• Ferry System
  • Venetian history
  • Day Sailing with Captain George
  • Marble Carving with local artist

On our 3rd trip to Greece, in 2019, we decided to return to the island of Naxos.  Greece is a country we have come to love over the last several years. The Greek island of Naxos sits in the center of Cyclades islands group. Athens and Naxos we had visited previously.  For this island, our good friend Linda, another intrepid traveler, would be joining us.

Greece is a large country that includes the mainland and over 6,000 islands with over 227 or them being inhabited. You can fly to some of the larger islands or choose the more popular method to travel to the islands, the Ferry System. We used the high speed ferry system on each of our trips when departing Athens for the islands.

While most people choose Santorini, Mykonos or Corfu as their destination, our preference is the smaller islands in the Cyclades. We chose to return to Naxos which we had previously visited 5 years prior.  Because the port at Piraeus in Athens can be terribly busy in the mornings, we selected to go there and purchase our tickets a day ahead to save time on our departure day. Piraeus port is located approximately 12 miles from city center and is quite busy in the mornings, the most popular times for ferries to depart. From the numerous ferries departing throughout the day you can choose either the high-speed ferries which cost about 30% percent more or the regular speed ferries. Both types are comfortable and very safe. The Greeks are known for their long history as the best sailors in the world and being at “one” with the ocean. at the time of this trip, the ferry cost from Athens to Paros on the regular ferry coach accommodations are around 35 € and a First Class ticket goes for around 50 € one way.  At www.ferryhopper.com schedules, prices and tickets are all available.  The ferries have food, drink, newspapers and duty- free shop as well as upper deck outdoor viewing areas providing a great way to experience the beauty of the Cyclades and the Aegean Sea as you sail by.

A short ferry ride away from Athens, the closest neighboring island to Paros is Naxos, which is larger and more populated than Paros.

The Greek island of Naxos sits in the center of Cyclades islands group, in the heart of the Aegean sea. Its fertile landscape spans mountain villages, ancient ruins and long stretches of beach. The namesake capital (also called Naxos Town or Chora) is a port town filled with whitewashed, cube-shaped houses and a medieval Venetian castle. Kastro, the hilltop castle dates to the 13th century, housing an archaeological museum. On a previous trip we actually attended a night time concert in the castle ruin, an experience we highly recommend if you get the chance!

Naxos is the biggest and the greenest island of the Cyclades, boasting a magnificent natural landscape! The island’s rich history is reflected in the many archaeological sites here. The most iconic of them and the trademark of Naxos- Portara, the remains of a 2,000 year old huge marble gate, of an ancient temple dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. You can see pictures of this ancient gate in our photo albums from this trip.

While Naxos island is approximately 175 square miles or twice the size of Paros, it is still a quaint idyllic island. We stayed one week here in an Airbnb. We chose a terrific house overlooking the sea right outside of downtown. Our wonderful hostess provided us with fresh produce from her families garden every few days. Again, we rented a car here to be able to go exploring the other villages on the island. It was unseasonably windy while we were there, however we were still able to enjoy the many remote beaches, incredible sunsets, and warm Greek hospitality.

Much like Paros, the main town is centered around the port, with a multitude of taverna’s displaying fresh caught seafood from the Aegean Sea. You can enjoy the seating areas with a sea view as your dish is prepared. We spent the week exploring the beaches, taverna’s and shops throughout the island. There are many world class secluded beaches to choose from on Naxos. Many of these have available umbrellas and loungers for rent and even some include tavernas right on the beach for food and drink.

We did 2 special activities while we were on Naxos. One was a full day sailing charter with Captain George on the Annabella sailing yacht. This was our second time sailing with Captain George and this sailing trip on the Annabella, his 42 foot sailing yacht is fantastic! Captain George even provides a CD with all the photos from the trip. Google Captain George Naxos, or go to http://www.naxossailing.com to make reservations for the original trip, as there are several copy-cat cruises. We enjoyed our sailing day, exploring some water caves along the way and stopping at AntiParos for lunch. Anti Paros is another small Island near Paros. We arrived back on Naxos just in time to get changed for dinner, and after dinner returned to the boat to pick up our CD of photos. We highly recommend Captain George and the Annabella.

The other special activity we did was and excursion we found on Trip Advisor. A half day marble carving experience. There were six other folks in our class and it was particularly interesting. The group was taught by a local artist, originally from America, who is married to a Greek. We had a bit of training, and some hands-on practice before beginning our pieces. We got as much help as we needed and were very proud of our works once completed. Marble carving is hard work! For us, we chose to make small pieces so we could transport them back easily in our suitcases without going over weight limit. Our two pieces now adorn the bed at the base of an olive tree in our garden at home. You can see the photos from the marble carving experience in the Naxos section of the Greece photo album.

Our stay on Naxos was complete, we retraced our steps. Checked out of our Airbnb, returned the rental car, and had a final lunch in one of our favorite seaside tavernas while waiting for our ferry back to Athens. We stayed again in the Ibis Styles, a brand new hotel in downtown Athens. Centrally located and very reasonably priced. The next morning, we took a taxi to the airport. We prefer a taxi when we have luggage to contend with, rather than wrestling with it on the Metro; although the Metro is less expensive if you are up for the journey. Then a quick flight back to London and one more night in London by the airport, before going back to Texas. There is a direct BA flight from London to Austin every day. This is our favorite way to get across the pond, and the departure and arrival times are good.

Naxos is still a favorite place to visit for us. Each time we go we discover more things to see and do on our next trip. So many places, so much history. Enjoy your Journey!