During this trip to the Greek Islands we decided to skip the most popular destinations like Mykonos and Santorini and focused on less traveled gems. Naxos is the greenest and one of the most mountainous islands of the Cyclades. It’s sandy beaches are breathtaking, stretching for miles and miles on the western part of the island. For those who enjoy hiking, mountain biking and every imaginable water sport – this is the island.
Mikri Vigla is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. It is located on the south western chunk of Naxos crowned by a golden sandy beach lapped by the clear-blue warm water. The northern part of Mikri Vigla is quite windy, creating the perfect mix for those who enjoy wind sports. As you pass the cape, the wind subsides and the shallow warm turquoise water beckons you to swim.
The cape of Mikri Vigla constitutes a rare geological phenomenon due to the unique cedar-tree forest which is one of the few in the world but also because of its archaeological wealth. Ancient inscriptions and messages, engraved over the wind-beaten hillsides, transport the visitor back in time and unfold the pages of history.
Temple of Demeter
Naxos has been continuously inhabited since the 4th Milennium BC and excavations around the island bring to light ancient artifacts and buildings almost daily. The government of Greece has created a lovely hiking map for tourists who enjoy nature and want to experience the beauty of Naxos’ history first hand. There is an easy hike to the Tempe of Demeter on the island.
A ride to Chalkio is a must. Our trusty ATV was powerful enough to take both of us on the drive and we were so glad that we made it out there! Artisan shops, cafes and restaurants fill the cobblestone streets, it is a difficult place to leave.
If you are visiting Chalkio between 11 am and 2:30 pm during the summer, I highly recommend that you do the 2 hour trek around the outskirts of the town to view it’s notable Byzantine churches. The hike takes you through olive groves and trails dating back thousands of years. The best map and directions for the trek can be found here.
If you don’t have the time for the full trek, you can find the 11th century byzantine church of St. George Diasoritis just 15 minutes outside of Chalkio in the midst of ancient olive groves. Truly worth the walk.
Naxos is most known for it’s portal (locally called the Portára) which is the only remains of the Temple of Delian Apollo. The ruins are grandiosely perched on a slight hill above the main port of Naxos and the portal is the first thing you see as you arrive.
We stayed in Agios Anna, where there are so many fantastic accommodations and restaurants dotted along the miles and miles of sandy beach. The sunsets on this western part of the island are breathtaking and you can watch from the deck of a restaurant, an abandoned sun chaise or from the bathtub warm water of the sea…..