Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and its 18,000 inhabitants make it the most populous as well. It has a varied geography with many fine beaches, high peaks, deep valleys, and is quite fertile compared to the other islands. Apart from tourism, agriculture is reportedly an important industry here.
There are many ferries connecting the Greek islands and hopping between them is an easy task. Travelling with children we had an obligation not to spend the entire vacation jumping from ferry to ferry. After spending the first three nights of our vacation in Santorini we first went to Naxos to enjoy a few days in the main town.
Finding a ferry on Santorini was piece of cake. There are many ferries serving the islands in the Cyclades archipelago in the southern part of the Aegaen Sea. The sea voyage turned out to be of the quiet kind with a smooth sea. Sailing out from the port of Santorini direction north we had a very good view of the main town of Thira 2-300 metres high up on the caldera, and also later towards Oia we had visited for the sunset two days earlier.
The ship called at Ios, the party island. The mother had been here in her younger days and had concluded that there would be better places to go with small children hanging in her skirts.
Port of party island of Ios
In the port of Naxos city, after a couple of hours at sea, we were greeted by several locals eagerly showing us pictures of their offered accomodation. Judging from initial photographs, and appearance of the proprietor, we joined one of them. We were quite satisfied about that. The apartment we had picked was located in the centre, close to the town beach of St Georgios.
Naxos town (Chora) is a pleasant place with lots of shops and restaurants all eager to please the visitors. Portside, right at the end of the restaurant strip is a little island joined to the mainland by a causeway.
Here we find the most famous landmark on Naxos, the Portara. This is a massive 2,500-year-old marble doorway that leads nowhere but is supposed to be the portal to the Apollo temple. You can’t leave Naxos without your photo taken below the 8 metre high portal.
The Portara portal is the landmark of Naxos
Naxos city view
Greek food in Naxos restaurant
We rented a car for a day or two and went around the island. It was actually interesting to have a look around. In the north-eastern side of the island we came across some statues, the Kouros statues, which date back to 800-900 BC. The one we saw near the nice, little fishing village of Apollonas was lying on the ground, left there by its sculptors due to the low quality of the rock.
Apart from this there are a few villages scattered around the island’s interior and the occasional chapel high up on a mountain top.
Old statue at Kouros on island of Naxos
Interior of Naxos island
Naxos was not particularly packed with tourists, even in the midst of July, but we had decided to go to an island away from the typical island hopper’s route. After three days we took a fast boat to the small island of Schinoussa.
These are the chapters in this series: