nude-beach

There are few feelings as sumptuous as that of the sand between your toes, salt in your hair and sun on your skin – and for serious heliophiles, the more flesh exposed the better. It’s the 21st century and going topless on most shores won’t ruffle many feathers.

Yet some beaches take it one step – or layer – further with an au naturel approach to fun in the sun. From family-friendly coasts to A-lister territory, these are the beaches where we’d dare to bare.

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada

A beacon of Canada’s progressive past and present, Wreck Beach has been proudly clothing-optional since the early 1970s, making this sandy stretch North America’s first ever (and largest) nude beach. Accessible only by foot, it’s frequented by liberal students from the nearby University of British Columbia – though something tells us these young things wouldn’t mind if the beach weren’t so secluded. Wreck is like a dreamy relic of Summer of Love Canada. In place of stores and restaurants, vendors sell snacks and sunscreen (we suggest loading up on both), and there’s an undeniable scent of weed in the air – simply put, if people were wearing clothes, they’d likely be tie-dye.

Plage de Tahiti, Saint-Tropez, France

In the opening scene of the 1956 film And God Created Woman, Brigitte Bardot lounges on Plage de Tahiti, golden limbed and sans clothing. Since the blonde bombshell’s scantily clad endorsement, this slice of the French Riviera has become the beach of choice holidaymakers who prefer their tans without the lines. The stretch is soft and sandy, surrounded by pine trees and dotted with orange-and-white striped umbrellas and loungers. The vibe is laissez-faire in everything except cost; as the preferred locale of big-wigs with bigger wallets, everything from beach chair rental to cocktails comes with an extortionate price tag. Bare here and you’ll be rubbing shoulders (among a host of other body parts) with Hollywood’s most glam. A reminder: when you spot an A-lister in the buff, stay nonchalant and resist the urge to snap a pic, so not French.

Red Beach, Crete, Greece

The rusty-hued sand of Crete’s Red Beach offers something a little different from Greece’s standard shores… and in more ways than just its appearance. Its approach to nudity has been an open-armed welcome since the beach became a hotspot for Europe’s naturists in the 1960s. Have your fill of sunshine and explore the nearby caves and ruins (don’t be fooled, those signs on the cave wall are a local hoax, not prehistoric markings) before heading to Yiannis, a beach bar where you can sip on a mojito totally nude. Just a 20-minute hike from Matala, Red Beach is convenient for a quick skinny-dip, but also prone to becoming a towel-to-towel situation during peak months.

Praia do Pinho, Brazil

Although Brazil is renowned for itsy-bitsy bikini bottoms (read: dental floss), Praia do Pinho allows birthday suits only. Far from being seedy and scandalous, it’s best described as a naturist beach with a family-friendly complex, clothing-optional camping grounds and children’s play areas. Beach officials here want to create a safe space for all of its visitors; an aim that has manifested in the barring of unaccompanied men from select sections of the beach. The result is a space of acceptance and sanctuary, underpinned by a philosophy of reconnecting with nature. From tiny tots to free-spirited grandpas, everyone is welcome here, wobbly bits and all.

Es Trenc, Mallorca, Spain

As one of the most nudist-friendly countries in the world, it’s no surprise that Spain is home to multiple beaches where bare buns and topless tanning don’t raise eyebrows. With powdery sand and shallow seas, Mallorca’s Es Trenc is our pick of the bunch. The largest of the Balearic islands, Mallorca has long offered respite from tourist-ravaged Magaluf, and Es Trenc is ideal for beach-goers looking to get as far away from the mega-resorts as possible. Unattached to a hotel – a marvel in such a popular destination – this beach enjoys a lack of development, meaning less tourists and more nature. The shoreline may be long and undulating, but nudity is concentrated in its middle section where the sands are narrow. Things get a little close for comfort during peak season, so unless you’re okay with some accidental skin-to-skin action we’d steer clear from June – September.

Maslin Beach, Adelaide

Few places are as renowned for golden sun and golden bums as Australia, and Adelaide’s Maslin Beach is your go-to for a healthy dose of the two. Sanctioned in 1975, Maslin was the country’s first legal nude beach. Being only an hour’s drive south of the city, its relaxed attitude and cerulean waters soon enticed beach bums (in the figurative and literal sense) to its three kilometres of cliff-backed coastline. Expect the usual suspects: soft sand, good waves and clear skies – but also be prepared for the annual Nude Olympics (later changed to the Pilwarren Maslin Beach Nude Games after the official Olympic committee protested the alliance). Hotly-contested events include three-legged races, doughnut eating competitions and, of course, the illustrious crowning of the official “best bum”.

Guvano, Cinque Terre, Italy

Few destinations have appeared on as many Pinterest boards as Italy’s Cinque Terre. Its string of centuries-old villages hugging the coastline are endlessly covetable – and everybody knows it. Between the fashion set with their Hermès towels tucked under-arm and Florentine families on a day-trip, it’s hard to find inch of sand for yourself. But if you’re willing to strip (or see others doing so) you’ll find a world – or at the very least a patch – of tanning locales. One such place is Guvano, a pebbly coved tucked in a rocky gorge between Vernazza and Corniglia where buff Italian bohemians liked to party in the Seventies. The stuff of legends, this beach is appropriately challenging to reach; it’s accessible only by way of an abandoned railway tunnel. Pack a flashlight because it’s pitch black for the large part of the 15-minute walk – but a relatively small price to pay for la dolce vita waiting at the end of the tunnel, literally.

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