RickSteves.com

Europeans are great sun-worshippers--and they seem to worship the sun best in their birthday suits. Nude and topless beaches abound...so sooner or later you'll find yourself on a beach surrounded by naked Europeans.

 "When in Rome, do as the Romans do"...or maintain your American modesty? Where exactly do you put a moneybelt when you have nothing else on? And of course, we want to know where your favorite nude or topless beaches in Europe are!

Below are several messages reposted from ricksteves.com website.


Music store, Melbourne

"It will loosen you up in no time..."

We were in Agde in early September. What a great place. We camped at the campground. In the morning we would walk to the cafe and watch the parade of naked bicyclists come to get their coffee and bread. Spent three days there and enjoyed all of it. And yes you can walk around and shop, eat, or even go to the bank naked. A little different than American nudist resorts.

An American female, I am not at all comfortable nude, and I regret it! However, I was not going to miss out on a beautiful day in the warm sun on a beach along the Cote d'Azur. We packed our swimsuits and from the train window spotted a gorgeous beach with very few people. Enjoying a relative amount of privacy, we felt comfortable shedding portions of our swimwear. However, it wasn't long before a weird guy planted himself nearby, then came over to "borrow" something, and another couple of exhibitionists about 100 feet away decided to have sex! If this is the opposite of American prudishness, I'm not sure which is worse. My memories are torn between the personally liberating, sensually pleasant experience of lying in the warm, October sun on the Mediterranean listening to the pebbles clattering in the surf...and the smarmy characters and behavior that followed. I'm still mixed up.

Adge, in southern France, is a full-blown nudist city in the summertime. But in the off-season, it is a quiet, laid-back place to relax. This being my first time at a nude beach, I found the atmosphere perfect. Everybody was very friendly, and my nervousness disappeared after a few minutes. From the train station, you have to take a local bus to the naturist section, and then it is a good 15-minute walk from there.
Chicago, IL USA

In Greece some islands' beaches are clothing-optional. Try Mykonos where we went this summer. We were naked on the beach and went skinny-dipping in the sea. Excellent !
griet verroelstraete

I found the Englischer Garten in Munich to be the best nude sunbathing area in Europe and it isn't even a beach! Most people stumble upon it by accident (at least I did!) but are pleasantly surprised.
Robert <G>

If you're near Bordeaux in Southwestern France, try the beaches north of Cap d'Ferrat. Follow signs for Truc Vert campsite and "plage." Park anywhere around the one road through or use the cap park near the campsite. A stroll over the hill will bring you to the edge of the Atlantic and golden beaches as far as the eye can see. People mix with about a 50/50 split between those wearing/not wearing clothes.
nr London, UK

The nude beaches I've been on in Maui and in Mykonos, Greece have had a lot of both nude and swimsuited folks who mix freely with each other. Those who are there for several hours may alternate between nudity and swimsuits as the spirit moves them and it's no big deal. Rick mentioned Super Paradise and Agrari beaches in Mykonos, but there are many others along the south coast where nudity is common. You can take a daily boat to several of them from Ornos Beach for a nominal fee (about $2 to $4 round trip, depending on your destination). Super Paradise is great if you're gay and want a friendly, non-threatening clothing-optional environment.
Alexandria, VA USA

I travelled Spain and Portugal this summer with two girlfriends and we visited a few nudist beaches which were great. The only problem was the old blokes who have only one motive for visiting these beaches, and it's not sunbathing. Many of them sit way too close for comfort and occasionally make the 'accidental touch' move, which is a little scary sometimes.

Everywhere else in Europe I have baked nude was completely comfortable. But to answer the Aussie's previous question, some guys just can't hide their excitement!
London, UK

croatia.jpg (17818 bytes)No one can speak about nudism leaving Croatia out! It is the country with the longest nudist-beach tradition and half of all European "registered" nudists are spending their holidays there. Just mention Conversada and everyone knows of that nude-city. The Dalmatian coast is great but has very few exclusive nudist beaches like in Istria. But that should not stop you because there are hundreds of isolated islands where you can enjoy the sun in complete privacy. Also there are nude-boat cruises where you can cruise the more beautiful side of the Adriatic.
Boston, Ma, USA

I haven't ever been to a nudist beach before, but I'm going to Germany next year, and I think it sound quite good. One question though...*sorry*...how, as a young male, do you stop yourself from becoming aroused? With women passing you totally naked, I'm sure I would find myself pretty embarrassed!
Sean Martinez

The best nude beach I found was on the small Cycladian island of Koufonissi in Greece. You have to hike about 3 km along fantastic cliffside scenery to get there, but upon arrival, wow! Aqua blue waters, completely natural setting. Most everyone is nude and because the setting is completely free of any commercialism, man is again one with nature. Paradise!
Janet Vanderschee, a Canadian living in France
Strasbourg, France

Near Haarlem in the Netherlands is Zandfoort an Zee, a wonderful little beach town that has both covered and nudist beaches. To be in an environment where clothing is as acceptable as none was very enriching.
Jonathan Pierce
Seattle, WA USA

Nudity? Think.. CROATIA! Even tourist brochures produced by the state tourist board on the coastal areas had pictures of nudists! Croatia has gorgeous beaches, roman ruins, Italian architecture, a rich history at a great price. Contrary to public opinion, it is VERY safe...has been trouble-free since 1992. Dubrovnik is a jewel close to being all restored.
Lake Orion, MI USA

The Europeans don't worry one bit about modesty nor are they worried about being robbed. When you find yourself at a clothing-optional beach, you tie your money belt around your neck. When you go into the water use a plastic baggie and tie it around your waist with the belt. If anyone wants to "pick" your pocket let him/her.
W. Jacoby
San Diego, CA USA

Do it! Do it when you first get to Europe. It will make the rest of your trip much easier to accept the other cultural differences. Besides, do you really think your co-workers or neighbors are going to be there? Do the nude thing with total strangers. It will loosen you up in no time.


