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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 August 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 AUGUST 2016 17 TRAVEL Apeiranthou. Across the plain of Naxos. Prokopis the cormorant of Appolonia. Naxian hill-top villages have their own beauty and for many, they are the 'real Naxos'. Check out Halki and Filoti for a slice of real island living. In fact, skip the really popular beachfront options altogether in high season. Naxos is really beautiful and places like Agios Georgios or Agia Anna will make you feel claustrophobic during the peak summer months. Do give the Chora some of your time though, don't just ignore it on your way to and from the port. The sunset at the Portara is an Instagram dream and the old market alleyways are cuteness personified. Avoid the usual tourist traps and your visit to the main town can be a lot of fun, especially if you visit the amazing old-school groceries on the main shopping street. Koufopoulos cheeses and Mr Tziblakis' wonderful store showcase the best the island has to offer. Incredible cheese, the best potatoes in Greece and loads of other local products that will provide a taste of your holiday when you're back at home. While on the subject of food, we have to admit that it is most definitely the second reason we come back to Naxos time and time again. There is nothing posh about the dining scene here, just great local products (meat, fish, dairy and vegetables), a lot of respect for Cycladic traditions and a nod to modern cooking techniques by younger chefs and restaurant owners. Prices remain reasonable and the welcome you'll receive is warm. There are so many places to choose from, but our absolute favourites would have to be Axiotissa in Kastraki, Petrino on Plaka beach and Giorgis in Melanes village, and they're only a small snapshot of the places you're going to discover yourselves. As in most Greek islands, heading away from the main port/town and other tourist settlements and driving towards the mountains is where foodie heaven is to be found. It's the places frequented by locals, run by families using produce they've reared or grown, lavished with love and attention. This is definitely not Mykonos or Santorini. There are boutique options if that kind of hotel is what you're after and a number of more exclusive activities if you're willing to look for them. Naxos is more about relaxing and feeling free though, whether you're young and going on your first Greek island adventure or an experienced traveller who has clear priorities for their precious time off. It's an island which manages to offer all the amenities a developed tourist destination can provide, coupled with a feeling of being able to be part of an authentic island existence. It's a difficult balancing act, but Naxos nails it, and will always leave you wanting more.
20 August 2016
3 September 2016