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Naxos

Our favourite restaurant so far

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We'd already spent one night in Naxos when we were getting a morning ferry to Amorgos and knew that it was somewhere we wanted to explore more of. It's one of the biggest Cyclades islands and most mountainous so we were hoping to have another different island experience.

We were staying in a nice little room with our own small kitchenette, cheap enough and right in the middle of the old town walls. Naxos old town is quite cute, but I imagine in peak tourist season it gets very busy as there are lots of restaurants, cafes and hotels. For us, yet again, it was lovely and quiet. I really enjoyed wandering around the old town; there were plenty of cafes, jewellery shops and pretty hidden alleyways to keep me occupied. Our room was right at the top of the old town and next door to the castle ruins. The castle has a little exhibition room and hosts musical events in the evening (we didn't need to buy tickets to the concerts because we could hear the traditional music from our room). You also get a panoramic view from the terrace at the top too.

We decided to hire a scooter for two days. To be honest, on the first day we only drove to a secluded beach and back, but the beach itself was so worth it. It was backed by sand dunes and had crystal clear water for snorkelling (it was also a nuudist beach too, but I chose to keep my clothes on). So we didn't get up to much else but sunbathe... Oh, I did get to practice riding the scooter for the first time because Jason says I need to learn before Malaysia so that he can have his mum on the back of his scooter when she's backpacking with us (so Debbie, I hope you're ready for some scooter time?!). I actually quite liked it and think I could get the hang of it. Other than this pretty beach to spend a few hours on, we only really saw a couple of large beach resort areas that were shut for the winter period.

The next day we set out early and drove straight to the central village area of the island. We got to appreciate the vast mountains that make up the island, it was a beautiful drive. The weather had turned a little, although it was sunny it also had a bitterly cold wind so we were really wrapped up for our scooter ride. We called in at Halki village, which was really quaint with outdoor cafes, art gallery, local photography exhibition and a lemon liquor distillery. We had a little tour around the distillery, called Kipton, that makes Naxos liquor from the leaves of a lemon tree...a very nice tipple! By the time we'd reached the next village, Moni, we were in need of a hot drink to warm us up and the only place open was a little Greek cafe filled with old men playing card games and most probably putting the world to rights.

Our plan was to drive around the north coast of the island as it's supposed to have a scenic coastal road, but that trip was abandoned because our scooter broke down. Bummer! The thing was, we both had a feeling something was going to go wrong with the scooter because it was the third scooter that this Greek guy was trying to give us, the other ones had all got dodgy brake lights. We were kicking ourselves... why did we take the third scooter knowing that it was obviously a dodgy company?! Anyway, we think the bike's engine overheated on inclines...we left it 15 minutes and tried to start the engine on numerous occasions, but the bike was having none of it. So we free wheeled back down the hill and pushed it to the nearest village where a lady in a local cafe rang the motorbike man to come and rescue us. We sat outside this cafe for about an hour when an old Greek man walked past and started messing with the bike and through perseverance got it started again. By this point we were cold and worried about it breaking down again and us not getting home, so our day exploring was cut short and we headed back to the old town. Nevermind, we'd still had a good day.

We took George's advice, the wine man on Santorini, and visited Maros taverna for our evening meal...we went there three times in total. The food was proper homemade and the portions massive. We sampled slow cooked lamb, beef in lemon, beef in tomatoes, pork stuffed with feta, mousaka, zucchini balls and spinach pies. It was all amazing! We liked it here too because at the end of your meal you got a complimentary 0.5 litre of wine and desert. The slow cooked beef in lemons was to die for!

To draw comparisons to the other islands we've visited, I'd say that this one has the potential to be very touristy in peak season and that we got it at its best. It's had the best food of all the islands. The scenery is very different to the others; it's not volcanic like Santorini and is more mountainous than Amorgos with a lusher green landscape. It's a lot bigger than the other islands and so there's probably enough to keep you busy for a long summer holiday. Yet again, felt very different to the other islands we'd visited and had its own unique feel.

Posted by bloorsontour 10:14 Archived in Greece

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