Sometimes, you meet a man who is supposed to be a one night stand, and finally you end up in a beautiful love relationship with him. I feel the same thing happened with Naxos.
If you’re not familiar with Greek islands other than the outdoor shopping mall that is Santorini, Naxos is the biggest of the Cycladic Islands. It’s also a place where bus schedules don’t coincide with ferry schedules in September, leaving you with no choice but to rent a car.
We could also have chosen to rent a scooter, but in that case, I would have had to abandon my boyfriend or my backpack. And since I would have had to carry my backpack by myself in both cases, I decided to rent a car.
« Can you drive standard? », I asked my boyfriend. « I could in 2003. », he answered.
After several humiliating attempts, we managed to leave the car rental company. I did a thumbs up to the owner to reassure him that we would find a way to bring back the car, ideally in one piece. The man was not impressed.
Naxos is the real thing.
Of course, when you get off the ferry, there are tons of solicitors trying to convince you to go to their hotels, but once you make it through, you’ll discover a peaceful island.
Vast fields lined with agave and cactus, goats looking at you while chewing grass, Naxos allows you to slow down and breathe. We were supposed to spend two days on the island, we stayed for four.
Lola, the owner of Studios Petra in Kastraki, where we rented our room, was the most adorable person I have ever met.
She insisted that we have cookies while she explained to us the best road to the Temple of Dimitra. She’s the kind of women who takes care of you like a mom and would give you the moon to make your stay better. Even while taking care of all the rooms on her own, she wasn’t any less enthusiastic about her island.
With our cookies for the road, a map full of encircled places to go and our new confidence in our capacity to drive standard from A to B, we were ready to conquer Naxos.
The beach in Kastraki was almost deserted in the shoulder season and we had our own piece of paradise to swim in the Aegean sea. From Studio Petra, it was only a 5-minute walk. The water was clear, the beach cleaned and there was a small restaurant to have a drink and eat.
Temple of Dimitra
Ruins are scattered over the island and are not all worthy of interest. However, I recommend a quick stop at Dimitra’s Temple. The site is super small, but the view of the surrounding mountains is picturesque!
Of all the indications Lola had drawn on our map, the circles around Apeiranthos village were a tornado of doodles, arrows and stars.
It is a paradise for people obsessed with doors (guilty). Old teal metal doors or red wood doors, each one has its charm.
I won’t lie, there’s not much to do in Apeiranthos if you are looking for particular activities, but it is worth a visit if only to walk in a scenic old village by the mountains.
My favorite part of the main town of Naxos is without a doubt the port.
With tens of restaurants, bars and café facing the water, it’s a good spot to enjoy a baklava and a freddo cappuccino, Greece’s favourite type of iced coffee. At any time of the day, you’ll see Greeks slowly enjoying it on a terrasse.
Boats are docked and freshly caught octopus dries, symbols of mediterranean culture.
The best spot to see the sunset is the Temple of Apollo, landmark of the city of Naxos.
And of course, you’ll find beautiful doors in this town too…
Back to Studio Petra, we packed our bags and said goodbye to Lola. As we closed the door behind us, she said we were the last clients of the season. « I love my job, but it’s hard work », said Lola. « It’s time to rest, now. »
My boyfriend and I highly recommend the place. Plus, it only costs us around 50$ a night. Lola will do anything to make sure that your stay is perfect, and the family-owned house is adorable, with its garden and balconies.
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