"Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature, characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of encouraging respect for oneself, respect for others and for the environment."
INF world congress, Adge, France 1994.
If you're someone who is considering ditching those bathing suits and going 'au naturel', Croatia is probably the best place to do it.
Being the first European country to have opened its doors and welcomed naturism in 1953, Croatia has a long tradition and considerable number of naturist resorts and campsites all along its coast and islands.
Even though Croats themselves are considered to be rather shy to the idea of naturism, they are as a society open and used to the concept.
The beginnings of naturism in Croatia date back to 1930's when the English king Edward VIII visited island of Rab and local authorities allowed him and his wife to take a nude swim in the bay of Kandarola. This very beach is nowadays referred to as the English beach. At that times this was a good marketing for naturism in Croatia, even though naturism on the island of Rab is documented long before that.
First naturist resort in Croatia, called Koversada, was officially opened in 1961. It is in fact a small islet off the coast of Vrsar, where naturists use to go to bathe and swim in peace, but it soon outgrew it´s demand and spread to the shores of mainland. It is these days connected with a small bridge to the mainland and spreads over an area of almost 1 million square meters.
Croatia today has more than 20 official naturist resorts, all of them offering high standards of safety, beauty and peace of mind to nudist visitors, which make no less than one fifth of all visitors coming to Croatia every year.
Having in mind the needs and values of an average naturist: being in harmony with nature, more natural style of living, optimism and vitality, optimum health through direct contact with Earth elements (sun, wind, air, water), seeking more spiritual connection with the Nature and Self - Croatian naturist campsites are designed in a way that naturists and nudists find the natural surroundings and facilities suited to cover those needs.
Photos: Koversada naturist resort, Vrsar
Apart form official campsites, there are also many so called 'free beaches' which are unofficial naturist beaches, sometimes but not necessarily maintained by the local tourist authorities. Those beaches are marked by the abbreviation FKK, which comes from the German term 'Freikörperkultur' (Free Body Culture), and can be find in almost every town or island on the Croatian coast area.
Although it is a 'free body zone', when on a nudist beach one should follow certain rules as prevent potential embarrassment or unpleasant situations:
Be mindful about taking photographs on a nudist beach – make sure to get consent of anyone potentially in the shot. Trying to get a photo or a video of other nude people, especially children is greatly frowned upon and could get you banned from the beach.
Respect privacy of others – while naturists are generally open and friendly people, pay attention to the body language when attempting to make contact. Staring is plainly rude. It's also maybe not a good idea (for men!) to try to chat up a lady when she's alone – better way to make the first contact is when she's with some other people.
Nudity on the beach is not an invitation for something else – no overt sexual activity is permitted.
Nudist beaches are oasis of tranquility – have consideration for others when wanting to listen to the radio or play music – use earphones if possible.
These beaches are often secluded and may not offer all the amenities of textile beaches – plan in advance and bring along all you need.
When sitting on benches, chairs, pool furniture etc. make sure to always sit on a towel, for hygienic reasons.
Always pick up everything you bring, especially trash – it is of outmost importance to keep the sites as clean as possible.
Follow the local fire regulations – open fires or camping stoves outside of campgrounds are strictly prohibited. Croatian coast is high fire risk area, especially in summer.
Now that all the basics are covered, you are hopefully convinced and ready to throw aside clothes and dip into that turquoise Adriatic sea where one has no choice but to become one with Nature. Happy swimming!