Why Naxos Greece is my favorite Greek Island?
Chora Naxos, Greece is part of the Cyclades Group, is everything I was looking forward to in a Greek Island. It is a wonderful blend of Greek tradition, with influences from the Venetian and Mycenaean civilizations. All this can be found within a small city that has all the modern facilities that you need, yet still has the feel of a lovely laid-back seaside town.
Across the road from the picturesque marina, you will find about 500 meters of casual dining restaurants and bars, all offering excellent food at reasonable prices. Overlooking it all are bars and accommodation.
Food in Naxos Island
Naxos island prides itself on its food, and with good reason. In fact, I’d like to declare that Naxos yoghurt is the best on earth. They serve it with breakfast, lunch and dinner, on savoury dishes and as a dessert. That was almost enough to satisfy me, but I think I will never again find yoghurt that is as beautiful as Naxos yoghurt. If you ever come to Naxos try it with fruit and honey for breakfast. Delicious. While on the subject of food, the local cakes and ice-cream are also amazing on Naxos.
But when it comes to freshness I think the seafood was the winner. You can’t get fresher than octopi that is just hanging around waiting for dinner. This photo was taken outside the restaurant (Meze Meze) that seemed the most popular along the waterfront, and our meal there confirmed it was popular for very good reasons…fabulous food and outstanding customer service.
An ancient layer of Naxos
Explore behind the tourist shops and accommodation and you’ll discover another layer of Naxos. An ancient Venetian castle towers above the town, and built right next to it is an old Ursuline Convent that was the centre of learning in this part of Greece for many years up until just after 1945. From there you look down on the whole city. As you wander up and down the narrow lanes leading to the Castle, and within the Castle, you find a collection of very special shops. We visited a contemporary art gallery and an antique shop selling beautiful jewelry and enhanced by the historian who gave us the history of Naxos and Paros as we browsed around the shop.
A temple to Apollo was planned on the small island of Palatia, now connected to Chora Naxos. The Temple was never finished and only the Portara has stood the test of time, but it is a dominating element in Naxos and is a very popular venue as the sun sets.
Interesting travels by car…rugged, picturesque and some very narrow streets
A hired car took us all over Naxos, which is rugged and quite barren in many areas. We were told that it used to be forested with cedar trees but we certainly saw no evidence of that. Everywhere was very rocky and the only animals we saw were herds of mountain goats. However, there was a stark charm in that ruggedness, with picturesque villages of white buildings nestled into the side of hills.
Stunning sunsets and authentic Greek island life
The sunsets from Naxos were stunning every day we were there and could be enjoyed from many vantage points including the Portara and the Flamingo Bar.
You can catch a ferry from Naxos that goes to Paros, Delos and Mykonos as a full day trip which is very worthwhile and interesting.
Naxos may be less glamorous than nearby Mykonos but its charm is authentic, its people are genuinely welcoming and the food is amazing.
Make sure to check out our other Greek Island vacation