When you live in Ireland, pondering a sun getaway in December with the main purpose of recharging vitamin D levels is not an original thought.
And when I chose Malta as my travelling destination, I was definitely not expecting naturism to be on the agenda. I would be more than happy to see a blue sky and some persevering sunshine.
With the islands having the reputation of being the least nudist-friendly country in Europe, where social nudity still seemed to be frowned upon, little did I know this was going to turn out a naturism-centred weekend!
Certainly, I did remember how I had had virtual contact in the past with some naturists from this part of the world. Once in my Maltese hotel in Sliema, I suddenly felt it did make sense to try to send a courtesy message to that Maltese naturist page. Big surprise for me when Adam, the official correspondent of the International Naturist Federation in Malta, quickly reacted to my greeting. He seemed interested in meeting up, even in showing me around, and I gladly accepted.
The next hours passed in a frenzied pace. I explored Valetta on my own and met Adam towards sunset. He then explained to me that even topless bathing was prohibited in Malta, as some signs could be seen near my hotel, and nudists can get fined for it.
Nonetheless, the Maltese Naturist site displays a list of beaches where local naturists and tourists strip off in the seclusion of the surroundings:
Ġnejna Bay area with and Qarraba Bay and Ta’ Ċensna, Munxar White Cliffs in Marsaskala, Slugs Bay in Mellieħa, Imgiebaħ Bay in Selmun, Fomm ir-Riħ Bay in Baħrija, and some remote places in the Maltese islands of Gozo and Comino.
After a pleasant conversation about all things naturist, Adam offered to bring me the next day to see a couple of the spots listed on the unofficial list of nudist beaches on the Maltese Naturist website.
Only half an hour away from the capital on the northwest coast, we arrived at the popular bathing are of Ġnejna Bay Beach after leaving behind a valley of a typical Maltese landscape adorned with a traditional agricultural terraced panorama.
From there, we proceeded first to cautiously hike southwards through the concrete platforms of the dilapidated boathouses, before reaching the vegetated sea cliffs which were habitats for the endemic Limonium spp., Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub and salt steppes. This landscape was also coloured also by varying hues of blue clay and limestone. Shortly after we finally arrived at Ta’ Ċensna. Looking out from the cove we were met with a stunning sight of two shades of blue coming together on the horizon.
I understood then how such an off-the-beaten-track location was a favourite with naturists.
We made the most of the sunny morning by sunbathing in a mild 17C heat. Later on, we changed sides of the rocky inlet and went on swimming on impressively clear waters that boasted a temperature of 19C, which felt warmer than the Irish Sea in summer. Unwilling to get dressed, we hiked back in our birthday suits until we approached the boathouses again.
In my mind I was comparing this enjoyable nude walk under the friendly Maltese sun with our harsh Irish hiking conditions from only the previous week. The force of the Irish gale had been enough to support my towel around my waist.
I paused to reflect, I couldn’t believe my luck: I was getting not only the much-desired sunshine and the superb blue sky, but also experiencing naturist opportunities in breath-taking scenery in the company of the perfect naturist host, who introduced me into all aspects of the state of naturism in Malta!
Later that day we also managed to meet further members of the local naturist community. They turned out to be very knowledgeable about naturism in other countries; they could describe and compare nude resorts in France, Greece, Spain or even the Caribbean. They would also go to central European spas to properly enjoy the naked sauna culture.
Naturism in their own country appeared to be a different situation altogether. They complained about the conservative mindset of Maltese society, about the small size of the country and the high degree of connection and familiarity amongst the locals, which would not facilitate a secure feeling of anonymity when practising naturism.
It all sounded rather familiar to me… however, they fared worse than Ireland with their high population density, a factor that does not easily leave isolated areas on the Maltese coastline.
I left the island with the satisfaction of being able to forge deep friendships thanks to our common belief in naturism, the contentment of belonging to a healthy international naturist community, and the commitment to work for the further enhancement of the naturist philosophy.
Grazzi ħafna, ħbieb tiegħi!