Category: Top Naxos posts (page 2 of 3)

Naxos: The quietly traditional heart of the Cyclades

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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.

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In photos: Two weeks on Naxos

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Filoti village Naxos

Approaching Filoti, one of more than two dozen fascinating mountain villages on Naxos. This image is one of just 600 photos from the Two Weeks on Naxos album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr pageClick here to open the album and view the photo highlights from our Naxos vacation last October.

 

Naxos captures 6th place on TripAdvisor traveller ranking of the top 10 islands in the world

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Tsikalario and Himmaros. two of the scenic mountain villages on Naxos

A view toward Tsikalario and Himmaros, just two of many scenic mountain villages on Naxos island

 

Visitor favourite: Looks like we have plenty of company in recommending Naxos as an outstanding Greek Island holiday destination — it has been rated the Number 6 island in the world in TripAdvisor’s 2014 Traveler’s Choice Awards.

Naxos is the only Greek island to crack the Top 10 list of the world’s best islands, a ranking based on reviews posted by the tens of millions of travellers who participate on TripAdvisor.com each year.

Basking in the glory of the #1 ranking is Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize, which also took first place last year. Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos islands claimed the #2 spot, while Bora Bora in the Society Islands came 3rd.

We have been to Providenciales and, though we enjoyed it, we can’t understand how it ranked higher than Naxos in the Top 10 list. Although it does boast spectacular white sand beaches, superb restaurants and some incredible luxury resorts and rental accommodations, it doesn’t have a fraction of the attractions and activities awaiting visitors to Naxos.

Only seven weeks ago, MyGreeceTravelBlog named Naxos as our Destination of the Year for 2013, based on two fantastic visits to the island in May and October of last year. See our January 16 post, Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos, for dozens of photos and a wealth of information explaining why Naxos is a must-see destination.

And while you’re at it, check out TripAdvisor’s list of the top attractions on Naxos. Also based on traveller reviews, the list includes beaches, museums, monuments, churches, sports facilities and activities.

 

Greek Islands dominate list of Europe’s 10 best

Naxos ranked much higher on TripAdvisor’s list of the Top 10 islands in Europe, clinching 2nd place (behind Lewis & Harris in the Outer Hebrides). Four other Greek islands made the list and confirmed that, with five islands in the world’s best 10, Greece is indisputably the top island destination in Europe.

Milos took 5th place, followed by Kefalonia in 6th and Santorini in 7th. Paros picked up 10th place.

 

A sunset view of Thalassitra Church and the Gulf of Milos

An evening view of Thalassitra Church and the Gulf of Milos, as seen from a pathway leading to the kastro (castle) above Plaka village.  TripAdvisor has rated Milos as the #5 island in Europe.

 

Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos

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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 below to continue reading and to see dozens of photos illustrating our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos. 

 

 

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