Tough times. And I know that not being able to travel makes you want to travel even more. But, amidst the COVID19 fear and spread, I have decided to refrain from going anywhere for a few months, or may be for the rest of 2020. But has that stopped me from reading about travel? NO. Has it stopped me from writing about it? Absolutely NO. And has it stopped me from planning for future trips? Not at all.
So, here I am – continuing with my tales from Greece. Though the times are tough for Europe, do visit Greece when things are better. Here is a holistic guide to help you.
Naxos is one island which you must go if you are looking for a mini-vacation in your vacation! Yes, I am not kidding. You will know why. But before I proceed further, here are some tips that will really help you if you plan to go to Naxos.
- This island is inexpensive. Right from the bars to essentials – everything is cheap (as compared to Mykonos, Athens or Santorini)
- People here are very, very friendly. They will treat you with respect, and you should do that too!
- Naxos has only a few things to visit, which you can finish in half a day – so as I said, consider it as a mini-vacation during your vacation. There won’t be any rush to cover a lot of things!
- You don’t need to rent or hire any cabs or bikes here. A bicycle is a good option. However, we preferred walking, and it helped us explore more.
- Wearing proper shoes and full-length pants are what I will suggest when you venture out on foot.
- Unless you are at the pier, all other restaurants in Naxos town usually close down for lunchtime – so make your plans accordingly.
- Naxos is the land of cats. Be prepared to pet many during your stay. Cats spook me out, but Naxos made me kind towards Felidae!
- There is a lot of food! You will find all the significant cuisines here. Also, be assured of getting pita bread with everything you order – irrespective of anything! But yes, don’t forget the bottled water – the water here is not safe to drink.
So, we arrived at the usual early morning time. We had booked this fantastic hotel called the Saint Vlassis in Naxos town. It is around a 5 minutes drive from the port. But the best thing about it is that it is approximately 5 minutes walk from the beach, 5 minutes from the general store and few more minutes to the central market squares while you will find some cute restaurant on your way. This hotel is around $45 per night(or maybe even less), and they have a limited number of rooms. We wanted to book their single terrace room, which you should check out.
We knew that we would not be venturing out much in Naxos, so this boutique hotel was simply the best bet.
I want to take some time to appreciate the owner of this place because he cared for us like his family. We reached this place after the kitchen was closed for lunch, so the owner, Kostas, got us some pizza (with Indian flavours). That is the sweetest gesture I have received from anyone on any trip! He is the guy who welcomed us with the happiest and gracious smile. He is passionate about hospitality and his birthplace, Naxos. He would lovingly lay the breakfast table too! It was a delight to stay here!
Okay, so after we checked into the hotel, we went for a stroll in the neighbourhood. St. George’s beach is around 5 minutes away from the hotel. The road to the beach is narrow, with mostly elevations and it makes sure that you have seen the residential area of Naxos pretty closely. I am not sure if I can ever put it in words, but Naxos is a tiny town and felt more like India! We enjoyed a great cup of coffee by the beach.
And then we got some supplies from the SPAR near the hotel. It was our honeymoon, guys! 😉
The next morning we decided to explore Naxos a li’l bit more. This place is pretty refreshing in the way that you get a break from the big city buildings and the pure whitewashed houses. The houses here are old and made of stones.
We decided to go to the Naxos Fort and the Temple of Apollo. I swear I had visited more temples in Greece than I had ever visited in my homeland.
We started for the li’l port of Naxos, while we discovered the bilanes of this town.
Once you start exploring, you will admire the town for its authenticity.
And the next stop of our exploration was actually visible from everywhere – the Temple of Apollo.
We came across this fort as well, which was not there on the maps. So basically, I couldn’t find the name of this landmark. The locals called it the fort, so I will go with that.
The view from the top is great!
From there we started for the temple of Apollo, and the road walk was just amazing!
As we moved along, though the temple appeared to come closer, its was not that close. We crossed all sort of rocky paths. You need to note that the port is next to the temple – however, we wanted to take the road less taken!
All my Greek mythology books came to life at this moment!
You will come across a lot of things, unprecedented.
Finally, when we reached the foot of the li’l hill where the ruins of this temple are situated, we come across caves. And that made me pretty unhappy!
And then realized, it’s some good amount of hiking.
Remember how I asked you to wear all full-length pants and shoes? It was majorly not because of the terrain but because you will come across all sort of insects and lizards and chameleons. And they are extremely creepy.
But they are all worth!
When you overlook from the temple above, all the four sides are pretty different and beautiful. You will look over the li’l town, the port and the elusive Aegean sea – and that is a sight!
And then, finally, we went to the port/pier. A lot of tourist-friendly shops and restaurants adorn this beautiful lane. And trust me, you can spend all the time you can here.
Inexpensive hearty meals – with loads of pita bread. I, by the way, fell in love with tzatziki in Greece and it is a staple on my dining table since then!
Making the best of the last evening in Naxos, before calling it a day, definitely should include some amazing cocktails!
And with this, the li’l picture story of Naxos comes to end. The next and the last stop is the most talked-about the place of Greece!