History of naturism in Croatia and the present situation

Croatia



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 60sCroatia 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.