Naturist beach by St.
Dunes" ("Dyuny", in Russian) naturist beach popular in St.
Petersburg is located at the coast of the Baltic Sea at a distance
of about 30 km (20 miles) from the city centre,
by side of "The Dunes" Health Resort ("Sanatory Dyuny", in Russian), and not far from the famous "Sestroretsky
Kurort" Health Resort at the Northern coast of the Gulf of Finland
near the town of Sestroretsk.
During the winter and spring of 2013, massive works were undertaken to restore and pave the near-mouth stretch of The Malaya Sestra river barred by the sea sand in an immediate vicinity of the beach.
The beach contours have changed substantially as a result, and the verdure was partly wrecked. Still the beach is well alive, although within an altered landscape, and is full of naturism adepts on hot sunny days.
On this page:
The Dunes Beach
Thousands of people assemble on "The Dunes" naturist beach
during the high season. The general atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.
Beside of the usual beach entertainments, such as playing volleyball, badminton,
miniten, frisbee, etc., there is a lot of socializing at the beach in high
season: various fun competitions, body art presentations, dancing nude,
and so on.
The "textiles" passing by in numbers in their walks along the beach just
pay no attention nowadays (except those who are tempted to join): everyone
"s'minding one's own business". Occasional "gawkers" are inevitable at
times, but there are no cases of harassment. Even single females can feel
at ease at the beach: the "Nordic temperament" of St. Petersburgers
suggests a restraint in emotion and the respect for others' privacy.
The climate of Northern Europe does not permit the bathing and sunbathing
season to last long, and the weather in the Baltic coast region is notoriously
erratic and changeable. Still naturism devotees gather on the beach from
late April till early September whenever the weather offers a slightest
There is another naturist place nearby, known as "Karyer" ("Sand
Pit") at about 1.5 km (1 mile) inside the coast
at the foot of a big sand dune in pine forest, by side of a tiny natural
pool fed with springs. The place is well protected from sea winds and is
preferred at colder weather, particularly, in early spring.
The seaside area is a sand beach with gentle slope, and the coast presents
a chain of low sand dunes grown up with pines. The sea water in the easternmost
shallow part of the Gulf of Finland contains virtually no salt, sweetened
by the powerful stream of the Neva river flowing into the Baltic Sea within
St. Petersburg limits.
The water in the sea is usually clean, unless western winds bring reeds,
algae and some litter from the sea. Still garbage becomes a problem at
times: there is no refuse disposal service at the place, and a lot depends
on the patrons' own initiative: taking away of one's own waste, digging
dump pits, tidying up after slovenly visitors, etc.
There are several cafes near the beach, but one is not supposed to be
going nude there for the time being. However hawkers would bring snacks,
ice creams and drinks directly to the beach in high season.
An unguarded parking place is at a 2 minutes' walking
distance, and a 10 minutes' walk is needed to reach the beach
from a guarded parking lot at The Dunes Holiday Resort Hotel
operating in summer time.
A Bit of History
The naturist beach was first established at its present place by a group
of enthusiasts in the early sixties, apparently, under an influence of
the German FKK (Freikörperkultur). It was against the police
rules of the time, and a handful of naturists had to withstand both random
police persecutions and a degree of disapproval by the public. The people
were hiding beyond the bush, and, generally, did not dare go bathing in
the nude at the seaside beach open for observation from all the sides from
The public attitude changed immensely since then. Naturism has been
gaining popularity ever since late seventies and early eighties. Out of
the thousands of naturism adepts, most simply enjoy the summer warmth and
sun (so precious and longed for here in the North), and the leisurely sea
beach lifestyle. Still many are maintaining a more philosophical "Unity
with the Nature" notion, while some are also trying to "graft an ecological
shoot on the tree of naturism".
The naturist beach has got an official status
in 1992, after the "Free Body Culture Society of St. Petersburg"
has been formally registered.
There is an article about The Dunes beach in the Russian language version
on The Dunes beach
Isthmus, the stripe of land between the Baltic Sea and the biggest Europe's
lake, the Ladoga Lake, is a popular resort area in north-western Russia
directly adjoining St. Petersburg from the North and North-West.
The inner part of the Isthmus covered with coniferous forests (Scots pine
and Norway spruce) is rich with picturesque hills, big and small lakes
and rapid brooks. The mighty stream of the Vuoksa river crossing the Isthmus'
North forms a chain of lakes connected with rapid watercourses, and the
Isthmus' Northwest is endowed with numerous granite rock outcrops giving
rise to shore cliffs at the Baltic Sea, Ladoga Lake and inner smaller lakes.
