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4-5 Days in Naxos - 3-4 Days Athens

Hello, all! I've came across this informative board doing research on a trip to Greece in September of 2024. I've read through many of the posts related to Greece and "think" I have a good idea of my potential itinerary based on responses that the group has given other travelers. That being said, I would appreciate feedback to a few questions from the collective group that I am kicking around in my head. My travel companion and I, are in our mid-50's, are somewhat active - tennis, walking, and running (1 mile). We are not super fit but we are in decent shape and don't mind walking and sight seeing. We have traveled to other parts of Europe, but never Greece. We like to explore the places we visit; shops, museums, hikes that are not too challenging (like Cinque Terra), relax and enjoy the views, dip our feet in the ocean (if possible in late September) and EAT. I am going to Greece to eat and hopefully eat well :-)

We are planning our visit to Greece around 21st Sept to 29th Sept. Our plan is to arrive in Athens on the 21st and fly to Naxos the same day. Spend 4-5 days in Naxos. Potentially on the 25th fly to Athens and depart Athens on the 29th Sept. We chose Naxos because most of what I have read on the board indicates that Crete is a much larger island and one could easily spend 2 weeks or more exploring Crete. I have no desire, at this point, to fully explore any island, but I would like to see the sites at a leisurely pace and soak up the culture as best one can in a relatively short time span. Given our limited time, 8 days or so, Naxos seemed like a nice mid size island that lends itself to exploring and potentially has enough to keep one busy for 4 days.

I spoke to someone I know that has visited Naxos and his comment was that 4 days in Naxos might lead to one getting bored. So I wanted to get the groups thoughts. Are there enough things to see and do in Naxos to keep one relatively busy for 4-5 days or so? I am wondering if day trips (leave in the morning and return late afternoon or so depending on ferries) to either Mykonos or Paros (seems like that is the closer island) make sense. Maybe spend 3 days exploring Naxos and then spend a day at either Paros or Mykonos. Is it feasible to make day trips to one those islands (I am not sure we want to try and see both)? Is one island better than another for a day trip? I understand Mykonos is quite pricey, which is okay.

From what I have read elsewhere 3-4 days in Athens seems to be sufficient. We will not have a car and will travel by bus, foot , taxi as needed. Any must see under-appreciated sites one should see in Naxos or Athens? I am not a tour type person, but am open to suggestions to tours as well. I am open to non-touristy restaurant recommendations the group might have as well. We are primarily looking for authentic Greek food at reasonable prices. I have read the comments about getting the price of fish before ordering.

Thanks in advance for any feedback or guidance!

Posted by
2563 posts

We spent four nights on Naxos and wished we would have had at least one more night there.

Posted by
1959 posts

If you arrive on the 21st in Naxos and leave on the 25th that only gives you 3 full days, not 4 or 5

Naxos is the largest island of the Cyclades, it's not in 3 days or even in 6 days that you will be able to see its many villages, sites, ports, beaches, interesting places and do one or two hikes. Especially since you won't have a car which will make you dependent on fewer buses after September 15.

In my opinion you will do like many tourists and like this "someone you know" who went to Naxos (I say "went" and not "visited"), that is to say spend your days in Naxos town, go for a few hours to the beach of Agios Georgios or Agios Prokopios and possibly spend a day by bus to see a village or two.

Ultimately you will consider that 3 days are enough.

You will have missed 90% of Naxos.

See here:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1d7GZMjFODUlB8lf7EPSXQRwu-YXaKxw&usp=sharing

Regarding the price of "fresh" fish in the restaurant, it is always displayed on the menu, it is the price per kilo which varies depending on the fish. You can go and choose it, it is in refrigerated displays or in the kitchen. It's often more than €60 per kilo.

Posted by
5 posts

Beth, thanks for the reply. Are there any particular places you wished you had visited with that extra day? Any places you would have gone back to? Were there any particular restaurants you were fond of / would recommend?

Posted by
5 posts

JoLui, thanks for the detailed response. I appreciate the map. I will have to review it in detail later this evening. Who knows, I may rethink using a rental car. The problem with short vacations is you never get to do / see everything. As such, my girlfriend and I will endeavor to soak up as much of the culture as one can in a short stay. Since I have not yet booked flights, we might extend the stay for a day, but our goal is not to see everything on the island, but more to enjoy the things we can see with the time we have. All the best!

Posted by
5 posts

DebVT, thanks for the response. I read the very detailed readout from you trip and it is both insightful and helpful. I may potentially rent a car to explore Naxos more. Logistically, do you recall if a day trip to Paros or Mykonos is feasible? I may not have the time, but the potential does interest me. Once again thanks for the feedback. Greatly appreciated.

Posted by
1959 posts

Logistically, do you recall if a day trip to Paros or Mykonos is
feasible?

It's doable but given that your stay on Naxos is already too short, why shorten it even more by spending half a day traveling by ferry to go for a few hours to another island which also requires several days of stay?

What you can do from Naxos if you are interested is a day trip to Delos during which you will spend a few hours in Mykonos.

https://zastours.com/naxos-to-delos-mykonos-day-trips

Or possibly spend a day in Paros at Piso Livadi starting from the small port of Agia Anna in Naxos.

See bottom of page:

https://kerrascruises.com/our-schedule/

Posted by
2563 posts

To answer your question about what we didn’t see, we didn’t get to the north end of the island at all. Our two sons did (we spent the day exploring Naxos town instead) and their pictures were amazing. We also spent only a few hours at the beach even though that had been one of the attractions. We simply found too many other things to do.

Posted by
1652 posts

We spent 4 nights on Naxos and loved every minute and we were never bored. I strongly recommend renting a car for a day or two. One of the best parts of our trip was the day we drove around Naxos and visited mountain villages and fishing villages. One of our best meals was lunch at a fish tavern sitting literally a few feet from the water. I wish we had an extra day to visit other parts of the island and/or take a few easy hikes.

The places we visited on our roadtrip are Temple of Demeter, Chalki, Moutsouna on Moutsouna Bay where we had the delicious fresh seafood lunch, Apeiranthos and Apollonas.

Posted by
1383 posts

Honestly Naxos takes a week to explore reasonably well. !0 days would be even better.
Here are a few images of our trips to Naxos. Every time we go we find something we have never seen before.
Around Naxos town 2022 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299959098
Back to Naxos 2022 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299940917

Trip around Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157634605629689
Chalki and Vivlos villages https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299950915

Posted by
5 posts

JoLiu - thank you very much for the links. They are very helpful and appreciated.

kmkwoo - I am leaning more and more in the direction of getting a car for a day or so. I appreciate the information about places you visited. Also, I am originally from Boston, but now reside in TX.

stanbr - thank for the reply and the photo links. I actually thought I saw most of your links, but I obviously missed the last two, which, I will review this week. Trip around Naxos https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157634605629689
Chalki and Vivlos villages https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72177720299950915

Thanks everyone, I really do appreciate your feedback. There is something to be said for the wisdom of crowds.