29 March 2018

Up and Down the Hills of Naxos

While tourists and giant cruise ships flock to the teeming, Instafamous Santorini, Naxos remains one of the Cyclades' best hidden gems. The island is still unheard of by many foreign visitors, despite being just an hour from Mykonos, but, trust me, it's more than worth your time. The island boasts ancient Byzantine history, authentic hilltop villages, mouth-watering local delicacies and endless, pristine sand beaches. So, take your time exploring this underrated treasure and you could soon feel yourself falling in love with an island that has every shade of blue under the sun.

For casual visitors, there's enough else on offer to keep you busy for a week or so. An easy place to start discovering Naxos’ charm is the old town – also known as “Chora”. It’s the first place you’ll see when hopping off the ferry at the main port. Here, I’d recommend wandering down the bustling sea front promenade, lined with vibrant shops and eateries which have unbeatable sunset views in the evenings. The steep lanes of the hilly main town provide an atmospheric wander, while out in the countryside loom the tower-mansions of the Venetians and their descendants, Byzantine country churches, and a few very ancient monuments. The biggest mainstream draw is Náxos entire southwest-facing coast which, from the resort of Agios Prokópios down to Agiassós near the island's southerly cape, essentially forms one great long beach.

Despite Naxos being the largest of the Cyclades, it’s surprisingly easy and cheap to get around. With such a varied landscape, Naxos offers a little more adventure than a standard, poolside island retreat. For travelers that like a challenge in the great outdoors, the plethora of mountainous hiking trails offer stunning vistas of green highlands dotted by quaint, white villages.

Photography by: Tai Moir


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