NAXOS ISLAND - GREECE
Welcome back to my blog, today I am going to be writing about my trip to Naxos. If you have been staying updated on my travel blogs so far then you will understand that I visited Athens first, then travelled to Naxos by ferry and then on to Santorini Island before heading back to Athens to fly home. If you haven't read my blog on Athens but are interested on that section of my trip, then please click here to read about some of the best things to do and some of my accommodation and food spot recommendations. If you also haven't read my blog on 'Instagram vs reality' which includes information on: extreme tourism, climate change and the influence social media has on our lives, then please click here. My Santorini blog will be up soon so if you would like to stay updated then you can follow my Instagram @bethlucyblogs.
After two long and busy days in Athens where we had packed in as much sight-seeing as possible into our plans, I was relieved and excited to travel onto our next Greek destination. The journey to Naxos was enjoyable as we travelled via the blue star ferries which were always efficient and on time. The journey was six hours long but it went very quickly. I would highly recommend booking business tickets, only around ten euros extra for the ticket, but the business sector of the ferry is much cleaner and comfier to sit in, it even has its own small private bar/café where you can order drinks and food which will suffice for the duration of the trip. The business sector of the ferry made our voyage more enjoyable and it was relieving to know that our seats were guaranteed. The other passengers in the business section were not noisy or disruptive, although there were some families with small children. On arrival in Naxos, we disembarked the ferry and set off to go to the centre of the small town. Naxos was extremely busy but the streets were clean and all the locals that we talked to were friendly and welcoming. Once on Naxos Island we set off to find our accommodation.
We were staying in the 'castle' of Naxos. I had been expecting it to be an actual castle and we would be allocated rooms but I was quite naïve and inadvertant as it was just a house. However, the house was built from within the site of the castle ruins, where there were many other houses and shops. It was the ideal location, as the castle was at the top of the island and offered us beautiful panoramic views of the landscape and of the sunsets. We were really pleased with our stay in Naxos as the house was comfortable and secluded from the busy streets in the heart of the town (it was really hard to find it at first!) 'Jolanda house' where we stayed was perfect for my family's needs and only a 10 minute walk away from the Naxos main street, but right next to the church. If you visit Naxos I would highly recommend booking accommodation there, where it is really quiet or at least visit the area! We enjoyed having an excuse to walk through the beautiful old market town streets, although it was a labyrinth of small roads and winding streets, we saw the prettiest shops and houses. It differed from the main commercial streets, but instead gave us a feel of the 'mamma mia' scenes we had been expecting to see. If you want to take some photos down these streets, I would recommend getting there before 9 in the morning as after this time, the streets become busier again. We also enjoyed eating out and trying some more traditional Greek meals in Naxos, but our accommodation was in the perfect location when it came to our favourite food spot in Naxos, it was only a two minute walk away.
There were many great restaurants in the centre of Naxos, however my family and I found that our favourite was the one nearest to us. We visited the terrasse café 1739 every day throughout our stay, sometimes opting to go there for lunch and dinner! The café was exceptional, all the food had been homemade and freshly prepared. We enjoyed spending time there because the views of Naxos were incredible and it was a great photo-spot at the top of the island and within the castle. It also had friendly staff and good music! We loved that it was a family run establishment and that locals had recommended it to us. The views were scenic and it was so quiet and peaceful there! I would recommend visiting to escape the bustling main streets for some tranquillity and to enjoy the view - even if you don't buy any food! However, I would recommend eating there too, the family really appreciate the custom as they often gave us free desserts and snacks. We didn't go there for free food though, it was our favourite food spot and the only café/restaurant that I believe is worthy of a review!
WHAT THERE WAS TO DO IN NAXOS:
Naxos was supposedly our most 'relaxing' destination on the holiday. It was cooler and a lot quieter than Athens was and for that reason it was very relaxing. My family and I enjoyed taking photos at the Terrasse café which is the BEST for photo spots at the top of the island. Additionally, we loved taking photos in the old market and exploring the rest of the island which was not near us. I loved going to the Naxos Arch which is one of the most prominent and popular archaeological sites on the island. Separated from the rest of the island, you have to walk across to get to it. From the ferry, it looks like it is a long walk (and hike) from the main streets, however it is only a 5 minute walk. I would recommend going there as it has beautiful views of the town and the island as a whole. I was surprised how quiet it was there during the day when I got a photo, however, later that evening I realised that half the island was there, waiting for the sunset! Sunsets in Greece are a huge 'event' or part of their day, as some people even clap once the sun goes down! It was impossible to climb up when so many people were there too. If you want to go for a sunset picture, I would recommend going early as then you are guaranteed to get some great shots. Additionally, there are some rocks where you could sit and get a photo without the danger of falling off a cliff or of having people obstructing your shots! The area by the rocks is also a suitable place to swim!
We used the buses in Naxos to access the beaches on the far side of the island, such as 'plaka beach' which we had been recommended to visit. The bus trip is only 30 minutes long and the tickets can be bought from a small building on the main street. The bus service was usually on time, but get there early! A lot of people either miss their bus or end up standing and it is not an enjoyable journey! On the way to the beaches, there is a water park which you can stop off at, however, if you continue on to the beaches, you will find a selection to choose from. Some such as paradise beach are very quiet, whereas others, such as Plaka are much busier. I enjoyed my time on the beach, there are many restaurants and cafes to eat at there and the weather was amazing! The sea is also warm and clear, perfect for swimming in. As a result of the good experiences, we made sure we visited the beaches several times and I would highly recommend committing to visiting too or dedicating one of your days /afternoons to visiting these beautiful sandy beaches!
That was it from Naxos! I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Check out my Instagram to stay updated on some of my posts from Naxos or for more information on my trip! Please like, comment or share this post if you found it useful and informative. I appreciate it!