When Ash and I started on this trip, we committed to doing things that we hadn’t done before. We’ve both done the quintessential Western Europe backpacking journey, so this this trip was about new places and new experiences. We’ve visited an occupied Palestinian city, climbed waterfalls in Jordan, navigated crumbling Armenian Highways in a snowstorm, and Ferris Bueller’d a Lithuanian Independence Day Parade, so I feel we’ve made a pretty good go of it so far.
Seeking a change of pace after the stifling heat and rather conservative culture of the Middle East, we travelled to Croatia for some sun, surf and stripping. Yes, this is the story of the time we went to a nudist resort (intentionally!), and a guide for other first time nudist resort goers so you know what to expect.
Rather than our usual single-writer narrative we’ve styled this post more as an interview, so we can both share our individual takes on our first time nudist experience.
How (and why) we decided to visit a Naturist Resort
In the spirit of open-mindedness and eagerness for new experiences, as the weather grew warmer and Ash and I celebrated our joint birthday month of May (and splurged a bit), I took the opportunity to raise the prospect of another first-time experience I was curious about; visiting a naturist resort.
Honestly, the main driving factors for this new style of accommodation were curiosity and opportunity. Since being on the road our modesty levels have decreased massively; between 12 people dorm-rooms, nude saunas in Sweden and Turkish baths in Georgia, we’d grown more comfortable (or at least far less terrified) of getting our gear off around other people.
Personally I’ve always loved swimming in the ocean or a river naked, it’s one of the most liberating feelings in the world, but unfortunately one that’s not too easy to indulge in back home (outside of drunken night-time skinny-dips).
The fact that we were coming straight from six weeks of middle-eastern modesty culture made it even more intriguing to experience a environment which considers a naked human body to be healthy and natural.
I broached the subject with Ash, and when she didn’t immediately shoot it down I started planning.
When Dan told me what he wanted for his birthday I couldn’t help but laugh. Thinking it was a joke, I heartily chuckled when he informed me that for his birthday this year he would like to visit a nudist resort. My only thought was that he couldn’t possibly be serious…right? (spoiler – he was).
When I noticed he wasn’t laughing along with me I realised he was actually serious, he wanted to visit a naturist resort.
He offered up reasons why he wanted to go while I was still processing. Initially I was a little in shock but figured if nothing else it’d be an interesting experience and could make for a funny story. In truth I was imagining a few days of me hiding in the room while he drops his shorts and struts around happily, because a) no one wants to see me naked thanks very much!, and b) I really didn’t want to be naked in front of strangers.
We dropped the subject for a few weeks (while Dan was secretly doing research on where to go) and I was just starting to think I’d imagined this conversation when Dan mentioned he’d found a couple of great naturist resorts in Greece and Croatia, and asked when were we planning to be in that area. Being the supportive (and totally NOT a prude) fiancée I am, agreed to spend 2 days at a clothing prohibited resort in Croatia for his birthday, just to see what it was like.
Being the organised researcher I am I did read a lot of naturist stories about what it’s like to be a first time nudist and what nudist resorts are really like. I read nothing but positive nudist experiences, and it seemed like it was something you just needed to try for yourself and decide. If you’d like a more detailed guide to being a first time nudist, check out these awesome resources from Naked Wanderings, a full time travelling naturist couple.
The Naturist Resort We Visited
We chose a proper naturist resort (or FKK resort), rather than just a random nude or clothing optional beach for a few reasons, but mainly because we wanted a controlled environment where everybody is in the same boat (more on this below).
We stayed at Solaris, near Poreč in Croatia, (a name you might recognise from our accidental 800km road trip). At this resort, no clothing was allowed along the 2.5km beach or at the pool. This is important, because if clothing is optional then you can easily end up with a portion of clothed, voyeuristic creeps who are just there for the show, and the presence of clothed people can just generally make those who are naked feel self-conscious.
This way we had the best of both worlds; if we were up for it then we could head down to the water, where everyone was baring everything, and if we chickened out we could hang out in our room or at the bar, fully clothed.
The resort was huge, easily over 1000 people spread between villas and campsites. I was surprised by the diversity of the guests; while most were probably between 40 and their 70’s, we certainly weren’t the youngest couple there. There were young families, couples and university-aged groups of friends who all chose to spend the week au naturel under the Croatian sun. The gender gap was also around 55% – 45% male to female, which is more balanced than the stereotypes would have you believe.
As we made our way (clothed) from our room to the beach, we (Dan) actually started feeling like the odd ones out because we weren’t naked. It was 10 am and there were already over 100 people basking in the sun or wading in the water, wearing nothing but the occasional pair of sunglasses or water shoes. It was completely natural; no staring, no weirdness, just people enjoying a beautiful day on the coast of the Adriatic. We chose a spot, put down our towels, and having already applied sunscreen (everywhere) there was nothing else to do but strip off.
