El Fonoll – El Fonoll, Spain - Atlas Obscura

El Fonoll

El Fonoll, Spain

An independent naturist colony amidst 1000-year-old ruins. 


For 1000 years, people living in El Fonoll wore clothes. They prayed at the church dedicated to the physician/martyr St. Blaise, and walked the ancient walls of the castle that was built in the town before 1000 C.E.

As the medieval town fell into ruins around the late 1990s, a force swooped in to revive it. Although a bit unorthodox, a businessman from Barcelona named Emili Vives took charge of the city in 1995. He purchased 150 hectares of land around the medieval ruins and shortly began to impose a new order in the Spanish town.

Vives had a concept in his mind, to create a self-sustaining eco-village, connected to nature in a way impossible in urban Barcelona. Practically abolishing currency, Vives made El Fonoll free to live in, and began working with a close cadre of other like-minded people to create farmland and grazing areas for animals. Besides the practical elements of food and shelter, Vives also made El Fonoll a naturist town, encouraging those who lived and visited to shed their clothes and go about their daily routine in the buff. Of course this can be shocking for those unprepared, as yoga, farming and even shopping is done in very naked fashion.

Although El Fonoll is a naturist town, it is not a naked free-for-all and is not for the youthful Euro-tripper looking for cheap thrills. There are strict rules governing the area, including no photography or smoking in public areas. The aim of the town is to make visitors and residents alike comfortable sharing their bodies in the great outdoors of Southern Spain.

Subsidized prices on the land owned by Vives allows visitors to rent a four-person home for a weekend for under 50 Euro, and offers rent-controlled cabins for 200 Euro a month. A bartering system is also very much in effect in the town, and many prices can be negotiated for work in the tourism sector or on the farms around the massive landscape.

The average tourist wishing to save a few bucks on a visit to the town, can call +34 934211880 to schedule a van ride from Barcelona for no money. Although it is a free trip to town, the people of El Fonoll expect a bit of naked labor at the vegetable or goat farms around the town in exchange for their hospitality.

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Daily from Barcelona (Sants station) to Mas de la Cadena

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