Welcome to Wandering Wednesdays, where we provide brief reviews of naturist places we have visited - outside of the United States, simply to offer our admittedly subjective thoughts about what we experienced there. With almost 200 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 on "Say Hello" and point us in the right direction. In the meantime, you can jump to the bottom of this page to see other posts in this series.
Finca Johana Guest House – near Malaga, Spain
When we say we’d waited a lifetime to experience this naked place, that seems quite literal in the era of a viral pandemic and so many canceled reservations. Finca Johanna was on our itinerary for the summer of 2020, which was pushed off until the summer of 2021 when we slid in right under the margin as Spain opened to Americans just a few days before our anticipated arrival. While there was only one other (delightful) couple from France there during our stay, that was just enough conviviality to remind us why we love European travel – especially naturist European travel – so much! A great bottle of wine for less than $10, the local produce and charcuterie to appease the palate, and the banter and laughter into the night as sunset in June scarcely begins before 9:30 pm. Johanna (the namesake of the Finca) and Laurent have taken on the mammoth task of restoring this extraordinary house on the top of the hill overlooking the Andalusian village of Iznate, a small town with steep roads and a couple great restaurants that will serve up fresh fish and a bottle of wine for less than a single cocktail in NYC. Our only regret is that we only booked for a few nights. Next time, we’ll make a point to spend a week or two so we have time to really explore the region.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE? I suspect you could catch a regional bus to Iznate and drag your bags up the hill, but most people arrive by car. Arrival can be a little confusing as they keep the parking lot gated and locked so the local critters don’t get to their chickens (the source of fresh eggs for breakfast!). Make sure you have their WhatsApp number in your phone so you can call upon arrival and have them open the gate.
WHAT’S THE FAMILY VIBE? It would be a perfect vibe for a family, but I don’t think they cater to the family crowd at all. This is simply a quiet, serene place for people who’d rather swim and sunbathe without clothing. The proprietors are from France, and nobody understands the virtues of naturism better than the French. But in the best tradition of naturism, the vibe was extremely chill. If you’re looking for a place to meet other couples for… ahem, amourous reasons, you should keep looking and go someplace else.
HOW ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS? When you walk into this place, your first reaction will likely be, “OMG! This place is huge!” Laurent and Johanna told us a few of the stories of bringing the place back up to code so they could open for business. (This seems to be a recurring story in the naturist hospitality industry!) The rooms are spacious and beautiful, each with a private bath. You can see there are several ongoing projects on the property, but with a place this size, I suspect that’s never-ending.
We were particularly fond of the rooftop terrace with a 360° view and the poolside bar where Laurent sets up each evening to charm the guests. The place is big enough to find your own corner of the world if you need quiet, or conversely, you can find someone to banter with if you need conviviality. And you’re only a short drive (less than an hour) from several naturist beaches. Paradise.
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW? As is the case with any B&B situation, the trickiest thing about staying at a place like Finca Johanna is that you never know who else is going to be there at the same time. That notion seems a bit foolish as one would never be concerned about such things when checking into a Marriott Courtyard Inn, but one of the most wonderful things about staying in small inns or hotels in Europe is the interaction with the people you meet there. Luckily for us, the other couple on the property from France was most willing and able to speak English, which made evenings at the pool bar easy and fun. Johanna and Laurent are also conversant in English (and who knows how many other languages!) but it’s just that much better when you can banter with the other guests.
As mentioned above, this extraordinary house is perched at the top of a steep mountain, where the last 500 meters of roadway are not for the faint of heart – by foot or by car. If you’re not accustomed to climbing steep hills at the end of the day, you might find the place to be a bit isolating. (I most certainly did not want to drive up the hill after dinner and a bottle of wine!) On the other hand, if you’re looking for old-world charm away from the tourism and all the noise that comes with, you could hardly do better than Finca Johanna. Even if nude-sunbathing is not your thing, it might be worth giving it a try to check out this very special place.
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