And a Naturist Angel appeared…

My regular followers are probably aware that we have just returned from two blissful weeks in Greece, starting on Rhodes so we could check out the new (as of last year) naturist hotel, Naturist Angel Club, then on to Crete where we made our second visit to Vritomartis on the south side of the island. (More about that part of the trip coming soon.)

Don't blink. You'll miss it.

Don’t blink. You’ll miss it.

While Greece has a long tradition of technically illegal, but largely tolerated nude beaches, we have been pleased to see several clothes-free inns and hotels open over the past several years. As best I can tell, many of these ventures have been borne out of a desire to find a niche market amidst an otherwise mind-numbingly vast array of accommodations – which appears to be the genesis of Naturist Angel Club Hotel.

Having never visited Rhodes before, it was most definitely one of those “where the hell are we” sort of arrivals, particularly showing up at a time when the economy was on the brink of collapse. As you depart the smallish, aging airport, you can turn left for a twenty-minute drive into the Old Town (past a myriad of chain hotels and resorts,) or you can go to the right and head down the coastal highway, through a couple quaint – and by quaint, I mean difficult to drive through – little towns until you’re on the open road that would lead you down the less populated side of the island. You could easily whiz by the Naturist Angel without noticing; an older property that used to cater to people who like roadside motels, perhaps? But despite our tepid first impressions from the parking lot, we made our way inside where the owner greeted us with warmth and enthusiasm, eager to tell us all about the hotel, the island, the nearby beach (which we never used), the entertainment schedule… Admittedly, we were travel weary and didn’t catch the details as to everything he had on offer, but appreciated the friendly welcome, nonetheless.

For those who have stumbled across this blog post, you should know that our travel priorities are quite specific:

Old Town Rhodes

Old Town Rhodes

  • We want a safe place to stay, naturist when possible, with the amenities you would expect at a three star or better hotel, but devoid of the innuendo and overtones that you sometimes experience at “clothing-optional” venues.
  • We are likely to spend a significant amount of our time lounging with a book by the pool or the sea, but quite frankly, we’re not terribly particular about which – and, of course, we don’t want to feel like the only naked people in the crowd.
  • An finally, while naturism is a big deal for us, nakedness by itself does not constitute a top-ten travel destination. Our reading-sunning-swimming time is best punctuated by exploring the region, tasting the wine, exploring the villages, and adding to our list of serendipitously charming restaurants.
Soaking in the rays at Filiraki Beach

Soaking in the rays at Filiraki Beach

Naturist Angel Club most definitely met the criteria, even though it’s a bit remote. The pool area is a lovely sanctuary, with a nice vibe during the day that is absolutely family friendly. (There were several couples with babies while we were there, as well as a family with a young daughter, but the property is large enough that it never felt noisy or crowded.) Trip Advisor reviews mention the noise from the amazingly convenient airport, which indeed, has an amazingly close flight path for departures over the sea in amazingly close proximity to the hotel. I, for one, happen to be one of those people who will sit at the end of a runway to watch planes land and take off, so I didn’t find this annoying, (or even noticeable inside our room with the doors closed) but it’s most definitely loud enough to cause one to pause conversation for a few moments. Simply one of those things better to know before you get there, but for us, not a big deal.

So... the sea view. It's out there!

So… the sea view. It’s out there someplace!

The owner mentioned that he had loungers and umbrellas available at the nearby beach which is “naturist tolerant.” Having a sea-view room. we could make a general assessment of what that beach might have consisted of, beyond the farmland adjoining the hotel. Given our bliss and contentment reading and snoozing by the pool, we thought our beach time would be better spent making the 40 minute drive to Filiraki, the “official” naturist beach across the island, which turned out to be well worth the trouble. (See that post here.)

