El Portús, Spain: Easy on the naked eye
Nudity is permitted around the clock at Spain’s original
naturist resort, where Metro's nervous first-timer took a little
time before fully appreciating the view.
with a difference: El Portús is the most popular of Spain’s 500
It feels like I have X-ray vision. I see naked people. The view
from our hilltop cabana is straightforward enough: a picturesque
bay nestling in an amphitheatre of mountains.
Three swimming pools, some tennis courts. Palm trees. Mobile
homes and caravans decorated with flowerpots.
And then I see my first bare bottom, as a fellow guest here at
El Portús – a naturist resort in Murcia, south-east Spain –
makes his way down a steep pathway to the beach.
‘Hola! How’s that for a view?’ shouts my neighbour from his
porch, where he and his wife are sipping rioja, as naked as the
day they were born. Naturism is going to take some getting used
I am with my friend, who has been holidaying in El Portús for
years and has no compunction about getting her kit off. I do,
however, and set off for a walk with my sarong wrapped around
me. Everywhere we go – into the shop and the bar/restaurant,
past cyclists and hikers, around the children’s playground –
people have no clothes on.
A group of French pensioners are playing boules naked. Yikes.
essentials: Jane Cornwell goes native
Beachside, I’ve never seen so many willies or boobs at once. The
bodies they belong to are fat and thin, young and old, short and
As I sit there, conspicuous in my bikini bottoms, I realise they
are simply that – bodies. There is nothing erotic or pervy about
it. The atmosphere is laid-back, friendly and overwhelmingly
The owners of the boats bobbing near the diving centre might be
more flush than the rest of us, just like the clients of the
resort’s day spa might be a bit more exfoliated, but without
clothes we’re all essentially the same. I take off my pants and
walk into the clear blue sea, disarmed and anonymous.
Boasting 500 camping pitches, 50 cabanas-cum-mobile-homes and a
hotel with 15 air-conditioned apartments, El Portús is a paid-up
member of the Spanish and International naturist federations,
and part of an ever-growing sector in the tourism industry.
Spain has some 500 beaches where nudism is practised. El Portús,
set in the protected Sierra de la Muelas and the country’s first
naturist campsite, is the most popular.
‘In the beginning we had a lot of voyeurs,’ says resort manager
Aurelio Vaquero. ‘The beach was like a circus. Fully dressed
people would come over the mountain from the next beach
expecting to see a show.
But the geography of this place means they always have to take
the same way back again. Then the naturists would stand and slow
clap them until they were the ones who felt naked.’
John and Clara Slater, from Dorset, spend a few weeks of each
year in El Portus. Clara, 38, has just completed her 100th scuba
dive with the resort’s grizzled, Neptune-like dive master, Juan
John, 42, is more into mini-tennis, which he plays with gusto on
a purpose-built court. Naturism, they say as we whizz along in
their motorboat, is energising and rejuvenating.
As John cuts the motor next to a tiny rocky landmass called Isla
Paloma and Ruth springs overboard and on to the island like a
tanned water nymph, we have to agree they’ve got a point.
Communing with nature becomes addictive. In nothing but our
walking shoes we climb deserted mountain trails and marvel at
the area’s geology, at the different coloured rocks running
through the cliffs.
We see rock pigeons and wildflowers and, in the clear blue
below, schools of fish. (El Portus regulars sometimes take long
breadsticks into the water that are eaten from their hands by
fish that mercifully leave other dangling bits alone).
We play tennis naked but for our trainers and bras (you have to
put the balls somewhere) and watch the (clothed) rock climbers,
too chicken to do it ourselves.
A week in, I sit on our porch and watch our new neighbours
arrive. ‘Hola!’ I say, liberated from clothes and inhibitions.
‘How’s that for a view?’
Jane Cornwell flew to Murcia with Easyjet (www.easyjet.com).
Returns from San Javier airport currently start from £200. She
stayed in a self-catering bungalow at El Portus (www.elportus.com).
Prices start from €50 per night.