Day 3 – We rode a Seajets ferry 1 hour to Naxos. Our airbnb host Nikos met us at the port on his motorcycle because the taxi he had arranged was not there. He found us another taxi (in the busy port) and paid the driver to get us to his place. We followed him a short 10 minutes to his house in Laguna Beach. Below are the views from the house and of our room. We were in one of six rooms on the property (which was fully booked).
Nikos was a fantastic host right from the start. As soon as we checked into our room, he had started cutting up fresh watermelon for us and offered us a drink from his bar inside. We knew we were going to have a good time because Nikos and his mom were so welcoming and fun to talk to. He poured us both a traditional Greek liquor – Ouza as we tried to plan out what we were going to do the rest of the day. Nikos showed us a map and described a few unique places to us and we knew we had to rent a car. We weren’t going to be in Naxos for very long (one night) so we took full advantage. Nikos called 2 rental car companies to find us the best deal on a half day car rental and even had them bring it to the house! Such an easy process for us! 30 minutes later, we were off in a rental stick shift car with a map and adventurous mindsets! Driving for the first time in Europe was an adrenaline rush for me and I loved it.
Naxos was not very busy on the roads, so I felt at home driving until we made it to the small towns. The town roads were about the size of a walking path here in the US and somehow it was a two way street. They always seemed to make it work but it was so crazy.
Our first stop was a gas station where we got a few beers and chips! Barrett got these Oregano chips which is a new favorite and I wish they sold them here!! We drove for another 15 minutes and arrived at Aliko Beach.
Aliko Beach was definitely a local spot and was breathtaking! Soon after we settled down, we had one beer and then went into the water. The water was freezing but worth it once you were in. We snorkeled around for a while and took some really fun underwater photos with the rocks and the fish – so much fun!
After swimming, we walked to the food truck Nikos had told us about. South Aegean F.B.I. was the name of it and was ran by 3 brothers who were professional chefs. We were so excited to try their food that seemed to be all the rage. They had some really cool music playing and places to sit if you wanted to eat the food. We ordered a chicken taco and a burger – SO GOOD!!! Probably still one of our favorite meals in Greece.
After lunch, we walked about 5 minutes to an abandoned hotel we had heard about called Hotel Aliko. It was ran by Swiss people who were later found to be smuggling Greek treasures off the island. So the government kicked them off the island and it became a place for Graffiti artists to show their talents. WD was the best artist with most of his art consisting of heads and faces.
After we explored the abandoned hotel for a while, we drove down several dirt roads to try and find another recommendation by Nikos – Paradise Beach. We drove past it the first time, but found it on the 2nd pass by. There were only 6 people here and it truly was a little paradise. We swam around here for a while, but it was close to sunset so we didn’t stay very long.
We made it back to Nikos’ place right at sunset just in time to enjoy the views and take some photos. The sky continued to change colors for at least one hour after the sunset and of course no photos or videos will do it justice.
After sunset, we got ready and drove about 5 minutes to Agios Prokopios – a little town with lots of restaurants right on the water.
The stars were everywhere!! Here is a photo of the incredible sky we enjoyed!
We stayed up until 3am with Nikos and a few of his friends. Barrett was challenged by Nikos to an arm wrestling competition (Barrett won), and to a “who could make the best drink” challenge (Barrett won), and we really enjoyed our time with these incredible people!
The next morning, we had to leave around 10:30 for our ferry ride to Santorini. We woke up to an amazing breakfast made by Nikos and his mom. I had a fresh fruit parfait and Barrett had a cheese omelette made fresh from their kitchen. Right as our ride pulled up to the house, Nikos’ mom had home-made Spanakopita coming out of the oven – so of course we had to take some with us to-go. Talk about hospitality!!
We were dropped off near the port of Naxos and we decided to explore the area before getting on our Ferry. The little streets of Naxos were so clean and beautiful – much like Mykonos, but not as crowded.
This spot was one of my favorite views of the island.
We ate some lunch at this place Nikos had recommended and wow what a great menu they had! I tried the fried eggplant and Barrett had the baked fish with fries and red beets…. SO GOOD! After our meals, the waiter brought us a dessert on the house that was similar to an egg custard.
Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Naxos. Looking back we wish we could have stayed here longer and definitely will next time. If you are ever visiting the islands of Greece, Naxos will not disappoint.