That all said, the shining stars of the Naturist Angel Club are the staff members; an international team representing Russia, Latvia, and Greece – but all with outstanding English. With all due respect to the French, we found the staff to be so warm and eager to make our stay memorable that we almost felt like we were leaving family behind when we left at the end of the week. (Not something we commonly experience in Germany and France.) That, and the fact that if you chose to dine in at the hotel, each evening featured a regional specialty, all of which we found to be excellent. We did make it into Old Town Rhodes for a couple excursions to buy a few trinkets and pay too much for lesser meals, but truthfully, it was a bother to get dressed and leave this little oasis of paradise.

Pool nirvana

Pool nirvana

We will eventually make our way back to the Naturist Angel Club as it was an excellent value for our naturist euro, and there is much of Rhodes we’re still eager to see. And it seems the prospects are looking good for this little seasonal inn, as they are apparently fully booked for the rest of this season. I’m hoping that’s good news for them, and good news for the prospect of other potential naturist venues in Greece. Even the staff said that naked people are among the kindest (and cleanest!) of clients they have experienced in the hospitality industry.

So there you are, Greece! Open more naturist boutique hotels and we’ll come drop our clothes and ramp up the cash flow. We’re ready to do our part!

A TALE OF THREE BEACHES: The quirky joys of naturism in Greece

NOTE TO READERS:

Sorry, the photos don’t line up with the chronology of the post. Hopefully, the captions will help you figure that out.


This is our third trip to Greece is search of naked bliss. I have yet to blog about our naturist travels here, but now is a good time to start – having spent the morning on a naturist hike down through a gorge on southern Crete as we brace for our last day of nakation.

Swimming at Filaki Beach

Swimming at Filaki Beach on Crete

Pubic nudity in Greece is something of a dichotomy all in itself. Religion runs deep here, even among the younger generation that may not be “actively religious,” but frequently display small symbols representing their heritage (religious and otherwise) and how that permeates (or even dictates) cultural norms. Thus, unlike France – where many beaches have simply been designated naturist, so that is that – Greece has very few designated naturist beaches. In fact, the largest island in Greece (Crete) has only one “officially authorized fully naturist beach;” Filaki FKK Beach situated near the beautiful Vritomartis Naturist Hotel, where we happen to be staying as I write this. That is not to say that this is the only place to swim naked in these warm, crystal clear waters. Far from it, in fact. It seems that about fifty years ago, the Greek people realized that if they could learn to turn a blind eye – easy enough when faced with blindingly white bodies from northern Europe – that it might be good for tourism. Now on our third visit here, I’m still trying to figure out all the rules, but it seems there are only a few of them that matter:

  • Be sensitive to the locals, especially when there are children around. All the more ironic, as the children are as likely as not to be playing naked in the surf.
  • Beware of grandma, all dressed in black, who’s deep personal convictions may simply override the locals’ desire for the tourist dollar, and
  • Pay attention to the signage, which is almost always in English and says “No Topless Bathing Here!” We have to assume, however, that means they want you to keep your bottoms on as well.

If you consider yourself a naturist, and haven’t found Captain Barefoot’s page yet, well… you have some homework to do. He has been maintaining this online community seemingly since the internet began, first built on his own personal research, and now powered by innumerable “community members” who send in location reports from one year to the next. Sort of the Trip Advisor of naked beaches in Greece.

Filaki Beach, Crete

Filaki Beach, Crete

Empowered with knowledge from his site, and a few recommendations from people we’ve met along the way, we have recently had enjoyable days on three naturist beaches, the likes of which simply go unparalleled (IMHO) to any clothing optional shoreline to be found in my beloved homeland, the US of A.


Faliraki Beach on Rhodes is only a short drive from the Old Town; the main tourist hub of the island. What we didn’t realize, however, is that Faliraki is actually a beach town, and a series of beaches – of which only the last one at the end of the road is “nudist.” As we were searching it out, we finally decided that we were actually looking for Mandomata Beach. (See sign below) We drove past the convenient and available parking spaces until we reached the end of the road near the taverna, where I should mention there were no parking (available) spaces, and turning around was anything but convenient. Once parked, we paid a few euros for two lounge chairs and an umbrella and made our way to the snack bar (taverna) where the dress code seemed to be “wrap something around some part of your body, and we’ll appreciate the gesture.”

