I remember the feeling when I landed in Naxos. I felt free. Free from the horde of tourist crowds which still thronged Santorini in the month of September. Naxos in comparison had almost emptied, so much so that a few weeks further, the whole island would have been shut with locals headed back for their villages. Moving around in Naxos, I felt I had the whole island to myself. The weather was still warm. Accommodation and food were cheap. Perfect timing I’d say.
Whenever I think of Naxos, I think of sandy beaches, rugged mountains, sleepy villages and ancient Greek temples. Naxos is the largest of the Greek Cyclades islands often ignored for the more popular ones – Santorini and Mykonos. There is tons to do for almost everyone – water sports and activities, hiking, history, culture – you name it.
We stayed at one of Naxos’ best beaches, Agios Prokopios, which stretches for almost a mile with soft, golden sand and plenty of water sports action for those who want it. Me, I was happy chilling at the bars or swimming. The entire west coast of Naxos is full of numerous sandy beaches with pristine, turquoise waters. Plaka (longest beach), Kastraki, Mikri Vigla are some of them and our first day was spent exploring these.
Naxos is also a land of numerous temples, churches and monasteries. One such place is the Temple of Demeter which I found attractive more for its surroundings than the temple itself – the path leading up to the temple, the valley in which the temple is constructed, scant vegetation and far off mountains – together making an impressive site.
Another temple, or rather what was completed of it, is Portara which is impossible to miss as it greets all visitors who arrive via ferry. It is to the north of the Naxos town, connected through a causeway, and this where we spent our evening in the company of a beautiful sunset.
Sleepy Naxos villages
We also explored Naxos’ villages which honestly felt like entering a time warp. Quiet whitewashed houses standing side by side, blazing in the sun, decorated by overgrown bougainvillea; streets lined with trees moving lightly in the breeze; empty outdoor cafes; locals greeting you with sleepy smiles. Our afternoons went by experiencing this traditional Greek life in numerous villages dotting Naxos.
Naxos drives and never ending panoramic views
Another thing I remember from Naxos is our drives on long winding roads with dramatic landscapes, blue skies and wide horizons following us along the way. Not just the west coast, but the eastern side of the island all the way up to Apollonas port and back to Naxos town provides some stunning views.
Naxos is one of prettiest islands I have been to, and should definitely be on the list for anyone looking for a quiet island getaway in Greece. Cannot thank the husband enough for choosing it over Mykonos! I came back with varieties of Citron liquer, olive oil, tons of fond memories and a happy heart.