Tag: Naxos Town (page 1 of 2)

Enchanting views of Naxos

Naxos: The island that will enchant you is a mesmerizing 4-minute area film by Naxos Times

 

Here’s an intriguing video of Naxos that’s unlike any I’ve seen before. Released just this week by Naxos Times, the 4-minute film features breathtaking aerial views of Naxos Town as well as Cape Agios Prokopios in the Stelida district of the island’s northwest coast. 

What’s unusual is that the film captures Naxos in the golden light of daybreak and sunset, when the seas are smooth as glass and barely a soul is in sight anywhere in the town. There’s an eerie and almost haunting, mysterious atmosphere to the video, but that’s what makes it even more captivating and fascinating.

Naxos: The quietly traditional heart of the Cyclades

Mike Andrew photo of a lane in Naxos Town

Shops line a narrow lane in the historic Old Market district of Naxos Town. Photo by Mike Andrew.

 

Sitting at the heart of the Aegean, can the unassuming and traditionally minded Naxos hold its own against its cosmopolitan neighbours?

 

Guest post by James Andrew

The shutters bang and clatter against the window. The howling, whistling noises coming from outside are more than a little disconcerting. The meltemi, the strong warming wind that blows constantly through the Aegean at this time of year, is definitely strong today.

Looking out of our villa window at the large, agriculturally rich fields, curious, twisted rock formations and, in the distance, the somewhat foreboding Mount Zas silhouetted against the dusk skyline, this all feels slightly alien. Certainly it’s a world away from the cosmopolitan and touristy island of Santorini from which we caught the ferry earlier in the day. No, this is very different. This is the much less visited and certainly less known island of Naxos.

 

 

Positioned at the heart of the Cycladic (or White) Islands, Naxos sits somewhat oddly next to its much-lauded neighbours Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. Whilst the island has gradually been building a fan base amongst Greece afficionados in the know, it still remains defiantly off the main cruise routes. Its main port in Naxos Town sees the arrival of daily ferries but no towering cruise ship behemoths like the ones that anchor in Santorini’s caldera.

The highest peak in the Cyclades, Mount Zas dominates the island. Breaking from the image of barren, volcanic lunar landscapes one most associates with this area of Greece, Naxos is blessed by nature. Green and verdant throughout, it defies convention. So, how would this island that lacks Santorini’s chic, polished veneer and Mykonos’ cool, hipster vibe reveal itself? Can it compete with its upmarket neighbours? We cracked the rattling shutters open and stepped into the wind to find out.

 

Fish Olive Creations Facebook page photo of Mount Zas on Naxos

A view of Mount Zas, Filoti village and Halki village (bottom). Photo by the Fish & Olive Creations art gallery and shop in Halki.

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading and view more photos.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

2014 Greek holiday report Part 6: Off to Syros

Naxos Town

This was one of our final views of Naxos Town on May 24 2014, as we departed Naxos on the Aqua Jewel ferry

Ermoupoli Syros

bound for Ermoupoli, the port and capital city of Syros island

 Parikia town on Paros

with a brief stop en route at Parikia. the main port and town on Paros

 

[Editor’s note: This is the sixth instalment in an ongoing series of photo reports about our 2014 spring vacation in the Cyclades and Athens. The previous posts reviewed our 5 days on Naxos. To see any or all of the earlier reports, click on the following underlined links:  Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 3 ; Part 4 and Part 5 .]

 

Saturday May 24

Moving on: It was another sunny morning, but we wouldn’t get to enjoy the beautiful weather. After breakfast, we had to pack, take a taxi to the port, and ride a ferry to Syros for the next leg of our 2014 Greek holiday.

We didn’t want to leave Naxos. After three consecutive visits here in the past 12 months (and three others in previous years), it almost feels like a second home, and the island has become our favourite holiday destination. And why wouldn’t it be? Naxos has everything we want for a vacation — Wonderful scenery, unpretentious attitude and laid-back ambience, friendly and hospitable local residents, delicious food, reasonable prices, and plenty of things to see and do. 

