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15 Fantastic Things to do in Naxos

March 4, 2019

Things to do in Naxos

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Spending three months in Naxos, Greece gives you plenty of time to explore all the things to do in Naxos. Since Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, you need more than three months to do all there is to do in Naxos. I made a good effort in trying to do as many things in Naxos as I could without sacrificing my need to relax on a Naxos beach. Here are the things I recommend doing on your Naxos holiday.

1. Naxos Castle (Kastro)

Naxos Old Town

Sitting on the hill above Naxos town is the castle. You may hear the locals call it the Kastro. Built in 1207 by the Venetians, the Kastro is still used today. You can wander inside and explore the Archaeological Museum that is housed inside. Some people still live in the castle. The castle is easy to reach from Naxos town by following the signs or look for the white arrows on the ground. Once there you get an amazing view of Naxos and on a clear day, you can see Paros. The Kastro is a great place to watch the sunset as well.

2. Domus Festival

From April to October, the Domus Festival puts on several shows a week in the Catholic Church located in the Kastro. The festival features music, film and dancing. Most of the activities are Naxos or Greece related. There are posters all over town telling you what will be on that week. I went one night to see the Traditional Naxos Singing and Dancing, which was excellent. During the show, someone would come on and explain the meanings of the songs and the dances. The host did this in both English and Greek. Included in the €20 cost were wine and other drinks.

3. Visit the Beach

Since Naxos is so large, there are tons of amazing beaches located all over the island. Agios Georgios is one of my favorite beaches on Naxos and is located right in town. It is less than a ten-minute walk from Naxos Old Town to the beach. To reach the beaches further away from town you can take the public bus. The bus leaves from the bus terminal that is near the ferry terminal. During the summer the buses run often. You should purchase both your tickets to go and return on the bus at this station.

4. Check out some Street Art

Things to do in Naxos

At Alyko Beach, there is a hotel that was never finished or torn down. For several years, an Indonesian street artist has been visiting Greece to do some street art. In this case, some beach art. He has used the abandoned hotel as his canvas and his work is stunning. In several cases, the piece covers several walls making it important to stand in the right spot and has marked the best spot to stand in for you!

Things to do in Naxos

5. Go to the Olive Press Museum

Things to do in Naxos

This tiny museum is worth the trip to Eggares village. It shows the traditional olive press and they will tell you how it operates. There is also a demonstration. They also have a shop that has so many unique homemade products. My favorites were the olive jam, it is way better than it sounds, and the fig jam. They also have non-food products for sale if you are only taking a carry-on bag on your flight.

6. Visit the Portara

Things to do in Naxos

You can’t miss this ancient Greek temple if you are in Naxos. It sits at the entrance of the port. The temple is not in ruins, it was just never finished. The part you see, the portara is the door to the temple. In Greek, Portara means large door. This is one of the best places to catch the sunset in Naxos! Get there early to score a good spot.

7. Take a day sail to the Small Cyclades

While Naxos has plenty to do, you would be missing some incredible smaller islands if you didn’t take a trip to the Small Cyclades. There are many sailboats in the harbor that will take you on a day sail to these islands. The best thing about these is they can take you to caves on these islands that are not reachable by land. The Small Cyclades are not touristy at all so you will be getting an authentic look at Greek life on a small island.

8. Wander through Naxos Old Town

Things to do in Naxos

 

Naxos Old Town is the historic part of Naxos. If you arrive by ferry, the Old Town is just steps away. Here you can shop, get lost or just enjoy the traditional Greek architecture in the Old Town. I recommend exploring both during the day and night. It has a totally different feel at different times of the day. I also recommend you explore it a few times during your trip to Naxos as you will discover something new everytime.

9. Visit the Archaeological Museum

Nestled in the Kastro is the Archaeological Museum of Naxos. All of the artifacts at the museum were found on Naxos or surrounding islands and date back to 5300 BC. The collection of Early Cycladic marble figurines is second only to the collection in Athens. Be sure to check out the kouros torso that dates back to the 6th century BC.

10. Take a trip to the Temple of Demeter

Things to do in Naxos

The Temple of Demeter is located near the village of Sangri in Naxos. The temple has been restored to some degree but you can still see the original marble in some parts of the temple. It was built around 530 BC. Not only is the temple a beautiful site to behold but it sits in the middle of Naxos farmland and offers great views of the countryside.

11. Go to the village of Halki

Things to do in Naxos

Not all of the things to do in Naxos are in Naxos town. One of the best villages to visit is Halki, the original capital of Naxos. You can reach Halki by taking the public bus from the port. In Halki, you will discover a quiet but fun village. You can visit the Kitron distillery there, which is a popular Naxianliquorr. There is a wonderful pottery shop that produces some amazing pieces of art, called Fish and Olive. Take a ten-minute walk to visit the Byzantine church of St. Georges. It was built in the 11th century. If you want to go inside, you will need to go in July and August as it is closed for the rest of the year.

