Nudist, Naturist, Naturism - what is it all about, and could you feel the freedom and let it all hang out?

Many people have a pre-conceived idea of nudism and often associate it, pleasingly, with images of young beautiful people frolicking on golden nudist beaches with their perfect bodies bathed in warm bright sunshine.

However, the concept and reality of nudism can be quite different. Many people suggest that Naturism found it's origins in cold northern Europe and was entirely an expression of health and fitness.

This is perhaps why, when you go in search of beautiful naked people, instead the majority of practitioners are rather less attractive north Europeans of a more mature age.

A simple and short glossary might help elucidate this mysterious and much misinterpreted practice.

Naturism and Nudist Beaches

Naturism - a way of life that extols the freedom afforded by being clothing free.

Naturist - one who follows naturism.

Nudist - someone who practises naturism.

A nudist beach or naturist beach is a place where people can feel free and natural in a secure and secluded environment, whilst being naked.

There are many forms of nudism, and some people might practice it without realising that they are following a particular emancipating lifestyle.

Wandering around the house completely naked is an obvious example, and here are a few others:

Skinny Dipping
The practice of swimming nude is common, especially among college undergraduates and young people.

Free Hiking
Not so common, but still goes on and is the practice of hiking nude

Free Riding
Horse riding or cycling nude. This is popular with Germans, and north European peoples.

Yes, you guessed it, canoeing nude! Not to be confused with canoodling, which is the practice of kissing and cuddling, nakedness optional.

Nude Bathing
The most common form of naturism is that practised by sun-worshippers. Certain beaches around the world will accommodate nude bathers. Going topless is not quite the same, and just refers to women taking off their swimsuit tops. Going completely nude is completely different, and even in if a beach accommodates topless sunbathing, this doesn't mean total nudity is permitted.

Nudist Beach

You have to be careful when considering nude sunbathing. Many countries will have beaches that hold licences to allow this kind of exposure. Some beaches may have nude beach status in an unofficial capacity only. Also, nude bathing status can change with the season, or time of the week.

For example, there are several beaches on the Greek Island of Crete that allow totally nude bathing, mainly on the south coast, but many are populated with Greek families during August, so nude bathing would be disrespectful at this time.

If you are considering stripping off and letting things hang out, make sure you check with the locals that it's OK and won't offend anyone. Also, in some countries, going nude on a beach can land you in a load of trouble!

If you want to find the best naturist beaches in Crete then go to our Nudist Beach Guide

Just some of the reasons we love Crete...

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