Naturism In Spain
The Beach Scene
Article & Photographs by: Luís Cortés
First published in Virtually magazine, also in part in Nude & Natural.
Is Spain really a Naturist vacation option? Read on and you'll be surprised at just how far Naturism has developed in the last twenty years and you may well discard any misconceptions you had.
Spain is one of the most favored vacation destinations in the world. It receives an average of fifty million visitors annually. With such a high number of guests it is plausible to say that many tens of thousands of these visitors are Naturists. Due to a lack of information in the past, many in our lifestyle have found Spanish Naturist locations only by shear luck, word of mouth, or occasionally by reading reports written by foreign visitors. Spain's only Naturist magazine Todo Naturismo and the Virtual Naturist web site are slowly trying to change this with actual and precise Naturist information for Spain.
This article will help prepare you for a first visit or a revisit.
The first area we will concentrate on will be the Catalonian region whose capital is the world famous city of Barcelona. We will also quickly go over all the Naturist centers in Spain, and take a short trip to the Balearic islands. The Green Coast is covered in depth in a separate article.
Barcelona is Spain's second largest city after its national capital, Madrid. Barcelona is a beautiful Mediterranean city of 3,100,000 inhabitants, rich in culture and artistic monuments. It is both cosmopolitan and enchanting at the same time. Its international airport El Prat, at 14 km from the city center, tel: + 34 (93) 302 7656, is served by flights from all the world's major cities and airlines. If you are visiting Barcelona, then you should also visit these places as well; Barrio Gótico, La Rambla, El Puerto, Ensanche and Museo Picasso. More information can be received from the Tourist office at: Patronato Municipal de Turismo, P.° de Gracia, 35, Barcelona. telephone: + 34 (93) 215 4477 or from the many other information centers dotted around the city. For car rental, which is indispensable if planning a sightseeing tour of this region, it is best to phone the airport tourist information office at: + 34 (93) 325 5829. They will help you with details & bookings.
While Cap D'Agde (France) will be fine for some people (it is easy to get to from Catalonia), it is not everybody's choice for a Naturist vacation. You might prefer the more relaxed and intimate environment of small beaches and communities, which are difficult to find at France's Mediterranean beaches & resorts. The Costa Brava offers a good alternative. From the confines of the Iberian northeastern tip where the Pyrenees abruptly end and meet the Mediterranean sea the Coast of Girona, is best known as La Costa Brava. As the Costa Brava boasts of as many as 40+ beaches and coves where Naturism can be enjoyed, far too many to mention here! I will cover the Girona province only. For the adventurous, La Costa Brava hides many surprises just waiting to be discovered by those ready to seek them out. For textiles this comes in the form of confronting 18 or so Nude beaches for the first time. For the Naturist, seeking these relaxing Nude beaches usually takes the highest priority over other holiday activities.
From France the very first Naturist beach lays only 18 km from the border. Playa Cap Ras beach, which takes its name from the adjacent Cape, is one of the last bastions of the Pyrenees before they slowly submerge into the warm sea. Across the bay of Port de La Selva lies another beach, Cala Tamariua, where Nudity can be enjoyed in a more mixed environment. It is only a few kms from the touristy Port Selva, but it seems to be a million miles away in the wilds. Modest in size, it is tucked between rocky formations that offer shelter from the sea, making it an ideal place for swimming and boating. Snorkeling is also a pleasure and can reveal the wonders of the sea with relative safety. This beach is mixed 50% Nude/textile and due to the close mixture, many a white bottomed visitor has changed his negative textilian customs for good.
The peninsula that culminates at Cap de Creus hides several more small beaches where visitors can expose their skin to the warm sun, surround themselves with nature, and bathe peacefully in the Mediterranean waters. These are Cap Creus (cove), Sa Conca, Cala Canadell, Cala Rostella and Cala Murtra.
Heading south, in the middle of Roses Bay near the town of Sant Pere Pescador, we find an immense stretch of sand broken up by frequent rivers and streams. Over 12 kms, it has been given different names such as; Empuriabrava, Can Comes, Sant Pere Pescador, Empuries. Naturism is practiced in many places along this stretch. Many campsites and tourist complexes dot this stretch of shoreline and there is usually a Naturist zone nearby.
Further south and past the town of L'Estartit we find yet another wide expanse of sand, Playa de Pals is well recognizable by its giant red and white painted Radio Antenna masts of Radio Liberty. Playa Pals is Nudist only in some zones, and has the advantage of providing services not found at quieter and secluded beaches. 300 meters from the southern end there is a smaller more intimate bay. This quaint cove is more popular for Nudism than its bigger neighbor, because of calmer winds and seas.
Not very far south there is another marvelous opportunity to shed garments and enjoy the golden Mediterranean sun. This time we can stay at a Nude resort quite close to 2 small coves. Camping Relax-Nat is a family campsite just north of the town of Palamos. Many of its residents use the small coves of Cala Bona and Cala Streta when the campsite becomes too claustrophobic. The coves are neighbors separated by a small outcrop of rock. Well away from the hassle of the usual textile tourist haunts, they are in an area of complete tranquillity, yet are a mere 3 km from the main coastal road.
