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To nude or not to nude

I went to France last summer by myself to stay with an aunt, but this time I'm going backpacking with a VERY shy friend. We're both young teenagers, and I absolutely love being naked in the ocean and on the beach, and I have been waiting for years to go to a European nudist beach (yeah, weird wish, I know) but my friend and I can't even change clothes together in the locker room without her getting embarassed and using a toilet stall instead. Should I forego my first topless or nude beaches in Greece, Italy and France because of her? How do I introduce the idea of these beaches to her without her feeling pressured or uncomfortable?

Posted by
11503 posts

Most Italian beaches are not topless, and there are only a few places in Greece( mostly out of the way on the islands) where it would be ok, public beaches do not allow it.

Having been a young girl once( many years ago) when my friend and I travelled around europe for a summer, we never brought this up in pre trip planning I mean, where to eat, where to go, where to sleep , yes, but this hmmm .

Posted by
12135 posts

I grew up surfing at Black's beach (though I'm happy in board shorts). I went for the waves not the naked people who really aren't worth looking at.

I've never gone out of my way to visit a "nude" beach in Europe, and wouldn't unless there was a specific site other than naked people. I suspect, like Black's beach, the class of people at a nude beach may be dubious.

Better to stay within your friends comfort level than lose a friend. At many of the really nice beaches topless is okay, but as many as 2/3 of the women are wearing tops.

Posted by
1158 posts

I agree with the othere poster. You are bit too young to be worried about topless.
Perhaps your friend reallt feels too young for doing topless at this age. She might change later.
There are designated topless beaches all over Europe, but ladies go topless anywhere actually without any problems.

Posted by
6797 posts

If it helps, I will take the position opposite the previous posters. I think as you travel you will find it very natural at beaches to go topless. I can think of very few beaches I have been to in Europe (Spain, Italy, and Greece) where there was not at least one woman topless, usually more (including my wife). If the mood feels right, go for it, your friend is perfectly fine leaving hers on. Full nudity, a little more rare, In your travels, it would be limited to some well designated beaches in France where your freind would feel out of place, but in the Greek islands, the beaches away from town are almost "anything goes" If you go to Mykonos for example, Paradise Beach (and Super Paradise) is a fun popular beach where you will find people of all ages fully dressed, to topless, to full nude. There, your friend can do what she wants and you can do as you wish. Use others as your cue and you should be fine. And yes, a dip naked in the ocean is an experience everyone should have

Posted by
219 posts

You both should do whatever you're comfortable w/individually. Never been to Greece but in Italy and France they don't care what you wear or don't wear at the beach.

Posted by
390 posts

I didn't notice a lot of topless people in Italy, but in Greece we saw them all over the place. However, I didn't see any nude beaches, but I hear they exist. If you want to go topless, go for it. Nobody is going to care. Obviously, she doesn't have to. I think once you get there, you'll both see it's not that big of a deal.

Posted by
479 posts

Raine, take into account the feelings of your fellow traveler. Nude beaches are about freedom, not pressure. If she's not up for it then don't force her to do it.

If you feel that it's worth HER while (not YOURS) to introduce her to this idea, try to find a place like Friedrichsbad of Baden-Baden (it's VERY close to France). You can go there on days when they separate the men and women 100%. Also, you have to be at least 14 to go into Friedrichsbad. You said young teenager, but I don't know exactly what that means.

And remember, Europeans and Americans (especially Americans from more "conservative" generations) have a very different outlook on nudity. Americans can't see nudity without thinking sex, sex, sex. Europeans tend to view nudity as just seeing another part of a person's body and nothing more. This is a generalization, of course, there are exceptions to this.

Posted by
11503 posts

Sorry guys , but some of you are off base here, Italy is a Roman Catholic country and the LOCAL girls do not peel off their tops, tourists may, but in many places the locals DO NOT approve and will not be joining you.
France and Germany are different and toplessness are considered acceptable there no problem.
Greece is also like Italy, local girls don't , period, and I HAVE spent time on Mykonos as a "young girl" and yes know all about Paradise Beach, BUT as I pointed out Paradise beach is remote, bus and boat, it is not out in the open, and of course is filled with tourists.

Raine if you want a nudist beach experience I would think your first post would be something along the lines of " where are the good nudist beaches in Europe" rather then " my friend doesn't want to,, how can I "introduce" her" .. hmmm? I mean is this the whole point of your trip, since if it is you should tell your friend that all you want to do is go to nudist beaches, then she may or may not wish to

Posted by
11503 posts

accompany you. It would be up to her. If it is not the main point of trip, then what on earth is the problem, when you are at the beach you take off your top she doesn't, really quite simple. Your friend will see in some places it will be quite the norm , but that not everyone does it, so SHE can choose to do it or not, you don't need to pipe in with an opinion.

Now , why don't you find out if you and your friend has some common interests and sites you want to see and actually plan a trip around that.

PS
There are some nudist beaches( and certainly camps) in YOUR area , why not just go there " Raine" , no need to go to Europe .
If there aren't then come up to Canada , we have a few up here, but, of course they are remote, LOL

Posted by
6797 posts

I don't mean to contradict Pat, but the beaches I have been to in Italy are always a mix of topless and not. While certainly the topless people may not be "LOCAL" girls, the vast majority of people on the beach will not be local, neither is Raine. As for Mykonos, despite your experience, I'll stick by my observations. I for whatever reason do not think that Raine's inquiry is unusual or perverted, and encourage her to experience life.

Posted by
32051 posts

Raine,

To add to the other comments, it might be advisable to limit the topless sessions, so as not to make your friend uncomfortable. However, if you're at a beach and want to experience this, it should be acceptable if there are others doing the same thing.

