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- 20 Sep 2020, 3 nights
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Náxos has managed to stay relatively under the radar compared to its neighbours in the Cyclades but, as the chain's largest island, it has lots of Greek charm. It's got traditional villages, rugged mountain scenery and soft sandy beaches lapped by clear Aegean waters – plus, as the supposed birthplace of Zeus, some mythology to discover too. The main town, Hora (or just Náxos Town), has plenty of atmosphere, but if you want to escape the bustle there are many peaceful harbour towns and deserted bays to explore.
Most hostels in Náxos are inside typical Greek style buildings, complete with characteristic blue shutters. The interiors are usually decorated in the same Mediterranean way, with cooling shades of white and blue. As well as the usual private rooms and dorms, some hostels also offer studios with their own kitchen areas. Other Náxos hostels have private balconies or shared courtyards where you can make friends over a beer.
Náxos Town is picture-postcard Greece, with winding alleys leading up past whitewashed houses with fuchsia pink flowers tumbling over walls. The warren of streets is home to shops selling local crafts and tavernas serving up local food. The waterfront, which runs from the port to the beach, is lined with bars where you can sip a cocktail in the evening. St George Beach is just around the corner from the town, and its calm waters sheltered from the north winds make it excellent for swimming.
The most iconic sight in Náxos is the Apollo Temple ruins, where people go to watch the sunset over the Aegean. All that's left of the temple is a huge door jutting out into the sea. You can continue the Greek mythology theme by heading half an hour inland to climb the island's highest peak Mount Zas: according to legend, it's where the Greek god Zeus grew up. Náxos is also one of Greece's best windsurfing destinations, and you can try the sport for yourself at the long and sandy Plaka Beach.
Ferries come into Náxos Port, right beside the old town. You can also fly in from Athens to Náxos Island National Airport, which is just 3.5km from the town centre. There are lots of taxis on the island, but the historic centre is small enough to get around on foot. If you're planning on exploring other villages or the countryside, you can hop on a bus or hire a car from the port area.