The Paros – Naxos – Mykonos leg of our journey was the most leisurely one we did in the whole trip. The islands were close together, the weather was mild and it got progressively sunnier and warmer every day. The decision to go to Mykonos was a turning point on which we’re abandoning our initial plan to go to Santorini and the start of our northerly route.
Day 4-5: Paros – Naxos
The three of us really loved Paros, but after 2 nights, we needed to move on. We woke up early on day 4, thinking we’re going to leave early and have a full day in Naxos, but a storm cloud was lurking just behind the mountain coming our way, so we waited it out. The small storm did come and passed. When we eventually left the harbour, we didn’t yet realised that Naoussa was to be our favourite port on the trip, but we’re quite looking forward to see another island. We sailed smoothly out of the Naoussa Bay, wove among scattered rock islands, mostly uninhabited, but some visibly populated with birds.
Naxos Chora appeared on the horizon not long after (most main towns in Greek islands are called Chora), with the unmistakable sight of Portara, a 2500 year-old marble gateway, the only standing remains of the unfinished temple of Apollo.
Naxos is the biggest island of the Cyclades, and the Chora was the busiest port town we’d seen so far. Even at siesta time it’s not completely deserted like the other port towns we’d been to. The main road of Naxos Chora was lined with many cafes and restaurants, it could be quite daunting to just pick one when one is especially hungry, but we were very happy we chose a taverna called Irini’s. Everything came out great, from the humble tzatziki and bread, the traditional meatballs and moussaka to the fish dishes (we didn’t eat this all in one sitting, we decided to come back for dinner). It has to be said, from the very first day our experience with Greek cuisine had been eye-openingly positive. Not that we thought it would be otherwise, we just didn’t expect more than the standard Mediterranean menu. Food quality was generally very good and each tavernas have their own specialties and seasonal fares, accompanied with great wines, which make mealtimes very enjoyable experience.
I had been excited to see the Portara up close. It’s perched on the top of the hill on a small island connected to the main island by a causeway. Behind the island there was a pebble beach and a quiet bay with water so clear and turquoise. The pebble beach itself was not an ordinary one; it’s filled with white translucent marbles that made Naxos famous and wealthy for its stone masonry.
Of course, we also had a lot of fun exploring the disorientating alleyways in town. Just like those in Paros, these alleyways never lead to a dead end so that it’s impossible to get lost. There’s always a way, no matter small, to a connecting alleyway where you might find more houses, small shops, galleries, small cafes, and hidden courtyards just tucked away. If you find the passage to the town castle (Kastro), it’s worth the 5E admission fee just to be able to stand on its balconies and took a great view of the town.
Day 6: Naxos – Mykonos
After 2 days in Naxos, we had to be on the move again. We considered all available alternatives to go to Santorini; either taking a ferry boat directly from Naxos and stay in Santorini for a day (which would have cost us 2 additional days, 300E for the ferry tickets and a hotel room for a night), or going against the wind even if we needed to motor (not a comfortable ride for the distance). In the end we thought that in the spirit of sailing, we’ll go where the wind is going, which is north. I was a bit concerned with the fact that Mykonos seems to be infamous for its hyper-touristy scene, but knowing that the yacht harbour will be some distance away from the town, we just hoped for the best and heading in the direction.
The sailing to Mykonos was basically uneventful with very little wind and flappy sails all the way, apart for the little tragedy of me dropping my phone into the Aegean sea.
We knew Mykonos yacht harbour is a distance away from the town, but it was properly middle of nowhere. Placed together with ferry boat docks, and moorings for giant cruisers. Like many Greek yacht marinas, it was never finished, and facilities were pretty much non-existent (we did managed to get electricity, though). Hubby were quite determined to go to the town, which he achieved by hitchhiking a ride from a friendly local. Apart from some pictures of Mykonos Chora, we don’t really have much to tell about the place itself. The town is swarmed with mass-tourism, discharged several times a day from super-sized cruise ships, even in low season, and it’s quite impossible to discern the real local essence of the place. If we ever have the opportunity to sail to Mykonos again, we might consider anchoring the boat somewhere on the far side of the island and explore the interior better.