Some travelers to Greece want to bare it all. And rightfully so, as European countries are known for their scanty beach dress code. Still, while plenty of beaches allow topless bathers, the true adult-only nude beaches need to be sought out. Some require a hike to a secluded nook, while others boast a party scene for birthday-suit bathers. And while there are only a few dedicated "nude beaches" in Greece, most have clothing-optional areas or times. If you don't mind getting nude among the common folk, just survey the scene to gauge the appropriateness. But for the real experience of being surrounded by nudists, you'll need the inside scoop.
This red sand beach in Crete boasts some of the clearest, bluest water in the world. It's accessible by a 30-minute hike (depending on your fitness level) over a small mountain. Pack light and wear sunscreen, as you won't have the need for any clothing once you get there. Enjoy the rocks on the north end of the beach carved into Minoan and Egyptian shapes. And sip a traditional beverage (like a canelada) under an umbrella at the bar near the rocks which are carved into intriguing ancient Minoan and Egyptian shapes.
Sweetwater Beach, Crete (Glyka Nera)
Favored by summer-long nudists (readily recognized due to the depth of their all-over tans), this nude beach offers fresh, cold water that springs up from below the stones. It's accessible by a long hike from either Loutro or Hora Sfakia or by beach-hopping water taxis. You don't need to pack a thing to make this trek. A picturesque taverna perched on an offshore rock offers great coffee, local sausages, and souvlaki. Local goats crowd themselves in the shade of caves located at the back of the beach. They are beautiful and friendly, but may take a nibble at your shorts.
Marmara Beach, Crete
Despite the anti-nudism proprietors of the overlooking (and memorably excellent) taverna, nudists have a hard time resisting the smooth marble stone and cave-pocked coastline of this stretch of beach. The picturesque hour-long hike up the Gorge is worth it, but wear light clothing—especially in the heat of the day—to avoid a sunburn. The unique seabed makes for great snorkeling. And while this beach is remote, Marmara can fill up quickly with boat travelers during the height of summer.
One of the first nude beaches to become a well-known refuge, Paradise Beach now has a reputation of being a "party beach." The famous Cavo Paradiso—complete with a pool, swim-up bar, and a restaurant—sits above the beach on a hill and draws a young party crowd. Expect to mingle among the clothed crowd, however, as Mykonos draws visitors of all types looking for a lively atmosphere along the coast of the Aegean Sea.
Banana Beaches, Skiathos
Two beaches—Big Banana and Little Banana—make up the nude section of Skiathos Island (now best known as the backdrop for the blockbuster movie "Mamma Mia"). And the white sand and crystal clear waters attract all sorts of beachgoers. Head to Big Banana beach for a vibrant atmosphere with music. Little Banana offers a more tranquil feel and is the better spot for nude bathing. Grab a snorkel for some underwater fun or watch the sunset from either of these magnificent beaches.
Red Beach, Santorini
A good beach name is hard to come by (and often dictates its surroundings), so it's no surprise that there are two famed "red beaches" in Greece. This one on volcanic Santorini island, however, is one of the most unique beaches in the country. The pebbly beach sits among a backdrop of russet red cliffs (evidence of past volcanic flows) and is accessible by a short hike from an archeological area. As with most nude beaches in Greece, Red Beach attracts an equal number of "textiles" (nudist slang for those who keep their suits on) as it does true nudists.
Monodendri Beach, Lipsi
Little known and sometimes outright denied by conservative island locals, this small, remote beach is one of the better-known clothing-optional spots on Lipsi. Located near its lone tree landmark and namesake, Monodendri Beach is an accessible hike from the parking area. If you're looking for a nude experience that's virtually free of other beachgoers, this pebbly stretch of coastline is the spot to go.