I had never fully realized just how averse to nudity North America was until my trips abroad to Europe. I mean sure, we use cleavage and bikinis to sell things like food or products, but in our everyday lives- nakedness tends to freak North Americans out. It is something controversial, R- rated, and often strictly sexualized. I wouldn’t say all of Europe lets it hang every chance they have,

but overall, Europeans tend to have a much healthier approach to nudity.

So, for those keen to hear more about how different cultures view nakedness, here is my list of countries that are totally fine with “being in the buff”: 


Finnish people are a funny bunch. They are reserved, protective of their personal space and find it both uncomfortable and unnecessary striking up a conversation with a stranger. Talking to your neighbor in the elevator? No siree. Hitting the sauna naked with that same neighbor? Let’s go. I cannot stress how much Finns love their saunas. It is probably the only place a Finn will be bold enough to start a conversation. Yes, being naked and sweating somehow opens Finns up to strangers. Finns pride themselves on having a healthy relationship with their body and with the bodies of others. Big, small, flabby, old… all bodies are created equal here. Just one rule: don’t flirt with someone while you’re naked in a sauna. That is a definite no-go here.


From their smart sexual education system in schools to their nude beaches and “Free-Body Culture”, the Germans love being in the nude - especially in Berlin and the Eastern part of the country. The word for this is actually “Freikörperkultur” or FKK, and it is a movement that is even encouraged in many public spaces such as beaches, parks, pools and lakes. To sum it up, this movement is the German right to sunbathe naked and enjoy the fresh air. Just watch German TV and you will be accosted by nude TV shows, like Naked Attraction. This might make you understand why Germans found the notion of “nipplegate” completely ridiculous. Just turn on the TV in the afternoon and you’ll see enough nipples to last you a lifetime.


There is nothing more Danish than a Vinterbadning or a Winterbath, where  Danish people strip down and jump into a really cold body of water. Nudity knows no season to the Danes!

However, there is a bit of a generational divide when it comes to being naked in public. Older people are far more comfortable going in the buff to the beach, while the younger generation feels more confident in a set of neutral layered clothing. It seems that young Danes just aren’t as keen to get naked - unless it’s for a naked CrossFit class (shame it was a hoax but in Copenhagen, I’d believe it!).


You cannot talk about nudity without mentioning France. From its history of nudity in movies to the undeniable stereotype of sensuality, and the world-famous nude beaches - and even a “nude city”. France still to this day has one of the most relaxed regulations on nudity in films - and was one of the first countries in the world to showcase a naked body (1896’s, Le Coucher de la Mariee). To put it simply, the French have destigmatised naked bodies from the public eye, and have just made it a part of the local film and TV culture. 

In addition to this, the naked body is not always sensualised in France (at least as much as one might think). French culture generally has what I’d describe as more of a lack of inhibition due to their embrace of anything and everything “natural”.  A nipple is just a nipple in France; it’s perfectly natural.


Spain is an interesting place when it comes to its relaxed views on nakedness. Similar to other European countries, nudity to Spaniards is nothing out of the norm and they have plenty of dedicated spaces where nudity is accepted - even in major cities. I remember sitting at La Barceloneta Beach, on my first trip to Spain. I slowly realized that while I was in my bikini, I was surrounded by completely naked people of all ages, from small children to the abuelos (older folk). Maybe it was because I was at the beach, but I feel like I got more judgemental looks from the locals for wearing a revealing top, than I would have been naked or topless.

Recently, however, as of 2021, Spain has taken a slightly more conservative approach to their regulations on public nudity and some tourists were even given fines of close to €300 for walking around topless. I suppose there is a time and place for everything, even in one of the most relaxed cultures in the EU.  

So yes, don’t expect to see people walking around naked everywhere you go in Europe, but keep in mind that Europe does take a much more relaxed approach to nudity. And why not? Americans often censor nudity, but showcase violence for kids to see. Nudity and sexuality are also seen as two completely separate things. The human body is seen as something natural, and nothing to be ashamed of, no matter if you have cellulite or a flabby belly. Basically, embrace the birthday suit you were born with, and let loose a little bit - you’ll have a much more enjoyable and, dare I say, authentic time in Europe doing so.

Maybe we could all take a few notes from these countries on how they view nudity! 

As always, keep breaking down your barriers!

 - Marina