Planning a trip to the Cyclades
The Cyclades is a cluster of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. They include Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Mykonos and Milos. This gorgeous archipeligo boasts brilliant blue waters, cobbled streets,bright bourgainvillae and the warm Greek spirit. if you’re looking for a Greek island getaway then look no further than the Cyclades. I have written blog posts on Santorini, Naxos and Paros for you to use in planning your trip. Check them out.
Santorini, Naxos, Paros and Mykonos all have airports. You can fly in using Aegean airlines or EasyJet (if you book using this link I get a small commission with no extra cost to you). All island flights go via Athens. So your international flight will take you to Athens before you catch a domestic flight to the islands. I would recommend flying in to your first island and from there onwards catching the ferry between the islands. The ferries will be much quicker than flying and you’ll spend a few hours cruising across the Aegean Sea. You can book your ferry tickets here.
Where to stay
We were traveling as a family of four for our Greek trip. We stayed at Dilino Hotel in Naxos (if you book using this link I get a small commission with no extra cost to you). Our hosts were incredibly kind, helpful and friendly. True Greek hospitality!
Rent a car, ATV or motorbike. If you are a bigger group it can be cheaper to rent a car, but the ATVs are always lots of fun!
What to do in Naxos
Visit the beach Ag. Prokopis
Have a swim at Agia Anna
Rent a car and check out the inland traditional villages of Chalki and Filoti
Drive to Moutsauna Bay and swim in the tranquil waters
Go for dinner in the port town of Chora and watch the sunset at the Apollo
Hire ATVs and go beach hopping around the island. be sure to check out the gorgeous cove of Mikri Vigia
Naxos. If I could use any two words to describe Naxos it would be family and beach. The pace slowed down drastically once we’d left the very hectic and touristy Santorini and ferried across to the laid back island of Naxos. We couldn’t find our port pick up but once we’d found Mike all was forgiven with his wide smile and can-do attitude. For the rest of our stay this smiling, friendly Greek made it has his mission to please us. I genuinely love the Greek people. I think I can compare them to South Africans with the simple word of ‘sommer’. They really are just so laid back, uncomplicated and down to earth people. From the bright-eyed energy of Mike, the all-embracing mama of Maria who owned the accommodation or the gentle old man at your local taverna who greets you like an old friend. We have slipped into the Greek lifestyle very seamlessly; eating late, waking up late and just rolling from one beach to another. Our whole family just relaxed completely and almost went into a bit of a retard mode- everything just so slowed down. Bliss!
Our stay at Dilino Hotel was nothing short of perfection. The large, overflowing pool lined with umbrellas and sun loungers provided the perfect relief after a long day out in the sun on the beach. And beach we did! Our first day led us to our back garden of Ag. Prokopis. The golden beanbag-like sand shores were rhythmically kissed by the most surreal blue waters. Mottled shades of blue, turquoise, teal and aquamarine sang to you the sweet melody of the ocean, forever beckoning, forever inviting you to enjoy its depths. One of my fondest memories of this beach and I will forever look upon it and smile; was the doughnut man. A short, leathery-skinned Greek with a thick moustache who walked up and down the beach relentlessly, calling, “DoughNUT. Greeeeeek DoughNUT.” In a voice that is actually indescribable. One just couldn’t help but burst out laughing as he passed you on the beach. We feel so in love with it that it became the game to see who could spot him first swaggering down the beach, doughnut tray tucked under his armpit and advertising his doughnuts.
We later enjoyed a delicious ocean basket which was filled with fresh seafood at a beautifully done beach bar. We had a dip at Ag. Anna and ended the evening with a sunset beach picnic.
The next day we hired a little car and tootled along the windy inland roads of the island to the traditional villages. Our first stop was Chalki. We took a cute little path which led us to an olive grove lined with stone walls.
Apparently Naxos is the most fertile island which was very evident in the plum, fig, apricot, and almond trees all heavy with ripe fruit. We strolled along the little paths munching on juicy plums and shelling the sweetest almonds I’d ever tasted.
The next traditional village, Filoti, was a very characterful and quaint place. The shutters here strayed away from the classic blue, leaning more towards pastel mint. Large tomato cans struggled to contain flourishing basil, grape vines climbed up walls and fat plums lay on the ground, hot and juicy in the summer sun. We had a traditional Greek lunch of Moussaka, pita breads, tzatziki, spanakopita, Naxaian salad, souvlaki and the sweetest, most syrupy baklava ever.
We wound down hairpin bends into the little bay of Moutsauna where we spent a relaxed few hours on the beach and in the tranquil waters. The evening was spent in the port town of Chora. Roads are non-existent in the old town so you’re not sure if you’re walking down the main drag or up to someone’s house.
We then battled with the crowds and wind to catch the sunset on the Apollo. I was having issues with a dripping ice cream in one hand, the other protecting my skirt against the naughty wind, my hair was crossing paths and to top it all off my shoe broke. I couldn’t help but laughing at myself and my mess.
The next day Dad finally caved in and said yes to our continual nagging to hire quad bikes to get around the island. I haven’t driven in 6 months and have forgotten much of my road knowledge, let alone having to learn how to drive a quad bike. Mom wasn’t even going to consider driving it so that left Dad and I. It was such fun! After a little getting used to, we were A for away and cruising between the island’s best beaches. We popped into the gorgeous cove of Mikri Vigia, a beach in the middle of nowhere somewhere between Aylko and Glyfada and Plaka beach. I find Greece so weird because it feels like you’re driving through a barren wasteland desert and then you come across a stunning beach with unreal blue waters.
Our days on Naxos were magical, relaxed and spent overdosing on vitamin sea and D. We all absolutely fell in love with this place and my parents are already planning their next trip here!