Let me me tell you about a place called Naxos. Set amongst the Cyclades and only 25 minutes flying from Athens, this is the largest island and the centre of archaic Cycladic culture. So how come you may not have heard of this place? We travelled there for four days to discover what you’ve been missing.
The first thing worth noting is that Naxos cannot be reached direct by charter flight. This has without doubt preserved the island from mass tourism and as a consequence, appears to attract the more intrepid traveller, the adventurer.
To get to Naxos, you either take a ferry from Athens, Mykonos or Santorini although the fastest way without doubt, is to hop onto the domestic Olympic service from Athens international airport which should take no more than 30 minutes.
So what’s so special about the place? Well, at first sight it may just seem like another ordinary Greek island with white houses and blue-topped churches dotted across its landscape. It has a historic town centre with narrow streets leading up to its main attraction that being a Venetian castle.
However, if you’re someone who regularly indulges in watersports, there is something quite special that awaits you…the Flisvos Sportclub and Hotel. This club dominates the watersports scene across Naxos and is run by keen German/Dutch couple Jan and Mieke. Jan is no newcomer to Naxos either, he’s been coming here since his twenties when he fell in love with the island and soon realised its action sports potential.
Jan has since built up an extensive operation consisting of two hotels and three centres catering for windsurfers and kitesurfers alike. The main hotel/centre is conveniently located within 10 minutes beach walk from Naxos town centre making it the ideal base for popping into town for some sightseeing, retail therapy and vibrant nightlife.
At the heart of this operation sits the Flisvos beach cafe, a spectacular bar/restaurant from which you can enjoy the most amazing sunsets. The Flisvos team are quick to ensure you feel at home whilst presenting you with an impressive array of bar snacks and cocktails.
Every Sunday, weather permitting, the bar is moved onto the beach itself where barman Sven and his assistants put on an impressive display of bottle juggling that would give Tom Cruise (in the classic 80’s movie Cocktail) a run for his money!
As for the windsurfing, I sense you are eager to know, you really couldn’t ask for a more complete setup. Two centres at the main resort cater for all levels of windsurfing right from beginner flat water conditions to the more advanced wave head. The wave and flat water spots are separated by a shallow reef through which you can sail so you can enjoy all conditions within a single session, this is unique.
Other than windsurfing, there is also catamaran and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) to be enjoyed so you’re truly covered for all conditions. During the low-season period you can book sport packs which include everything so you can easily switch between sports without any hassle.
As for alternative activities, there are ‘Beach Cruiser’ bikes at your disposal which are great for local trips whilst the more experienced cyclist has access to pro bikes and an extensive menu of daily cycle trips to choose from, guided by resident MTB fanatic Anton.
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, then head further south to the stunning beaches of Agios Prokopios and Mikri Vigla. It is here that Flisvos has its second operation catering for both kitesurfers and windsurfers all based at Hotel Orkos. You will find wider and less crowded beaches and crystal clear water making it ideal to indulge in a spot of kitesurfing. Once again, their team seem all too eager to ensure you have a great and safe time whether you are there to windsurf or kitesurf.
Beyond Mikri Vigla there are more beaches to discover and the further south you travel the less crowded they become. As you work your way around the souther tip of the island before heading back north, you will notice the coastline becoming more rugged giving you a real sense of adventure.
The highest peak in Naxos reaches in excess of 1,000m beyond which you will find lush vegetation and valleys clearly demonstrating the diversity of this unique landscape. Anton runs extensive MTB trips, some lasting up to a day so if you’re fit and up for it, let the adventure begin!
So there you have it, Naxos uncovered in 100 hours. If you’re looking to head for somewhere slightly off the beaten track with superb action sports on offer, then Naxos should be a good bet for you this year.
More photos of our recent trip can be viewed on our official Facebook Page.