But it was time to move on and, much as we love Naxos, we were equally eager to visit Syros. We have heard countless good things about it during the past 10 years — including lavish praise from people who live on Naxos, as well as from other regular Naxos visitors. In fact, I can’t recall ever hearing anything bad about Syros. By all accounts, Syros could well be another island we would fall in love with and want to revisit again and again. And if, for some reason, Syros didn’t strike our fancy, Naxos would still be there for us.

Please click on the link below to continue reading the report on our journey from Naxos to Syros.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2 3

2014 Greek holiday report Part 5: A coastal walk and an evening in town for our last day on Naxos

Naxos west coast

Cape Agios Prokopios view toward a recently-built residential neighbourhood on the west side of Stelida mountain. We walked a coastal trail below the houses and followed a dirt road back to Agios Prokopios beach.

 

[Editor’s note: This is the fifth instalment in an ongoing series of reports about our 2014 spring vacation in the Cyclades and Athens. Click here to see Part 1, click here to access Part 2, click here for Part 3, and click this link for Part 4. You can view full-size versions of all the photos posted below in the Naxos May 23 2014 album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.]

 

Friday May 23

 Final full day: Time passes far too quickly when we’re on vacation! We were completely relaxed and feeling right at home on Naxos, but already it was our last full day on the island. After breakfast tomorrow we would have to pack, check out of the hotel and get to the port for our ferry to Syros. Where did the time go?

I had been certain we would see and do a lot more on Naxos than we actually did. Before coming to the island, we had tentatively planned to visit at least one village — Koronos and Apollonas were the likely candidates — and to mountain bike as far down the south coast as we could possibly go. Windy conditions forced us to scale back our biking plans, while this morning we simply didn’t feel like hurrying into Naxos Town to catch a bus and spend more than an hour riding it to one of the villages. I felt guilty that we didn’t get to scratch more Naxos destinations off our must-see list, but a whirlwind sightseeing tour could wait for a future trip — today we found it more important to unwind and take it easy.

That’s what passengers appeared to be doing on two different sailboats that arrived in Agios Prokopios Bay while we were having breakfast. One was a large sailing yacht, probably a private charter, flying flags for Turkey and Greece. The other was a private sailboat flying a German flag. Both dropped anchor in the bay a hundred meters or so offshore, where their occupants would enjoy impressive panoramic views of Agios Prokiopios beach, Stelida mountain, and the rocky southern shores of Cape Agios Prokopios. As I watched them float quietly on the sparkling sea, I started daydreaming about what it would be like to cruise the Greek Islands on a sailboat. I hope some day I’ll get the opportunity to find out …

 sailing yacht at Agios Prokopios

A Turkish-flagged sailing yacht approaches the west coast of Naxos

 sailing yacht at Agios Prokopios

and drops anchor in Agios Prokopios Bay, a short distance from shore

 sailboat at Agios Prokopios

joined soon afterwards by another sailboat

 

A walk along the Cape and west coast of Stelida

Although we felt lazy, we didn’t want to spend a day sitting around or laying in the sun — we needed to move around, but at a relaxed pace. So after breakfast we took a long, slow walk along Cape Agios Prokopios and the west side of Stelida mountain, eventually making our way back to the hotel.

Click on the 2 in the link below to continue reading the trip report and view dozens more photos of the sights we saw during our hike.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

2014 Greek holiday report Part 4: A walkabout in Naxos Town and a bikeride to Plaka beach

Grotta beach and bay

Our fourth day on Naxos included visits to wind- and wave-battered Grotta beach at Naxos Town (above) as well as the tantalizing long stretch of soft sand and dunes at fabulous Plaka beach (below)

Plaka beach

 [Editor’s note: This is the fourth instalment in an ongoing series of reports about our 2014 spring vacation in the Cyclades and Athens. Click here to see Part 1, click here to access Part 2, and click here for Part 3. Full-size versions of all the photos posted below can be viewed in the Naxos May 22 2014 album on Flickr.]

