Europe Travel

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Top 5 places to go skinny dipping in Europe

1. Formentera, Spain
Tan lines? What tan lines? As the smallest and most southerly of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Formentera boasts some of the Mediterranean’s finest beaches.

There’s no need to pussyfoot around on these unspoilt sands – nudity is the norm and you’ll likely draw more looks if you cover up than if you let it all hang out. Playa Levante is a sandy enclave backed by trees and caressed by sheltered dunes, while Playa Es Calo has great snorkelling in its crystal-clear bay. As far as above-board skinny-dipping goes, it probably doesn’t get any better than this.
2. Ice swimming, Finland
In summer Finns love nothing more than hanging out at their summer houses, firing up the barbie and frolicking in one of their country’s 187,888 crystal-clear lakes. But summer’s for softies! Hard-core skinny-dipping combines the ubiquitous Finnish sauna with a teeth-chattering spot of ice swimming. Public swimming holes will usually call for bathing suits, but if you know what you’re doing no one’s going to stop you hacking your own hole and taking the plunge. On a still wilderness evening, under a crisp star-studded sky, scampering from the steamy sauna to the inky water is a withering experience.
3. Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Greece
Travellers on the 1960s hippy trail made Paradise Beach famous as a hedonistic hideaway of free love and unbridled carousing. Today it remains a party hotspot where backpackers crowd the beach bars and rock through the night. Make no mistake, this place is popular, so forget having the beach to yourself. Paradise is all about hanging out and mixing with an energetic crowd of revellers. And at the end of the night there’s no better way to get to know your new friends than with a dawn swim – au naturel of course.
4. Blackmoss Pot, Lake District, England
Skinny-dipping in England? Yep, some people are that bonkers. Wild camping in England is officially off limits and parading in the buff isn’t really the done thing – it’s just not cricket, you know? But that shouldn’t stop you; you can pitch a tent discreetly in the Lake District and nobody will mind. In the cool of the early morning, drag yourself from the tent and take a dip in Blackmoss Pot, a sheltered pool with great rocks for star jumping to the clear water below. No amount of steaming tea and bacon butties can wake you quite this effectively.
5. Englischer Garten, Munich, Germany
Even by the liberal standards of continental Europeans, Germans are rampant nudists. It’s a mentality rooted in the 19th-century Freikörperkultur (free-body culture) movement, one that lives on in today’s urban dwellers. In summer thousands of everyday Münchners head to the city’s largest park, the Englischer Garten, to get their nude on over lunch, sprawling on the grass or cooling off in the river. The countless piles of neatly folded business suits is an unusual scene, and a constant source of amusement for tourists.


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