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If you’re looking for the perfect Greek island beach, take a look at Plaka; a small beach that runs along the coast from the Naxos east-coast resort of Agia Anna. It really does have everything: dunes running down to a soft sandy beach before meeting the crystal-blue waters of the Mediterranean.
Naxos is in the Cyclades island group, and it’s about midway between Greece and Turkey. It’s the largest island in the group and one of the largest in the Med, offering a brilliant mix of developed tourist facilities as well as secluded, secret spots in which to lose yourself. A cluster of equally stunning, smaller islands are just off-shore and easy to reach for day trips.
Plaka is situated south of Hóra/Naxos, the island’s capital; a beautiful and historic city that blends a traditional Greek harbour with a modern holiday paradise. There’s lots of history here. Whether or not Theseus came to the island during his escape from the labyrinth on Crete, the island’s love of Dionysus, the Ancient Greek God of wine and good times is still very much alive, and the island’s wines are just one of Naxos’ traditional pleasures.
Space is one of the big draws of Plaka beach. There’s room for everyone here – whether you want to sit back and linger over a cocktail or dive into the Med with a board under your arm. With tavernas nestled below trees and surrounded by golden sands, Plaka is a picture of Greek perfection. The waters are calm and safe for family swimming or taking part in water sports. As the sun sinks you’ll want to have a drink in your hand and a grandstand seat facing east for one of the finest sunsets in Europe.
If you’re able to peel yourself off your Plaka sunlounger, Naxos’ coast is a fabulous place for sun lovers, water babies and beach bums to explore. In fact, the whole south-west coast, from Agios Prokopios to Agiassos is made up - almost exclusively - of beach.
Agia Anna, just to the north, has more tourist facilities than Plaka, but retains its traditional Greek heritage. Protected by cedar groves and dunes, Aliko is more secluded than its beauty deserves. Like Plaka itself, many are favourites with nudists!
Hóra boasts one of the most picturesque and best-preserved old towns amongst the Greek islands. Not far from the home of the original labyrinth on Crete, the island’s capital is a maze of streets and alleys lined with some wonderful buildings that help tell the story of Naxos. The island is steeped in Italian history thanks to the medieval rule of Venetian aristocrats and the mansions they left behind are still standing. The cathedral – unusually, Catholic – is also worth visiting as holds the proud title of being the city’s castle. Also on offer is an extensive museum of archaeological finds and once you’ve fed your knowledge enough, you can also fill your boots with some excellent souvenirs before relaxing in one of the many tourist-friendly bars and restaurants around.
Naxos’ is incredibly self-sufficient through thriving agriculturalism and tourism is not a necessity like some of it’s sister islands. The islanders are very proud of their way of life and the friendly Eggares Olive Press Museum offers a chance to see how the island’s famous fruits are grown, harvested and processed – of course, you’ll also get a chance to taste some of the fantastic products they’re made into.
If the weather isn’t too hot, you may want to climb the dominating peak of Mount Zeus, on the slopes of which are some of Naxos’ most beautiful villages, including Halki and Apiranthos.