The Naxos Diaries

The calm, peaceful, and untroubled times of Sifnos were succeeded by the tumultuous days in Naxos, an island that belongs to Cyclades, as well. Traveling to Naxos was kind of a spontaneous decision; one of my dearest friends, Ioanna, messaged me to tell me that she and a couple of her friends from university were planning a little vacation there, would I like to join them? Traveling with a couple of people I didn’t really know? Count me in!

Even though I’d been in Naxos before, I must have been around 10-11 at that time, therefore I couldn’t recall much more than a) fighting with my brother over a sea matress with beautiful, crystal clear blue waters in the background, b) scarfing down chocolate covered cream puffs with a friend until our bellies hurt, and c) standing impatiently in a fancy store with local products while my parents where purchasing new objects for their “Things We Bought While On Vacation And Never Used Again” collection.

As a result, two hours after disembarking in Athens after my family vacation in Sifnos, I found myself on board once again. I was full of hopes and expectations about a fun trip, which where totally fulfilled. 

Since Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades complex, we didn’t have the chance to explore all of it, but we tried to see as much as possible during the four days we stayed there. Naxos is a very beautiful island, but I have to lay my cards on the table and tell you that I found the east, mountainous part of it much more interesting than the west, where the port and capital of Naxos are located.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s the crew: (from left) Alexandra, Ioanna and Aggeliki. Oh, and I, behind the lens. We had just arrived in Halki, a tiny, really picturesque village and probably my favorite place in Naxos – apart from the beaches, but I’ll get to them later on.

Hello, future home!

If you ever find yourself in Halki, make sure to pay a visit to the cafe-patisserie “Dolce Vita”. I won’t tell you what to order, everything we had – banoffee pie, orange cake and cheesecake with blueberry sauce on top – was equally delicious and made with love, so I’m pretty sure everything there tastes amazing. Skip the menu and go inside to see the different sorts of dessert on your own (it will make choosing a little bit difficult, since you’ll want to have them all, but you might discover a daily special that’s not on the usual menu), then sit outside for some people watching.

In Halki, we also visited a distillery, where kitron, one of the traditional products of Naxos is produced. Kitron is a citron liqueur, which is made from the fruit and leaves of the citron tree. It tasted good, but beware; it’s relatively strong. I brought home a bottle of clear kitron, which is supposed to be the mild variation.

Our next stop was Apiranthos.

Even though most of the walls throughout the village were white, we came across this house, which had doodles, love declarations and lyrics scribbled all over it.

Does photographing your shadow counts as a selfie?

Oops, did I just photobombed your photo?
I almost forgot to mention the beautiful sandy beaches. We visited the three most popular of them, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka, which are located on the west side on the island, near the capital and all next to each other. My favorite was Plaka, where one could walk along the sea for miles. We got there late in the afternoon, when the sun was about to set and the beach was almost deserted. Therefore, we jumped at the chance to behave as silly as possible  enjoy ourselves. A lot. 

In case you find yourself in Plaka, tired and hungry after a long swim, I would strongly suggest having luch/dinner in one of the taverns located right on the beach. We went to “Manolis” and left full and satisfied.

This is Portara, which stands next to the port of Naxos and is, therefore, one of the first things you see when you arrive there. It is the most characteristic sight of Naxos, that’s why it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a postcard without it! It was supposed to function as the entrance of a huge temple that would have been built in honor of Apollo, a deity of ancient Greece. However, the construction was never completed and the only thing left standing on this site is Portara. The word “porta” could be translated as “door” in Greek and the ending “-ara” signifies something big, or something that exists in a great quantity. Therefore, “portara” could as well be translated as “the big door” or “the grand entrance”. Here’s how it looks before you climb up the hill…

… and here’s a close up!

I liked the tranquil atmosphere of this place. Even though there were many people when we arrived, it didn’t feel crowded. The best time to visit Portara is around sunset.
Waiting for the bus can be boring. That’s why we got ourselves busy by taking usies!

While walking in the old part of the city, we came across these umbrellas, which remind me of this project.

May I say that the night life in Naxos is rather relaxed and cozy? Dress up and head to Swing or 520 for coctails with a beautiful view of the port.

This one goes to my man.

Shopping for souvenirs…

… I bought the heart in the middle!

Because unusual headwear makes every outfit more fun – why didn’t I pack my hats?

On the last day we kept ourselves entertained by having coffee and taking photos, while waiting for the ship to arrive in Naxos.

Oh, there’s more to it. In only four days, we managed to take more than 600 photos.

The view while on board. Snif, snif, goodbye Naxos!
Un beso enorme to all my wonderful readers!
Hop you enjoyed this post!


PS: Facebook anyone? Tweet me maybe?

PS2: I’d like to thank my three wonderful fellow travelers for our memorable time in Naxos, as well as for their agreeing to being featured in this post. It’s was a pleasure! 😀
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