After a year of masks, nothing will feel more liberating than sunbathing in your birthday suit
There’s no denying that Europeans know how to release their inhibitions and have a good time. Point in case, their love of nude beaches.
As Europe re-opens for tourism this summer, the best nudist beaches across the continent will happily welcome back droves of “naturists” and completist sunbathers. So after a year in various states of lockdown, masked-ness and isolation, why not re-enter the fray of public life in the most liberating way possible: by doing as the Europeans do, and enjoying one of the world’s most beautiful stretches of coastline in your birthday suit?
Nudity has never been as taboo in Europe as it is stateside. Europe has a longstanding social history behind the practice of nudism, and beachgoing au naturel has become a summer fixture in European culture in recent decades.
In Germany, public nudity is normal, and part of a tradition known as Freikoerperkultur (Free Body Culture). It has roots that go all the way back to the late 19th century, when Germans considered nude exercise outdoors to be a potential cure for tuberculosis and rheumatism. In 1920, the world’s first nude beach was established on Germany’s Salt Island — which remains one of the best nude beaches in Europe to this day.
The nudist movement arrived in France by 1920, where the term “nudist” was coined to describe relaxation in the nude. Saint-Tropez, France, was an early adopter of nude beaches, as was Mykonos, Greece. Nearby in Croatia, it’s said that nude beachgoing became popular after British King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson visited the island of Rab in the 1930s and swam nude in the Bay of Kanda.
Today, designated nudist sections of public beaches are a norm in Europe, and American tourists can join the naturalist sun worshipers in just about any country that adjoins the sea (and even some that don’t, thanks to lake living). From private wild enclaves to urban beaches to party spots, anyone can find a nudist beach on the continent where they feel comfortable stripping down to their bare essentials.
Original publication 2 June, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 4th June 2021
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