Wading at Plakias Beach

Wading at Plakias Beach on Crete

The water was shallow quite a ways out, and calm in the cove of the surrounding mountains, but we had yet to purchase new water shoes (which we have quite a large collection of at home now) and walking this pebbly beach requires leather shoes or leather feet. The crowd was somewhat on the older side, but most everyone was nude, which amazingly enough, is not always the case. After one week on Rhodes, we made our way – only a 45 minute flight – to Crete to revisit two beaches that we discovered during our last visit about five years ago. As I mentioned earlier, Filaki Beach appears to be under the jurisdiction of the aforementioned Vritomartis Hotel, located down a well paved road perhaps a mile from the hotel itself. Perhaps it was our tendency to walk the road naked during our previous visit that precipitated the posting of signs that essentially say, “the beach is naturist, but the road is not! Put some clothes on!” Truthfully, I’ve always been baffled by these passive aggressive signage campaigns, never quite sure if the management is simply obliged to post the sign to appease the locals. It seems to me the goats meandering the hills wouldn’t be offended by our nudity, and as close as I can tell, you’d need a Hubble telescope to detect our naked asses (let alone genitalia) from the nearest domicile. But alas, this year we donned our pareos, which on this particularly windy day, did little good in covering the evidence.

The sign for the nudist area

The sign for the nudist area on Rhodes

Here again, the beach itself is in a protected cove, with sunbeds and umbrellas to rent, and a similarly stony, gravelly beach that plays havoc on barefootedness. But there’s a wonderful and ever-evolving collection of “rock art,” and a small taverna that has no signage related to nudity, so we’ve taken the liberty on both visits to have a snack and a frosty cold beer in full appreciation of the ocean breeze. Life rarely gets better than that. We made two trips this week to Plakias Beach, about an hour west of our hotel; the first intended, but disappointing; the second unanticipated, but serendipitously wonderful. We remembered our visit five years ago to this beautiful sandy beach with calm transparent waters at the foot of huge cliffs that changed colors as the sun moved across the sky. But on arrival this year, gale force winds were blowing off the sea, sending white caps all the way to the breaking waves on the shore. Occasionally, the soft white sand would come blasting at us, sending our floaty airborne into our sleeping naked neighbors.

Woo hoo! It's the Donut Guy at Plakias Beach

Woo hoo! It’s the Donut Guy at Plakias Beach

We had remembered a tavern nearby, and assumed it to be the little beach bar just beyond the naturist area, where they served a wide variety of drinks, but only one choice for food – warmed-over panini. And my research assistant learned that showing up at the beach bar topless was forbidden, but not until after we had paid our bill and returned to our loungers where we were “kindly reprimanded” by the guy who collects fees on the nudist beach. Plakias revisited was a fail.

Rock sculptures on Filiraki Beach on Rhodes

Rock sculptures on Filiraki Beach on Rhodes

The next morning, we realized we had left a family keepsake hanging from our rented umbrella. We quickly rewrote the script for the day and headed back to Plakias Beach, prepared for another day there just in case conditions were right the second time around. Once there, we made a bee-line for our umbrella from the day before. The chairs were vacant, and the little stuffed monkey that’s traveled the world with us was still hanging from the spokes.

The road from Filaki to the hotel

The road from Filaki to Vritomartis Hotel

This day, the waters were calm and clear, and just as we remembered, you could walk 100 meters on the sandy bottom of the bay and still keep your head above water. We found the taverna across the street that we had remembered from five years ago and had a great lunch (fully clothed), then headed back to the beach for sunning, swimming, and floating before the “donut man” magically appeared, immediately drawing a queue of naked people who had clearly planned their day around his anticipated arrival. When the nude beach guy showed up to collect the fees for the sunbeds, he seemed truly delighted we had reclaimed the monkey. Plakias Beach bounced back to the top of that “A List,” just like that. We just have to remember not to go topless in the beach bar on a windy day. But that’s how these things work in Greece, and for that matter, in most places where you travel – naturist or not. There are always unspoken rules, traditions, expectations, and serendipitous discoveries to be made, and timing is everything. That’s probably another blog post, all in itself.

