After three nights in Athens, we caught a ferry to the island of Naxos, Greece. We were dying to experience some of the Greek island life we had heard so much about. I won’t lie, I’d heard horror stories about Greek ferries before we left, and unfortunately our first wasn’t great. With crazy winds and 20 foot waves that were so intense that at one point ALL of the bottles on the bar legitimately flew off the shelf, we were all horrifically seasick by the time we arrived. And by all of us, I mean the entire boat. Truly. (Somehow our 3 year old was fine THANK GOD. She watched Peppa Pig the *entire* time as we could barely hold it together – pure survival mode. But she was fine and I will forever hold onto that silver lining).
I won’t lie though, it was nightmarish, with ferry staff standing outside washrooms armed with rolls of paper towel and disinfectant. And because of said vicious winds, what was supposed to be a 4 hour trip took 5. It added insult to injury when you’re literally counting down the seconds. It was slightly torturous, but of course could have been worse. We were headed to a Greek island after all (perspective!) And we were so thankful when our feet landed solid ground. Something I had never been grateful about before, but it all counts!
I’m pleased to report that the island of Naxos made up for a less than stellar journey. Tenfold, and then some. If you’re planning a trip of your own, I’ve since been told these experiences do happen but they’re not the norm. Either way, the journey was absolutely worth it in the end.
We stayed at Argo Boutique hotel in Chora, Naxos. It was just a block away from the beach and a few minute walk into the core. And we had the absolute loveliest stay. We were given a room that had a pool inside and that was an instant core memory for our daughter. She talks about it almost daily, even now after being back for a few weeks. A big hit for all of us, but especially the younger crowd.
Everyone from the staff to the guests were nothing short of kind. So much so that by this point in the trip I found myself googling why Greece is so warm and welcoming. As it turns out, there’s a term called “philoxenia”, which translates to “friend of a stranger”. It seems to stem from an old Greek myth wherein anyone who comes to your door may be a God in disguise. Everyone must be treated with the utmost respect by that logic. It’s a sentiment that seemed pervasive throughout the entirety of our trip. I was constantly blown away by how welcome we always felt, which was just so lovely.
Naxos itself is a small, largely quiet, but absolutely beautiful island. It was our favourite place that we stayed for sure. It made for the absolute perfect balance between utter relaxation on the beach, and fun adventure time. With a castle to explore in the heart of the city, some of the loveliest boutiques, restaurants, and bars to frequent, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, it’s safe to say that it stole our heart. At one point we stumbled across the sweetest toy store. It felt like a mini magical Willy Wonka factory. The owner, unsurprisingly, was so kind with our daughter. He spent no less than an hour introducing us to (ahem letting us play with) all of the unique toys they had on offer. It was admittedly a really fun way to spend an evening for all of us, ha.
Though we spent the majority of our time lounging at the beach and exploring the charming town of Chora by foot (it is very walkable), we did rent a car one day to explore. Our main goal was to head to the village of Chalki. It is, arguably, the most picturesque village on the island. Complete with a Byzantine church from the 13th century (!!!) and is well worth the visit. Exploring this stunning little mountain town was absolutely a trip highlight for us. Having a car also meant we could explore some of the harder to access beaches. After all, the perfect way to cap off a hot and sticky village visit is with a dip in the Aegean sea (and being buried in the sand, of course!)
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