Naturists have come together to protect the decades-long tradition of nudism on some of the beaches in Catalonia after noticing their space is being increasingly breached by clothed visitors.
Segimon Rovira, who leads the Naturist-Nudist Federation of Catalonia, has branded disrespectful the behaviour showcased more and more by people not mindful of the traditional naturist spaces in the Spanish region.
He told the Guardian: “Before, people would arrive at a nude beach and either leave or strip down.
“Now they stay and keep their swimsuit on. But what they don’t realise is that if there are a lot of them, they end up making us uncomfortable. It’s a lack of respect.”
While nudism can be practiced on any beach in Spain, most naturists have been mindful of those who may be bothered by the practice and have gone to areas where the sea is known to be enjoyed by many without clothes.
But tourists keen to find new or less populated beaches are now discovering these more secluded areas, and many don’t seem ready to embrace the naturism that has traditionally come with them.
Seeing their spaces invaded by people keeping their swimsuits on and using social media have made many naturists self-conscious and led some to abandon certain areas.
Mr Rovira said: “There are nudists who have stopped going to some beaches because they are too crowded and there are too many people wearing swimsuits and they feel uncomfortable.”
The shameless giggling or staring of some clothed visitors on nudist beaches have increased the self-consciousness of many naturists.
In a bid to maintain nudists beaches mainly for nudists, Mr Rovira’s group has recently sent a letter to the Catalan government in which they asked for a meeting aimed at discussing the “discrimination” naturists face in the region.
Catalonia isn’t the only Spanish region popular with nudists.
Playa Nudista Vera, in the province of Almeria, is one of the largest nudist beaches in the world.
Declared a nudist zone in 1979, the area is not home just to a 2km naturist beach but also to a nudist bar and to the Vera Playa Club, the first naturist hotel in Spain which bars guests from sunbathing in the pool area with swimsuits on – although clothes must be worn in the restaurant.
While the Spanish government doesn’t ban nudism, municipalities can decide to take measures against it, as it happened in Ses Salines, a small town in Majorca.
A new regulation approved in June by the local council in order to moderate the use of all the beaches of Colonia de Sant Jordi ordered people not to cause nuisance with loud music and prohibited nudism.
Streets and beach vendors were also banned by the ruling, as were camping on beaches, lighting fires and using fireworks.