For a lot of Americans, the phrase “nude beach” conjures an image that’s exotic, titillating, and a little bit naughty. For most Europeans, though, they’re just beaches. And, like all beaches, some are better than others. So, rather than leave you to your own devices, we did the legwork for you. Want to make sure there’s booze on hand? Done. Want to see some natural wonders while you’re there? Sorted. Here are our picks for the best au naturale beaches around the globe. (Don’t worry; some of them have shade.) Regardless, we humbly suggest you pack a powerful SPF. There are just some kinds of sunburn you don’t want to mess with.
1. Valalta (Rovinj, Croatia)
Part of a naturist campsite, Valalta has shade galore. If you want to go Full Monty on your trip, staying here is an option. The site boasts a pool with a bar (yes, in the pool) and a water slide, plus its own brewery. Bonus: it’s the furthest thing from local you could possibly imagine, so the odds of running into someone you’d rather not get quite that intimate with are zilch
2. Plage de Tahiti (St. Tropez, France)
St. Tropez was a major player in the topless movement of the 1960s (thanks, Brigitte Bardot), and the trend never really died. Plage is (quietly) categorized as a celebrity haunt, so you have a chance of seeing a star or deux airbrush-free. Just don’t bring your heavy-duty Canon along for the ride. A snap in the wrong place at the wrong time could get you firmly escorted from the area by a burly bodyguard. But hey, it’d make for a great travel story.
3. Bellevue Beach (Klampenborg, Denmark)
Bellevue Beach has become a summer party destination for tourists and locals alike. It sees up to 500,000 visitors a year, So, if you’re worried about getting an eyeful of a bunch of folks who will make you unable to ever look at your grandparents in the same way again, somewhere like Bellevue will be right up your alley. The loud music and raucous atmosphere make it a young person’s paradise. The beach tends to get divided by sexual orientation, so it’s prudent to do some research before committing to a location.
4. Lighthouse Beach (Fire Island, New York)
Yep, there are clothing-optional beaches right in your proverbial backyard. Tucked away in Fair Harbor, Lighthouse Beach is one of a handful of nude spots on the island. This one happens to be the most widely known, and is especially popular because of the gorgeous lighthouse that gave the mile-long stretch its name. The beach is in danger of losing its designation as a legal nude beach, so if you’re into naturist rights, you can sign the petition to save it here. Either way, it might be a reason to plan a trip sooner than later.
5. Arambol Beach (Pernem, Goa, India)
Arambol is a popular destination year round. The water is calm, though the beach itself is a bit rocky. If you get tired of the salt water, there’s a freshwater lagoon that runs (swoon) into a jungle. Getting naked here has the added benefit of giving you more surface area on which to smear Arambol’s famous mud. The sulphurous stuff is said to be wonderfully therapeutic.
6. Playa de Ses Illetes (Formentera Island, Spain)
If you throw a rock in Spain, you can probably hit a nude beach. That said, the main tourist destination for au naturale lounging (Ibiza) is overrun with revelers most of the time. Translation: not the place for a relaxing getaway. Formentera Island, reached by ferry from Ibiza, is a beautiful place to indulge at a slightly lower volume. If that wasn’t incentive enough, Playa de Illetes has stunning white sand, clear blue water, and is wading distance from another nudie favorite: Espalmador.
7. Red Beach (Crete, Greece)
If you want your trip to be about more than just nude sunbathing, Red Beach is the place. In addition to the lounging Grecian locals, you can admire ancient ruins, awe-inspiring caves, and, of course, the stunning the red rocks that set the place apart. It’s not very developed, but there’s a coffee shop with drinks and snacks to refuel throughout the day. The beach is a 15-25 minute walk from nearby Matala, and the sunset alone is worth the trip.