The Karelian Isthmus offers a fascinating variety of hiking, cycling and
canoeing routes, as well as a lot of opportunities for fishing, collecting
of wild berries and mushrooms (a recreation very much enjoyed by many Russians),
as well as for skiing and other winter sports.
Sand beaches with occasional granite cobbles and boulders stretch over
the whole sea coast westwards from the St. Petersburg outskirts,
changing to granite rocks and skerries in the West, nearer to the Finnish
border. One can walk along the beach for tens of miles uninhibited: no
fencing up of the waterfront line is permitted in this public recreation
area. The town of Sestroretsk and its neighbourhood is renowned for the
seaside parks with gigantic old oaks and black alder trees.
The area nearest to St. Petersburg, particularly, the coastal
zone between the towns of Sestroretsk and Zelenogorsk and a bit further
to the West, is virtually flooded with holiday makers from
and other places on summer weekends. It has got a lot of resort hotels,
bungalows for rent, camping sites, cafes, restaurants, etc.
Unfortunately, many valuable public lands and forest reserves in this area were grabbed
in the recent years for various development projects such as private
hotels, luxury real estate complexes and villas, etc. It is feared that The Dunes beach and
as well as the "Karyer" forest site may be found under threat one day too.
"The Oaks" ("Dubki") park at Sestroretsk possesses a horse riding
course. Many people enjoy yachting, wind surfing, motor boating, water
skiing and other water sports on the Gulf of Finland. Motor gliding fans
often fly their machines over the Sestroretsk beaches, offering everyone
a ride. There are several tennis courts at the Dunes Holiday Resort Hotel.
Dunes"Golf & Country Club with a 12-hole golf
course, the first in the St. Petersburg environs, is
operating on the grounds of the Dunes Health Resort nearby, at just a few
hundred yards' distance from the naturist beach; works are underway
to expand the course up to a full 18-hole size.
The Northern position of St. Petersburg
(60th degree of Northern latitude: that of Alaska and Labrador in the
Western Hemisphere!) presents a unique opportunity unknown to the countries
with a mellower climate. At midsummer, one can sunbathe from 7 a.m.
till 9 p.m., if the weather permits, and there is no true
darkness at all during the night – just a couple of hours of twilight between
the sunset and dawn.
I feel it my duty to
express my sincere gratitude to the former Holy
Nature's master Michael Rusinov (deceased in 2009) and to Alisa
& Dmitriy Lychev from whose sites I took the base for
some of my pictures of The Dunes beach.
||A popular on-line news agency in
published an article entitled "Recreation Unclothed" in its
"Summer" column devoted to summer holiday matters on
June 27, 2003; the article discusses the naturist recreation
issue in general and The Dunes beach in particular.
open translation of the article text into English,
||The best serious newspaper in St. Petersburg, The
St. Petersburg Times published in English, printed an
article on The Dunes beach entitled "The Naked Truth
About Naturism" as a front page story in the issue of July
open the article text,
The Moscow English-language newspaper
The Moscow Times
reprinted this paper under a title "The Place
Where St. Pete Bares It All" as a front page story
in its issue of August 2, 2001.
|A good selection of texts about the seaside resort area by the town
of Sestroretsk was published in issue No 157 of Friday, August 25,
2000, of the most serious and respected at that time Russian national daily
in its St. Petersburg supplement.
The most interesting Page 14 of the paper
issue is reproduced in full (except for advertising) at this site: both
the Russian original and a translation into English.
The texts include:
a brief statistical attestation of Sestroretsk neighbourhood;
a brief description of the local places of interest;
a short special article on "The Dunes"
naturist beach, with a photograph;
an essay on the historical and cultural background and on the contemporary
life in this popular recreation zone.
To enter the page with the "Kommersant" texts,
||The author first got the notion of naturism when he was
in his teens from an article on FKK beach on the
Usedom Island in Germany. Looking at this text and pictures printed
in an East German illustrated magazine in 1965
may not be devoid of interest even today, so both the German
original and author's translations into English
and Russian have been placed at this
||Author's first-hand reports of his visits
to the naturist beaches of Odessa
and Koktebel at
the Black Sea coast of Ukraine in summer
2000, originally placed at the Telord
No one knows what will become of the famous naturist beach at Koktebel now,
after the illegal forced annexation of Crimea by the Russian Putin's regime in March 2014.
An information about the naturist opportunities on
Tenefire (Canary Islands, Spain),
based on the Author's personal experience during his holiday in
May 2002, are placed at another
Author's site: Naturism on Tenerife.
Last updated May 2014
Andrei SAMARTSEV email@example.com
St. Petersburg, Russia