Getting Naked for the First Time
The best advice I can give is treat it like a band-aid, get it over with quickly and don’t look back. For the first 30 seconds it was strange; being completely nude in broad daylight with hundreds of people around, until I realised that nobody gave us a second glance. Being naked is only taboo or sexual because we as a society choose to make it taboo. It’s like flicking a switch, as soon as you remove all the connotations that we associate with nudity, as soon as you turn that part of your brain off, it’s no different to wearing (or not wearing) anything else. Five minutes in and it felt like any other day at the beach, only with the benefit of breeze and sunlight in places which don’t traditionally experience them.
If you hadn’t already guessed, I was pretty hesitant to strip off and chill by the beach in my birthday suit. The first day when we walked down to the beach (me in a tank top and shorts sans underwear or bikini) I felt really strange.
We arrived at the beach and there were dozens of people happily lounging around naked, and I started seriously wondering if I could do this! But I didn’t want to look like a chicken (or have to sit in our room ALL day) so I decide to just go for it, and promptly stripped off and lay face down on my sun lounge (with towel, because etiquette people) and hoped no one saw my bits.
Despite my reservations, no one else gave us a second look, and I gradually got a little more comfortable… no, perhaps a little less uncomfortable is more accurate. After half an hour or so I was pretty sore from laying the same way on the hard plastic lounge and decided to just get over it and roll over, in my head pretending I was wearing a bikini. It really wasn’t that bad, nowhere near as scary or weird as I thought it would be!
It was definitely easier in the afternoons, with a couple of (large) beers in my system. I even managed to sit naked on a lounge and walk 50m from the lounge to the water and back by myself on one occasion when Dan went up to the shop.
First Time Nudist – How Did it Feel?
As soon as you got used to it, it was pretty great. The water was sparkling and filled with coral, the sun the perfect temperature instead of the 40* of Egypt, and the drink prices were surprisingly reasonable. Swimming in the ocean without a stitch on is one of the closest experiences a person can get to being weightless, and for the first time in my life, I’d even started to get an actual tan.
It’s a cliche, but I found being nude to be freeing. I became increasingly comfortable, leaving our sun lounges to wander up to 1km along the beach-side path and even engaging in small-talk with people. The funniest part was that even though I was completely starkers, before diving into the water I still did the last-second pocket pat-down checking for a phone or wallet… I guess it’s just instinctive by now.
I quite enjoyed being topless! As any woman will tell you, bras (and even bikini tops for those with average to larger busts) are incredibly uncomfortable. My favourite thing at the end of the day is to get home (or to our room) and remove the offending item. So that wasn’t an issue. It was the uncovered, erm, bottom…
I guess now is an opportune time to state that I ALWAYS wear underwear (like, the only time I’m without underwear is in the shower). Unlike Dan, I wear it in bed, when relaxing… etc. I’ve never been someone who enjoys having the house to themselves to strip off and lounge on the couch naked (sorry to disappoint- haha). For me, this was the hardest thing to get over. I didn’t ‘hate’ being naked, and I didn’t care that everyone else was naked, I just would have preferred to be able to wear bottoms.
I do agree with Dan on the swimming though, once I got over how much cold the water was, it was really nice swimming nude in the ocean!
It also needs to be mentioned that the presence of free-swinging old man peen made me feel a little like I was at work (#NurseLife), which did somewhat spoil the illusion that we were on holiday.
Would You Visit a Naturist Resort Again?
Possibly. We stayed at a clothing prohibited resort this time, which means you aren’t allowed to wear any swimwear at the pool/beach, while common areas are optional, and restaurants require some covering (sarong, shorts, etc).
I feel that this was the best choice for first-timer’s as you’re forced to just try it, whereas if it were optional I don’t think I would have.
In saying that, I would probably be more inclined towards the clothing optional resorts if we were to try this again in the future. I’ve figured out that I, personally, feel more comfortable wearing underwear/bikini bottoms, while I would be happy to try topless again.
Absolutely. I found the whole experience to be counter-intuitively relaxing and beneficial. For something which we were fairly nervous about trying, by the end I found it to be incredibly stress-relieving. Leading up to our first beach disrobing I was feeling a bit self-conscious, but after constantly being around nude bodies of all ages, shapes and sizes, all of whom are perfectly comfortable in their own skin, suddenly your own personal insecurities don’t seem to loom so large.
I agree with Ash that starting out at a clothing prohibited beach was the best first time nudist experience, but in the future a clothing-optional place would be better. The whole philosophy of naturism is that people should be comfortable in as much, or as little as they want, in a healthy, judgment-free zone. For some that means wearing tops, bottoms, or nothing.
When starting this journey, getting naked in front of hundreds of people certainly wasn’t something that we planned on doing. But the way I see it, you have one life, one chance to fit as many experiences as you can into it as you possibly can. It’s too short to pass opportunities up, and you never want to die thinking “I wonder what it would have been like if I had been bold enough to get my kit off on that Croatian beach?”.
Ash and I are fortunate enough to have an incredible opportunity to adventure around the world, accumulating new experiences. This was definitely a new experience and one that I’d recommend for anybody. Just switch off that little voice that initially says “being naked seems weird”, embrace the freedom, and don’t forget the sunscreen!