On my last trip to Italy, I noticed a topless bather on the beach at Monterosso (CT). I asked one of the locals about the "official policy" on that, and was told that as long as no one complains, the lawmakers don't care in the least. Europeans seem to be much more relaxed with that sort of thing.

One thing I'm not sure of, is whether there might be any "age limits" for that sort of thing?

Happy travels!

Posted by
6 posts

I'm sorry to have sounded so thoughtless. I am 19 years old, so I technically I should have said "young woman" or "older teenager". I was just hoping another poster might have some advice for me, since I don't know anyone who's been to a nude beach before, so I don't really know what the expectations are over there.

Posted by
6 posts

I want to make myself clear about one point. I was not suggesting that I want my friend to go topless; I don't care either way. I do, however, want her to feel comfortable around me if I choose to go topless or otherwise myself.

Posted by
4555 posts

Raine...no need to apologize. As far as I know, there aren't any limits placed on the travel questions asked here (within the limits of good taste), so don't worry about those who think you have some sort of ulterior motive, or should have asked questions about accomodation or food.
Jarrod gives good advice....if she's embarrassed here, she certainly will be at a beach in any European country....and you're not likely to change her mind. So don't pressure her to go. Perhaps, if you wish the experience for yourself, organize a day where she's off doing something she likes to do, while you head for the beach. Remember, there are differences between beaches where women go topless....and beaches where people go completely nude. You should be able to find listings of "nudist" beaches (including Italy) on the internet.

Posted by
1158 posts

I don't believe being a Roman Catholic will infringe a European lady not to go topless. Many Europeans are relegious, but they "don't take it to the heart" as much as Americans.. They don't retrict themselves from having a normal=relax life because of religion.
Because some people don't see topless on some beaches, it doesn't mean they don't exist. I agree with Paul. Topless is all over Europe, since Europeans are very open about it.I lived in Europe (West and East )for many years and seen and talked to locals about it.I am a pro topless, but I have never seen a topless teenager , they kind of start going topless after highschool.
I don't think there is enforced law about topless though. No one would complain about topless over in Europe.

Posted by
11503 posts

When you go into the Vatican YOU may not be Catholic but you sure as heck are not getting in with a tank top on,and they mean it.

Certain standards are ok for "tourists" in some places, but locals do not conduct themselves the same way most espeically in places like Italy I guess the point is correct that WE are tourists so we can conduct ourselves as we wish( within reason, LOL )

And BTW way I am Canadian, but was born in France( to a French father and Canadian mother) and spent serveral summers( 2-3 months at a time) with my relatives in France, beachsides and countrysides and YES toplessness is considered considered completely acceptable( in France note) , as is changing on the beach openly, and children are taught is FINE to pee on a tree if you need to( that seems to horrify the Americans way more then nudity!! LOL)

I also come from a country that has topless beachless( certain ones set aside)so it is not that I am against toplessness, since none of you even know if I in fact go topless in France you are making a judgement that I am against it.

Posted by
32051 posts

Raine,

The "clothing standards" should be quite apparent at the beaches you visit, so that will be the clue to what's acceptable at each location. Be sure to keep your friend's preferences in mind, perhaps limiting the "clothing optional" sessions so you don't make her uncomfortable.

You asked a legitimate question, and hopefully the various replies have provided some answers for you.

Hope you have a wonderful trip. Happy travels!

Posted by
5677 posts

When I was 24 a friend and I spent one of the best vacations of our lives in Greece. We got into the spirit the place and leisurely decided over breakfast each day, would it be beach or museums? No matter which we chose a key was enjoying at least 5 cafes per day. We traveled throughout the islands and finally landed on Paros. My friend Sharon asked around to find out about the beaches. One was a family beach, one was a wild beach and one had a cafe. Of course, we chose the cafe beach. It wasn't until we were on the ferry to the beach that we learned that this was also the nude beach. So, there were the two of us in our lovely black one-piece swim suits. It didn't matter to anyone. The English girls back at the rooms suffered from sun burns in places that had never seen the sun before. I must say that before I landed on that beach I would probably have been characterized like your friend. I survived and flourished after my visit to Paros's nude beach as will your friend! Pam

Posted by
5 posts

Raine,

I spend the semester studying abroad in Spain (Costa Blanca to be exact). Although Spain is not one of the countries you listed, it is still part of Europe and definitely had its fair share of nude beaches. In fact, there was a nude beach in the town I lived in. Everyone from little children to grandmas felt fine being topless, but it didn't seem like there were too many fully nude people. Also, it wasn't as common to see males. To me, I felt comfortable observing the surroundings and following the lead. It's pretty obvious who the locals are and who the tourists are. While you don't want to make your friend feel uncomfortable, don't pass up the opportunity of a lifetime.

Posted by
4 posts

When I was a "young lady" my friend and I went to a FKK (nude) beach in Germany--she loves this place because she doesn't like tan lines--I didn't care either way (about tan lines) so I joined her. One thing I can say about this beach was that it was not what I expected--no super hot young people laying around perfecting their tans, no gay guys looking to hook up (like I've heard some nude beaches, etc are here in the USA)-no it was full of old, overweight, flabby people mostly just out for a day at the beach with their friends and family...I know Americans are obsessed with naked = sex but that isn't the case in Europe...I would just go to a regular beach and if it looks like it is acceptable to sun topless then do so but I would ask your friend if it is bothersome to her if you do so--to be polite. I think it is more important to maintain the friendship than sunbathe topless..who know's your friend--might find some new found freedom as I did!!