|Wednesday, October 7
After another great breakfast at the Hotel Portobello, we checked out and our pre-booked taxi whisked us to the Old Port in a few minutes. We boarded the Superjet high speed ferry that landed us in Naxos a mere 45 minutes later. Naxos is one of the larger islands in the Cyclades chain, verdant and arable and with its own source of water, unlike many other islands. While not dependent upon tourism, it certainly does tourism well. Naxos Town, or Chora as primary island towns are known, has a pleasant harbour and harbour front promenade which is tastefully cobbled and has pleasant semi-circular benches fronting the harbour every few paces. Naxos has some of the best sandy beaches in Greece, many very close to town and even within walking distance. Adjacent to the harbour is Naxos' iconic symbol, a very impressive stone gate or "portara" on a small islet connected to town by a causeway. The portara is the gate to an unfinished and since demolished Temple of Apollo which dated back to the times of the ruins at Delos.
We rolled our luggage the length of the harbour to our hotel, the Xenia, which was a small independently owned and operated family hotel, nearly brand new and equisitely designed and decorated in every respect. They did the little things well, such as providing a complimentary bottle of wine and candies on the towels laid out on the king sized bed. Our room was very reasonably priced, perhaps emphasizing the steep cost of accommodation in the more popular destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini.
As our ferry arrived before noon, we we happy to be able to check in as soon as we arrived, giving us time to freshen up and rest before striking out on the town. The town is charming with its pleasant harbour, the iconic Portara, an old fortress above with an Old Market area surrounding it, as well as great beaches nearby. We followed the shoreline to the nearest beach, St. George, a wide sandy beach ringed by bars and restaurants and great for families, being shallow enough to be able to wade out quite a distance. It was easy to see that it was near the end of the season as the beach was sparsely populated and bars were featuring season end specials. After stopping for drinks and tzatziki, we walked back through town and across the causeway to the portara. After returning to our hotel for a rest, we headed out to the harbour to take in the sunset. With views of boats in the harbour and the afterglow, it turned out to be the best sunset we have seen thus far. Late we explored the Old Market surrounding the fortress, which reminded us somewhat of Mykonos' lanes, although less gentrified. We had supper at a cute And well-rated Italian restaurant in the Old Market, enjoying a great meal at very reasonable cost. We browsed some more shops, including one featuring only local products, on our way back to our hotel.