Náxos meets by a stone doorway of the uncompleted temple of Apollo on the small peninsula near the port; it is well-known Portára, the card of island. Behind the port there are the same white small houses of the town of Naxos. And behind them on a hill there is wall of Cástro - the Venetian Castle.

Click the images to enlarge them.

Having unloaded from the ship, we began to search for the tablet with the name of our hotel from set of others in hands of meeting people. The young man met us, as it turned out he was the owner of the hotel. We have waited for other tourists, got in a minibus and in 5 minutes were on the spot.

Our hotel "Agios Prokopios" is located in the tourist settlement of the same name near the remarkable large beach. This is the two-storey structure in the Cycladic style (white with blue); the rooms are located around the pool from one side, and around the garden - from another. The garden is a small vineyard with the bushes lying on the ground, and in the middle there is a stone construction, which reminds of a well. We have got there during vintage and the owner of this vineyard, living beside, has treated us once with several bunches. Our room-studio was on a ground floor and looked just on this garden. Inside there was a big room with four beds, wardrobe, table, the TV and the conditioner. The bathroom with the toilet, the basin and the shower adjoined it; and also the small kitchenette with the refrigerator, the cupboard, the basin and the electric stove with two rings, one is large, another is small for coffee. The photographs with the local views are hung on the walls of the room. At the door there is the small terrace with the hangers for drying clothes, the table and the chairs. In the reception of hotel there is a computer with the Internet for clients, there also one may take the beach equipment: parasols, masks, landing nets, airbeds.

All-round panorama from the terrace of our accommodation in the "Agios Prokopios" hotel

In the small settlement Ágios Prokópios there are everything for beach leisure: taverns, several stores, several rental offices, even a butcher's shop. Every half an hour a bus goes to Naxos-Hora (Hora is called the capital of any island of Cyclades) and backwards along the beaches of the western coast of the island. Near to the settlement there is a waterpark under construction.

The beach is located in 150 metres from the hotel. It is long, wide, of coarse golden sand here; entrance to the water and the bottom near the coast are also sandy. In some places on the bottom are large stones; it is interesting to have a swim in the mask there. I, for example, the only time saw there the bright red starfish, and that was near to the coast at the small depth, so it was possible to reach it. It was not a lot of people on the beach, and if one would pass a little to the north, he would not meet there anyone. From the coast is visible adjacent Paros island. Sometimes we came to the beach in the evening time with the bottle of retsina and glasses, sat down on the empty beach beds near the sea, listened to roar of the surf, admired stars and lights of the adjacent island, it was romantic!

Our stay in Naxos, and in Santorini too, took place basically as follows: we rose between 9 and 10, cooked and breakfasted in the room; my spouse, not being a big lover of hiking and trips on the public transport, remained to sunbathe near the pool or went to the sea; and I took a bag with the camera and went for the new impressions, came back afternoon, and then either again left, or we together went on the beach. We didn’t bother each other and both were contented. In the evening we cooked and had a dinner in the room or went to a tavern. And further we sat for long on the terrace with a bottle of imiglikos (semisweet wine) or retsina till the late night.

In 6 days of our stay in the island I visited the Hora some times. First of all, I bypassed and photographed from different directions a symbol of Naxos - Portara, then have gone on the survey of town.

At first sight Hóra is a typical coastal Mediterranean town, moderately tourist, with restaurants, various shops, excursion offices on the quay and adjoining streets. The large white Church of Saint Nikodimos in a southeast part of town was remembered. But the most interesting thing is the Castro (Castle) and the adjoining quarters of old town, where, as it has turned out, not easy to get, there are no wide streets and guideboards towards it. After making a pair of circles around the town, at the third attempt I came to the hill in area of old buildings of the castle. Narrow side streets, passing between the white walls, between the still inhabited apartment houses, past the stone fortification, steeply ascend and descend, turn to the stairs, cross each other, pass through the arches. In one of such arches is located the entrance into the Venetian museum, where I purchased the tickets to the concert of traditional music and dance (and of free-of-charge binge) titled "Sunset concert", planned on this evening.

