Europe’s best countries for nude beach vacations

If you’re following us on YouTube on our Nick and Lins channel and especially our Destination Clothes Free channel, you may have noticed that we’ve been spending a lot of time on nude beaches recently. It wasn’t always like that. For much of our naturist-history, we have been prioritising nude resorts. Mostly because the variety of things to do is just so much bigger than on a nude beach.

 

Only after visiting some spectacular nude beaches in South Africa and Australia in recent years, we apparently got the taste for nude beaches back. We’re not the kind of people who can lay in the sun all day, but nude beaches prove to be perfect in combination with city trips or other tourist activities. Just the simple fact that there’s a nude beach even brought us to places that we may otherwise never have been to.

 

Europe is by far the continent with the most nude beaches in the world. You’ll find them in almost every European country. Even the landlocked ones, where there will likely be a place to sunbathe naked next to a river or lake. But for an actual nude beach vacation, you don’t want “just a nude beach”. You want a great nude beach. And here’s where you can find those.

Europe's best countries for nude beach vacations

Spain

Although France is generally known as the best country in the world for nude vacations, when it purely comes to beaches, we don’t think that any country (inside or outside of Europe) can beat Spain. This is partly because of the Spanish law that makes naturism a human right and legal in any natural place. But in our experience, beach nudity in Spain is very much alive because the Spanish just don’t bother wearing bathing suits. Bikini tops have been a rarity for decades, but also the bottoms seem to be more and more left behind.

 

Although nude beaches can be found all around the country, because of the weather, the Mediterranean coast is more popular for skinny dipping than the Atlantic coast. Most popular though are the Spanish islands. On both the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, you’ll find that beach nudity is very common and not just on officially designated nude beaches. The golden rule is: As long as the beach is not in the centre of a city or town, it’s okay to get naked there.

 

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Because Spain is so nude-friendly and a “fear for the naked” is almost non-existent, you’ll most often find a mix of nude and bathing suits on the beaches. Even on the beaches that are known as nude beaches. Unfortunately, the nude/non-nude ratio tends to move up and down and especially during the high season, the bathing suits often have the majority. Not everyone finds this equally comfortable.

Europe's best countries for nude beach vacations

France

France is the undefeated queen of nude vacations and every year, millions of visitors from around the world come to this country with the sole purpose of spending a vacation without clothes. Most famous are the clothes-free resorts of France, but also the nude beaches can’t be neglected.

 

Along the French Atlantic coast, nude beaches are the most common and also the largest. Especially in the Bay of Biscay, you’ll find endless wide and sandy nude beaches near almost every town. Along the Mediterranean Coast, nude beaches are fewer and often smaller or located at the edges of a clothed beach. Yet there are quite a lot, especially in the Provence and Nouvelle-Aquitaine provinces.

 

The island of Corsica is worth a special mention, with more than 20 nude beaches spread along the coast. The most famous one is Linguizzetta Beach, with about 2.5 kilometres of coastline it’s one of the longest official nude beaches in Europe. It’s also one of our favourite ones because it has lots of amenities, beach bars, and the lovely Bagheera Naturist Resort right next to it.

Europe's best countries for nude beach vacations

Croatia

Croatia was once in the top three nude vacation destinations around the world, but when the naturist options started spreading around Europe, it became less popular. Definitely not unpopular though, we’ve just spent 3 weeks in Croatia and found the nude beaches and naturist resorts surprisingly full. Especially because it was only June. It may be too early to say that Croatia is seeing a revival, but the options are certainly there.

 

The best nude beaches in Croatia can either be found on the islands, or as a part of a resort. Many resorts allow you to enter as a day visitor, sometimes for a small fee which also includes the use of their facilities. The nude beaches on the islands are often a hit or miss. Some are rather small and uncomfortable, others are among the best nude beaches we’ve ever seen. So, better do your research.

 

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When we showed some Croatian nude beaches in a recent video, we got several comments asking “Where the sand is”. Sandy beaches are indeed very rare in Croatia. Resorts sometimes create artificial sandy beaches, but as far as we know, only the island of Rab has natural sandy beaches. Yes, some of them are nude beaches. Pebble and rocky beaches may not look as nice as sandy beaches and sometimes aren’t as comfortable, but they keep the sea crystal clear. As our Croatian friend said: “I don’t go to sandy beaches because I like to see my feet when I’m in the water”. It’s all about personal preference.

Europe's best countries for nude beach vacations

Greece

If you look at the statistics, it may seem weird that Greece has a place in this overview because the country only counts five official nude beaches. The number that’s hardly ever taken into account though are the more than 1000 unofficial ones.

 

Most of the nude beaches in Greece are located on the islands, which probably doesn’t come as such a surprise because most of the country is actually island. Pretty much every island has beaches that are known to be visited without a bathing suit, but which island to choose depends a lot on the season. During the high season, it’s recommended to avoid popular islands like Mykonos or Santorini because they will be overloaded by bathing suits, also on the beaches.

 

Someone once told us that the rule in Greece to get naked is to be more than 100 meters from any window and out of sight of a church. Basically, this means to choose non-urban beaches. We also found that beaches in Greece follow a “first person sets the dress code”. If you’re the first, just get naked. If there’s already a naked person, just join. If there are already bathing suits, move away from them or pick another beach.

Europe's best countries for nude beach vacations

Portugal

The big underdog when it comes to nude beaches is probably Portugal. Due to a long-lasting dictatorship, naturism was only legalised in Portugal in the late 1970s, when countries like Spain, France, Croatia, and Greece were already established as nude vacation destinations. Yet, the country has been catching up. With 63 official and unofficial nude beaches, it still is a “naturist baby” in European terms, but definitely a nude beach destination to put on your list.

 

 
Most nude beaches in Portugal can be found in the warm South Alentejo and Algarve regions, where the southern climate often makes it possible to be naked from as early as the beginning of March to mid-November. If you’re a bit lucky with the weather and can stand a chilly breeze, it’s even possible to be naked on the beach every month of the year. We’ve met quite some people who did that.

 

What we loved the most about the nude beaches of Portugal is that they look so wild and spectacular. Even the nude beaches just a stone’s throw from Lisbon look as if they are on a different planet. Because the beaches are so large, they never feel crowded and you’ll always find a spot away from the others if you prefer some solitude.

Europe's best countries for nude beach vacations

Northern Europe

As we’re focusing specifically on nude beach vacation places in this blog post, northern Europe may not be that ideal because of the unpredictable weather. We’re from Belgium, we know what we’re talking about. One day it can be sunny and warm, the next rainy and cold. What are we saying? Not even the next day. It literally happened to us several times that we left home with a bright blue sky but got stuck in a rainstorm before we reached the nude beach.

 

Nevertheless, if you’re willing to take the risk, northern Europe is definitely an option as well. With more than 60 official nude beaches, the Netherlands has more nude beaches per kilometre of coastline than most other European countries. The coast of northern Germany is also dotted with long wild nude beaches. Denmark, just like Spain, doesn’t have a law prohibiting nudity on any beach. Even Sweden, Norway, and Finland have nude beaches and endless other beaches where you can just bathe as you wish as long as you’re not too close to urban areas. Something that’s not very hard in this part of Europe.

 
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