The irresistible pull of Naxos
Naxos is undoubtedly an island that wins you over. It exerts an ineffable force, an attraction, I don’t know how to explain it… Somehow it “seduced” me through its charms a few years ago and so ensnared me forever.
“Naxoula”, as I lovingly call it now, is adorable. No matter how varied your tastes, there is always something there for you. Beaches? Food? Excursions? Hora, the main town? Everything gets a big “tick”.
Shall we take a walk together around this gorgeous Cycladic island?
First of all, as you reach the port, you see Portara, the remains of a gateway to an ancient temple, which stand on the islet of Palatia looking defiantly out to sea; THE iconic image that everyone associates with Naxos. It is well worth going back there at sunset when the sky resembles the canvas of one of the great masters.
One trip and you’re smitten for life
If it’s a swim you’re after, there are just so many idyllic beaches. Agia Anna and Agios Prokopios are organized and more on the cosmopolitan side. You should definitely eat at the taverns there too. Chips (Naxos, after all, is the main potato producing area in Greece) with “tomatokeftedes”-tomato patties- are a must. Later you can take another dip at Mikri Vigla and Plaka. Do you know what the most amazing thing about this island is? The fact that you can be at Agia Anna one day and the next you can discover the most secluded beaches away from the crowd. Hawaii, Psili Ammos and Azalas are among a wide selection from which to choose. The first one is as its name suggests! Access may be a bit difficult but the landscape you will see there makes it well worth your effort.
Now, as for Psili Ammos and Azalas… enchanting, with crystal clear waters; they will take you closer to yet another face of Naxos. Psili Ammos, on the eastern side of the island, unfurls its carpet of sand out towards the Aegean from the furthest edge of a cedar tree forest. At Azalas, about seven kilometres from the village of Apiranthos, you’ll get so carried away by its blue waters that you’ll be swimming for hours without even realizing it; the definition of tranquility and relaxation.
Apiranthos (aka Aperathos) village is another reason why you may find yourself falling in love with this Cycladic island. A picturesque hamlet at the foot of Mt Fanari, it stands out for its staunchly traditional character. Wander its narrow streets, discover its special corners and admire its architecture. By the way, it is also imperative to have coffee at one of the cafes in the square. The village also has several interesting museums for you to visit if you wish, with the Folklore Museum being the most notable. All these elements make up such an enchanting setting that there is no way you will not “carry” it inside you for years to come.
Koronos village is also worthy of your attention. It is also one of the most beautiful villages on Naxos, and it will most definitely leave an impression with its alleyways and doors painted in vibrant colours.
Now, in the evening you can enjoy a drink in the Hora, in one of its “hidden” back-street bars. With everyone sat around on great big cushions, there is an exquisitely laid-back atmosphere to enjoy here. Alternatively, if you prefer something a little more ‘showy’, you can choose from one of many bars on the main promenade.
The island is perfect for anyone on any kind of gastronomic mission.
Besides the chips, you simply must try the local cheeses such as “arseniko” and “ksinomizithra”. Fruit preserves offered as a sweet as well as meat and tomato pies are also to be sampled. Naxos is truly one of those places which can garner your admiration through its flavours alone. When you try “rosto Aperathou” – roast pork traditionally made in Apiranthos- you’ll have no hesitation in agreeing with me.
Last but not least, you should not miss out on the opportunity to visit the Venetian Tower of Oskelos or the Tower of Himaros with its staggering view. These days, around the Tower of Bazeos several cultural events take place. Can you imagine anything better than music wafting through the night air with a full moon beaming down upon the scene?
I wish I could talk more about Naxos; name every heavenly beach, every picturesque village, every delicious taste experience… This Cycladic Island makes you fall in love with it and go back time and again with the hope of discovering even more little pieces of paradise.