When I was a kid, I studied Greek mythology for a hobby. While my dad and brothers watched Hockey Night in Canada or All in the Family, I sat with encyclopedias and drew family trees of Zeus and his many offspring. Strange child I know…
Yet I never really had a strong desire to visit Greece. But when I joined my daughter in Amsterdam for a vocal competition, she thought it would be fun for us to hop over to some Greek islands, since we were already in Europe.
Of course we visited Athens, then Mykonos and Santorini and they are spectacular each in their own way but dense crowds kind of ruin a holiday for me, so I was pretty excited to visit the bigger island of Naxos-home of Zeus.
I had booked a hotel in a more isolated part of the island and we had to arrange for a car to drive us the 30 miles up island. We were not disappointed with our hotel, as I wanted… no needed some quiet time and the Finikas hotel was just the ticket. It is located in an unspoiled part of the island and very close to gorgeous secluded beaches that were within a short walking distance.
Rest and relaxation are the order of the day at this hotel as there is little to do but eat, drink, read or swim, and explore the beaches nearby. As a change of scene during mid-week, we rented a car and drove around in the area stopping in Halki, a traditional village located in the center of Naxos. It used to be the capital and many Venetian style buildings remain. The people are friendly but eager to sell their wares as they depend on tourist business. It is nowhere near as crowded or pushy as other tourist driven places are-just a lovely place to visit to experience the local Greek flavor of a people and their history. We were enticed by pottery, lace and produce along with the usual God’s eye jewelry. From there we ventured to Sangri a village with medieval architecture dating back to 500 B.C. Then on to Chora ( Naxos Town) and the beautiful venetian harbour with its many twisty cobblestone pathways and shopping stalls.
Naxos figures prominently in Greek mythology as Zeus through born in Crete, was brought up on the island and the inhabitants have named the tallest mountain for him.
Everywhere you can see ancient stone or marble monuments, and one of the most popular is the portera-temple of Apollo located in the harbour. This giant doorway is the only remaining segment of a temple to Apollo begun in 530BC. It was never completed. Views from here are spectacular.
Lastly, we took a drive to some local beaches to take a dip. One of the most beautiful and popular is the Agios Prokopios, a beach that stretches for over a kilometre. It offers chairs for a price, and water sports but was too crowded for me so we left after a short stay and drove on to Agia Anna and Plaka beaches which are unspoiled. Having sun umbrella access is pretty important in Greece, so after enjoying the sun and swimming we headed back to our hotel. From there we walked to Pyrgaki beach and Aliko which are more secluded, and are amazing in their beauty. In fact there were very few people about even on a gorgeous summer day. Warning: Nudist friendly area and many of the locals object.
My time on Naxos went all too quickly. My daughter and I both agree that Naxos is under-rated for beauty and if you ever want to get away from it all-literally, a stay on Naxos will provide the recharge that you need.