The only official naturist beach on Rhodes

The only official naturist beach on Rhodes

The good news about getting naked in Greece? Not only are there more formal establishments (hotels, etc) like the Naturist Angel on Rhodes and Vritomartis on Crete, but it seems to me that the general feeling about nudity here is slowly evolving from the “tolerance of naked foreigners” to “the acceptance of and participation in naturism” by more of the Greek population. That’s good news for naturists everywhere, and especially for those of us who think Greece is one of the best places in the world to get naked.

Stranger than Fiction

This is intended to be a participatory post. Comments and opinions are not only invited, but strongly encouraged…

Please tell me. WHAT IS THE POINT?

The above clip is an excerpt from a plethora of “nudist movies” that came out during the 50s and 60s as Hollywood was testing the waters as to how much they could get away with in terms of nudity on the big screen. I get that. It was a business venture – disguised as an effort to normalize nudism, but in the last place, I suspect it ridiculed, or at least sexualized nudism in the eyes of the common, church going citizen.

lets-go-naked-movie-poster-9999-1020429343Then there are literally hundreds of DVDs still being made and sold in naturist magazines, (some with very high standards for promoting holistic naturist values,) where you can watch 25 teenage girls swim and play volleyball in a celebration of naturism. No plot – just beautiful, naked young women. I have to assume that’s how those videos play out, as I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy one, but again, this seems more like a business venture that flirts with pornographic values than an earnest effort to normalize the naturist experience.

Yesterday, having just finished Mark Haskell Smith’s Naked at Lunch, I went looking through the Kindle store for a similar read. There are a couple older publications dating from the 30s about the pioneers of naturism, as well as a couple books that come at it from a more historical or sociological perspective, like Ruth Barcan’s Nudity, or Philip Carr-Gomm’s A Brief History of Nakedness, but I’ve read both of those.

Kindle has made it possible for a whole new genre – the self-published “this is how I became a nudist” book, typically about 50il_340x270.788432716_1vkz pages and with varying commitments to grammar, logic, and cohesion. I get this. I grow weary reading another account about the fear of erections, but I suspect these are particularly useful to those considering a first visit to a naturist beach.

Then there are loads and loads of books with titles like (and these are fictitious, to the best of my knowledge – but you get my point) “Naked Murder on the Orient Express” or “Desperate Housewives in the Nudist Colony.” At present, I’m trying to make it through a “true story” account of three teenage girls who are running around the woods of New Jersey in the middle of the night trying not to get caught by the park ranger or charged by a wild boar. The whole premise is so surreal that I can’t help but wonder, what parent would let their adolescent daughters do such a thing, and the farther I read, the more it feels like a bizarre fantasy conjured up by a guy my age. Maybe it’ll deliver a punch at the end, but at the moment, I’m not sure I’ll get that far.

MV5BNzgwMDI1Mzk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTY1OTUxNTE@._V1_SY317_CR30214317_AL_So to the question. Could SOMEBODY please explain to me what this is all about? There are SO many great books coming out every day, crafted by talented authors who lead you two-hundred pages into a labyrinth of suspense before turning your world upside down. I’m an arts and literature guy, and have great admiration for those who write well. But I’ve yet to find such a book of that caliber that carries a title like “Mr Nude Goes to Washington.”

Am I missing something? Do these publications seek to normalize nudity, or just make us all look a bit more peculiar? Is it just another version of titles like “The Man with One Red Shoe” or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”?

Please explain this to me. I’m all ears.

Why France is such a great place to get naked.

So we’ve been in Europe for about five weeks now. Four weeks in France, and now, several days in Greece.

Headed for the port on Ile du Levant

Headed for the port on Ile du Levant

Much of the time in France this summer was work related, though we were able to steal away for a couple nights on the magical Ile du Levant, and carved out a week at our “go to” place, La Jenny, before jetting off to the dependably blue skies and turquoise seas of Greece. We like getting naked in Greece, and in Croatia, and if the conditions are right, in the Caribbean and Germany as well. But at the end of the day, France gets the prize.