The concert took place on the small open area, approximately on 50 places, near the fortress wall. Before, during and after the concert the public might, in unlimited quantity (but in the reasonable limits), to take the local drinks in plastic cups, placed on the tables by the entrance. There was: 3 kinds of dry wine - white, pink, red; 3 kinds of liqueur from leaves of citron (special-product of Naxos, we brought one bottle for home); and raki - grape strong drink, which is selling usually on tap from barrel. I used to choose raki basically, a pleasant piece, it is a pity that it have terminated quickly; my wife has tried everything. First the presenter spoke, told about manufacturing techniques of the above-named drinks, about other local traditions, and in the further he commented all performances of the participants. On a small stage came the 2 musicians, played on violin and bouzouki, the violinist sometimes sang. Then the dancers appeared, a fellow and a girl, in the national suits and performed folk dances on the small area before the scene. Further the piper with his bagpipes came,the bagpipes was made from one-piece sheep skin, the presenter took a drum and they have played a quartet, the dancers have come again and acted now in other suits. And in the end, the participants of the concert lifted the spectators, already a little drunk, formed from them one long round dance and quickly led it by serpentine on the area. In general, it was cheerfully!

We came back along the old town, with its surprising side streets, which are unexpectedly converted into corridors and galleries of some medieval "supermarket" with taverns, fashion salons, souvenir and food shops. All this, together with a fair amount of alcoholic beverages, drunk on the concert, gave us a sensation of unreality of proceeding, as if we have got in another dimension.

Next morning I went to walk on surroundings of Agios Prokopios, by the three small lakes which have almost dried up at this season, to rocky cape - the western extremity of the island.

For the free journeys on this, not a very little island (the largest of Cyclades), one can take for hire a car or any other vehicle (scooter, bike, quad bike), wide range of which is always presented in rental offices of Naxos. I choose in one of them, next to our hotel, a small off-road car Suzuki Samurai for 2 days for 35 euros a day (25 + 10 insurance), and it did not disappoint me, because sometimes it was necessary to include a full drive, especially when we drove on soil road. In the office the manager took away my driving license and gave out a contract instead. However, during our trips the traffic police (as well as any another) never came across. The tank of the car was almost empty; therefore I immediately came to the next located filling station. I don’t remember how much they filled in, but it sufficed for two days, even remained a little; the price was 1 euro for a liter.

After lunch we got in the car and went for sightseeing of Naxos. We reached Agía Ánna (to the south from our settlement) and turned inland. And there we drove without any route, stopped along the road for shooting majestic views of the mountain landscape of Naxos, Venetian towers, windmills, churches. It is impossible to lose the way here, on each crossroad there is a guideboard that shows the way to Hora. Once we followed a tourist bus and stopped in a farm where near a citric garden laid Koúros - the ancient statue of athlete. We stopped also in the picturesque villages Glinádo and Apíranthos. We returned along the northern shore of the island. All the roads here are two-lane, flat, often go by serpentine, which tires a little and does not allow admiring landscapes.

Next day we went along the coast to the south, where the extra-road properties of our car were required, especially after a morning rain. Plaka beach, the place of our stop, is located aside from the tourist centers; therefore almost uninhabited and almost nudist. I.e., it is allowed to be both in clothes and without it, full freedom! In general, this is a usual phenomenon on the Greek islands, as soon as you will go away a little from the mass beach, so the "area of freedom" begins.

Near the settlement Mikrí Vígla is located a small dried lake. My wife got behind the steering wheel and started to study in driving under my management, making circles around the lake. Then we went to the next located boundless and absolutely uninhabited beach, which seemed at first glance quite decent and suitable for bathing. However, in the sand there were sharp stones, capable to wound a foot, and the cobblestones of a fist size covered the bottom beside the coast. Further the road has ended and we went back.

The last day on Naxos we devoted to rest at the sea.

According to the general impression, Naxos is the quiet place, not overfilled by tourists, with the half-empty and empty long beaches, with the white "Cycladic" houses, with the serpentines of mountain roads and the majestic views, with the picturesque villages, windmills, medieval towers – a typical Greek province, ideal place for a quiet relaxing rest. Perhaps, we will return here…    Further...

Attribution-No Derivative Works (CC-BY-ND) by Andrey K.