Travel
3 min

10 great nude beaches of Europe

From cliff dunes overlooking the Mediterranean to beaches watched over by nude lifeguards

Frederic, a lifeguard at Euronat. Credit: Bruce Bishop Communications

If you’re fond of “getting your kit off,” “gettin’ nekkid” or just want to do some plain ol’ skinnydipping, here are 10 great nude beaches in Europe.

1.  Bellevue Beach
Bellevue Beach is one of a handful of gay beaches in Copenhagen. Virtually all beaches in Denmark are clothing-optional; the few that are not will have signs posted.

Copenhagen Gay Life describes Bellevue, just a short train ride from the city centre, as “one of Copenhagen’s best gay beaches.” After exiting Klampenborg Station you will soon see the water to the east. The north end of the beach is a combined nude and gay beach and is very popular.

2.  Euronat
Expansive is a word that comes to mind when describing this superbe beach, complete with nude lifeguards, on France’s southwest Atlantic coast. Adjoining the beach is a park with full facilities; trailers, tents and chalets are available for rent.

It would seem odd to wear any clothing at all at Euronat if the sun is out and the air is warm. It is strangely liberating to buy your daily bread at the patisserie (bakery), your International Herald Tribune at the kiosque a journaux (newsstand), and a bottle of wine for dinner at the négociant en vins (wine merchant) dressed in nothing more than a baseball cap, if even that. When you want shade, just walk under the mantle of the magnificent pine-treed forest in which all the buildings and roads of Euronat are nestled.

Situated close to the famous vineyards of Bordeaux, Euronat is also just a few miles from the birthplace of French naturism, the village of Montalivet.

3.  Cap d’Agde
This huge nudist “village” on the south coast of France, near Montpellier, is a kind of concrete jungle of apartment blocks with a wealth of accommodation choices and places to eat and drink. It’s the polar opposite in tone and style to Euronat.

One travel blogger described it this way: “We stayed off the Naturist Centre in a mainstream camp site in Marseillan Plage [a beach popular with gay visitors] . . . The main naturist beach started around a five minute walk along the beach . . . The water is safe and shallow with sand banks. On finding a spot our first impressions were that the area is quite mixed compared to other gay beaches I’ve been to, [and] you soon realized that all genders mix quite comfortably here.”

4.  Danube Island
The hills are alive with the sounds of naturists . . . A 21-kilometre strip of land in the Danube river in central Vienna, Austria, is home to large nude beaches on either end. What would Maria von Trapp say?

5.  Englischer Garten (English Garden)
Located in the heart of Munich, Germany, the Englischer Garten isn’t exactly a beach. However, the Isar river runs through this mammoth municipal park, and nude sunbathing is allowed in and around the horse track.

6.  Mykonos
When you get to the sun-drenched island of Mykonos in Greece, follow the flocks of LGBT folks headed to Super Paradise, Paradise and Elia beaches.

7.  Playa Costa Natura
Just west of the Spanish town of Estepona (the nearest big city is Malaga) is the popular Playa Costa Natura nudist beach.

Says Martin Curd, a transplanted Brit who manages the adjoining naturist resort, “Costa Natura beach is a gay-friendly beach with a small kiosk at one end. The far end of the beach (to the west) is where the majority of gay people gather, both locals and holiday makers. It’s worth mentioning there are no toilets on the beach, and the area around the kiosk — outside the resort — is where the majority of families gather.”

East of Malaga, the popular-with-locals town of Almuñécar is home to a couple of nude beaches.

8.  Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas 
Spain’s Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa, have several nude beaches to explore. One of the most popular is Playa del Inglés, on the south coast of Gran Canaria. You’ll know you’re in queer territory when you see the rainbow flags flying in one section of the eight-kilometre beach.

Here you will find cliff dunes facing relatively calm Mediterranean waters; trade winds and a mountain barrier to the north isolate the south, so clear skies are almost always guaranteed (and so are British and German tourists, as well as Spaniards from the mainland). Savvy travellers visit the twin resorts of Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés in the shoulder seasons — spring or fall — when the beaches are quieter and prices are lower.

9.  Sitges
Long known as one of Spain’s gay hotspots, the Costa Brava coastal town of Sitges (just 30 kilometres from Barcelona) has many nude beaches to choose from.

10.  Studland
Yes, even England has a popular nude beach, officially sanctioned by the National Trust. It’s on the southwest English Channel coast, in the county of Dorset, near Swanage, and has been popular with the bare-it-all set since the 1920s.