I’ve just spent a fantastic five hours lying in the sun at Platja dels Balmins, the beach next door to our hotel here in Sitges. It was bliss. Aside from the uninterrupted sunshine and the light, cooling breeze, I think it was the most civilised beach I’ve been to. 

Reflecting on it as I packed up to leave a short time ago, I realised:

  • Nobody was playing their music publically, inflicting it on others
  • Nobody was cooking anything
  • Nobody was shouting or screaming or otherwise causing a fuss

I was struck that the only sounds I could hear were lots of laughter and the waves as they crashed on the shore. Everyone was being sensitive to the needs of those around them, not inpinging on their space and generally being friendly. 

I loved it. 

And it was in sharp contrast to our time on the beach in South Beach, Miami, this time last year. Golden sands, yes – but also tons of noise and pot-smoking teens blaring homophobic rap music from giant speakers. About as far from relaxing as you could imagine. And of course the puritan-like prohibition of naked sun bathing. 

Here in Sitges, at the Platja dels Balmins, it’s a different matter. It’s clothing-optional and I’d say (rough estimate) about 75% of the people on the beach were partaking. But the make-up of beach-goers was the best bit. There were toddlers with their parents, teenagers in groups, very old couples walking hand in hand – all completely naked. And nobody blinking an eye at any of this. 

All except for the small group of Brits who showed up about an hour before I left. They were so busy chatting that it was just before they sat down on their towels before they realised that a lot of the people around them were naked. There was some intense, stage-whispered, debate and they grudgingly agreed to stay. But they looked incredibly unsettled by the whole experience. 

I smiled, but realised that, before my first trip to an Onsen in Japan, I probably would have felt the same about getting naked in front of so many other people. Now, as long as the weather’s okay, I’ll do it at the drop of a pen. Or a towel 😉

My attitude now is: what’s the worst that can happen? I’ve said before that nudity is a great social leveller. But today, I also noticed the sheer variety of bodies and body types and the absolute lack of self-consciousness that most of the people around me seemed to exhibit. (Yes, there was one blatant exhibitionist – but isn’t there always?)

Man and women of all ages, all sizes and all levels of physical fitness, lying and walking on the beach. I saw huge scars where people had obviously had serious and significant surgery. I saw six-packs. I saw the very opposite of six-packs! I saw breasts of every imaginable size, shape and orientation and it was all wonderful. Not in the least titilating (excuse the pun), but more life-affirming. We all of us had one thing in common on that beach today – a willingness to expose ourselves to one another, be vulnerable and be ourselves. 

Oh – and we were all obvious sun-worshippers! 

I even managed to get into the sea for a while. I’ll admit – it was extremely cold. It’s only April, after all. But I – and a few other hardy souls – waded in at various points to cool off. I’d promised myself I’d get in, as swimming in the sea is such an occasional treat for me. 

It was breathtaking – in a very literal sense – and I emerged shivering and very conscious of how my body automatically responded to the cold. And I wasn’t alone, but thankfully nobody drew attention to that. I think. 

I’m now sitting on the balcony of our hotel (the very private balcony of our hotel), typing this, sipping a beer and delaying for as long as possible the moment when I have to put some clothes on to go out for cocktails. I also know that it’ll be some time before I get to do this again, given the UK’s weather and my geographical distance from anywhere you can sunbathe/swim naked.

So this fairweather nudist is going to enjoy the freedom in the sun for as long as he can. Only a few days left before the tyranny of long trousers and shoes recommences. 😜

Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. Enjoy it – it’s 13 degrees in London!
    JP

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  2. Glad you’re enjoying. I’m headed to Gran Canaria for a week next weekend myself.. I’ve always felt the same about the nude beach (and dunes..) there as you do about Sitges. Everyone is just cool, no attitude and it’s just the most relaxing place. And the thrill of swimming in the ocean. 😁 Can’t wait!!

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  3. I think many Brits and Americans have problems with the word “nudist”. If we all used the better term “naturist” to describe being relaxed clothes-free as part of a desire to be at one with nature, there would be far fewer hang-ups.

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    • I think I agree, although I’m not sure why. Maybe ‘naturist’ seems less threatening? And it is all about being in nature. I for one would find nothing relaxing about going to Waitrose without any clothes on!

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  4. Sounds like amazing weather out there. The only time I’ve been naked in public was during my honeymoon in Jamaica – it was actually an amazing experience 😀 I should probably write about it sometime.

    Enjoy the sun out there! London had one day of sunshine and then dropped back down to cold and glum 😄

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  5. I’m glad that you enjoyed your “nakation!” Thank you for sharing your experiences. Amazing how nude experiences vary from place to place. Have a safe return and naked hugs!

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  6. […] after a long and relaxing day on the beach at Platja dels Balmins, we headed into central Sitges for drinks and dinner. We had a couple of […]

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  7. Sadly, South Beach is not the same beach it was a few years back. Everything’s been packed and crammed into several blocks, and the area is saturated with people, noise, and entertainment. I’m sorry it’s lost some of the charm it used to have, but Sitges seems like a beautiful place to spend the day.

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    • I agree! We went to South Beach several years in a row, but the beach is not at all as relaxing as it used to be. Sitges is wonderful – and only two hours from London!

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