Caribbean-blue seas off...Plaka Beach (Naxos Island, Greece!)
A love for clear, deliciously Caribbean blue ocean goes with the territory when you're part of the Island Runaways family. Maybe you can relate? Since we're island travelers, and one of us (Zickie) grew up in Jamaica, we like to think it's hard to fool us when it comes to Caribbean beaches. Therefore, we assumed this photo was taken in the West Indies.
(Photo by Random_Fotos, Flickr)
Were we WRONG! This beautiful beach doesn't lie in the warm Caribbean Sea, south of the United States; instead, you can only find these enticingly clear waters in the Mediterranean, thousands of miles from Island Runaways headquarters. (This is when I wish we owned a private jet. That, or a relative who works for a Greek airline.) In fact, the island is called Naxos, and human beings have inhabited this gorgeously fertile place for thousands of years.
Here are 5 quick facts about Naxos:
1. Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades, the famous island chain in the Aegean Sea. This idyllic destination lies south of the more heavily touristed Mykonos. Ferries run here from the central port, Piraeus, just outside Athens.
(Chora, Naxos, photo by Gerald Adams, Flickr)
2. In addition to spectacular beaches, Naxos makes an excellent place to try windsurfing and kite boarding. You won't lack for a breeze! Like the other Cycladic islands, Naxos can be fairly windy.
3. Ancient Greek myths recount that the hero Theseus left his love, Ariadne, on the island just before he went off to fight the Trojan War. Ariadne had helped Theseus escape from the labyrinth on the isle of Crete and evade a ghastly death at the hands of the Minotaur. Granted, Theseus was a cad, but we Island Runaways can think of worse places to be abandoned!
(Naxos, photo by Graeme Churchard, Flickr)
4. If you love mountains along with a beach, Naxos might present the perfect vacation opportunity. The Cycladic Islands' highest point can be found here: Mt. Zas or Mt. Zeus, which measures 3293 feet hight (or 1004 meters).
5. Are you serious about your beaches? As in, you like them beautiful and pristine? Well, then, Naxos might just be your idea of paradise. There are 18 (yes, eighteen!) amazing beaches on this one single island. Plaka Beach is shown in the first photo, and it's the longest beach on the western side of Naxos. You'll find quieter Maragas, Aliko with its cedar forests, and Agios Georgios, with lots of watersports.
(View of Plaka beach, photo by Random_Fotos, Flickr)
So, are you tempted to go? While the Caribbean is much closer to us, and easier to get to, the temptations of Naxos, not to mention its ancient history, cast a very powerful spell. Let us know on our Guest Island Experts page if you've ever experienced the enchantments of this Grecian paradise.