 

 Thursday May 22

 Back on the bikes: Thursday brought more excellent summer weather — sunshine, clear skies and warm temperatures. The hotel swimming pool looked oh-so-inviting but, with 24 hours remaining on our mountain bike rental, we were keen to spend time riding rather than sunbathing and swimming.

The strong winds that blew in yesterday had stuck around, however, and after our challenging ride to Mikri Vigla we weren’t keen to pedal through gusts and dust in a second effort to reach Kastraki and beaches farther south. We would leave that trek for a future trip and ride into Naxos Town instead.

 Cape Agios Prokopios

Blue skies prevail in this morning view from Lianos Village Hotel toward Cape Agios Prokopios on Naxos (left) and Paros island (right rear).

 Lianos Village Hotel

There was lots of blue in the view from our breakfast table at Lianos Village — the hotel swimming pool, the Aegean Sea, and the clear sky overhead

 Lianos Village Hotel

It was tempting to stay at the hotel just to sunbathe, swim and snooze, but we gave the pool a pass and pedalled our bikes to Naxos Town

 

A walkabout in Naxos Town

The bike ride from the hotel to Protodikeiou Square in Naxos Town took us around 25 minutes. The trip should have been faster, but construction work on the road through Stelida delayed us slightly, while the strong winds blowing inland from St George’s Bay slowed us down on the long straight stretch of highway between Stelida and the edge of Naxos Town.

When we finally got off the bikes to lock them to a lamp post near the Fotis Greek Cuisine restaurant, we felt a sudden blast of dry heat. The wind had kept us comfortable during the bike ride, but now that we weren’t moving the sunshine radiating from the pavement and reflecting off the whitewashed buildings made it feel as though Naxos Town was 20 degrees hotter than Stelida. We dashed to the shaded side of the street, but it didn’t feel significantly cooler standing out of the sun. This was going to be one heck of a hot day!

Before going any further, we stopped into Naxos Travel Agency (located at Protodikeiou Square a few doors down from Scirocco restaurant) to purchase the tickets for our Saturday ferry trip to Syros. With that important task out of the way, it was time to explore Naxos Town — one of our favourite port “cities” in the Cyclades — for a few hours.  We would walk to the Old Market area and then head up to the Castle that towers above the town, hoping we would be able to walk in shade as much as possible.

Click on the 2 in the link below to continue reading this report and view dozens more photos of Naxos.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

More photos added to Naxos trip report album

windsurfers at Naxos

A windsurfer skims across St George’s Bay near Naxos Town

 

Bigger album:  Just wanted to advise that more photos have been added to the Naxos May 20 2014 Flickr album that accompanies Part 2 of my holiday trip report, which I recently posted on the blog.

More than 90 additional photos have been uploaded to the album, which you can view by clicking here.

I’m currently putting Part 3 of the trip report together and hope to publish it later this week.

If you want to see more of Naxos in the meantime, click here for instant access to the Naxos photo collection on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page. The collection features thousands of pictures from our two Naxos holidays in 2013 as well as previous visits to the island, and also includes photos of the various hotels at which we have stayed.

Further information about Naxos is just a click away in one of my most widely-read posts: Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos

2014 Greek holiday report and photos Part 2: Summer arrives for our first full day on Naxos

woman on air mattress on Naxos

Ah, this is the life! A bikini-clad young woman catches some rays from the comfort of an air mattress floating on the calm waters at St George’s Beach. Naxos basked in gorgeous summery weather on May 20.

 [Editor’s Note: Full-size versions of all the photos that appear in this post can be viewed in the Naxos May 20 2014 album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.]

 

Tuesday May 20

Suddenly summer: When I woke up around 9 a.m., I almost felt scared to open the curtains to see what the weather was like. Would it be another day of clouds and rain, as had been forecast? Or would we get lucky and have a hint of nice weather instead?

We got lucky! There was sunshine and a bright blue sky — an absolutely gorgeous morning. It looked like our spring vacation was starting off the exact same way our holiday had begun last fall — with clouds and rain our first day on Naxos followed by sunny clear skies the rest of the trip. I couldn’t wait to to have breakfast outside — our first outdoor meal since we were in Greece last October.

