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Naturist  beach  by  St. Petersburg

"The 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.

[Welcome Photo] [NU signals]

How to get there: Description
Overview Map Neighbourhood Map Weather forecast for Sestroretsk
Weather forecast for Sestroretsk
Detailed Locality Map Dunes on Google Map Satellite Dunes Map

Sunbathing Season 2016
Summer 2016
of local trains and buses

Year 2016
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On this page: Dunes
Beach Habits Beach Conditions A Bit of History Surroundings

The Dunes Beach Habits

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.
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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.
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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 opportunity.
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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.

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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 afar.

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 of Wikipedia:

Ru.Wikipedia on The Dunes beach

Surrounding Area

Map of St. Petersburg with environs Dunes on Google Map
Map of Sestroretsk neighbourhood Map of Dunes Kurort Area Satellite Dunes Map

[Forest Stream]Karelian 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.[Oaks Ashore]

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 St. Petersburg 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. Click to see full sizeClick to see full size

"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. "The 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 St. Petersburg Fontanka.Ru 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.
    To open translation of the article text into English,
Click here

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 27, 2001.
    To open the article text,
Click here

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 Kommersant, 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,
Click here

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 site.
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 site. 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.

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Last updated June 2016
Andrei SAMARTSEV    samar_spb@post.com    St. Petersburg, Russia
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