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First Time to Greece and convinced Naxos is for me!

I just picked up the 2018 RS book two days ago and discovered Naxos is not listed (the 2020 Greece is not available until June)! I'm looking to travel to Naxos and booking a hotel with an ocean view and/or balcony. I'm not finding availability at any of the recommended Naxos Town or St. George Beach hotels RS Forum readers recommend, and I'm not finding much online on my own. Every place I investigate for a booking in Naxos is telling me there is no availability 03/15 and 03/16/2020. Some sites say "See you in April!" or "See you in May!"

I thought Naxos would not be busy at this time of year. Is Naxos shut down in March? Is it worth the time in March? Is something going on?

I'm hoping to be in Greece for ten nights 3/12-3/21, with 3/22 return to the US. At this point, I'm entirely open to ideas but would rather reserve mainland sites for another trip if sights are closed in March (like around Nafplio(n)). I trust I will return to Greece.

At this point, I'm interested in regionalizing and maximizing time. If the thought is jet lag recovery is better done on an island, I'm flying to Santorini, but where next if Naxos hotels are shut up or booked out? I like the idea of island hopping without as many crowds. I'm not a sun worshipper, so gray skies will not bother me but crowds do. I just want to enjoy Greek life, food, drink, and warmer weather (than here in Wisconsin). I had a Normandy/Brittany trip planned but then pivoted to Greece at the last minute. I'm a seasoned shoulder season traveler, but Greece has me all confused. Help!

Posted by
2794 posts

A lot of hotels in the Greek islands close for the winter and don't reopen until sometime around Greek Easter weekend, which is April 18-19 in 2020. Try using the filter system at www.booking.com and include "Beachfront" when you choose your options. I'm pretty sure you'll find a few that will be open in March.

Posted by
13930 posts

I was on Crete, Santorini and Naxos in October last year. Santorini was still chock full of tourists in mid-October, Naxos was very quiet. Most day tours had finished the season and a good number of hotels/apts were already closed. My guess is that you won't find anything to do on Naxos except what is open for the locals.

March could be early enough on Santorini to avoid crowds. I thought it was the most "touristy" of the lot.

I spent 5 nights in Chania, Crete and highly recommend it. There are some sights and enough people that there will be lots of restaurant and cafe choices. The many small shops had very interesting arrays of goods, some mass-produced for the tourist trade, but lots of specialty crafts as well. Heraklion is worth a night or two, for the archaeology museum and the ancient site of Knossos, the Venetian fort and lots of shops and restaurants.

In Chania I stayed at Elia Palatino. Some of the rooms have balconies facing the Venetian harbour. The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms are modern. Breakfast was good. The location is great, I walked everywhere, would have been happy to spend even more time there. In Heraklion, I stayed at Dom Boutique. The rooms have just been renovated (they were still working on some of them when I was there). The room was small but more than adequate for a single person, very modern and comfortable. I walked everywhere (except to Knossos :-).

Look for flights into Chania (I think the only flights are from Athens). If you want to go to Santorini, there may be flights from Heraklion, or you may have to go via Athens. I checked and didn't find ferries between Crete and Santorini.

Posted by
347 posts

I just checked and Hotel Grotta on Naxos has availability for a room with a sea view. Many posters on the forum seem to think that the only place to stay in Naxos is at a hotel on St. George Beach. Grotta is not considered directly "on the beach". With that said, March will not be the time of year to swim or sunbathe. The location is a short walk to Naxos town. They also provide complimentary transportation to/from both the ferry port and the airport. Our sea view room at Grotta last fall provided us with gorgeous sunsets every night from our balcony, and they also have a rooftop garden. More importantly, Nikoletta and her staff will ensure that you have a memorable stay at their family owned hotel and you will enjoy "the best breakfast in the universe". We loved every aspect of our stay there. http://hotelgrotta.gr/

Posted by
742 posts

Hotel owners work 18 hour days for 7 months. When the season is over they get their rest and recovery period. We have several friends who own hotels and they won't even respond to me during the winter. Its their family time.
On the TA forum there is a Destination Expert for Naxos Greektraveler. He loves Naxos in March April. As I recall its more April so he can be there for Easter. This time of year there will be very few tourists but Naxos town will still have tavernas open for the locals.

I am one of the people who recommend staying at St George beach because its a beach holiday with all the amenities of town just a short stroll away. In March St George will be empty. My wife and I thought it we ever wanted to go to Naxos in the off season we would stay at Grotta. It gets excellent reviews people who stay there love it so that would be a good option for you.

Another hotel that has year round guests and is directly on the waterfront at the harbour is Hotel Coronos. It is open now and the room rates for your days are under 50 euros with sea view and breakfast.
http://www.hotelcoronis.gr/

Because I can't see previous threads I don't remember who suggested Chania Crete. It is lovely particularly the old town and harbour. This area will be open and active for the large local population. It might be a good alternative to explore. There is lots to do on Crete historical sites will be less crowded and heat won't be an issue.and it is further south.
Just a thought.
Chania https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632117917828

Posted by
741 posts

Naxos will be fine in March if you stay in either Naxos Town or nearby St. George Beach which is where I stayed. I stayed at Studios Naxos just a few meters from the water and a quick walk to the beach. Nice size apartment with separate kitchen with everything you need if you want to cook or heat up food, coffee, etc. TWO bathrooms, large bedroom with French Doors leading to ample-size balcony with sea views. Couldn't have been happier.

Lots of other options available in the area depending on your budget.

Naxos Town is the largest town on the island so most everything will be open. Even if it's not tourist season there's always shops, markets and tavernas open for locals which will give you a more Greek Experience.

Even on smaller not-overly-hyped Greek Islands nothing really "shuts down". As stated they'll always be services available for locals.

Not sure what web site(s) you looked for accommodations but there are some very good options. I've used third-party sites like booking.com or trip adviser and if I find something I'll go directly to the accommodations website rather than book through a third-party. Better yet I'll use some of the ones listed below not just for Naxos but other areas of Greece.

https://www.gtp.gr/AccomodationResults.asp?LN=naxos

https://www.vrisko.gr/en/search/Rooms-to-Let/naxos/

https://www.naxos.net/

Don't be upset if owners don't immediately get back to you. As stanbr states it's time for them to rest. However, you could get some responses so keep trying.

Posted by
11411 posts

March is not should season for Greek islands .

March is off season completely, April/ May and October are shoulder season .

You do realize it is not beach weather until early May barely .

Ps we love Naxos and I’m sure you will too - but is push visit till late April at least

Posted by
36 posts

Thanks to all for the advice on Naxos accommodations. I've finalized my plans and book hotels based on your help. I booked a flight to Santorini (3 nights), will ferry to Naxos (4 nights), and fly to Athens (3 nights). All taking place in March. Looking forward to being there in low season with far fewer tourists! If there is sun at any point in the forecast, I'll be happy. I'll take a dip in the hot tubs and pools rather than the sea. Crete will go to the shelf for another trip.

Posted by
11411 posts

Some hotels will not heat their pools and some may not have them open yet so I would confirm this with each hotel .