Welcome to Wandering Wednesdays, where we provide brief reviews of naturist places – outside of North America – we have visited, simply to offer our admittedly subjective thoughts about what we experienced there. With over 150 pins on our naturist travel map, we have a lot of reviews to catch up on. Once posted here, I’ll move them over to the “Places” index under the main menu of our blog.
Know a place we need to put on our nakation bucket list? Click “Say Hello” and point us in the right direction.
This week: Vritomartis Naturist Resort, on Crete, Greece
We love ❤️ Vritormartis! We’ve already booked for this summer (2021) as this may be one of the few naturist destinations available to US citizens until all this crazy COVID stuff is put to bed! But regardless, it’s one of our go-to naked places for myriad reasons. For starters, it’s on the south coast of Crete, where attitudes about nudity are someplace between, “whatever” and “Want a beer with that?” There are several recognized naturist beaches within driving distance (including an official one near the resort) and several opportunities for long naked walks along the sea. The hotel is relatively basic, though we think it’s well worth the extra money to book a bungalow instead of a hotel room, especially if you’re already acclimated to the social nudity thing. Vritomartis has a couple quirky policies regarding nudity: one is that clothing is required from sundown to sunrise; and the other is that you must be covered between the pool and your hotel room. That may be inconsequential to some, but for us, a stay in the bungalows means we can go to and fro our room without needing to cover up. (They are physically separate from the hotel.) AND… those are the front line units with the best sea views. You’ll want to stay at least a week to take in some of the excursion offerings. One of our favorites is the naked gorge walk that includes lunch and a pretty wicked ride up steep mountain roads in the back of a jeep. Good times!
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE? Tricky! You’ll probably fly into Athens, at which point you’ll need to transfer to a flight to Heraklion (more options for car rentals, et al) or Chania (much nicer town, closer to Vritomartis, but fewer options for flights). We’ve always rented a car at one of those two airports, which then requires a drive over a dramatic mountain range with the occasional diversion of goats in the roadway. We always plan our arrival so the drive is in daylight, with the added benefit of amazing views as you cross the mountains. You could also hire a driver to the resort, and simply use their excursions to get out and about, but we like to explore, and have always been glad to have a car to do so. (Plakias Beach, about 90 minutes away, requires a car and is well worth the effort!) Vritomartis is located about a mile above the seaside town of Chora Sfakia, with lots of small tavernas, a few markets, and such. We typically alternate between dinner at the hotel, and going “out to eat” in the village. We usually walk down to the waterfront, then find a local to drive us back up the hill. Greeks are incredibly kind and helpful in that regard.
WHAT’S THE FAMILY VIBE? Vritomartis has found their marketing niche with couples mainly from Europe and Russia. (Not sure if we’ve ever met other Americans there!) That said, some do show up with children, which is pretty much a non-event. People come here to soak up the sun, explore the southern coast of Crete, and try out the local culinary delights. The presence of children is neither additive nor distracting to that ambiance, though unlike the large naturist centers in France where there are loads of kids, they’ll need to be pretty self-sufficient in the entertainment department.
HOW ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS? By Greek standards, this is a pretty nice place! But it’s not what you’d find at a luxury resort on Maui! The rooms are simple, spacious, with single mattress beds. Another benefit of the bungalows is the certainty of a room with a sea view. I think their default package includes half-board, which mean breakfast and dinner are included in the cost of your room. At least pre-COVID, both were presented in a buffet style, and while dinner was a bit less than gourmet, you never went hungry. (Wine and beer cost extra, btw!) We tend to alternate, one evening to the next, with the “free” dinner at the hotel, then venturing into the village to dine at a local taverna. A good meal with a pitcher of local wine can be had for less than $50, and that includes the local digestive, “raki,” to finish you off.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? Vitromartis is one of our favorite naked places, simply for the simple quality of life we find there each time we go. You might also want to read or trip report about Gavdos, which is one step further into adventure if you want to experience “naked and unafraid” on a small island in the Libyan Sea. Should you rent a car? Yes. Is it a good place for a naturist newbie? Yes, I think so – I think the only place you have to be naked in the pool. Is it magical to hang out near the pool over-looking the sea totally bathed in sunshine? OMG – yes!