12. Eat in the village of Melanes

Some of the best food I had in Naxos was eaten in Melanes at Giorgis. This family-run restaurant overlooks the valley below and has wonderful food. Unlike many restaurants in Naxos, they only close briefly after the season in October and reopen in December just in time for the holidays. If you are with other people, I recommend everyone ordering one or two things and sharing it. This way you get to try many different things.

13. Take home some of Naxos

Things to do in Naxos

One of my favorite shops in Naxos is Aegean Blue. While I am not a big shopper when traveling but when I find a place where I can buy a souvenir that is useful or practical, I am a fan. I actually discovered Aegean Blue before I went to Naxos on Instagram. I couldn’t wait to check out the shop. I purchased a beautiful purse that has a distinctly Greek feel and I used it for the rest of my time in Naxos. They have clothes, home decor and jewelry. Some pieces are more expensive but they have something for everyone. You can even make a day of it since it is located on Plaka Beach and right in front is the wonderful Picasso on the Beach restaurant.

14. Climb Mount Zas

Mount Zas is the highest peak in the Cyclades. It is a popular place to hike for a variety of reasons. The legend is that this is where Zeus was born. There are several routes you can take to get to the summit. One route takes you past the Cave of Zeus but is the most difficult route. No matter which route you choose to take you will be rewarded with stunning views of Naxos at the top. Just be sure to leave early and take plenty of water with you.

15. Explore Ancient Naxos

Located underground is the Metropolis Museum. This museum is the remains of ancient Naxos. The settlement was built in the 11th century BC. The museum contains the remnants of the Mycenean settlement. It is believed the settlement was abandoned due to the fear of sea flooding. You can see the settlement through glass panes that cover the artifacts

As you can see there are plenty of things to do in Naxos and there is something for everybody. Have you been to Naxos? What was your favorite thing to do?

Things to do in Naxos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greece, Travel

My Favorite Greek Cosmetic and Beauty Products

February 11, 2019

Greek Cosmetics

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

For the past three years, I have gone to Greece, and each time I go I discover another great Greek cosmetic or beauty product. As in many European countries, you can find upscale brands of beauty products in the pharmacies. Don’t worry; I am not becoming a beauty blogger. However, I think it is helpful to share this with you for two reasons. One is, so you don’t have to search for good brands for the basic needs of shampoo, lotion, etc. Two, I think these things make better souvenirs since you will actually use them.

Korres

Korres was the first Greek beauty brand I discovered. I love the smell of cotton, and I found their brand when I saw a lotion called Pure Cotton. I also noticed they had a perfume called Pure Cotton as well! When I left Greece, I had bought both of them on one of the Greek Islands. The smell is heavenly and not overpowering. The lotion was a body butter and while thick absorbed quickly. My skin appreciated the moisture after two weeks in the Greek sun.

At the Athens airport in duty-free, there is a whole Korres shop. Since I had some Euros left over, I bought some colored lip balm that went well with my tan. Then I also found an anti-aging body oil that smelled of Jasmine. That went in my basket as well! The oil was great for putting on after a shower.

The next year, I discovered the Melissa stick. I had a few bug bites after my last trip, and the Melissa stick is an anti-itch formula made of natural ingredients. It goes on all my trips now.

Korres also makes shampoos, conditioners, make-up, hair color and some natural health remedies. I have only tried the throat lozenges. You can really only find these items in the pharmacies and maybe the store in the Athens airport.

Some of the Korres products are available at Sephora but not the body lotions and shower gels. It is mostly their skincare line, which I haven’t tried yet. You can find some of their products on Amazon as well if you can’t wait till you get to Greece to try them.

Apivita

Apivita was my discovery of Greek cosmetics this year. I had not brought lots of shampoo and conditioner on this trip knowing I would be in Greece long enough to need to find a local brand to purchase.  I have oily roots and dry ends. One day, I was looking and found Apivita had a shampoo and conditioner specifically for oily roots and dry ends! It is the first product like this I have seen that actually works for me. I could go for several days without my hair looking greasy at the roots. It also smells of rosemary!

Apivita also makes body lotions and some anti-aging products. The other product I have loved from them has been the facial scrubs. I had been in Greece for so many months, my skin was suffering from all the sun exposure, my fault. I was looking for a scrub that would do more than just exfoliate. Apivita has a Bilberry brightening scrub and mask that is great. It is a bit expensive but a little goes a long way.

Unfortunately, I have not found Apivitia in any US beauty stores yet. However, some products are available on Amazon like the Korres products. You may be able to find it in some other European countries though as they have a search function for stores on their website.

