Our Weekend in Naxos

Before sunrise on Friday morning we loaded the buses and headed to Pireaus Port and began our adventure to the beautiful island of Naxos. With a 6-hour ferry ahead of us, we were ready to take a step away from the bustling city of Athens and immerse ourselves in the easy-going lifestyle found on the Greek Islands. The next four days were sure to bring new experiences and forge stronger friendships for the Heritage Greece family!

Our first day in Naxos started in true island style – on the beach. The stunning beach of Agia Anna has golden sands, crystal clear waters and rocky peninsulas. For many participants, this was their first experience on a Greek Island, and it sure didn’t disappoint! For Rebecca Dickinson, Agia Anna beach was her favorite beach of the trip: “I loved Agia Anna beach, it was so beautiful and unlike any other beach I have ever been to,” said Rebecca. “I have seen a beach with rocks like this one, we were all jumping into the clear waters and having the best time together.” The first day came to an end with a traditional family style dinner along the sea, at sunset. What could be better? The weekend was off to an amazing start…

The second day in Naxos was one that HG 2019 surely will never forget. It was a day of Island hopping, historical antiquities, bumpy boat rides, bonding and incredible scenery. The first leg of many boat rides brought HG to Delos, an uninhabited Island in the Aegean Sea called “The Island of Light” by the Ancient Greeks. Rendered as a sacred island because of the belief that Delos was the birthplace of Gods Apollo and Artemis. The island has been free of inhabitants for over 100,000 years and is home to more items of antiquity than any of the Greek Islands. We were taken on a tour back through time as we walked the historical streets of the ancient villages, hearing the stories of a past life that Delos once held. 

HG 2019 admiring the ancient ruins of Delos island.

“My favorite part of Delos was seeing how everything is so preserved,” said Anthony Wilson.It’s so amazing that there is an island that is solely dedicated to antiquity and to our past. Its amazing that we can keep those memories, the history, the legends and the myths alive for future generations.”

The next boat ride, from Delos to Mykonos, was a trip most of us will not soon forget. Strong winds meant for a bumpy and rocky 30-minute trip…thankfully we all made it to Mykonos in high spirits, excited to see one of Greece’s most famous islands. We were able to walk the main village of Mykonos Town and soak in the picturesque views of white and blue buildings before our trip back to Naxos. One final boat ride brought us back to our temporary home base of Naxos, where once again a beautiful family style dinner was shared overlooking the port of Naxos and the setting sun.

The beautiful views of Mykonos’ blue and white village….

Sunday started with an optional liturgy for the Orthodox Pentecost and a trip to the castle (Kastro) of Naxos. More sweeping views of the island could be seen from the top of the castle and a trip to the Archaeological Museum of Naxos showed some of the most beautiful pieces of art from the Cycladic islands. The afternoon was spent at one of the most famous beaches of Naxos, Plaka Beach. For Caroline Dudunakis, another afternoon in the sun exceeded the expectations of life on a Greek island: “I loved every second of laying in the sun and swimming with all of the new friends that I have made here, it was an awesome experience.”

HG 2019 enjoying the crystal clear waters of Naxos!

The real treat of Sunday was the traditional Panagiri festival hosted by the village of Koronos, just for the Heritage Greece family. The experience the night of the Panagiri was too great to put into words…the village welcomed us with so warmly with all the hospitality, or “filoxenia,” that Greece is known for. We shared the evening with the locals eating, dancing, and listening to live traditional Greek folk music. HG 2019 Participant Alex Stieglitz loved Greek dancing with everyone: “I haven’t gotten to dance in so long and it really felt like I was back in my natural habitat,” Alex explained. “Everyone was dancing together, even if somebody didn’t know the steps, we were all up and dancing for hours, it was such a great time.”

HG joined the locals of the village of Koronos and danced all night long!

Friendships that were made earlier in the trip were made stronger and new friendships were made over the dancing and “kefi” shared Sunday night. As Sunday turned to Monday, the vibes of Naxos had brought the best out of everyone. George Pollos felt that, “being in Naxos was different from Athens because of the incredible hospitality and friendliness of the people. I felt so welcomed, the island is so beautiful,” George said. “As a Greek American, I felt at home on Naxos with the small-village feeling and kindness of the local people.”

On our last day on Naxos, we visited Agios Prokopoios beach and spend the day swimming in the turquoise waters. Just as our trip began, it ended by the sea with friends, making more life-long memories under the sun. Naxos was filled with unparalleled beauty and brought the HG 2019 family closer together – a trip that we will all remember for many years to come…

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