Considered by many to be another overlooked gem in the Aegean, Naxos is big, green and may have the best beaches in Greece. It's close to the popular islands Mykonos, Ios, Paros and Santorini with frequent ferry connections. It has a lively harbor town with restaurants, cafes, clubs and shops. Rent a car, or even better, a motorscooter (papaki) and see the whole island. The valleys and ridges are beautiful and lush, particularly the area known as Tragaia, so hikers will have a ball. The best beach they say is at Plaka with other nice ones at Agios Yorgos, Agia Anna, Mikri Vigla, and Kastraki, any of which would be the prized beach on any other island. The fishing village of Apollon is a popular location for day trips, with good seafood restaurants and a giant unfinished statue of the god Apollo laying in the ancient marble quarries since 600bc. The ferry trip is about 8 hours from Athens and stops in Paros. There are daily connections to Mykonos, Ios and Santorini. There are also less frequent connections to Crete, the Dodekanese, Ikaria, Samos, Amorgos, the small Cyclades islands, Skiathos, Crete and Thessaloniki.

    Naxos is also appealing as the first view of the island is that of its most famous archeological site, the Portara, the doorway to the ancient Temple to Apollo which was built in 522 BC and never finished. That inof itself is kind of cool, as most ruins we see are ruins because of the passage of time, not becasue they were never finished. Above the town is the Venetian Kastro, where the famous Modern Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis went to school. Kazantzakis is famous for the films that have been made of his books (Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ).

    Naxos is a bustling island, so you should just sit back and relax until you pick up the pace of things. As most people go on multiple island tours, they spend a few days in Naxos. I'd advise that you don't do those multiple islands in one day tours. You just get herded from one island to another. If you're short for time, visit one or two, and enjoy your stay. Naxos deserves a couple of days to really enjoy and explore.

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