Naxos is about 2 hours away from Santorini by boat and when in Naxos, you are only an hour away from Mykonos. Warning, this hour boat ride, if on a small boat, can feel longer and might be an uncomfortable/nauseating experience.
As expected, the Marble Gate of Portara welcomed us as we get closer to the main port. Lodging within walking distance from the main port is possible.
While our hotel was a bit off the city center, we were close to the beach and we had a pool.
On the first day we explored the area on foot. Again a city walk in the sinuous streets wondering here and there is a must. The beauty of it is you make your own route.
The next day, we have booked a car but unexpected delays limited our discovery of the island. Streets are well but can be narrow, feeling like a one-way and ending up nowhere when out of town. Which is not efficient when you are on a late start.
Still, we were able to reach Plaka, Ana Agia beach. Very very nice beaches, soft sand, restaurants with and without service on the beach, resorts all over the place. You want to stay there for hours. Even if we had to continue our journey, we stayed a little longer has it is very agreeable. The rest of our visit of the island was limited.
Naxos offers you a beautiful scenery with beautiful beaches, green valleys and mountains. The views are nice but we realized quickly that we would not be able to reach the other destinations as we wished. The island is way bigger than Santorini; more than 5 times. We headed back and enjoyed our place and returned the car earlier than expected.
So we did not visit the island as expected but we appreciated what we did see and had.
I’m sure this island has more to offer but I will limit this post to what I had the chance to see.
Chora / Naxos City
Naxos city or Chora is where you will arrive if you use the ferry.
In fact, you will be right in the action and from the port you will notice a few things: the castle, the Portara, the whitebrushed minecraft style square houses, the restaurants on the waterfront and more.
The town is vibrant day and night. Pedestrian narrow alleys take you to multiple stores, restaurants and of course to the Venetian castle. You can enjoy the place at your rhythm.
If you plan only to stay in Chora, you can easily have access to the beach of Agios Georgios on foot. Nice gold sand with restaurants.
As per the island of Syros, when you arrive by ferry you are right in the heart of the town. If well plan, you can have a wonderful daily excursion which can combine beach, history, walking and enjoying a nice restaurant with the sunset by the water.