Along the Tossa de Mar road we find more excuses to throw our clothes aside. Not many textiles will bump into these secret spots. Cala Vallpresona is both difficult to find and to access. Quite an effort for the hardy, yet the rewards can be blissfully appreciated and fulfilling. Cala Sa Futadera on the other hand, can only be reached by boat and is by default nearly always empty. To reach the first most northern of the three beaches Cala Senyor Ramon, turn at km 35 off the GI-682 (Tossa De Mar) road, signposted for restaurant and go down some steep steps. A huge mount abruptly rises from the sea. Before access was improved this beach was a favorite for early pioneers of Spanish Naturism. Cala Vallpresona lies just 1 km further south and offers free camping on its pine wooded slopes. As beaches go it wins no prizes, but for sheer Naked freedom, free of charge, it deserves a worthy mention. A narrow broken path takes about ten minutes to descend to the beach. Near its base tents spot the pine forest haphazardly anywhere there is room. The beach is rocky but with a few sandy spots to lie on. You may also wish to be Nude on the path, since only Naturists use it, especially when climbing back up. And beach shoes are recommended. Peaceful and friendly, you should seriously consider this place for a few days rest. 3 kms South of Tossa De Mar we pass Cala Llevador, which lies hidden, completely enveloped by a blanket of dense green Mediterranean jungle that covers the mountains that have fallen to the sea.
Before we reach the southern borders of Girona, we have a chance to sample the Costa Brava in a Naturist fashion. La Boadella beach is mistakenly named as Santa Cristina in many guides. Santa Cristina is its neighbor and is definitely not Naturist. A brisk 400 meter walk from the hotel of Santa Cristina, it unfortunately also attracts many textiles! Naturists have to suffer the humiliation of being pushed to its edges, when the number of textiles is insufferably high.
The river Tordera establishes the natural border between Girona (La Costa Brava) and Barcelona La Costa Dorada, which in contrast offers a more gentle and flat contour of the coastline. One beach we think worthy of mentioning is the beach of El Torn at: L'Hospitalet de L'Infant, Vandellós, Tarragona, Catalunya, Spain.
DIRECTIONS: Km 1130 of the N-340, turn for L'Hospitalet de L'Infant. Entrance to the official car park is found just past the railway crossing. The second entrance to the beach is found just before the railway crossing. Drive for 1 km & park anywhere you can. No special parking facilities exist here. Cross the railway line and take one of the many paths down to beach's midpoint. The third & last entrance to the beach lays at km 1124 of the N-340. Drive for 2.3 km up & down a hill. Park before the tunnel, walk a further 50 m to the beaches southern end by Islet. El Torn beach lays 1.9 nautical miles from L'Hospitalet de L'Infant, or 6.3 km by road from the City Center.
Playa El Torn beach, lays in a wild & unpopulated area just on the outskirts of L'Hospitalet de L'Infant. It is 1,400 meters in length and mostly sandy. Naturists gather mainly at the north end of the beach by the bar. Smaller groups gather by Islet at its southern end. Due to its size it can seem sparsely populated even in high season, but because of the new Naturist campsite El Templo Del Sol attendance may be higher now. Sea conditions are generally calm. The beach is regularly cleaned by the authorities. Please use the garbage cans! The beach has lifeguards & first-aid. There is parking available for a small charge and the beach is patrolled by police. Other services such as refreshments and deck chairs are available from a bar on the beach. There is a nearby campsite (0.5 km) and Naturist accommodation is also available nearby at: Camping El Templo del Sol - Camping-Caravaning-Club naturista 43980 L'Hospitalet de L'Infant, Tarragona. TEL: +34 977 823434 FAX: 977 81 1306
Tourist information: Patronato Municipal de Turismo: - Placa de la Font, 1. Tarragona TEL: 977 23 48 12 (ext 266) - Mayor, 39. Tarragona. TEL: 977 23 89 22 Oficina de Turismo: - Fortuny, 4. Tarragona. TEL: 977 23 34 15
Retracing our steps back to Barcelona, we may if we choose board a ferry that will take us to the Balearic islands. Mallorca and the island of Menorca can both be reached from Barcelona by sea or air. Ibiza can be reached either from Mallorca or from the cities of Valencia and Alicante or Denia found just north of Benidorm. The island of Formentera can be reached from Ibiza or Denia on the mainland.
Most of the islands posses their own characteristics. Mallorca is a general tourist destination which offers a bit of everything from nightlife to wildlife. A notable scenic area is the Cap De Formentor region enjoyed by Naturists and textiles alike. Mallorca has some of the world's best natural caves, such as Drach caves located on the eastern side of the island. Ibiza by contrast is the youths' vacation paradise where everything goes. Its neighboring isle, Formentera is more laid back and offers many golden opportunities for Naturists on its unspoiled shores. This can be also said of Menorca. Over 30 beaches where Naturism is allowed can be found distributed throughout the four islands. This is more common at Ibiza and Formentera where Nudity is much more readily accepted.
Ffwwweww!! Well that's it for the Mediterranean Naturist beaches of Spain. If you are interested in reading more about the Spanish beach scene, take a look at the other article in this issue, The Green Coast.
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