Naxos Vacations


Naxos is the biggest island in the Cyclades the group of islands in the center of the Aegean Sea. The island is 18 miles in length and 12 miles wide and is elliptic in shape. It’s also the most fertile, and this makes it among the most beautiful. But it’s the miles of unbroken golden sandy beaches that attracts the majority of the thousands of summer tourists that flock to Naxos each year.

For the tourists who can drag themselves away from the glorious beaches, Naxos provides a wealth of ancient Greek remains in addition to plenty of Byzantine and Venetian history. The island’s capital, also called Naxos, has a Venetian fortress as well as an ancient Greek temple to Apollo.

This temple is usually the first thing that a tourist sees when visiting Naxos by ferry because it stands proudly on the tip of the island, marking the way into the busy ferry port. The temple dates back to 522 BC but its ruinous appearance is not because much of it has been lost to the passage of time, but rather because the ancients never finished building it.

Naxos town is very picturesque port with a maze of whitewashed streets and alleyways, designed with the frequent invasions from Aegean pirates in mind. Its typically Cycladic architecture blends with the Venetian and every turning invites the visitor to explore.

With such romantic charm and mystique, it is little wonder that Naxos has long been popular with writers and artists. Lord Byron visited in his youth and never forgot the experience, referring to it in his writings as the ‘Dream Island’ and often saying that he would love to return some day.

Naxos has 41 villages and most are worth exploring. They are found in the green fertile, valleys that are sandwiched between the rugged, arid mountains. Many of these are over 2000 feet high and the highest, Mount Zeus is 3,200 feet.

Naxos enjoys the economic rewards of being a tourist island but it does not depend on them for its prosperity. A great deal of farming takes place in its rich valleys and the cultivation of lemons is especially successful. In addition to lemons, Naxos produces cherries, pomegranates and other fresh fruit. It also produces olives, nuts and potatoes whilst its grapes make some of the best of Greek wines.

Naxos is deservedly popular with discerning tourists but unlike nearby Mykonos, it is not in danger of being turned into a mass tourism resort. What has saved it from doing so is its lack of an international airport. There is however an excellent airport providing domestic flights and some tourists, mainly Greek holidaymakers, arrive in Naxos this way, flying from Athens. The majority of tourists arrive by ferry however, and there is no better way to start a Greek island holiday than this. You can sail all the way from Athens but it will take at least six hours. Or you are able to fly to Mykonos and get on a ferry that takes only two hours. Both options have their pros and cons. We flew to Mykonos one year only to find all the ferries were booked. Another travel tip, whichever route you choose, is to be careful that you get off at the right island. The first time we visited Naxos, we misheard a landing announcement and got off the ferry only to see a sign that read ‘Welcome to Paros’. Luckily, we had enough time to re-board and complete the remaining minutes of the journey to neighboring Naxos. Read more at our Naxos hotel.

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