I always love starting my day with a cup of coffee on the poolside breakfast patio at Lianos Village Hotel. With colourful gardens and a swimming pool just steps from our table, views of the beautiful blue Aegean Sea,  and a few of the neighbourhood cats lingering at our feet, the sun-shaded terrace is the place where I have enjoyed eating breakfast the most out of all our trips to Greece. The setting and atmosphere make me feel completely carefree, content and relaxed.  A little voice inside my head keeps repeating: “Kalimera! You’re on vacation! You’re in Greece!” I wish every morning could begin like this!

 Lianos Village Hotel

Sunshine and an almost cloudless sky greeted me when I pulled open the door and stepped onto our terrace our first morning on Naxos. This was our view looking south to Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna.

 

Please click on the number 2 in the link below to continue reading my trip report and view dozens of photos from our day on Naxos.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos

The centuries-old Portara monument greets visitors arriving at Naxos by sea

The enormous marble entrance for the never-completed Temple of Apollo greets visitors arriving by sea at Naxos island in the Cyclades.  Also known as the Portara, the monument is an internationally-recognized symbol of Naxos island.

 

Something for everyone: If you’re trying to find a Greek holiday destination that ticks practically every box on even the pickiest traveller’s checklist of “must have’s” and “must see’s,” take a closer look at Naxos.

The largest island in the Cyclades, Naxos is equally big on the number of activities and attractions it offers visitors of all ages and lifestyles. From beautiful beaches to mountain villages; a vibrant port town with an historic castle and Old Market district; monuments, ruins and museums; excellent dining and nightlife; accommodations to suit any budget; walking trails, water sports and mountain biking; stunning scenery and sunsets; plus sightseeing excursions and tours both on and off the island, Naxos has it all.

Whether you’re planning to visit for three days or three weeks, you’ll never run out of things to do — if anything, you’ll probably wind up wishing you had more time to spend on the island.

 

What’s more, Naxos is surprisingly easy on the pocketbook, with reasonable prices for food, accommodations and entertainment.

All those are precisely the reasons why we named Naxos as our Greek Holiday Destination of the Year for 2013 (see our December 31 2013 post for more about that).

Click on the link to page 2 of this post (under the photo below) to continue reading and to see dozens of photos illustrating our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos. (Note: The reasons are listed randomly; there is no special significance to the numerical order in which each item is presented.)

 

Naxos beach towel

A souvenir beach towel featuring a map of Naxos hangs outside a minimarket in the island’s popular Agios Prokopios resort area

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Pic of the day: A beach view toward Naxos Town

Approaching Naxos Town from the south end of St George's beach on Naxos

Naxos Town, as seen from the south end of St. George’s beach on Naxos. We walk to Naxos Town from the Agios Prokopios area at least once each time we visit Naxos, and this is one of our favourite views during the final 20 minutes of our hike. Click on the photo to view it full size.

 

 

Greece holiday pic of the day

plant on a windowsill in Naxos Town

A succulent plant decorates a rustic window frame at a house in Naxos Town

 

 

Greece holiday pic of the day

 Naxos Town

Hotels and houses above the coast in the Grotta area of Naxos Town on Naxos

 

Monumental sunsets at the Portara on Naxos

The Portara on Naxos at sunset

The Portara monument is a superb sunset viewing spot at Naxos Town

 

Golden globes: On Naxos, it’s easy to combine history and culture with a bit of sightseeing and sunset viewing all in one free self-guided excursion just a few minutes’ walk from Naxos Town.

All you have to do is take an evening stroll along the short causeway leading to the peninsula on the edge of town (an area known as the Palatia district). Climb the hillside, and you’ll find yourself on one of the island’s best sunset viewing spots, right next to one of the most famous monuments on the island — the giant stone door frame known as the Portara. (If you arrive at Naxos by ferry, you will probably see the Portara as your boat approaches the port.)

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Older posts