Naturism: Can Croatia rekindle the flame? - The360 Travel

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  • Sunday, December 15, 2019

    Naturism: Can Croatia rekindle the flame?

    Naturism: Can Croatia rekindle the flame?

    Croatia has long been a stronghold of naturism, its secluded coves attracting tourists from all over the Adriatic coast to the Adriatic coast. But the adepts are becoming increasingly rare and old and the country is looking to revive the machine.

    "For me, naturism is freedom," says Dusan Salomon, a 65-year-old Slovenian who has been coming to Koversada, Croatia's largest nudist camp, for over half a century. for outdoor activities but where one is required to dress to enter restaurants and shops.

    Dusan and his wife Katarina say they are lucky that their 20-year-old daughter and grandson are also enjoying the holidays at Koversada, a huge 100-hectare complex in Istria, a peninsula very close to Italy.

    The clientele is almost 40 years old: "For younger generations, naturism simply does not have the appeal it has for their parents," says Adris Group's Nenad Skuflic. the company that runs Koversada.

    The current camp can accommodate up to 6000 tourists, in tents, recreational vehicles or apartments - a clientele almost exclusively foreign, Croats doing little camping and little frequenting the structures of organized tourism in Croatia.

    It may seem like a lot, but we are far from the 15,000 naturist campers who flocked there in the summer of the early 1980s.

    At the time, Croatia was behind France and with Germany one of the European leaders of naturism, says Jerko Sladoljev, founder of the association of campsites of Croatia and former leader of the association of tourism of Istria .

    The King of England, naked

    Europe's first commercial naturist camp, Koversada was founded in 1961.

    This movement in Croatia already had a strong tradition going back to the 1930s.

    On the island of Rab, King Edward VIII of England caused a huge scandal in 1936 by bathing naked with his American friend Wallis Simpson, for whom he was going to give up the crown of England.

    "All the biggest European newspapers have talked about it. This made a huge publicity to naturism, from which we got the best benefit without even realizing it, "says Jerko Sladoljev.

    On this island of Rab, an Austrian, Richard Ehermann, had created during the same decade a naturist camp to respond to the ban by Adolf Hitler such sites in Germany, cradle of the movement.

    From this long tradition, Croatia, although very Catholic, has long removed a greater tolerance to nudity on beaches than Latin countries such as Italy and Spain. Tito's communism, which has kept the influence of the Church at bay, is another reason for this tolerance.

    In the mid-1980s Croatia had 34 naturist camps. But their success faded with the emergence of Italian or Spanish naturist camps in the 1980s, and then with the loss of audience of the movement.

    Today, there are only nine camps left in Croatia.

    "Niche Market"

    Nudists of naturism dream of reconnecting with the beautiful era in Croatia. Many believe that the country must, to do this, bet on the high-end, giving priority to small structures-small campsites or housing estates and small apartments-to create a "niche market", says Jerko Sladoljev.

    Last year, 19 million tourists came to Croatia, most of them for the Adriatic coast alone. Including only 300,000 nudists, mostly Germans, Slovenians, Austrians and Dutch, according to estimates of the Federation of Croatian naturists.

    But one in 10 tourists occasionally swim naked on this Adriatic coast rich in coves sheltered from the eyes, according to this federation.

    Valalta, another naturist camp in Istria created at the end of the 60's, has been on the upscale and has been renovated to seduce the contemporary clientele.

    The management has recently invested in new apartments, in the development of beaches and infrastructure for children.

    And since 2013, it is regularly designated as one of the best holiday camps in Europe by the German Auto Club ADAC, all types.

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