Olive Era

Olive Era is a brand I found in the Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel. It was in the bathroom for the toiletries. If you love the smell of olive leaves then you will love this lotion! It smells like an olive grove with some citrus. I believe it is a spa product though as I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I can’t even find it online, which is a shame as I only took one lotion bottle from the hotel and there were two! This is definitely a hidden gem and something to look out for. There was also shampoo and conditioner of Olive Era in the hotel. They sold full-size bottles in the spa though. now I think I am on a mission. According to the label, it is made in Crete, so Crete may be on my next trip to Greece!

What about you, do you have any favorite Greek cosmetic or beauty brands?

Greek cosmetics

Greek cosmetics

Greece, Travel

Visiting the Greek Islands in October

December 10, 2018

Greek Islands in October

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

While I was in the Greek Islands in October, I realized that people are missing out by not visiting Greece in October. Due to the high-season ending in August when many Europeans go on holiday, many people come to Greece in September. September is lovely, but the high-season seems to be lasting longer and longer meaning to really escape the tourists you need to visit the Greek Islands in October.

 

Greek Weather in October

The main question I am asked is, “What is the weather like in Greece in October?” There isn’t a definitive answer as the weather does change from year to year in Greece. In 2018, September was cool and windy. October, on the other hand, was sunny and beautiful.

Greek Islands in October

The temperature wasn’t hot by any means, but still pleasant on some days to wear shorts. Almost every day in October, people were at the beach. I was at the beach on October 30 for my birthday. I didn’t swim but did have on shorts and flip-flops. If you are on the beach for any length of time, you will get hot. Some days were windy but very few. Some years, October will be cold, so be sure to check.

What to Pack for Greece in October

Since the weather can be a bit variable, I recommend bringing some shorts for the daytime and pants for the evenings. As for shirts, you will want long sleeves for the evening. If you are cold sensitive, then a jacket or sweater is a must. I also recommend a scarf for the evening. On windy days, you will want the jacket and the scarf even in the daytime. And don’t worry about how you look, everyone will be wearing something different. Greeks will probably be wearing jackets and jeans, and the tourists will be wearing shorts and sundresses! It is all in what we are used to.

If you are not so sensitive to the cold, you might even want to bring your swimsuit! Many people were swimming in October and not in wetsuits either. You may want to bring clothes to change into after swimming in case its windy. Bring or purchase a towel as many hotels in Greece do not allow you to take their towels to the beach.

Sightseeing

Obviously, the beaches will not be closed at any time. However, some of the beachfront restaurants will start to close in early October. This means there might be fewer sunloungers and umbrellas to rent. However, it usually means there are fewer people on the beach.

Greek Islands in October

Many historic sites will still be open, but their hours might be limited. Even in the high season, Greeks tend to close their shops in the afternoon. This usually happens between 2-5. On the islands, this might mean that museums are closed in the afternoon and will reopen in the evening.

As a photographer, I enjoy the afternoon closings as it means I can capture streets and sites with few or no people in my shots. This is especially true on more crowded islands, such as Santorini.

Hotels

Depending on which islands you are visiting, some hotels close in October and will not reopen till April or May of the following year. This is especially true of smaller islands. Booking sites will have those months marked off so you should be able to tell. If you aren’t sure, I recommend emailing the hotels to check.

However, this means rates are lower, and you may even get an upgrade on arrival. Services usually remain the same, and you get a nice quiet hotel to relax in. If you know you want to be in Greece in October, book sooner rather than later as some hotels will stay open longer if they know they have bookings for the off-season. This ensures they have the staff to run the hotel, otherwise, they will not extend their opening dates since many staff are seasonal.

Restaurants

Greek Islands in October

This was the only issue I found to be difficult at the end of October. Restaurants tend to start closing in late September and throughout October. Many restaurants are open seven days a week during the high season, and by the time October comes around, the staff is exhausted. On Naxos, only some restaurants were open until the end of October. However, some will open fewer days in the off-season or will just be open for dinner. You may want to consider booking a hotel with a kitchenette.

Ferries

Greek Islands In October

Ferries operate year round to most islands now, but the schedule is not as frequent during the summer months. As always, I recommend that you do not book your flights and ferries on the same day. Greece is known to have strikes, even in the tourist season. The weather in October and all the winter can prevent ferries from departing, especially the high-speed ferries. The high-speed ferry service starts to reduce their service offerings in October. Some larger islands have airports, so another option is to fly.

As you can see, visiting a Greek island in October is a great idea, and while it may be quieter, it can still be a warm destination. I personally loved being in Greece in October as I got to see how the locals live after the tourists leave. I also ran into my friends more frequently than I would during the high season.

