Gavdos Island: Where Nude Sunbathing Got the Boot

So, I spent my last day on this Greek island called Gavdos Island, hitting up Sarakiniko, its prime beach spot. But guess what? There’s a new rule in town – no more getting your tan on in the buff. They slapped a sign on the sand, saying nudity’s a no-go now.

Gavdos is like the southern superstar of Europe, chilling 79km south of Crete in the Libyan Sea. It used to be the holy grail for sun-worshippers who loved to strip down, unlike anywhere else in Greece. But thanks to a fresh ban, Sarakiniko’s lost its “let it all hang out” charm.

The Big Ban and Island Vibes

The mayor’s office dropped the bombshell in July 2023 with those signs at Sarakiniko. It stirred up a whole lot of drama, especially among the locals and visitors who dug Gavdos for its laid-back vibe. But get this: the mayor reckons only tourists had beef with the ban. Locals apparently wanted this for ages, wanting at least one nudist-free beach for families.

Even though other beaches still allow the naked dip, folks are worried the anti-nudist vibe might spread. Gavdos isn’t just about baring it all – it’s also the spot for free camping, something you can’t do elsewhere in Greece. That’s why it’s been the go-to spot for backpackers and free-spirited travelers since the ’60s.

History and Beyond

Gavdos isn’t just about the hippie beach scene. This tiny 30 sq km island’s got stories! Legend has it that it’s the Ogygia from Homer’s tales where Calypso held Odysseus captive. And in the ’30s, it was the perfect place for Greece to stash away supposed communists. But things changed in the ’60s and ’70s – hippies flocked in, camping out, chilling by fires, cooking their grub, and going skinny dipping.

Meeting the Locals and Their Gripes

Before my visit to Sarakiniko, I trekked to Trypiti, Greek, Gavdos’ southernmost point. Imagine this giant chair perched on rocks marking the spot – made by Russian scientists who bunked here after the Chernobyl disaster. They wanted fresh air and a view of the endless sea.

From Trypiti, I swung by Vatsiana, where I met Nikos Lougiakis, the southernmost local in Europe. He’s got this cozy cafe-restaurant, whipping up traditional Cretan eats, like katsikaki tsigariasto. He’s even got his own goats, making him feel like a top chef.

Nikos had a lot to say about the mayor’s decision. He’s worried it might shake up the island’s chill vibe. Lots of folks canceled their trip this year because of it, and the crowd at Sarakiniko wasn’t its usual buzzing self.

Island Life and Challenges

Life on Gavdos isn’t always smooth sailing. The 208 folks who live here (though some say it’s closer to 70) gotta face harsh winters. Ferries and supplies can get stranded for days due to wild winds. And here’s the kicker: they’re not fully onboard the modern trend train – no almond milk or gluten-free stuff yet.

Gavdos is a gem, with its free-spirited vibe and laid-back lifestyle. But with these changes, some reckon it might lose its charm. The fight’s on to #Save_Gavdos – people are standing up to protect what makes this island special.