While not for everyone, for some clothing is simply an unwanted accompaniment on any trip. However it can be hard to find beaches where partial, let alone total nudity are permitted and those that do may be a shadow of the more traditional beaches in the area. For that reason, our helpful guide has found the ten best nudist beaches that will allow you to fully enjoy the coast of your chosen destination, in total freedom.
Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain
This small island is just south of Ibiza, and nude sunbathing is common. The official naturist beach is Playa de Mitjorn to the south, but you’re unlikely to run into problems elsewhere.
Ibiza is an hour away on the ferry, but total nudity is not as common as on Formentera. There are two official naturist beaches on Ibiza: Playa d’Es Cavallet, on the south coast, and S’Aigua Blanca, to the north-east.
Las Gaviotas, Tenerife, Canary Islands
For European hedonism in an African climate, try Tenerife. It’s possible to sunbathe nude or topless on many of the beaches, but Las Gaviotas is the original official nudist beach.
Popular with the gay community, Las Gaviotas is tucked away at the foot of a mountain on the road to Playa de las Teresitas. There are several other nude beaches on Tenerife.
Antiparos, Cyclades, Greece
The Greek islands are well known for a tolerant attitude to nude sunbathing. There are secluded coves on practically every island where it’s possible to go clothes-free.
An easier option is to head to the island of Antiparos, where you’ll find one of only three official naturist beaches in Greece. The beach is in a secluded little bay, just east of the island’s camping beach and about 10 minutes’ walk north of the town quay.
Parnu Beach, Estonia
Despite reinventing itself since the end of Soviet rule, Estonia has remained close to its traditions, including a fondness for naturism, still popular across the old territories of the USSR.
The beach at Parnu has long had a naturist section for women. There’s talk of opening it to both sexes, but men are not currently permitted, which makes it a low-pressure spot for women new to naturism.
Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada
Close to the cosmopolitan centre of Vancouver, Wreck Beach is the largest legal “clothing-optional” beach in Canada where six kilometres of sand stretches below northern forests and a 200-foot high cliff.
When not busy, this beach is a real wilderness spot. Look out for eagles, kingfishers and great blue herons. It’s on the west side of Vancouver, just past the University of British Columbia.
Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida, USA
The Americans may be keen on using sex to sell everything, but when it comes to public nudity they’re downright puritan. Topless sunbathing can result in arrest, although on the beaches around Miami it’s legal.
North Miami’s white, sandy Haulover Beach is one of the very few spots in the US where nude sunbathing is tolerated, with official notice boards alerting others to the naturist boundaries. It’s popular with families and Miami’s large gay community.
Tambaba Beach, Brazil
The only nudist beach in north-east Brazil, Tambaba, 45km south of Joao Pessoa, is regularly voted one of the top 10 beaches in the country.
The beautiful sands are divided into two areas. One is known as the tourist and family area, where clothing is optional. The other is restricted to families and couples and nudism is obligatory.
Sandy Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Sandy Bay is South Africa’s only recognized nudist beach, located in Llandudno, a coastal community just 18km from the centre of Cape Town. The water tends to be chilly but the beach is dotted with big granite slabs, perfect for sunbathing.
The area is part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve and indigenous flora is protected. There are tide pools to explore, and seals and dolphins can sometimes be seen off shore.
Studland Bay, Dorset, UK
The most popular naturist beach in the UK, Studland Bay has official approval from the National Trust, which owns the area.
The nudist area is in the centre of the beach, a long, sandy peninsula, clean and unspoilt, with beautiful sand dunes behind. Although getting there is a bit of a hike, Studland can still get crowded in glorious summer weather.