One cannot come to Greece and not visit an island, even in winter. There are plenty of cruises from Athens which go to various Greek islands. We took the Blue Star Ferries to Naxos, which also makes stops in Paros and the final destination is Santorini. Santorini is definitely on our list but we decided that we have to go in summer so we decided to go to Naxos instead. We took an early morning ferry from Piraeus. The ferry was quite impressive with a couple of restaurants, lots of seating areas, a wide deck. It even has sleeping cabins even though the entire journey is not very long. You can take your vehicles in the ferry for an extra fee.
The sunrise from the ferry was nice and I got some good shots
from the upper deck. It was cold outside on the deck and soon it became a little cloudy as well. After a few hours, the ferry stopped in Paros. It was nice to have a look at a typical Cycladic island, with white buildings and the blue Mediterranean. I was getting excited now and was waiting to go to Naxos. Even though the distance between Paros and Naxos is small, I felt the ferry took a long time to reach Naxos. On the whole, even though the ferry ride was comfortable it seemed to take too long. But finally we had arrived.
We were greeted by the famous Temple of Apollo relic at the entrance of the island. It
looked like a perfect photo frame overlooking the sea. The weather was not bad, it was partly cloudy and sunny (can’t expect more in winter). I soon realized that the island was so isolated with hardly any tourists and very few locals outside on the main promenade street. Very few hotels and restaurants are open in Winter in Naxos. We reached our hotel which was decent, considering that we would stay there only for a night. Now, I was really hungry. We went outside the promenade road, the only nice place with vegetarian options was a bakery called Gregory’s (which I later found out was a bakery chain). This bakery serves really good pastries, sandwiches and I recommend to go here.
We took a walk in the Old Town which is called Chora. It is so pretty! Lovely pedestrian streets lined with white houses. There was literally no one outside. It was just my husband and me (Of course a lot of cats), strolling around the winding paths of the old town, admiring the views. We soon reached a fort and the view from here is nice. After this walk, it became pretty dark (Yeah! winters! It gets dark so soon!). We returned back to the promenade, had a nice falafel meal at a restaurant and went back to our hotel.
The next day, we decided not to rent a car or bike and go around the island. In summer, there are tourist buses as well, taking people around the island and showing some points which were not all that interesting to me. Instead we just chose to walk along the beach until it was time for us to get back to the ferry. I have always wanted to do this, just walk along the beach, aimlessly, admiring nature, listening to the sea, just live that moment. It was so beautiful! We started from the Promenade and started going South of the island as this is where all the good beaches are. We walked to Agios Georgios, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and finally Plaka. I wanted to keep walking till Mikri Vigla beach, but time din’t allow me to go until there. We walked around 17-18 km that day. It was so relaxing and romantic. It was almost like we were on our own private island. There were hardly anyone around. This is a really nice and unique experience as I normally visit beaches in the summer and they are generally crowded.
Agios Anna and Plaka are beautiful beaches with clean water and a view of the island of Paros nearby. The beaches of Naxos are supposed to be one of the best in Greece with long clean beaches and lovely turquoise waters. The water was so inviting that I felt like just jumping into it, and I did try getting in but it was so cold! 😦
Even though there are several disadvantages of visiting an island in winter, I would definitely recommend visiting one because it is a completely different atmosphere and experience. Try it once!