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Island Hopping in Greece: Naxos

Naxos, Greece is the largest of the Cycladic Islands that combines gorgeous beaches, beautiful mountains, and important archeological sites, not to mention welcoming people and incredible food. We were island-hopping and had left Paros to travel by ferry to Naxos. I have travelled on many ferries but I never fail to be amazed at the piloting skills of the Greek ferry captains. The ferries speed towards the docks, do a quick reversal, and coast to their perfectly synchronized landing. Ferries are unloaded, reloaded, and back to sea within minutes. There are often choices between high speed ferries and island-hoppers. Advance tickets are often less expensive.

We had booked a lovely hostel, called Studios Margo in Naxos Hora (main town). The room was pleasant but the rooftop deck was absolutely spectacular.

Once we settled into our room, we walked down along the cliffs towards the main town. The view from the top of the hill was stunning.

It is one of the windy islands with incredible surf. It was cooler and often overcast. We kept seeing rain clouds but no rain fell.

Like in most of Greece, there were many feral cats. Mady sat down to pull some papers out of her bag and the kitties came running. They obviously thought she was going to feed them.

All over Greece, we see creative lights hanging in the tavernas and hostels. I always promise myself I will recreate them at home for my rooftop deck ... someday.

The streets are narrow and winding, with no discernible order or plan. It was fun wandering around.

Our goal was to get to the Venetian Castle on the top of town. All roads that lead up go to the Castle; all roads leading down go to the water.

The Old Town was very quiet as we walked along. The Greeks take their afternoon rest time very seriously. After a couple of weeks of island-hopping, the empty streets no longer surprised us. At each intersection, there is something beautiful to see.

We were nearly to the top of the island when we passed this church. Can you spot the kitty?

It seemed like a lot of effort to find this tiny bit of shade but he looks quite content.

At last we made it (without a map!) Of course, it was closed... that whole afternoon nap thing. That plan scrapped, we wandered.

In the basement of the Castle, we discovered this amazing art/jewellery store, Katerina Vasilaki Handmade Jewellery, When the Venetians under Marco Sanudo made Naxos the capital of his duchy, they destroyed the temples. These columns were rescued and hidden and now are part of the shop.

After we had seen as much as we could, we headed down the hill and stopped in many of the tiny stores. Our credit cards got quite a workout.

Back at our hostel, we spent some time on the roof, swinging in hammocks next to the mini golf course, which we dubbed Mar-a-Naxos. We were treated to some of the local wine, which is said to be especially effective in mending broken hearts.

Overlooking Naxos Harbour is the Temple of Apollo. We will come back to this at sunset tonight, first we are off to explore a couple mountain villages and take a hike to see The Temple of Dimitra.

We took a local bus to Ano Sangri, a teeny village close to Dimitra's Temple and St. Nicholai Church.

We started down the path, trying to follow the rare trail signs. We back-tracked many times. With the benefit of hind-sight, I would suggest other travellers get a taxi directly to the site, especially on a hot day. We were well-supplied with water but we both ran out.

Along the route, we saw this fossil on the pathway.

Along the pathway is St. Nicholai Christian church. It was closed to visitors so we couldn't enter but we had a good look around.