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History of naturism in Croatia and the present situation


History of organized naturist vacations in Croatia goes back in 1930's. The island of Rab is rightly referred to as the pioneer of naturism on the Adriatic. The month of August 1936 is frequently mentioned as the official beginning of naturism in Rab, i.e. when the English king Edward VIII stayed there and the Rab authorities allowed him and his wife to take a nude swim in the bay of Kandarola. That's why this bay is nowadays sometimes called "English Beach" or "Engleska plaza".
However it is certain that naturism on the island started long before that. The article "Trade in nakedness", published in the Austrian economic journal "Trend" no. 11/83 reports that the naturist beach in Rab was officially opened as early as at the transition to this century and that 50 beds in the hotels were reserved for naturists. The same article mentions that the first naturist beach in Rab was opened personally by Richard Ehrman, the president of the International Naturist Federation from Vienna in 1934. Naturism in Rab is also mentioned in the article of the Czech Josef Herman, in 1907 and of professor Günther in 1912, which proves that the Rab people had understood long ago the bright prospects of this movement which, at that time, was a very bold attitude.

Croatia was the first country in Europe to start with the concept of commercial naturist resorts, when in other European countries naturism was limited to member clubs only. Real naturist expansion started in 1960's when first naturist camps were opened in Istra and Dalmatia. In those days more than 100.000 naturists spent their vacation in Koversada in 60'sCroatia each year. The oldest naturist resort in Croatia is Koversada and in 2001 celebrated its 40th anniversary. Koversada is in fact a small islet and today it is connected by a small bridge with the mainland. The story says that famous adventurer Giacomo Casanova was the first one who took a nude swim in Koversada. But it was Rudolf Halbig from Germany, owner of Miramare travel agency, who, 200 years later - in 1953, recognized Koversada as a perfect naturist destination. At the beginning naturists put up in the village of Vrsar and went to Koversada islet for swimming and sunbathing. In 1961 Koversada became officially opened for naturist tourists. As Koversada was becoming more popular, the islet became too small and in 1965 resort spread on the near by shore. In 1972 Koversada hosted Naturist World Congress. In the course of years Koversada grew to modern and one of the largest and and the most popular naturist resorts in Europe.
Soon after Koversada, other resorts opened its doors to naturists as well: Valata naturist resort (opened in 1968), Monsena (in 1988 hosted Naturist World Congress), Solaris and many other.

Today Croatia is offering wide range of naturist facilities: beaches, camping, hotels, apartment and bungalow villages. There are more than 20 official naturist resorts that spread on 8.220.000 sq. meters. Naturist resorts offer 46.100 camping units, 5.300 beds in apartments, bungalows or hotels. In addition to that, official naturist beaches (outside of naturist resorts) offer a place under the sun for 20.000 sunbathers. Except of official naturist resorts and beaches, there are also many so called free beaches. Those are unofficial naturist beaches, sometimes controlled and maintained by local tourist authorities and sometimes not, that can be found everywhere on the coast.
Naturist beaches in Croatia are marked as "FKK". This is abbreviation for German word "Freikörperkultur" (Free Body Culture). The FKK sign is ubiquitous all along the Croatian coast.

Naturism represents an important factor in Croatian tourism industry. To estimate how many percent of all Croatian FKK beachtourists are naturists is not an easy task, because many stay in textile resorts and visit naturist beaches or resorts just for swimming and sunbathing. Some estimates say about 15% of all tourists in Croatia are naturists or nudists. That means more than 1.000.000 naturists visit Croatia each year. Most of them come from Germany, than Austria, The Netherlands, Italy, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary etc. Considering country's liberal tradition toward naturism and a large number of naturist resorts and beaches, Croats are surprisingly still a bit shy when it comes to naturism and make about less than 5% of all guests in naturist resorts. Comparing to the situation in 1980's, number of organized naturist in Croatia has significantly decreased in the last decade. Many agree the reason is stronger influence of the Catholic Church in the society. Today many Croats prefer unofficial or secluded beaches to throw away their clothes.
But still, naturism is strongly suported by official Croatian goverment bodies. Take a look what official Croatian tourism site says about it (and we're glad they used many information from this site), and naturism is even mentioned on tourism site of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.




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