Well, maybe… yeah!
I mean, that’s a pretty high standard when you consider beaches on the Greek Islands, the long stretch of naturist friendly shores on the French Atlantic, and then Spain… Oh Spain! With your beautiful islands and recent legislation that states that any beach is a nude beach, unless it’s not.
But then there’s Croatia. Back when Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, it became the “go to and get naked place” for so many Germans who had grown weary of rainy days in July. And so the tradition continues, not only in several naturist resorts (See Valalta, Koversada, and Solaris) where the staff is required to speak Croatian, GERMAN, and maybe a bit of English, but through the northern regions of Croatia at large. Just tonight, in fact, we had dinner at a restaurant in the charming island village of Rab, and nearly every other person in the place was speaking German.
But alas, that is the bread and butter business of nakedness in this beautiful landscape that winds down the coast of the Adriatic Sea. And to that end, most of the naturist destinations are in the north on the Istrian peninsula. But as it turns out, many of the Dalmatian islands are quite naturist friendly as well.
This is our second visit to Rab, and as it happens from a naturist perspective, this one is turning out quite a lot better than that last. When we were here several years ago, we tried to GPS our way to Kandarola Beach, but found ourselves on a gated road with no way forward.
After that, we made our way out to the Lopar peninsula, allegedly famous for FKK (naturist) beaches, only to find hordes of people in swimsuits sitting beneath the FKK signage. All quite disappointing given the legend that purports that King Edward VIII discovered the joys of “naked in the sea” on the place that is known today as Kandarola Beach; thereby giving birth to the Croatian naturist movement.
Amazingly, or not… it seems there are very few Croatians on the naturist beaches of the Adriatic, but instead, the aforementioned Germans who seem quite happy to change their euros into kuna and raise a tall Weissebeer to the frugal joys of eating and drinking in Croatia.
As for Europe’s best nude beach, Kandarola is most definitely a contender! Long sandy beach suitable for volleyball – NO. Beautiful little cove with palapas, sun-loungers, and restrooms and a beach-bar nearby? YES! In fact, I suspect you could be naked on pretty much any part of this peninsula, and in the worst case, somebody might give you the “put your pants on” glance, but from all I can tell, naked is a critical component of the economy around here.
In an effort not to repeat the sins of our past, I did a bit of research on getting to Rab’s premier naturist destinations, which led me to believe there would be a boat waiting for us at 9:00 am outside our room at Hotel Istra in the harbor village of Rab. Maybe that happens in July or August, but in June, the only bargain boat goes to a dock just beyond the naturist beach, and thus, we opted for a water taxi instead. At $30 round-trip, we thought it was money well spent. In fact, on the return, I asked the captain if I could wait until the Rab harbor to put my clothes back on. “Not a problem!” Should have asked on the way out.
As reported on TripAdvisor, the beach is a gem. Like most in Croatia, it is situated on stone slabs, but with palapas and beach loungers it would be difficult to find a better place to enjoy the sun and sea breeze in the altogether. And also as reported on TripAdvisor, we found a nice cross-section of beach goers ranging from families and young couples to the more typical middle-agers and beyond. The nearby bistro overlooking the beach required an effort to be clothed, but quite candidly, I’m not sure anyone would have cared had I chosen to dine naked. It’s just sort of a chill kind of place.
So it took two visits to Rab Island to find the best nude beach in Europe. Is it really the best? Well, it’s up there in the top ten to be sure. Well worth the trouble to get there even though that requires a trip on a car-ferry and probably a night or two in a local hotel. But it was truly a lovely day in a place where the nudity ratio was 95% or better – more than you can say for most naturist resorts in Europe these days. That, by itself, puts this on our “gotta get back here someday” list. For the Meandering Naturist, that’s a big deal!