In '96, we visited Costa Natura, a nude resort on the Costa del Sol in Spain, near Estepona. One had to stay at least 2 nights @ $100.00+ a night, but between the setting on the Mediterranean Sea and the incredible floral landscaping, we felt like we had found the Garden of Eden. And we acted a bit like Adam & Eve, pre-apple. If it wasn't for an angry nude German volleyball player, enraged at my photography of these strange nude German volleyball players, all memories would have been pleasant. But it wasn't like he ended up on USA Today or anything.
m and s
St. Petersburg, FL USA

As a former resident of Berlin, Germany...i saw and did a lot. But my favorite experience was visiting the Wansee Public Strandbad in southern part of the city. The Strandbad had two parts...the non-nude side (where topless was okay) and the nude side. My most memorable experience was playing nude chess with three-feet-tall chess pieces in the grassy part of the beach area. It was weird at first, but no one looked at you funny so after awhile I was able to relax and enjoy myself. If you are ever in Berlin, try it..you'll like it.
Tara L.
Providence, Ri USA

There is a beautiful lake in Freiburg, Germany. We saw swan hatchlings and many beautiful flowers there, and a large number of the people we saw were completely nude. I was there for a three-week grad school class on European business. One day, our fun-loving German professor (yes, there is such a being) said, "It's a hot one [weather]. Looks like we're going to see some naked bodies today, boys." My wife didn't like it when I expressed my surprise (with a little too much enthusiasm I guess) at seeing a young lady lying completely unclothed outside her apartment.
durham, nc

We loved the open attitudes of Europeans about nudity and sought out a nude beach on the French Riviera. We ended up at the Neptune Beach at St-Tropez, which was delightful. How refreshing to ask "Ou est la plage nudiste?" (Where is the nudist beach?) and not have people look at you as if you were a pervert. By the way, there are nude beaches and parks in the U.S. too, though not as common as in Europe. Two good sources of info are The Naturist Society (www.naturist.com) and the American Association of Nude Recreation (www.aanr.com).
Kira Clementine
Rockford, IL USA

Guvano on the Cinque Terre (Italia) is a fine place for nude sunbathing and swimming. Even during what I thought was peak time (August) this year, there were only a few dozen people. The biggest problem? Jellyfish. While their sting is relatively shortlived (a few hours), you might not be used to the pain induced in the, er, normally less exposed areas of the body. YOW!
Michael Horne
Portland, OR USA

On a hot day in Munich, another American and I went down to the Isar River to swim. I didn't realize it was a popular spot for nude bathing, at least for older men. I found out when I stumbled out of the woods and smack into a very naked, 40-year-old man. It didn't bother me after the initial surprise (or embarrassment, since I don't know how to apologize for that in German), but after seeing all the tourists ride by on their bikes, I did wonder how many accidents involving gaping Americans may have occurred in that area...
New Hope, PA USA

Having experienced "free beaches" in N. Calif. and select areas in Florida, my wife and I weren't shocked at all and in fact expected to come across nude sunbathing in the Netherlands. We were bicycling through Vondel Park on a warm (for Amsterdam) summer Sunday afternoon and passed many a partial and complete sun worshipper soaking up that rare commodity--N. European sun warmth. Typical European attitude vs. American. Being in a large city park in the middle of an afternoon and instead of someone pulling out a gun and people dodging bullets, people are nude and enjoying the afternoon's sun. Ah! Vive la difference, unfortunately.
John L. Smith
Valrico, fl USA

The first day at my European hotel pool, I felt like an oddball with my top on. So I took it off. It seemed so natural. No one looks at you any differently than if you had a top on. I found many marvelous semi-private coves on the Isle of Elba full of nude bathers from all over the world. My money was safe in my hotel room or in my bag left with my towel and things.

Yes: "When in Rome...."
My favorite is the granddaddy of them all, Cap D'Agde in southern France. I've been five times. It's a great pleasure not to have to worry about getting sand in your clothes. It's also much easier to rinse the sand off when it's not clinging to a wet suit. One of the best things about a nude beach is that since no one has pockets, crime is reduced. A clothed thief running down the beach is real easy to pick out from the law-abiding crowd. Another great advantage is because you wear fewer clothes, your luggage is lighter. I generally travel for 10 days with nothing more than a duffel bag (towels take up the most room).

I suggest you bring a lot of sunscreen. Since you are lathering it on more exposed skin you'll use more. Plus, it's expensive in Europe.

I'll be honest, not having the body of a Greek god, I was very hesitant to go to the beach sans clothes. After a little goading, I was talked into doing so. Now, I never visit European beaches with any clothes.



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