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Naxos driving/hiking

We are going to Greece in only a few weeks! I am trying to work out a detailed itinerary. We have one day which we will do a car tour and perhaps some hiking. Some questions:

  1. Some of our party (we will have two cars with seven people) are somewhat prone to motion sickness so were thinking one car could go from Chora to Halki to Apeiranthos to Koronos and back while other would stop in Halki. I was wondering about hikes are near there. I see a hike from Halki to Moni and back but it seems to be about 4 hours. That might be more than we want to do. I thinking more like 2 hours. Any ideas?

  2. I had also wondered though about how many switchbacks we would get if we continued on from Halki to Apeiranthos and then turned towards Moni rather than continuing on to Koronos. Would cutting out the route to Koronos eliminate the most difficult driving? I can see from pictures that Koronos is is practically vertical so I can only imagine the roads there. I keep reading about Apeiranthos being the most picturesque village on Naxos but am not sure how difficult the driving is to and from it. Frankly, I got dizzy on highway 1 in California and don't think I can manage anything much more twisty than that easily.

  3. Do you think taking the road that goes through Ano Potamia or Ano Sagri is preferable to go to Halki? I had thought perhaps of some hiking near which ever way we go so is one better for hiking than the other? How about just looking around? How about driving--in terms of being scenic? I know the Temple of Demetra is near Ano Sagri but was not that interested in that (I am trying to be careful with how many ruins we see as to prevent ruin overload).

Beth

Posted by
3961 posts

You are correct that Apeiranthos is the most charming picturesque village on Naxos. We felt it was reminiscent of the Peloponnese. We took the bus from Naxos Town. We were dropped off, had lunch, enjoyed the view, walked the village, visited the museum and shops. We were there less than 3 hours. As far as roads go, it was the typical mountain roadway, without switchbacks. Can't remark about your planned route. Well worth the stop. We were very happy to see this unexpected area of Naxos.

BTW we felt we encountered many switchbacks in the Peloponnese on our tour bus. Many of our tour members suffered from motion sickness. Just saying!

Posted by
1362 posts

For the group going to Chalki they might just take the local bus. Return fare will be less than a car rental. The car allows then to do a bit of sight seeing on the way and back.
We have done part of the trail to Moni but stopped when it started to go uphill. I subsequently read a report that someone stronger than us did the whole trek only to discover that there is really no way to get back to Chalki from Moni other than to walk back. Need to think of these things.

There is a circular hike around Chalki. It is 4 to 5 kilometers and takes about 3 to 4 hours however for the most part it is easy level walking.. This hike is described in the book walking on Naxos by Dieter Graf. Two Churches in the Olive grove. From the bus stop on the main road walk back 150 meters and look for the path down to the left. It takes you to the village spring and wash house then the Byzantine area. Turn around and go back to the spring to begin the hike, The book does give accurate information but is pretty minimalist on the distance between each segment. For example ".you come to a concrete track. go left straightaway passing a large oak tree and left at the fork." That sounds simple but we didn't realize how far that was. It turns out, about 15 minutes later there was an oak tree. Its a good idea to get that book at Zoom book store on the waterfront promenade
The hike is on this album. Its the last 23 images on page on e and the first 11 on page two.
Ten Days in Naxos 2015 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157656336387898
This hike takes you past Byzantine era ruined buildings, rock walls lining farmers fields and olive orchards, two tower houses and several Byzantine churches. I Bring water and perhaps a light snack. When they get back to Chalki they will want to rest at a taverna for an hour or so then explore the village another hour and probably another beer before returning to Naxos town. That will take care of your first group.

Your second group might want to continue on from Chalki with a stop in Filoti. You are really getting into the high mountains now and you will be experiencing some swithchbacks but for the most part are just one at a time not a series of switchbacks. There are little pull outs at the top of each scenic spot so the driver can actually see something other than the road. I know driving in the mountains is a concern but there is virtually no traffic and speeds are very low. The traffic you do experience might be large truck or buses. I just pull way over to the right and stop to let them go by.
Naxos Mountains and Villages http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632110674306/

Its worth stopping in Filoti and taking a wander around. Its built on the side of a mountain and getting into the residential area just beyond the main road is a step into the past. A little rest in one of the tavernas under the trees in the main square is always a great experience.

