By Heini-Sofia Alavuo
The owners of a new naturist travel company operating in Greece have spoken to Greek Reporter about their service which lets you come as you are – literally.
It appears the Greece’s sunny climate is perfect for naturists, with their site receiving thousands of hits from Greek customers.
NaturistBnB works like Airbnb but with a very distinct difference. In their residences clothes are considered optional, so people around the world living the naturist lifestyle can travel and enjoy themselves.
The company’s arrival in Greece made headlines last week, and Greek Reporter spoke to the Finnish couple behind the project, Pekka and Minna Karjalainen.
Finland is known for its sauna culture — being naked in communal hot steam rooms — so the owners’ nationality may not be come as a surprise.
Naturism is more than just not wearing clothes – it’s about living in harmony with nature and enjoying a natural lifestyle. “We don’t feel the need to categorize people – ‘naturist’ or ‘nudist’, whatever terms suits the customers,” one of the owners says.
Most of the places listed on the site are clothing-optional, so the guests can decide whether they want to go naked or not. There is also a list of rules and guidelines on how to behave among other naturists – staring, for example, is considered to be extremely rude.
Like Pekka says, almost all Finns are naturists by heart without further categorizing: “In Finland being naked is by default considered normal and non-sexual – I believe every Finn has gone skinny-dipping in a lake after sauna at least once.”
The idea for NaturistBnB came from the couple’s personal interest in such services. Pekka says that they have been enjoying the naturist lifestyle for many years and would also like to continue it while on holidays. “We don’t really enjoy these kind of big resorts directed to nudists, with lots of people and fuss,” he says.
Gap in the market
They liked the idea of Airbnb since they appreciate more private and free travelling but they couldn’t really find anything which suited them. Soon they realized the clear gap in the market — instead of waiting for someone else to seize the opportunity, the couple decided to get into to business for themselves.
Their website was launched on Feb. 8 and according to Pekka it has been amazing to observe how fast it gained publicity — there is clearly a high demand, or at least a lot of interest, for a service like this. “We have been quite surprised by the popularity of our site,” he says.
Since Finland’s climate often puts limitations on the naturist life, the site has more locations abroad with residences in Australia, the Philippines, Italy and, obviously, Greece.
The warmth and beauty of Greece are ideal for naturist lifestyle. Luckily there are many beaches where being naked is permitted. Greece attracts naturists but, interestingly, the website seems to attract Greeks as well.
Pekka tells Greek Reporter that according to their data, Greece accounts for the ninth-highest visitor rate — apparently the site has been quite popular among Greeks.
“It’s quite a lot when we compare it to the total population of the country,” Pekka points out. Approximately 10,000 Greek visitors visit the website every month.
At the moment there are eight places in Greece that have been listed on the website, waiting for visitors. Pekka says that one of the first listings on their site came from Greece – a villa in Kefalonia. More places get listed every day.
The statistics also show that Greeks tend to spend more time on the site than the average visitor. All this seems to give strong signs that the company interests Greeks, whether they dream of naturist holidays or are just simply intrigued by the concept.
In the future the couple hopes NaturistBnB will become the biggest search engine for naturists seeking for and booking holidays.
“We are interested to see what the future may hold,” Pekka says.