Once we arrived in the morning from Milos on the ferry, we met our AirBnB contact who took us to our stay and arranged a car for us. This was a bit of a whirlwind and maybe not the smoothest of transactions but it actually worked out pretty well and was cheap. Once settled in we threw on our bathing suits and went straight out to find a good beach. Our first stop was Aliko or Alyko beach.
This beach is great. Clean and less packed. No restaurants or hoards of tourists here. A small grocery store nearby. Clear, clean water. Perfect for relaxing and exploring.
On our way down we did not ride along the coast because we were eager to get in the water, however, we drove up along the coast to get back to the main town center where we were staying. Our next stop was Mikri Vigla. At first glance this beach may seem crowded, and I would say most of the beaches going north on the west coast were a bit busy BUT if you walk over the rocks on the north of the beach you will find a beautiful cove! A small little beach and a shallow pool to swim in. It was beautiful. Take a look. This was my favorite beach spot on Naxos.
After these two great stops and the sun setting we headed into Hora (main town of Naxos) to clean up and have dinner. Our first night we checked out a busy tourist restaurant along the docks. It wasn’t that great so I won’t elaborate.
Day 2- The Mountains of Naxos.
One of the main reasons I wanted to venture to Naxos was because of it’s diverse terrain. We got up early and headed to Mt. Zeus/ Zas. The drive along the way is great. It was a cool, misty morning and on your way you can stop at one of the beautiful cafes in Filoti or Halki. We needed to be back in Hora early to get COVID-19 tests done so we didn’t stop but came back later (at the local hospital for cheap- you can book an appointment in advance). Make time to stop at all the little churches and structures along the way. Especially stop if they are open because most likely they won’t be on the way back.
There is a strip of road to park at the entrance of the Mt Zas climb. It is narrow and you need to park on the road (no parking lot), so also getting there early is a plus as you can park closer to the entrance. At the entrance you have access to water and can see where a car went off the cliff (so it does happen). I am pretty fit and this climb was not too strenuous or long BUT it is very rocky and has some steep steps (leg lifts not actual steps). In the beginning of the hike there was a path but there isn’t really a clear path either. I wouldn’t take my Mom or little ones on this hike but I still loved it. It was probably my favorite thing we did in Naxos.
I absolutely loved the Billy goats on the mountainside. All I kept thinking of was the story of the Billy Boat Gruff.
After the COVID-19 test, we headed to Agios Georgios Beach. We actually didn’t mean to stop here on our way down the coast but it looked beautiful and quiet so we stopped. I really liked this spot and wanted to try the wind surfing but I couldn’t get anyone to join me so we just snorkeled. When you snorkel, I recommend going further out. It isn’t deep. On my way back to the beach, I got hit in the head by a windsurfer board. Now, I had on a large, hard snorkel mask so it protected my head but it gave me a fright and could have been bad.
After this beach we kept going south to Orkos and Plaka Beach. A lot of sand chairs and restaurants in this area. A bit crowded but again if you are looking to sit in a chair with a cocktail in hand this is great. Lots of kids around and plenty of fun to be had. On Plaka Beach there was a bit of nudity. FYI if you have virgin eyes or want your kids to have them. Always an eye opened for a teenage son. I didn’t take any pictures but enjoyed the hot sand. Water was a bit choppy.
Day 3- Naxos
Our final day before we flew back to Athens in the evening was filled with small stops around Naxos and some last minute shopping in Hora. We never found the Tower of Ayia but we did manage to find the Kouros of Flerio/ Fluoros. Faragi Kouros, I think? At least one of them. And the quarry.
We kept walking for a while but we never came upon an aqueduct or spring. There is an ancient site that if you are into archaeology, you will appreciate. We are talking 500 years BC old. The only thing is the signs were a bit faded so it was hard to read them but it can’t be helped in that sun. We saw these beautiful yellow butterflies whose wings looked to be flying backwards. The locusts or cicadas were serenading us. There is a shady path to the kouros. I really liked it there.
On our way back to Hora, we drove to Halki or Chalkeio (also known as Tragea btw) and had some amazing baklava. The church was closed 😦
After we grabbed some gifts we visited the Tower of Sanoudos and the Kastro. The view at the top and the restaurant looked fine but it was too hot for us to sit outside and stay. We viewed the Temple of Apollo from afar as it was crowded and also hot. We thought about going at dusk but there were just many people and not great circumstances during a pandemic. I really liked Hora. It has great little shops and narrow, windy, alley ways to get lost in and explore. There was a lot more to see and do (and taste) just in Hora alone so we would definitely go back. It makes me sad to see so many things that we ended up missing but we did do a lot.
We flew back to Athens on Olympic Air that evening and it ended up being a bit of a nightmare. Still I would go back to Naxos in a heartbeat. There is so much more to do and see and as the biggest island in the Cyclades, you can’t go wrong with Naxos. It offers everything- tramping/hiking, beaches, food and history. I hope y’all get a chance to go and keep checking back for the next adventure! Thanks for reading!