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Suggestions for 3 days on Naxos

Will be spending 3 days/ 3 nights on Naxos, arriving by ferry 2 pm on Sunday, April 29, flying out at 6:30 pm on Weds, May 2. Staying at Kymata Hotel. Would appreciate any suggestions on places to go, things to do, restaurants, etc. Will rent a car 1-2 days to explore; should we book ahead or handle it there? Do you think places will be closed on May 1 for the Workers Day holiday?
Thank you in advance!

Posted by
3961 posts

If you have a car in Naxos, you may enjoy driving to other lovely beaches. Another option would be a drive to the beautiful Apeiranthos Village, 28KM NE.
(We used public transportation) Apeiranthos boasts magnificent views of the Naxian mountain ranges. It reminded us of Northern Mainland Greece village than that of a Cycladic island. Most impressive features is it's architecture. Most memorable were the stone built towers, churches, marble paved pathways, traditional local craftsmanship shops & museums. We had a delicious lunch at a traditional Greek cafe. They featured a Zucchini Cheese pie (similar to quiche) that was a family recipe. Wonderful! Historians believe the village was built by the Cretans in the 10th century. See mygreecetravelblog.com for additional information.

As far as favorite restaurants in Naxos town-- Nostiman Hellas, ate there twice
in the lovely courtyard behind the cafe. To Elliniko was another winner. For a view of the Temple of Apollo can't beat Kozi. These are just a few of many.

Posted by
2455 posts

Naxos is a joy. Naxos Town is active and diverse, but with many fewer tourists than on other islands, such as a Santorini, at least in part because there is no cruise ship port on Naxos, so few daytrippers. Beyond Naxos Town are a number of very interesting old towns and ancient church sites, also mountainous and hilly terrain and beaches. With a car, you can go exploring on your own, with a guidebook and a map, although when I was out on the roads I saw various vehicles and people just plain lost. There are also some day tours, by van I imagine. I chose to arrange an excellent and very knowledgeable guide with a car for the day, although he rented a car for the day. So, with your own car, a guide might be significantly less expensive. I saw and learned a lot more than I would have on my own.

Posted by
26 posts

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your taking the time to give me input.

Best regards,
Denise

Posted by
1397 posts

Hello Denise
Good responses so far. Kymata is a good hotel with views over the sea. It is a 10 minute stroll along the waterfront to Naxos town waterfront Promenade. Good chance it will be sunny so you can do some beach time but will have full access to all the activities of town,
Just book the car when you arrive. Fun Cars is reputable. You will find parking at the waterfront by Nissaki hotel about a minute walk to Kymata.

There is a round the island bus tour by Naxos tours. Any travel agent can probably arrange a ticket. It might be a good idea to do that tour first and then decide where to go back to with the car. We stumbled onto this tour group once and I can say the guide was knowledgeable.

Things to do
Mountain villages. As mentioned Aparanthos is a great experience. As is Chalki. Both are on the same bus route so you don't need to rent a car if you don't want to. There is a wonderful hike around Chalki that takes you through Byzantine era buildings.
The last 30 or so images in this album on page 1 are from that hike around Chalki
https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157656336387898

Sunset at the Portera then dinner in town is a tradition although not sure when sun sets in April.

I know you will be visiting Crete on this trip and I suspect you are going to find a similarity between Naxos and Crete. The beaches, topography mountain villages and the people which supports the comments about the founders of Aparanthos mentioned above.

Posted by
3362 posts

Ditto to Stanbr's ideas. One thing for sure NOT to MISS -- the amazing tiny museum at the top of the Town (in the Kastro, which you reach by an upwinding maze-type lane). It has more of the amazing still-mysterious pre-Minoan marble statuettes than anywhere else in the WORLD ... cases & cases of these priceless objects, in size from 3 inches to 3 feet -- watched over by 2 guards in folding chairs. There is also a wee museum in the marble-paved mountain village of Aspiranto... mostly small items but 3-4 startling pieces -- Rocks with STONE AGE scratchings of stick-figures in a line .... apparently dancing (how Greek is that?!?!).

Timing to keep in Mind: Every MONDAY both above museums are closed, not just May 1 (Labor day) all other days open 8am - 3pm in April. So... you might schedule the Arch. Museum for early Tues or Wed. Also if you do a drive or tour... that may be a good Tuesday venture. Plenty to discover on Monday... If you like an easy hike (30-45 minutes), look at this website for #15 (of 37 recommended walks/hikes!) - http://www.cycladen.be/NaxosEng.htm straight up from Port's pier along Grotta cliff, to a (nearly) deserted Monastery overlooking port & sea. Great to do as sun lowers. Near start of walk, stop in Courtyard of Cathedral, for a look at a 3,500 year old grave. The church started to repave a few years ago, and surprise! dug up an entire Mycenaean settlement. Wisely left it where it was, covered it with a small enclosure & put glass blocks over it, so you can walk & look down. I don't know if it has a guard and thus would be closed on a Monday; check ahead. You can look down at evidence of a burial ... grave offerings, and a broken vessel (part of the ritual).

Posted by
26 posts

Hi Stanbr,
Great tip about the bus tour; we will do that before renting car. Your pics are so beautiful; can't wait!
Thank you once again!

Posted by
26 posts

Janet -- Wow, that’s awesome information!. We’ll do hiking/car tour on Mon/Tues and the museum on Weds am for sure (that seems to be only option, time-wise). I have loved Cycladic art since discovering some figures 30+ years ago, but have not seen many in one place. Hopefully will be able to see the Courtyard of Cathedral & Mycenean site. That website for hiking is great; I see it also covers Santorini. Are you familiar with any of those hikes?
Thank you!!!

Posted by
3362 posts

Santorini is just all about the Famous View ... that website ace (an obsessed Belgian who has spent his lifetime exploring, photographing and describing the best Cyclades walks/hikes) does not think much of Santorini in the hike category. Pretty much the only hike is that long trek from Oia to Fira (or whenever you opt out) ... with your limited Santorini time, if you want a venture, I would suggest going up on Ancient Thira .... its high on a bluff on the Eastern Side of the Island. If you have a car (or you can do a taxi for about €20+ from Fira), you can go 3/4 of the way up on windy-windy road to carpark place, then about 15 mins up a goatpath to the top. You'll find a couple of acres of higgledy-piggledy ruins, limited signage, but this map can give you some clues -- http://www.greeceprivatetours.com/ancient-thera-map.jpg .... and there are some good photos of the site on this Trip Advisor thread, between me and a friend, "Xaroula" -- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g189433-i245-k3892417-Ancient_Thira_Kamari-Santorini_Cyclades_South_Aegean.html#28259953 -- Wikipedia gives a good history of the settlement. Main thing up there is the fab view! Good place for picnic. Has water fountain & WC. Afterwards, if you taxiied, u can walk down (16 switchbacks, we counted!), to Kamari, and catch a bus (check schedules beforehand -- off-season, they'll be sparse).

Posted by
26 posts

Hi Janet,
Thanks for the Santorini tips! We will be arriving early by ferry, so will have most of 2 days (and another morning) to explore. Will definitely visit ancient Thira. I wasn't able to see your photos on Trip Advisor; maybe links have expired.
A million thanks to you for all of your replies to my many queries!!
Best, Denise

Posted by
3362 posts

Hi photos were Xaroula's and I think TA closed that link, tooold... but if you do google Images Ancient Thira there are plenty!