WE’VE ALL walked onto a beautiful, secluded beach sometime in our lives only to suddenly realise we’re the only ones wearing shorts or bathing suits, not knowing whether we’ve stumbled upon a recognised naturist beach or not.
However the nudist scene in Spain has been a little backward at coming forward in comparison to countries like France, Germany and Greece.
More than 20 million people are practicing naturism throughout Europe, a figure that has not helped Spain to become actively involved in this type of tourism, although this trend is gradually changing.
Without Spain as a competitor, countries like Germany, France or Greece are at the forefront of naturism.
Whilst in these destinations there is a more ingrained tradition of nudity, the practice did not reach the Spanish coasts until the mid-1970’s by which time resorts were already springing up throughout Europe to cater for the pastime.
According to a study carried out by Hosteltur, more than 30,000 people practice naturism regularly in Spain and more than 500,000 sporadically.
President of the Spanish Federation of Naturism (FEM), Ismael Rodrigo, says that the problem is in insufficient availability. “There are campsites, hotels and housing developments aimed at naturists, but there are no vacancies for months,” he explained.
Rodrigo advocates overcoming taboos by employers and society in general, as people must understand that naturism goes beyond clothing.
“Our essence is to achieve the normalisation of nudity, for bathing, for example, no clothing is necessary as it would keep humans from their nature, “said Rodrigo.
Although Spain has not yet taken advantage of all the opportunities offered by this type of tourism, it does have certain advantages, such as a lack of regulation which attracts naturists from all over the world because nudity is allowed on practically any Spanish public beach.
For this reason it is difficult to quantify the exact number of naturist beaches in the country, as strictly speaking by the law of a new Penal Code in 1995, where nudism ceased to be considered a crime.
In this way, the practitioner cannot be punished unless he commits “acts of violence or obscene display to minors.
So although there are no official nudist beaches, the online Playea website suggests that there are 454 beaches where nudists outnumber those wearing clothes along the Spanish coastlines.
However unbeknown to many visitors to the country, Spain does have two famous naked only resorts, where clothing is optional everywhere but the formal dining room during dinner.
The Hotel Vera Playa (Almeria), a four-star and completely naturist hotel which, with seven other urbanizations, totals more than 2,000 beds with which it manages to house a whole community of nudists inside its walls.
And even more striking is Charco del Palo in Lanzarote, a town that jumped into the media after being officially declared the first naturist village in the world and where you can shop, walk and even throw the trash out completely in the nude.