Where to cast off without a care
Nude, naturist, clothing optional, "free" or "FKK" (from the German Freikörperkultur) beaches offer not just the chance to get an all-over tan but to enjoy basking in the sun in the most natural state.
There are some do's and don'ts to casting off. Gawking, photography/filming and lewd behaviour are not tolerated and you may be asked to leave the beach. Many nude beaches are divided into different areas - family, singles and couples, gay. Find out where you belong before you settle down. Finally, don't forget your sun block.
Here are Cheapflights’ suggestions for the best clothing-optional beaches around the world. Agree, disagree or have your own suggestions? Let us know by leaving a comment here.
Playa El Mago, Majorca
Close to Magaluf, Playa El Mago is Majorca's first official nude beach. A small crystal-clear bay with golden sands and rocky outcrops, it is surrounded by shady pine trees. There is an open air bar too. Playa El Mago is close to the family-friendly beaches of Portals Vells.
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Sweetwater, Crete, Greece
Also known as Gliko Nero, this beautiful stretch gets its name from the springs of water that bubble under the stones at the back of the beach. It's a laid-back pebble-strewn beach with a hippieish vibe about 25km (40 miles) from Chania. Getting there is a bit of a trek - it's accessible only by boat or foot from Loutro village. A towering cliff adds to the dramatic setting and reflects the sun back onto the beach making this a veritable sun trap. There is a taverna at the western end of the beach where boats from Loutro and Chora Sfakia dock.
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Banana Beach, Skiathos, Greece
Another Grecian gem - three nude beaches at the southwestern tip of Skiathos Island. Thirty minutes from Skiathos town, it is a beautiful crescent-shaped, golden-sanded spot lapped by the clear waters of the Aegean Sea. The beach is shaded at the back, a small taverna sells light snacks and there are umbrellas and loungers for hire. From the beach there are views of the Pelion and dolphins can often be seen frolicking in the waters. The fish milling around in the shallow waters will take bread straight from your hand.
The island of Sylt, one of the Frisian Islands in the North Sea, is known as Germany's St Tropez. Smart Germans flock here in July and August to top up their all-over tans, see and be seen. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway. It's a charming place with thatched-roof houses, red-and-white striped lighthouses, and, on the beaches, Strandkoerbe (distinctive shell-shaped sun loungers). The west coast of the island is given over to wide white-sand beaches. Buhne 16 is the most tolerant nude beach.
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On the Istrian peninsula, 8km (5 miles) from the city of Rovinj, Valalta has 3km (2 miles) of Blue Flag beaches and secluded coves. There is a naturist settlement nearby with a sea-water swimming pool and olive-tree and vine lined green spaces.
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Haulover Beach, Miami
Only the north side of Haulover Beach is clothing optional, but this is where up to 85 per cent of the beach goers congregate. Located between the cities of Bal Harbour and Sunny Isles, the beach is not exactly wilderness. There are barbecue grills, food and drink stands and showers. For a break from sunbathing there are volleyball games and surfing contests.
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Wreck Beach, Vancouver, Canada
Take the steep sylvan trail down to Vancouver's only clothing-optional beach. Located between Locarno Beach and the endowment lands of the University of British Columbia, Wreck Beach is almost 8km (5 miles) of pristine wilderness in the city. A volunteer organisation ensures it stays that way. Beach goers are a mix of university students, families and committed bare bathers and beach vendors sell everything from sun block to buffalo burgers.
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There are two nude beaches at Montalivet on the Atlantic Coast of France, to the north and south of the main town. The northern beach is beside the Euronat resort while the southern beach is adjacent to the CHM Montalivet resort, the birthplace of the international naturist movement.
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Samurai Beach, Australia
At Port Stephens in New South Wales, Samurai Beach is 1km long. Situated by Tomaree National Park, the beach is protected by dense greenery and sand dunes and marked by rocky outcrops at either end. Dolphins swim off the coast in the sparkling blue waters. There are no snack bars or toilets; this is a slice of natural Australia.
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Updated May 2014