If we’re going strictly from a meteorological point of view, even the best parts of France can be tricky. Get a cold front on the Atlantic coast, or a severe dose of the Mistral blowing up from the Mediterranean, and your week or two of sun-worshiping can become a soggy or sand-blasted mess! The Adriatic and Aegean Seas are much more predictable in the Vitamin D consumption department.

But here’s some interesting data…

Near the vineyard at Club Origan

Near the vineyard at Club Origan

When I make a new blog post that I think might be of interest to a certain demographic or group, I tend to post a link on a relevant message board, such as clothesfree.com or the British Naturist Corner. Despite my limited abilities of being conversant in French, I have particularly enjoyed being part of the VivreNu community – the comprehensive resource for naturism in France. After a year’s absence, (as I’ve not done much naturist blogging over the past 11 months)  I posted a link to a recent blog post on VivreNu. Within one or two hours, “referred click-throughs” from VivreNu had nearly outnumbered that from any other country, including that of the good old (but decidedly prudish) US of A.

In other words, the naturist community in France is alive and thriving. I’m not really a facts and figures guy, but from an anecdotal point of view, I would say that the French people have fewer hang-ups about casual encounters with naked people, while French families seem to be the most likely (along with the Germans and the Dutch) to go on a family “nakation.” It was this very phenomenon that drew us into French naturism in the first place, and if the VivreNu data is of any consequence, it seems that France continues to grab the brass ring when it comes to going on holiday with nothin’ but the radio on!

Truthfully, I’m not fond of gross generalizations. And there are a lot of great places to get naked in Europe, and I predict that there will be more and more opportunities for no-tan-line vacations in Asia and South America in the coming years, but for now –

On the beach near La Jenny

On the beach near La Jenny

All hail to nakedness in France, and those who celebrate the right to bare all amidst vineyards, sunflowers, and historic chateau. France will always be the place where naturism genuinely made sense to me – in a way that I had dreamt it should be – and for that, I am forever grateful to the people who are able to say “a breast is a breast, a penis is a penis, and it appears everyone sports a remarkably similar pair of buttocks!”

Viva la France.

La Jenny plage

La Jenny plage

Sorry if you’re offended by my elbow…

Today was a good day.

I spent most of it sitting naked by the pool at a quaint little naturist resort on Rhodes (Greece), which allowed the luxury of a day of dozing and pleasure reading. And indeed, it was a pleasure to read Mark Haskell Smith’s Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World. i’ll get around to posting a full blown book review in the coming days as I think this is a must-read for anyone interested in nudity; pro, con, or indifferent.

An afternoon dip in Montenegro

An afternoon dip in Montenegro

As I reached the end of the book, one of those silly internet quiz games came to mind, like this one, where you try to guess whether you’re looking at a picture of an ass or an elbow. While I don’t have statistical evidence of this, it seems that most people pretty-much fail these tests outright. When put to the task, most are unable to distinguish one from the other. In other words, all our family photos of arms in flexion should have been confiscated by the WalMart photo guy as pornographic – just a simple crop and Photoshop away from the photo line-up of inter-generational asses!

Forest walk the South of France

Forest walk in the South of France

What’s most brilliant about Smith’s book is his assertion that being offended lies mainly in the eyes – or more accurately, the acculturation – of the beholder, well illustrated by the fact that in many parts of the world, the exposure of a woman’s elbow would be considered way more heinous than a guy like me dropping his clothes and walking naked through Barcelona. (Which up to a couple years ago, used to be legal, by the way.) After chatting up all the leaders of various naturist movements at play in the last fifty years, he concludes that the crazy ones are not the naked ones, but the people who can’t handle looking at them – or even simply knowing about them.

In any case, here’s where I think Smith delivers his knock-out punch

“Society needs to come to terms with the fact that some of us like pleasurable pursuits. A person shouldn’t feel guilt or shame for being naked any more than someone should feel guilt or shame for enjoying a ripe peach. So what if people want to go skinny-dipping at the beach? If it really bothers you, maybe you need to take a long look at yourself and figure out why it bothers you. Just because you’re offended doesn’t give you the right to keep someone from enjoying their own body and the environment. Two things we all share. Two things that are free of charge.”

