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Quad for beach hopping, Villages in Naxos - Favorites?

I've seen a few people that have said that they've rented quads and gone beach hopping with them. Would you recommend doing this?
(My husband has ridden quads his whole life, so he's pretty experienced with them.)

I thought it might be something fun to do but how would you know how to get from one beach to the next?

My other question - is there an order that you recommend visiting the villages in? Halki, Apiranthos, Filoti, and Apollonas all look lovely, but would that be too much to fit in? When we were in Tuscany, we had a car and made day trips to a bunch of different hill towns and honestly they all were so similar. Is it the same with the villages in Naxos? Is it better to just pick a couple?

Feel free to add any village recommendations if you have a favorite! Vivlos and Moutsouna has come up in my search quite a bit, too. (I do have a guidebook, just want to hear some different perspectives.)

I also saw Naxos Discovery tours which looks interesting and does custom tours. I did see that there's a bus tour as well, but I'd rather have a car, or do the Discovery tour if it's worth the money vs going the DIY route.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
3143 posts

We can't give you the best advice without more complete information -- you may have shared this on previous threads, but should not count on contributors researching your past messages, we do this gratis, and we have busy lives too. LIke for instance -- when are you going? Do you already hve accommodations booked and where? How many days do you have on Naxos? Do you have a map of Naxos, or have you looked on Google Maps? Sounds like you haven't or you wouldn't have asked about how to go between beaches. Some observations:

Naxos has an excellent bus network of course frequency goes down markedly i nthe off season. There's a bus that goes fro Naxos town and runs all along the S. West BEaches in order, Prokopios, Anna, Plaka (my fave), some go as far as Mikra VIgli. Bus stops several places along each beach. During July-august, every 30 minutes and until midnight; otherwise hourly, til about 11pm. If you want to rent a quad, I think u need a driver license and an IDP (international driving permit -- get at AAA in 20 mins for $25). Road to beaches & along is flat, no problem; challenging up in the hills.

BUS TOURS? I don't like those by bus company, or by Zas -- I like that gives you 90 minutes up at Appollonas where you can use the time for a swim. These do have a guide who can talk about the ruins. However with a car rental you can pick & choose... You don't have to stay in a village, for example, just drive thru FILOTI (or stop beneath the huge tree in its center, for a coffee & watch geezer play dominoes) ... stop in CHALKI just to visit the Kitron Distillery (and u can walk thru a wooded path to an abandoned church, very evocative)and a marvelous craft/design shop/bread & Olives?? APIRANTHOS is atmospheric because it's entirely PAVED in marble... and has a tiny archeological museum with one amazing standout item -- a stone-age ROCK with 5,000 year-old scratched drawing of stick-figures DANCING (I kid you not). Then going west toward Melanes, the teeny-tiny (small as a 1920s garage) Oldest Church in Cyclades, made of fieldstone. All of these are visited by a bus tour -- but the advantage of a car is that you aren't tied to a group, and you can move on quickly, once you've seen what you want, no waiting upon others.

Moutsouna is basically a deserted port for the long-over export of emery... I hear there's one taverna around ... beware of roads leading to/from. I haven't been to Tripodes (as Vivlos is also known) but it's near Plaka beach ... again, you can get confused on the dirt back-roads, but it's all part of the adventure.

Finally, 2km outside of MELANES, is an abandoned Monastery -- built in 1600, empty 250 years, beautiful ruins - Also, right by the road near Melanes (stop in a store and ask around) is a fascinating "Marble Mill" where a huge saw slowly slowly slowly cuts thre enormous slabs of marble, and in an adjoining building, cuts & polishes various shapes. Lying in the grass by the roadside -- dozens of discarded 3 x 3" marble squares (now on my coffee table as drink-mats).

SO you see, a ton of options; I've been to Naxos 13 times in 20 years, and still make discoveries, but I DO read guides and each time seek out something new; for instance in the courtyard of Cathedral, right up from port, there's a low shed... walk in and WOW a Mycenaean Graveyard! They found it when re-doing the pavement, so they just covered it with glass blocks & you can walk over & stare down at grave ritual items 3,500 years old. Lots to discover.

Posted by
65 posts

We're going from September 20-24th, we're staying at Naxos Island Hotel. Admittedly, no map. I've found that we always get handed maps when we arrive at a place so we stopped buying them but I am guilty of not google mapping it. I just wanted to see if it was straight forward to get from beach to beach. In a car we could do GPS, but quad would be map so I wasn't sure if it was easy to do.

Thanks for the village itinerary, that sounds great! We will be skipping Moutsouna then. And I can't wait to have a marble slab on my coffee table too, great tip. I will check out the cemetery. Thanks for all you do for this forum, much appreciated!

Posted by
2092 posts

We rented a car for the afternoon and went beach hopping. It was late May and windy and not really beach weather. There were five of us and we rented a stick shift for 25 euros which is the same as round trip bus tickets would have been to plaka beach. It was our hotel proprietors suggestion and it was a good one. We selected our favorite beach to return to a different day!

Some of the roads were dirt roads and we got lost a bit but it was a great way to spend the afternoon. My sons had a quad and had done the same thing the day before. Personally I think it would be fine for the area south of Naxos which is very flat but don’t think a good idea on the interior which is more mountainous.

Posted by
2092 posts

Also, I didn’t think the villages we visited looked alike. We went to Halki, Filoti, and Apiranthos. Off the square in Halki which is touristed we went to a restaurant for lunch. I went into a bookstore and asked for cheap restaurants and this was one of the two places she recommended. A short menu on a chalk board outside under the trees with the best Greek salad for like 5 euros. I wish I was back!

Apiranthos is all marble and charming. Our sons also went to the other side of the island where Appollonas is. I don’t recall many pictures of the village itself but there is a huge kouro that they visited. The mountain area is also simply spectacular. But that really is a second day. We didn’t make it there.

And don’t short change Naxos itself. The last night we wandered around the old town and I felt like it actually was more charming than Apiranthos and regretted not spending enough time there.

Naxos is fabulous and one of the things I liked the most was how varied the island was.

Posted by
65 posts

thanks Beth! I think we are going to rent a car. Glad to hear you enjoyed the villages, and Naxos!