Now continue the drive to Aparanthos. This village is much older and has Byzantine and Venetian buildings. The streets are paved with marble. There are interesting shops and tavernas with valley views. A great place to stop for refreshments and a rest.
Images https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/38394630051/in/album-72157689937827955/
This hyperlink is from last September visit to Aparanthos. It is one picture. When it opens use the arrow button at the right hand side of the picture. There are 23 images to the end of page one go to page two and there are 11 more.

Now turn around and return to Chalki where you can visit the village. It is charming relaxed and has the Kitron distillery that has complimentary tastings.
There is no reason to go further. These tree stops are more than enough for one day. Greece is not about how much ground you cover its how you take the time to truly experience what is there. Notice I included a taverna stop in every village. Just relax take it all in.

Posted by
1362 posts

I ran out of room. Demeters temple is no simple ruin. It has been a sacred place for millennia. A temple was built there and eventually it was turned into a church. All were destroyed in an earthquake and lost to time. Eventually it was discovered and the archeologists realized that most of the material was still there so a decade long reconstruction process began . It uses original marble sections with some new marble sections and the rebuild is half temple and half church. If you get a chance this is one place you will want to see.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/38365439162/in/album-72157689937827955/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/24525491048/in/album-72157689937827955/

Posted by
2477 posts

Glad to know there are not switchbacks to Aperathou!

And perhaps I am glad that I am just going to Nafplio in the Peloponnese!

And Stan--thanks for the information about hiking in Halki.

I actually thought I was being conservative in proposed driving tour. I had looked at the Rough Guide for Greece and they have a day of driving that goes all the way to Apollanos and back to Naxos on the north coast! I had thought that was too much so modified it.

You suggested going back from Aperathou via Filoti as opposed to continuing on the road and turning towards Moni (rather than continuing to Koronos). Is that shorter? Easier driving? I had wanted to go back to Naxos via Melanes to see the kouras so the question is whether better to return to Halki and then go to Moni and then to Melanes or to continue on from Aperathou and then turn to Moni.

And I did not know all the details about the Temple of Demeter. Very intriguing.

Beth

Posted by
1226 posts

Beth, perhaps you already know about these maps, but I just found them yesterday in my research for hiking. They are made by a Greek company called Terrain. They are topographic, with bike routes, hiking trails, mileage for all, climbing crags, major sites, etc etc. I bet you can see how the road routes look. From what I read on TA, you can purchase these on Naxos at the waterfront from a newsstand/bookseller called ZOOM (or you can order online, but there is intnl. shipping, and you may not have time for that - I don't recall when you leave).

You can look at a sample of the map by finding the one you want (Naxos, say) and then clicking "map preview" under the island name on the right...

http://www.terrainmaps.gr/#products

Posted by
1362 posts

I am pretty sure there are switchbacks on your route however as I recall there an no multiple swithcbacks where you are having to make a turn every couple hundred meters. The switchbacks on your route will be just one turn.

I have done that route all the way to Apollonas and return on the north route. It was a brutal day. Sometimes less is more. Do less and explore longer in each location you do. I suggested you return the way you came because you will know the road and so won't be tempted to make additional stops. By all means if you still have energy return on one of the routes you are looking at.

Posted by
2477 posts

Stan--
I didn't mean I wanted to drive to Apollonas--I just was commenting that I had thought I was being reasonable in planning because I wasn't even trying to do what Rough Guide recommended. I thought driving to Apollanas seemed like too much which your experience confirmed. It is always the tension between trying to see more things and slowing down enough to enjoy everything. You give good advice and I appreciate it. We may need to divide our group up according to the amount people want to see. I have no doubt that at least one of my adult children will want to see it all.

Jessica--

I had not seen these maps! Fabulous. It is the new prize that keeps us searching the internet. I see they are sold in the Athens airport. Did you order them? I wonder how long it takes.

Beth

Posted by
1226 posts

I just ordered the maps, but tracking is an additional fee and I did not get tracking so I can't tell you how long it will take. I imagine they will send it first thing Monday morning (so, soon), and Ill let you know. The shipping is ~11 dollars, which makes me cringe, because Im a miser. But we love maps, so studying these will be part of the fun ...

Posted by
2477 posts

Jessica,

I love maps too! I think I will pick these up at the airport though. I am leaving in two weeks and a little worried they might come after I leave. I didn't see anywhere that there was an indication of how long it took.

Thanks for the information!

Beth