You always remember your first nude beach experience... and the Red Beach near Matala was ours. Tempted by tales of a perfect beach that you had to clamber over a steep hill and rocks to get to, no-one mentioned the (lack of) dress code. Arriving sweaty and out of breath after the climb, a sea of glittering azure perfection and a beach of naked bodies awaited. But sometimes you have to just go with the flow... and any pinkness could be blamed on the sun, not the initial embarrassment.
On a quiet corner of probably on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline on Portugal's Alentejo coast, the Alteirinhos beach has golden sand and crystal clear water. If you're lucky you'll even spot dolphins and schools of fish in the waters - all swimming just as naked as you can! If you're feeling shy, there's plenty of rocks to shelter behind. This is a family-friendly beach and people have been making the journey down the little wooden stairway to enjoy the pristine sand for hundreds of years.
About ten minutes by taxi-boat from the the main port of Dubrovnik is the tiny island of Lokrum, where you'll find a small, but perfectly formed nudist beach up on its eastern-most point. Like most Croatian beaches, there are plenty of rocks and fragrant-smelling pine trees along with almost Caribbean-like warm, sparkling clear waters. There are many nudist beaches all over Croatia but this gets our vote for being so close to the big city yet allowing you to feel like you're far away from the bustle of the modern world.
Dazzling white sand beaches are the big draw here in the west of Lithuania. Nida is up on the north shore of the Curonian Spit, a long stretch of land with its own national park, and is famous for its annual jazz festival and electronica music festivals too. If you're travelling alone, or feel nervy about stripping off this is a great place to try a nudist beach, as they have single-sex sections. There are mixed sex areas too and clothed sections; everyone's welcome at Nida.
Not just a nudist beach, but a whole naturism resort awaits in the curve of the south-east of France at Cap d'Agde. Superb facilities, including volleyball courts and table tennis, along with two kilometres of pristine fine sandy beach make this one of the most famous and highly-regarded nudist resorts in the Med. If you wanted to try the lifestyle, this would be the best place to start.
One of continental Europe's biggest gay resorts, Sitges has 17 beaches in all, with something for absolutely everyone and many of them are nude. If you head past San Sebastian beach to the Platja dels Balmains you'll find the most popular naturist beach. Ringed with rocks for a little extra seclusion, it's perfect for swimming or tanning and has a mix of gay and straight sun worshippers.
The city by the sea already has a reputation for being one of the UK's most open-minded places to live and part of that is thanks to being the very first beach resort in the UK to legally allow topless and bottomless sunbathing. East of the Palace Pier, just before the final stop of the Volks railway, you'll find Brighton's nudist beach. It opened for business in 1979 and is still going strong today.
Think of beaches and you don't usually think of the Netherlands, but Maastricht has its very own naturist beach on a lake, the Maasplassen. A veritable Eden, the Maasplassen has sandy banks, a fresh lake to swim in and plenty of leafy trees and flowers to help you relax and feel at one with nature.
Dare to bare: beaches to go naked on in EuropeBy Nikki Bayley | Yahoo! Travel – Fri, Aug 31, 2012 10:53 BST