Thanks to a 2014 New York Times article declaring Naxos, Greece not to be missed, travel heavyweights have been including it year after year on their roundups of must-see destinations within the Cyclades – Naxos: a true gem of the Cyclades, the Greek Islands.
Unlike its neighbours Santorini and Mykonos, Naxos remains relatively unfazed by the hype – despite the fact that the picturesque island continues to surface on Greek island round-ups. Its low-key ambiance and quiet pace provide visitors with an authentic Greek island experience, only three and a half hours from bustling Athens.
When to Go
The weather in Greece is warm from March and April onwards, with peak crowds in July and August. Early September is an ideal time to experience the island. By September fewer tourists are packing the ferries and beaches, as children across Europe are back in school.
The easiest way to arrive to Naxos is by ferry from Athens. From the port of Piraeus (just outside of Athens) a highspeed ferry will deliver you to Naxos in roughly 3.5 hours, while other ferries offer a more scenic 5.5-hour journey. Purchase your tickets in advance to alleviate any headaches at the port and guarantee your arrival time. See here for more info: https://www.greekferries.gr/
What to Do
Eat. Simply arrive hungry, and don’t leave until you’ve eaten just about everything. Local Naxian cheese and olive oil are not to be missed, as is imbibing on a glass of island-made Kitron (a spirit made from citron trees, a relative of the lemon). There are plenty of restaurants directly across the street from the port, however going inland (even if it’s a block or two) will often reveal restaurants aimed at locals instead of tourists, complete with more reasonable prices and authentic cuisine.
While it’s a drive nearly 45 minutes inland, a visit to Rotonda (located in the Apeiranthos region of Naxos) will deliver gourmet food with jaw-dropping views of the island and sea. Tip: Reserve a table for sunset, the views are some of the best on the island.
Naxos has no shortage of stunning beaches and beach bars. From the Chora (town center) the first beach is Agios Georgios, an easy 15-minute walk from the center of town. While there are ample oceanfront restaurants and beach bars, Agios Georgios is often the most crowded due to its proximity to the town center.
Outside of the town center, three well-known beaches dot the coast – Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, and Plaka. Each boasts crystal clear turquoise water, not unlike the Caribbean, and Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna are within walking distance of each other. All three beaches are easily accessible by public transit that runs every half hour from the town center. If you want to rent a sunbed for the day (highly recommended to find reprieve from the scorching Mediterranean sun) visit any number of the beach bars along the beach. Some will rent two beds and an umbrella for a flat fee, others will include them for ‘free’ with the purchase of food or drinks.
Unique to Naxos is the Eggares Olive Press Museum, one of Naxos’s oldest remaining olive mills. A brief complimentary tour showcases the history of the mill, including original production materials once used at the site. Don’t miss a tasting, I dare you to leave without buying some of their oil. You’ll be hooked and we’d love to help you get there!
Where to Stay
There’s no shortage of accommodation options on Naxos, ranging from luxurious private villas to basic room rentals.
Iliada Villas are located a ten-minute walk from Paralia Agios Prokopios beach and offers guests their choice of villas, rooms, or suites with breakfast included. With an outdoor pool, restaurant, and pool bar, guests will want for nothing. Travel club members can save over £1000 GBP for a week in the Summer here.
Pyrgaki Hotel has great reviews for good reason. The Greek hospitality is evident from the moment you arrive. Save over £125 for a week here with the travel club
Interested in visiting Greece, or maybe island hopping for your next trip away?
Contact me here, I’d love to help you with big savings on your next Mediterranean escape! Or visit our travel club information page: http://www.thetravelclub.info