Food, Greece, Travel

Best Restaurants in Naxos

October 15, 2018

Best Restaurants in Naxos

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Eating Greek food is one of the main reasons I travel to Greece, and I have been in Naxos long enough to tell you about the best restaurants to eat at in Naxos! I should add that there are even some excellent non-Greek choices for restaurants in Naxos as well.

Oasis

Oasis is a family run restaurant in Naxos. The restaurant is located in Naxos Town near Saint George’s beach. All of the food is homemade. Specials are offered every day and vary depending on the day of the week. My recommendations are the pasticcio, the stuffed peppers, and the pork stew.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Meltemi

Meltemi is located just up the road from Oasis near Saint George’s beach. It has been around for many years, and people continue to return year after year. Meltemi’s moussaka is one of my favorites on the island. The dip they serve with bread is excellent.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Metaxi Mas

Metaxi Mas is located in the Old Town of Naxos. Here you will eat in the streets of the old town if you want or sit inside in one of the cozy interiors. Everything I have eaten here has been amazing. My favorites are the zucchini balls, pasticcio, and the spicy meatballs.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Faros

Not all of the best restaurants in Naxos are located in Naxos Town. Faros is located at Agia Anna beach and features organic dishes. It also offers a great view of the beach. Faros also has some of the best zucchini balls on the island. To get to Faros, take the bus from Naxos Old Town to Agia Anna and walk down past the pier and it will be on your left.

Picasso on the Beach

Picasso is also on the beach as you may have guessed. Picasso is a Mexican restaurant, and as a Texan, I am always critical of Mexican food. However, Picasso does a good job given their limited access to Mexican ingredients. The fajitas were good, and they serve a frozen strawberry after dinner drink. Picasso on the Beach is located at Plaka beach and is reachable by bus. Tell the bus driver you want to get off at Picasso.

Paradiso

Most people stop to eat at Paradiso because of the stunning view its beachside tables offer at Agia Anna. However, you should also stop because the food is outstanding! The beetroot salad and the papoutsakia (eggplant with minced meat) were terrific. So was the semolina cake we were offered on the house. If you really like the location, they also have rooms for rent.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Scirocco

If you need a break from the Greek food, then I recommend Scirocco for Italian food. My favorite there is the carbonara. They also serve Greek food if you and your friends are undecided! It is a nice place to people watch as it is located in the main square of Naxos Town and many Greek families gather there in the evening to socialize.

Apostolis

Apostolis is a modern Greek restaurant serving classic Greek dishes with a twist. The restaurant is located in the Naxos Chora and has a wonderful setting under paper lanterns.

Naxos Old Town

Su e Giu

Sue Giu, also known as Susanna, is another Italian option. It is located right on the promenade of Naxos harbor. It was the only place I found a pizza with pineapple on it! Yes, I am a pineapple on pizza lover. It was good, and the focaccia bread was really great. Sit upstairs for views of the harbor.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

O Giorgis

For the more adventurous type, head to the village of Melanes and eat at O Giorgis. I had some of the best food in Naxos here. The baked eggplant was so well seasoned and melted in my mouth. I was so full but still managed to finish the whole thing. Sit on the enclosed patio so you can have a wonderful view of the valley.

Coffee and Desserts

Greece is known for good coffee, and Naxos is no exception. I have spent lots of time having coffee in Naxos to see which places serve the best coffee and desserts.

Artοποιώ

This coffee shop and bakery was one of the first places I tried when I arrived in Naxos. I was up very early due to my jet lag and they were already open by 6:30 AM. The coffee is probably the best on the island. The baked goods are freshly made in the shop and it smells heavenly.

σιτάρι

Not only does this place have wonderful coffee but they also have some organic products available as well. If I am correct, the bakery is called Wheat in English. It is also open early for those of you who are morning people.

Omerta

Omerta is located on the promenade of Naxos Town and offers great views of the harbor along with great coffee. If you also want to have the classic Greek Yogurt for breakfast this place had an excellent one with plums and peaches on top!

Waffle House

This is not the American Waffle House, this is a wonderful ice cream parlor that also serves ice cream on waffles. You can get the ice cream to go or you can sit and have it brought to you by a waiter.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Aktaion

Aktaion is an upscale pastry shop located on the promenade of Naxos Town. They serve a selection of gelato, amazing macaroons and other mouth-watering desserts.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Flisvos

Flisvos is located on St. George’s Beach so not only do you get a beach front view but they serve a really amazing hot chocolate. It isn’t on the menu, but they will serve you one if you ask.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Kitron

This gem is located on the promenade as well and has a great coffee. They also serve the best Freddo Espresso I have had in Greece. Kitron also serves Kitron cocktails made from the citron plant.

Best Restaurants in Naxos

Are you ready to eat at the best restaurants in Naxos now?

PS. Some of these restaurants in Naxos are only open during the tourist season from April to October, 
so please check beforehand.