Naxos is the Greek island of your dreams, with its isolated beaches, mountain towns, friendly locals, and island-grown food. While one day on the island is hardly enough, it doesn’t take long to feel its charm.
Start your day bright and early with a visit to a traditional bakery in Naxos’ Old Town (Chora). Here you can indulge in hot bread straight from a wood oven. Select the rest of your provisions for your breakfast at the grocery store next door and find a bench by the waterfront to enjoy your morning picnic. Then, stroll over to the Temple of Apollo, the iconic statue just off of the town’s main promenade.
Head over to one of the rental agencies to pick up your vehicle for the day (reservations recommended, especially during high season). For the adventurous, a scooter might be just the ticket.
Leaving Chora, follow the sign towards “villages,” and you will quickly find yourself immersed in the mountains. Give yourself the freedom to stop off at one of the villages in the Tragea Valley and linger a while. Moni is an ideal stop. Located in the middle of the island and deep in the comfort of the valley, its quiet streets and homespun textiles provide a peek into another time. On your way out of town, stop at the Panagia Drossiani church from the 6th century and admire the frescos.
On to the bustling town of Filoti for nourishment at one of its tavernas or cafés and a chance to wander. On your way out of town, be on the lookout for one of many vantage points to capture a view of this lovely town in its entirety.
Head towards the twin villages of Sangri and pay a visit to the striking Temple of Demeter, hailing from the 6th century BCE.
Spend the rest of the afternoon taking a dip in the bright blue waters of the Aegean or sunning yourself on one of Naxos’ famous beaches. For those seeking an isolated paradise, try Agiassos. Nearby Alyko, with its built in pine tree seclusion and broad beach, is another idyllic choice. For those seeking a bit more of a scene, Agia Anna and Agios Prolopios provide all the amenities you could ask for.
After a day of adventuring, it is time to relax in Naxos town. Shop for local products like a pair of handmade sandals. Then, savor a traditional dinner somewhere special.
End your evening with stroll along the glowing waterfront before falling into bed or hopping the ferry or cruise ship on to your next destination.
While you may not have seen everything, one thing is for certain: One day in Naxos will leave you with memories for a lifetime.
article by Lisa Stadler