I don’t want to throw out a spoiler, but this is coming from a guy who didn’t consider himself a nudist before writing the book, and admittedly, doesn’t consider himself a nudist after writing the book, despite the fact that he must have spent the better part of a year hanging out naked (sorry for the pun) while researching why people get naked, and investigating the psychological mêlée surrounding people who love getting naked, as well as the people who freak out when they hear there is nakedness occurring on the beach down the road.

"Point de vue" in the South of France

“Point de vue” in the South of France

Funny thing is, I have vivid memories from my adolescence when a local swimming hole became so controversial that it made the headlines of the local newspaper for weeks on end. (I was a paperboy, so I was tracking it closely.) It seems the problem was two fold; the first being that people were getting naked and jumping off the bridge into the river, but secondly, this became such a popular pastime for so many that parking and facilities became a real issue. People were blocking the driveways of the local residents, and lacking a better option, peeing on their trees. But by the time it hit the newspapers, crowd management wasn’t the offense – public nudity was the culprit, which led to strict legislation that would make any incident that involved nakedness a serious offense with “one-strike – you’re out” kinds of penalties. My father, who I always thought to be quite open-minded, applauded the authorities for shutting down the hippies at the river. “Why would anybody in their right mind want to be swimming naked anyway?” It was probably the first time I realized that I was a naturist at heart, as I tried to figure out if I could ride my bicycle to this place. It never happened. The whole thing was shut down before I could save enough money to buy myself a map.

A couple photos in this post are from a little villa we rented on a mountain overlooking the stunning Bay of Kotor in Montenegro a few years ago. We had a private veranda with a small pool, where we could watch the cruise ships creep in and out of the harbor. The neighboring villas on each side were closed up for the season, so while we weren’t sure whether we should be naked at the pool, we thought it was worth the risk, especially given the fact that people seem more tolerant about nudity on the Adriatic than almost anyplace in the world. On at least two or three occasions, a lovely Serbian woman from three doors down would magically appear on our veranda, either to look after the villa for the owners, or to deliver freshly picked grapes and figs, or a homemade pastry fresh out of the oven. And there we were, unable to conjure up a single word in her language, unsure of how Serbians felt about nakedness, only to respond with a smile – which was reciprocated each and every time. We were naked. She was kind. Nobody got hurt.

Morning stroll on Ile du Levant

Morning stroll on Ile du Levant

Isn’t that the way it should be? I’m not crazy about tattoos and have chosen not to get one, but I have little concern for those who enjoy them. I do have issues with people who fly the Confederate flag, despite the numerous explanations I have heard as to how that doesn’t imply what it seems to me it would imply. In short, I find that offensive, just as I find some of the political propaganda signs that appear in my neighbors’ yards to be offensive. But that is my choice to be offended – in this case, quite likely the desired effect of the offender! (I could launch into an entirely new tangent about the right to be offended in the land of the free, but I think you get my drift.)

Covering one's ass is now a requirement on Orient Beach

Covering one’s ass is now a requirement on Orient Beach

But when I walk naked on the beach, i have no desire to offend anyone. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid offending people as best I can. But as many have noted, someone taking offense could lead to any number of untoward consequences, from compromising one’s career to being labelled as a sex offender. Unlike today, that would not be a good day.

All that ruckus… when you have to take a double take at the photographic evidence to determine whether you’re offended by my elbow, or my ass.

Really?

SAVE GREECE: Take your clothes off!

So the last year has been pretty demanding for the Meandering Naturist. You can’t just bounce around the planet looking for places to “toast your buns” without going to work once in a while, so I had to pretty much let the blog sit out there by itself – gathering a few random hits as people googled things like “La Jenny Naturist” and “Naked in Europe.” Who knows who’s wandered through these pages over the past eleven months, but as it happens, I’ve scarcely had time to do that myself.

phoca_thumb_l_01

The pool at Naturist Angel on Rhodes

At this writing, we have just enjoyed a most wonderful week at La Jenny (with unusually perfect weather), until today when we made our way to Greece with plans to call on one naturist hotel we’ve visited several years ago (Vritomartis) and another that has just shown up on the naturist scene in the past couple years (Naturist Angel Club). I’m really not one to be particularly vocal on social media about topics like politics, legislation, and religion, but that’s not to say that I’m not keenly interested in such matters as the world is changing faster than the speed of light! I have long been intrigued with the complexities of the European Union, most immediately (and, I dare say, selfishly) as that has a profound and immediate effect on the dollar to euro ratio. In other words, will it cost me $100 to be naked in Europe this summer? Or $112? Or may even $130? Multiply that by 20 or 30 for a four week stay at a European naturist resort, and you’re talking a significant chunk of cash.

Vritomartis at dusk

Vritomartis at dusk

There has been a lot of banter about the future of Greece in the EU for several years now, but this year, things seem a bit different. This is not a blog about the world economy, but Greece has long been known as a place where westerners can swim naked in the warm Mediterranean while hardly causing the bat of an eye. Now, in recent years, a few brave souls have set out to cater to the “naked people” by creating sweet havens for naturists in close proximity to the most stunning of swimming holes.  But today, things are SO fragile, and all those efforts could wash out with the evening tide, leaving only the trendy resorts on the Greek islands where clingy wet nylon becomes the norm for those willing to change their euros into drachma. Naturism is a tenuous business venture – typically built on the investment of single family dedicated to the cause. I remember sifting through Captain Barefoot’s fabulous resources pages several years ago about getting naked in Greece, to which my knee-jerk reaction was, “Well, that all sounds like fun, but this require quite a lot of effort compared to doing naked in France where you can go for several days without donning underwear.  But then came along this hotel on Crete called Vritomartis, and another place on Kefalonia run by a British couple called Vassaliki.  Another web search led us to a sweet (if not rustic) little place called Panorama Naturist Hotel on Zakynthos, where the owners and their adult children decided that the “naturist thing” might help them find a niche market in a world of otherwise generic resorts and island hotels. The project worked, and they won our hearts in one visit.

Panorama Naturist Hotel on Zakyntos

Panorama Naturist Hotel on Zakyntos

Tonight, I write this from a fairly new contender in the naked race – The Naturist Angel Club Hotel, located just a few kilometers from the airport on Rhodes. Our first impression? WHAT A SWEET PLACE! But people are scared about getting to Greece without enough euros… dollars… pig’s feet (!) to trade for a tank of gas or a savory meal. Will the naturist enterprises ultimately rise above the drama with a targeted market more interesting than than that of the run of the mill generic (textile) establishments? Time will tell, but in the short term, a bad summer could mean the windows are shuttered and naturist havens could fall into foreclosure. I don’t know the numbers, but I DO know that tourism is a huge part of the Greek GDP. Every person who cancels a reservation to come here and bathe in the turquoise-azure waters does a disservice to the entire tourism industry – those wrapped in wet nylon, as well as those clothed only in their skin – while simply pushing the Greek economy closer and closer to the edge.

Naturists near Vassaliki on Kefalonia

I have a lot more to say about these sweet little naturist hamlets on the Greek islands, and I intend to do so in the coming days/weeks as time allows. But just in case you were thinking about getting naked in Greece this summer, and you got cold feet… might I recommend that you get to the airport, draw the cash you need, and get on a plane to the Greek islands, where the food is affordable, the sea is like a bathtub, and the people are SO happy to greet you with open arms – regardless of your attire. This could ALL be gone in a year or two from now.

Naturists unite! Take your clothes off for the Greeks!

P.S. Readers might be interested to note that it took two flights to reach Rhodes from southern France; each operated by Aegean, the Greek flagship carrier. Both flights were complete packed – not a single empty seat. I can only hope some of those passengers – besides us – will invest naturist in endeavors during their stay.