The sensuous beauty of the Greek Islands inspires many visitors to explore nude sunbathing for the first time, especially at world-renowned naturist-friendly beaches on Mykonos. However, if you're a novice at being naked in public, you may need a little help to get you started.
American tourists visiting Europe for the first time are often surprised by their cultural acceptance of partial and full nudity — depending on where they are.
If you're planning a trip to Greece and want to experience a nude beach, there are a few important etiquette guidelines and tips to keep in mind to make sure you have a fun, safe trip to a naturist destination.
Greece is home to many nude beaches, so the first step to planning your trip is to select which beach is right for you. Whether you're gay, straight, traveling with family or a significant other, or would prefer a mixed-culture beach, there's a destination in Greece that's right for your first experience.
Preparing for Your First Visit
Once you've arrived at your Greek destination, the first thing you'll want to do is find a local — perhaps an innkeeper, tavern bartender, or small-boat operator — and confirm the beach's nudity status. Some beaches are nude-friendly one year but require clothing the next, and a new beach may be the latest nude beach in the area.
Locals can also point you toward remote coves and nude beaches that are only accessible by boat; you can typically commission the resident operator to take you there, but remember to only pay half upfront so that he comes back to get you once you're done enjoying the private destination.
Before you set off, though, you'll need to prepare a few things for your trip. Remember to pack (and apply) plenty of sunscreen and be sure to test it on sensitive areas to make sure you don't get an allergic reaction or skin irritation from it.
You also might want to pack a pair of surf sandals to avoid sea anemones in the water and wear clothing you can easily slip in and out of in case you decide to abandon your nude beach experiment.
Nude Beach Etiquette
Nudity isn't as taboo in European culture as it is in American culture, and there are some important things to keep in mind if this is your first time visiting a beach where toplessness and full nudity is allowed.
Whether you're taking a day trip on Santorini or visiting a nudist beach near Athens, you should leave your camera in your hotel room or point it only at yourself or non-human scenery while at the beach. Intrusive photography on a nude beach is always frowned upon, and even in the somewhat more-relaxed regions of Greece, nude beach etiquette dictates camera use should be extremely limited.
Never visit a nude beach just to gawk, but it is perfectly acceptable to be at a nude beach while wearing clothing. Naturism is all about being comfortable in your skin, so no one will judge you if you'd rather wear your bathing suit bottoms or a tank top to sunbathe — just make sure you're not staring at the nude sunbathers.
Other Tips for First-Timers
Sunbathing in the nude can be an intimidating experience the first time you do it — especially in public — but people often forget that some parts of the body aren't used to seeing as much sun as the rest. As a result, you should only stay an hour or two the first time you try going nude unless you really trust your sunscreen.
When trying to find a nude beach, keep in mind that beach areas near taverns or other businesses are unlikely to be nudist-friendly. If you visit a beach known to allow nude sunbathing, yet see nothing but swimsuits, keep walking until you find a few naked beach-goers. The nude sections often start just past privacy-creating rock formations, and some bare beaches divide into sections like gay, couples, or family in the same way.
If you hire a small boat to reach a secluded beach accessible only by water, make sure you have bottled water, snacks, and warm clothing along just in case the captain is late returning to pick you up.